Finding a roommate can be an intimidating process! Whether you are starting your freshman year at college or looking to lease an apartment, you want to live with someone trustworthy and reliable. These questions will help you break the ice and get to know your future roomie!
1. Night Owl vs. Early Bird
Ask your potential roommate whether they identify as a night owl or an early bird. If your roommate likes to party into the wee hours of the morning while you turn into a pumpkin at 10 o’clock, you might not be compatible. If you do live with someone who stays up later or wakes up earlier than you, consider setting a curfew. Your curfew could be the time that you both need to be home or the time that you switch to using dim lights.
2. Cleanliness Levels
You can learn a lot about someone by the way they clean their space. Consider asking your roommate questions about cleanliness. You could make a chart where they rank how often they clean certain spaces (e.g. bathroom and kitchen) or ask how important it is to them to keep things clean. If you are a neat freak, you will not want to room with someone who does not value cleanliness. The same goes for the opposite category.
3. Paying The Rent
Ask your roommate how they plan on paying their part of the rent. If you own the house or apartment, will they pay rent directly to you? Or, will you divide up the cost of utilities evenly? Consider asking your roommate to provide proof of insurance and a steady job before agreeing to live with them. You do not want to get caught in a situation where your roommate is financially dependent on you.
4. Pet Preferences
Is your future roommate a pet lover? Are they a dog person, or a cat person? Do they have any allergies to pets? These questions are important, especially if you currently own a pet. You do not want to live with someone who either does not like your animal or is allergic to it. Make sure that you and your roommate are on the same page when it comes to pets.
5. Smoking Habits
It can be dangerous to live with someone who smokes indoors. Consider asking your roommate if they have a regular habit of smoking. If they smoke indoors, you may have to set some boundaries on when and where they smoke so that your health is not at risk. Make sure to ask about vaping too, since some people do not classify that as smoking.
6. Visits From Friends
How often does your roommate host friends? If they are constantly hosting parties, you want to be in agreement on how often those parties are hosted. For example, one person could have two nights a week dedicated to friends, while the other person can have two different nights for hosting their friends. This solution is beneficial if you and your roommate have different friend groups. That way, there are a few nights in the week where you can relax without intruders in your space.
7. Stress Triggers
What things trigger stress for your roommate? Do they get stressed after a difficult day at work? Do they get stressed by messy spaces? Do they want to be left alone when they are stressed? Knowing how both you and your roommate deal with stress is essential. If they just want to be left alone, make sure you talk about that before you unintentionally add more stress. If they need someone to listen while they vent, tell them if you are comfortable with listening. This way you can help each other deal with stress while avoiding further conflict.
8. Communication Preferences
When it comes to conflict, how does your roommate want to be confronted? Do they prefer a written letter, face-to-face confrontation, or some other type of communication? Try to have face-to-face confrontations as often as you can. Your roommate will be able to see the emotion on your face and hear the fluctuation in your voice, which will provide healthy conflict resolution.
9. Relaxing Rituals
How does your roommate like to relax daily? Do they prefer to come home from work and de-stress in front of the TV? Do they like to come home and talk about their day? Do they want your companionship or just your presence? If your roommate does not like to socialize, they may want to relax alone. If you both like to be around people, you may want to play a game, cook dinner, or watch a movie together to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
10. Family Relationships
Is your roommate close to their family? Do they attend regular family events? Are they cut off from their family? Your roommate may not feel comfortable sharing the details of their family relationships, but it is helpful to know whether or not you will be hosting their family members. If they are close with their family, they will most likely want to invite them over for dinner. If they are not close with their family, consider inviting them into your own family circle. Since you are living in the same space, you may become like family to your roommate.
11. Household Chores
How will you divide the household chores? What is your roommate’s favorite chore? What is their least favorite chore? If your roommate hates washing the dishes and enjoys doing laundry, consider doing their least favorite chore. As long as you like different chores, you won’t have a problem keeping up with your house or apartment!
12. Cooking Frequency
How often does your roommate cook? Do they prefer takeout over cooking dinner? If both of you would rather order food than cook it, then you will get along well. If your roommate enjoys cooking, decide whether you will share the cooking utensils or buy your own sets. Some people prefer to use their own utensils rather than share them with others.
13. Pet Peeves
What are your roommate’s pet peeves? Do they hate loud chewing? Are they bothered by draws and cabinets left open? Make sure that both of you have an honest conversation about your pet peeves. You will be better prepared to live together if you know what annoys your roommate.
14. Room Temperature
What temperature is comfortable for your roommate? Do they like to sleep in a cold room? These questions are especially important if you are sharing a dorm or apartment. You need to agree on a common temperature for your living space so that both of you are comfortable.
15. Food Restrictions
Does your roommate have any food allergies? This may impact whether or not you share cooking utensils. You will want to be sensitive to your roommate’s allergies when you are buying groceries and cooking. If you decide to share groceries, make sure that you buy food that is safe for both of you.
16. Work Schedule
What is your roommate’s work schedule? Do they work multiple jobs? Are their shifts irregular? You want to know your roommate’s work schedule so that you can plan events, chores, and evening activities accordingly.
17. Personal Expectations
What does your roommate expect of you? In any relationship, it is important to talk about your expectations for the other person. This question can spark conversation about your experience with past roommates. You will both have an opportunity to share your concerns and preferences for a potential roommate.
18. Daily Schedule
What is your roommate’s daily schedule? This could include their morning routine, work hours, and relaxation time. For safety reasons, it is a good idea to share your daily schedule and locations with each other. If something happens to your roommate, you want to have an idea of where they might be. The likelihood of something happening is small, but it never hurts to take precautions!
19. Evening Activities
What does your roommate’s typical evening look like? Make sure that you are both on the same page in regards to your evening schedule. If you do not want to wake up to strangers partying in your living room, don’t live with someone who brings home late-night visitors. Be honest about your ideal way to spend an evening.
20. Weekend Activities
What is your roommate’s ideal way to spend the weekend? Do they prefer relaxing by the pool, or partying late at bars? If you enjoy similar activities, you may spend a lot of time together over the weekend. If your roommate likes to host friends during the weekend, make sure to set some ground rules in regards to guests.
21. Bedtime Routine
What is your roommate’s usual bedtime? Some people can live with roommates who have different bedtimes. Others may have a hard time falling asleep with the lights on, especially if you are in a dorm room. Make sure that you are respectful of your roommate’s bedtime. Nobody wants to live with a sleep-deprived person.
22. Relationship Status
Is your roommate in a relationship? If they plan on frequently hosting their significant other, you need to set some ground rules. How often will their partner visit? Will they stay overnight? Be honest with your roommate about your comfort level around their partner. If you do not want them to stay overnight, tell your roommate!
23. Grocery Shopping
What are your roommate’s grocery shopping habits? Do they want to share groceries? Some people like to split the grocery bill, while others want to keep their food expenses to themselves. Be honest about your expectations when it comes to stocking the kitchen.
24. Housing History
What challenges has your roommate faced in past living situations? If you and your roommate are moving out on your own for the first time, you may not have anything to worry about. This question allows your roommate to share their past experiences and current concerns when it comes to housing.
25. Anything Else?
Is there anything else you need to know? This final question gives your roommate a chance to share any information that the previous questions did not cover. If they seem like a compatible partner, then you should be ready to start settling into your new space!