One of the biggest transitions into adult life is
moving in with your first roommates. It can be incredibly freeing and make you see yourself as an actual, real-life grownup — but it's also tricky to get it right. And finding the right roommate is so important. It's easy to underestimate how much our living situation will affect us — until we're in a difficult one.
"Often, when our
relationship with our roommate is difficult we either dread being home and/or find ourselves looking for reasons not to leave our bedrooms," Nicole Richardson, LPC-S, LMFT, tells Bustle.
If you don't get along with your roommates, it can make you feel trapped and claustrophobic, so you want to be really careful when you're choosing who to live with. It's easy to think that moving in with a close friend is the answer, but good friends don't always make good roommates — and living together can also completely ruin friendships. So it's important to make sure that you're choosing a roommate that's actually the right fit for your lifestyle, rather than just someone you know really well. Here's what you should look out for when choosing a roommate for the first time, according to experts.
You're going to be seeing this person nearly every day, so even if you don't end up being best friends, you still may want to find someone you can at least click with.
"The ability to
listen to other's problems and lending an ear is an important quality for someone you live with to have," Kimberly Hershenson, a licensed therapist, tells Bustle. It's great just to have someone to blow off steam or chat to, so make sure you can have an easy back-and-forth.
Someone Who's Good With Money
Money can make a living situation so,
so stressful. "Things can end up really catty between roommates when financial situations get strained," Erin Lowry, author of tells Bustle. "You don't want to be in the position to be hiding toilet paper in your room and carrying it to the bathroom because you refuse to let your roommate use that for which you paid." Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together,
Make sure that you either already know they're good with money or talk to them about how you would split the bills, whether you will share food, and how you would account for things like toilet paper and toothpaste
before you move in.
Someone Who's Drama-Free
You know the kind of person who is
always fighting with someone? They're likely to bring all of that pointless drama into your living situation, too.
“Your home environment
should be peaceful and without extended conflict,” author and relationship expert Alexis Nicole White tells Bustle. Someone a bit more down to earth is probably a better bet.
Someone With A Similar Schedule
Unless you have a very big apartment or a very quiet housemate, living on very different schedules can be tricky. If someone works late or is always out late partying and you're an early bird, that has the potential to become really annoying
very quickly, depending on what the size of your place. If you can find someone on the same page as you, it can make life a lot easier.
Even when you're living with someone, you're going to want some of your own space, so make sure you find someone who respects that. “Just because a
person is your roommate doesn’t mean they have to be privy to your business," White says. Whether you like to be in your room with the door closed or you just don't like to share every single detail of your day, your roommate should know when to give you some breathing room.
Someone With Similar Socializing Habits
Some people look at their homes as private sanctuaries — and others look at them as the perfect place to play host to all of their friends five nights a week. Make sure you're on the same page about how regularly you'll be having friends and guests.
Someone With Your Sense Of Humor
Finally, you just want to make sure that you and your roommate can be relaxed with each other. "It is important to notice if you feel like you are having to
walk on eggshells or censor yourself for fear of a lecture or ridicule from your roommate," says Richardson. Having the same sense of humor is a good way to ensure that you both can let your hair down a bit.
Finding your first roommate can be tricky — and there may be some trial and error involved. So, don't worry if you don't get it right the first time. Just focus on finding someone who is respectful and who you can get along with, because you deserve to have a home that feels relaxed and happy.