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Everything You Ever Need to Know about Roommates

Updated on February 28, 2022
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Andrea writes on various topics from dating, couples, astrology, weddings, interior design, and gardens. She studied film and writing.


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I have officially at this point in my life had 17 roommates. I'm a 26 year old female dying to get out of the roommate cycle, but until I get a nice full-time job or married, it is much more feasible for me to split rent with others. I have had my fair share of the scariest roommates on the planet along with angels who I'm not sure why they came to bless me. I offer you some sage wisdom so you can prepare for roommates and also become a blessed roommate yourself.

1. Wash dishes. It doesn't matter if they're yours or someone else's. Make sure the dishes are being cleaned. If not this can lead to critters of the insect kind or the rodent kind. Mice are going to be a much worse problem. Clean dishes make for happy roommates.

2. For the love of God, if you can keep sex off the premise it will make everyone happier. If you're sharing a room with someone, it's just not nice to have sex. Try as much as possible to go somewhere else. It doesn't matter whether you have puritan roommates or not-so-puritan, on a number of occasions I've seen roommates split because of sexy affairs in the house that left people uncomfortable and seeking to have housing space by themselves. You don't want to provoke that if possible. So consider wisely you're sexy activities, where they will happen, and if your roommates can hear. Keep the personal matters to a minimum. It annoys your roommates when you have a different significant other every other week.

3. Have a routine for how you set bills. Post it on the fridge. Don't let someone who is bad at math be in charge of bills.

4. Don't have battles over pithy cleaning matters. So what if there is dust behind the toilet? Clean it up yourself. You probably don't need to make an announcement about all the cleaning matters. You're going to end up being high maintenance. Scheduled cleaning can get really annoying, so try to be better and be self didactic. If someone is cleaning way more than everyone else, then communicate and implement more of the responsibilities. Make sure to do the following: take out the trash, vacuum carpets, clean bathroom counters, etc.

5. It's really nice when your roommate folds your laundry that has been left in the dryer. Don't just toss clothes to some random corner. You can put it in a basket if you have to. Rather, you should tell your roommate to pick up their laundry.

6. Don't move people's stuff unless they're okay with it. Tell them to pick it up. Talk more than take action.

7. Introverted roommates are generally better than extroverted ones. Extroverted ones are going to have a lot of people over and if they're not having people over they're going to be using your ears a lot. This can be exhausting. Try to keep them busy. They will probably have lots of relationship stories. Sometimes this is entertaining, sometimes you need to just sleep and do homework and have a life of your own.

8. Sleep is important. Anything that gets in the way of your sleep or someone else's is a bad deal. Do not be noisy at times when people should be sleeping nor wake them up to tell them something they don't need to know.

9. Do not get pets without discussing it first. You need to know allergies. You have to stick to the rules of the landlord and apartment association. I've had this happen with a hamster, dog, and cat and as cool as all those animals are -- it is really annoying seeing them go through a training stage.

10. Roommates can develop feelings for each other. You will have differences in living, and there are some things that are going to be difficult to discuss when you have roommates you find attractive.

11. Do not room with your best friend. The odds of you surviving are low. You may room with someone and become best friends, but the other way around will leave you hating each other. Best friends are sacred and meant for discussing the nitty gritty details of life, when you live in the nitty gritty you will hate each other and everyone will be confused about the drama.

12. Do not get roommates off Craiglist without talking to them on Skype. Make sure they are a real person. There are lots of Craiglist roommates scams.

13. If you have separate rooms, it is none of your business if someone's else's room is a mess. Do not clean their room. Do not discuss their room, unless it is beginning to smell. The common shared areas need to be clean, people's personal space is there's to be clean or messy, dirty is a different story. Dirty means critter worthy and smell worthy.

14. Throw away food in the refrigerator that is old. Check your fridge about once a week while you are cooking to see what can be tossed.

15. Buy baking soda. You can use it to clean just about anything from the toilet, dishes, and also it puts out small fires. You'll probably run into a small fire.

16. Not everyone makes the same money. Don't expect everyone to go even on everything. Avoid sharing costs on buying television sets and such because inevitably you will part, and no one wants to pay back money when they're leaving. There will be fees when you move out, so don't make that laundry list longer and longer.

17. Prepare in advance for moving out. DO NOT LET SOMEONE TAKE CARE OF MOVING EVERYTHING IF YOU ARE GOING TO A NEW LOCATION. It's unfair. Pack up your own stuff.

18. Do not compete for people you are both interested in dating. Be the bigger person and not care. There are plenty of other people who will come your way that will find you attractive. It makes things really awkward when roommates have sex with the same person. This is something that should be avoided.

19. Some of the weirdest roommates are probably going to be your favorite. Ones who have their business together when it comes to romance, are probably going to be your favorite.

20. If you can't have alcohol without throwing up, do your roommate a service and lay off the alcohol. Your roommate may be a sunshine of love, but cleaning up someone's vomit is disappointing.

21. Do not borrow money off of each other. Borrow money off of other people. You have enough commitment with rent, utilities, and internet that what you share financially needs to be equal. Going out of balance will be unfavorable.

22. Do have fun with your roommate. Go do activities with each other. Talk about your dreams. Try to keep some things private from your roommate; if you don't want everybody knowing your business then don't tell your roommate who is most likely to say a few things here and there to the people you hang out with.

23. Always let your roommates know when family is coming in town. This means the place needs to be cleaner, any sexual activities in the house need to be put on hold, also if your family is kind of a pain your roommate needs to know if they should find activities outside of the house or hide in them room is something to be scheduled.

24. If you eat each others food, you either need to replace the food, share food, or cook food.

25. Do not share things like razors and toothbrushes. Your roommate may not tell you about diseases and things they carry.

26. Do not convert roommates to a religion they do not have.

27. Do occasionally buy your roommates flowers, ice cream, new happy things. Do not buy them crap and act as though it is a gift, such as second hand clothing with holes.

28. Do not wear your roommates under garments. This should be given... but don't.

29. Avoid fights when at all possible. People do not like fighting and arguing.

30. Do not compare roommates to their faces about previous better roommates.

31. Ask if someone can spend the night, don't just assume this will be okay.

32. Make sure all of the household knows if there will be a party so they can plan accordingly.

33. If you break it, replace it or buy a new one.

34. When your old roommate moves out, if you find things they have left behind return it to them.

35. Do not assume that everyone is a morning person. Be considerate that some people are groggy in the morning, so don't scare them with too much talking.

36. Respect when people are having alone time.

37. If they are crying, you should always inquire and try to solve whatever fear or problem is happening. You definitely need to make sure it wasn't your cause.

38. Don't cry over spilt milk.

39. Avoid getting parents involved in your troubles.

40. Do have roommates from other countries.

41. Do not share make up.

42. Play musical instruments at times when others are not sleeping. I hope you are starting to get that sleep is important.

43. Do not have roommates that are into drugs. They're going to cause problems.

44. Be ready to call poison control, the cops, tow-trucks, clergymen, boyfriends, an ambulance all for your roommate. Because weird stuff happens.

45. Invest some knowledge in first aid. It is great to know CPR and also small fires do happen whether from curling irons or stoves.

46. Talk to your roommates in person rather through texting and notes. Notes are going to confuse and upset people.

47. If you're still mad about it a day later, you should discuss it. If you're only mad about something for five minutes, then drop it.

48. Clean up your pet's mishaps. Don't expect others to do this.

49. Do not leave wet towels in your room.

50. Shower. If you think you smell bad, probably everyone thinks you smell bad.

The eight most common types of roommates.

1. The Best Friend

This is someone you have known for a long time and has many inside jokes with you. Before you were roommates, your best friend always had your back. Now, unfortunately, the tables can turn at any moment as they have years and years of blackmail on you and at any moment will use it against you. This person may know your family and have close ties with them. They may have a hard time respecting your space and be too excited to see you sometimes. It will be hard when your best friend is dating someone you don't like because you won't have much space to turn around and hide. You'll be more annoyed with this person in sharing things, and you'll have complained about certain pet peeves before meeting them, and now they seem to have those exact peeves. Living with a best friend can be a nightmare. It's difficult to know and understand your relationship anymore. The best friend bond may have to be broken for the sake of living together. No matter how much you don't want to lose this friendship, once you unpack your things and live in the same space -- expect that the odds are against you.

Example: Shawn and Cory

2. The Foreigner

The roommate from another country can make for a great roommate. Sometimes this may happen when you live on campus. If you find someone on Craig's list that's from another country, beware 9 out of 10 times it is probably a scam. The foreign person will be a great asset for you, most of my favorite roommates were from other countries. Usually, they are highly interested in you and put a great deal of effort in trying to appease you. They may introduce you to some amazing foods and a plethora of culture, also they could give you connections to another country. The foreign person will most likely hang out with other foreign people who will probably appear at your living situation. This could open social doors for you. These roommates typically do need some help understanding cleaning norms, and they may also need rides. On the other hand, a lot of times they are rich and more than likely will help you out. These connections are some of the best. Albeit, you want smart ones that are trying to make it through college, not ones there who just want a party and are using this as an escape to America.

Example: Fez

3. The Extrovert Roommate

This is a roommate who will constantly be on the go socially. They will probably have about 12 boyfriends or girlfriends (or both) while you live with them. They will ask for your advice, but it's more just conversation for the sake of conversation. This person will want to socialize every waking moment, so if you are not social with them, they will probably find someone else. They will constantly be making plans with people, you will be introduced to loads of people, there will be gatherings and parties. There will be moments of explosive uncalled for emotion. Expect that they will be confused if you don't always want to socialize no matter how many times you tell them. They will however often want to cook you food, meet your friends, and have lots of friends of their own that you could date. If you are firm with them about operation hours, you'll catch your sleep.

Example: Will Smith, Fresh Prince

4. The House Mother

This usually happens in a situation with lots of women. Someone will take charge to make sure bills are done on time, that communication is happening between roommates, they'll be a shoulder to cry on, they'll clean up your vomit, they'll pick you up from school, they may make you lunches, they'll have warm advice for you, and they'll be in charge of rules. Adding or subtracting roommates can change the pecking order which could make a running house mother concerned, or happy that her title is gone and she can concentrate on more things. This is a great roommate to have, they'll be checking to make sure things are operational and clean. They may annoy you when they throw your stuff in your room because you're taking too long to pick it up. They may annoy you when they stand up for a more delicate girl and tell you off for treating them like a brat. The house mother is not one to mess with because things tend to fall apart when this person is gone. They are the glue of the household. They make things happen and they probably know it too.

Example: Monica

5. Too Attached to the Parents

This roommate may have moved out too soon. They still talk to their parents every day. Their parents come by to buy cleaning supplies. Your roommate makes passive-aggressive remarks that their parents don't agree with what they see. The parents are they often, stopping by and not leaving cookies but staring at you as though you are a bad influence, and all you do is read a book. This kid doesn't get a job, they generally go home for the weekends. They don't like meeting new people, because they'd rather be with their parents, or significant other that they've been dating since their sophomore year of high school. This person may be stinking rich, I mean really stinking rich and so they are quite attached to their parents wallet, particularly the credit card. They may to impress you name drop random things or try to buy lots of things to gain your favor. This person is generally not super self-efficient, hardly present, and usually is forgettable.

Example: Carlton Banks

6. The Extreme Introvert

This person is usually a keeper. They don't want to be loud, they don't want to be in your face. They usually are great conversationalists, and if you can get them out of their shell they can come up with plenty a fun idea. Usually, they like to study and play video games. They may sleep in for a day. They may shirk chores or they may overdo them. They're usually easy to handle, and you may have to encourage them to talk because sometimes they don't think anyone cares about their ideas. The introverted ones generally want to get along. They rarely throw lots of parties, and they treasure one on one time with you. You may have to spend extra time calling them after they've moved out if you want to keep a connection with them or they'll disappear into the mist forever.

7. Off the Charts Random

No matter how many years you spend with this person, you'll never crack them. They'll always say things that surprise you, have friends that surprise you, and go places that surprise you. They'll have stories about odd jobs and random visits to other countries till the sun sets. They have probably tried drugs or something odd that makes you slightly uncomfortable. They more than likely play an instrument or know a language, or would like to create one. They're not afraid to be their selves around you because they have nothing to prove. Potentially messy, more than likely an honest person over a nice person. A good roommate to have, especially to mediate crisis. They can scramble your brain with their sense of clothing to the endearing yet bizarre things they'll say. Also, they may as well know magic because strange things just seem to happen for them.

Example: Kramer

8. The Perfect Wingman or Wingwoman

This person creates the perfect combo for you when going out. Whatever happens with you and this person creates magnetic energy, especially for your phone and the numbers it collects. This person knows how to sell you and also stand back in the shadow when needed, you also more than likely know how to sell it with them too. This is an ideal roommate because you function well as a pair to get ahead not just in dates, but also business. People like the both of you. It's not quite like best friends, it has more smoothness to it and doesn't have all the pressure and expectations of best friend. Wingmen know when to be out of each other's business. Wingmen give you better advice about potential dates than best friends. Wingmen also value you because it takes two to tango, so this person will try to keep things clean, be in good standing with you because deep down they know that you to make a divine unit that's difficult to unravel.

Example: Chandler and Joey

© 2014 Andrea Lawrence


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