Whether it’s finding an apartment off-campus or working out a plan for your new dorm room, finding the right qualities that make a trustworthy roommate can be incredibly stressful. Living with someone can seem daunting, and even a little strange, especially if you haven’t been around them long enough to build up a sense of trust. Here are some qualities to pay attention to when you are sharing your space with someone.
It’s easy for someone to put on a good front during the initial introductions, but once that ends, people naturally go back to their usual behaviors. A trustworthy roommate will stay consistent with their actions throughout the entire time you live together.
Pay attention to patterns in their ability to handle conflict, how they stick to a routine, or how they communicate with you. There shouldn’t be a sudden switch up if something goes awry, and there certainly shouldn’t be any surprises months into sharing your space.
2. Respectful of Boundaries
Even when you were living with your family, you knew the importance of personal boundaries. Setting up guidelines to protect your sanity is crucial. A trustworthy roommate won’t come off as intrusive and will respect your terms for your personal space.
If you make it clear that they can’t enter your bedroom unannounced, they should understand that. If you say “no” to a request, they should accept that answer with grace and understanding. Your space is your home and you deserve to feel safe there. Having that feeling of safety and regard will make your stay much smoother in the long run.
Since you’ll be spending a lot of time with your roommate, you want to make sure they are easy to get along with. You should be able to feel comfortable with being at home and with being yourself around someone else. While there’s a certain amount of tact needed with the person you are living with, it doesn’t need to feel like a professional setting.
If you notice that your roommate is able to be authentic with you, this is a good sign that you can trust them at face value. Both of you should be able to feel close enough to share fun moments with one another. Dance parties? TV marathons? Cooking sessions in the kitchen? Your roommate should grow into a new friend that you can share these amazing experiences with.
4. Able to confide
When it comes to open communication, having someone to come home to for a vent session about a relationship or a horrible day at work can be healthy for you. A trustworthy roommate is easy to confide in for these types of situations.
Face it, you deal with enough judgment out in the world. The last thing you want on your plate is the feeling of someone at home thinking negatively of you. Even worse, you don’t want to come home to someone who will talk badly about your experiences behind your back. Nobody wants to be the “crazy roomie” that comes up in conversations with friends.
Trust can be built through a sharing of both the good and the bad in your life, and your roommate should have an open mind when you feel secure enough to confide in them.
5. A good listener
In addition to having an open mind, a trustworthy roommate is always all ears for you. Everyone has that one friend who loves to give unsolicited advice. A great roomie doesn’t comment on the obstacles you are facing, but instead serves as a sounding board for you to express yourself.
Once that person proves to be a good listener, they can then earn the right to provide insight into the goings-on with your life, so long as it is requested of them, of course. They are always there if you need someone to talk to. They receive bonus points for providing coffee or wine for these conversations as well.
The last thing you want to deal with is someone who has no consideration for you in your own quarters. If you’ve got a big test to study for, or if you have work early the next morning, they should know better than to bring over noisy guests.
Additionally, you want someone who will pull their own weight when it comes to upkeep. Anything from helping with the dishes to keeping the common areas clean helps keep the home a sanctuary. Pay attention to what they are willing to do to help you.
The best roommates have the best intentions and a compassionate roommate is a trustworthy roommate.
Living with someone else’s differences can be conflicting. No matter the circumstance, there is bound to be a disagreement here and there, just as there would be if you were living with your own family. This is why it’s important for you to have a roomie who is willing to compromise to keep the peace between the two of you.
As I mentioned before, pay attention to how your roommate responds to conflict. The worst type of roommate will get defensive or try to push their solution as being the only solution for an issue. Compromise is essential when uniting two different lifestyles under one roof.
8. Financially stable
If you’re renting a place with someone, that someone needs to make sure they have a reliable means of helping out with paying for it. It’s hard to trust someone who doesn’t manage their finances well, especially if it ends up affecting you directly.
Even worse is a roommate who is constantly asking you for cash. Money is already a taboo topic to begin with, you don’t want to have any awkward discussions on this with someone who might be trying to take advantage of you. It’s a make or break topic when it comes to trusting someone, so make sure you’re aware of how your roomie handles their funding.
Nothing is more annoying than a roommate who leaves you out of a fun situation. It always makes for an uncomfortable moment when they bring friends over and don’t even introduce you to them. A trustworthy roommate will always make you feel included in every situation.
Even if it’s an invitation to go to the grocery store together or a night out on the town, having that sort of bond with your roommate can be comforting for your living situation. It definitely will bring the two of you closer and can even lead to a lifelong friendship.
What other qualities do you think make a trustworthy roommate? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Scott Hill is a former middle school educator and current poet with multiple self-published collections. He has a degree in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Houston and resides nearby where he can be seen tending to plants at his job, snuggling with his dog on the sofa, or spending time with loved ones. He enjoys whiskey and wine nights and loves writing about other poets, personal life experiences, mental health, food, and sometimes Taylor Swift. Feel free to follow him on Instagram @scotthillpoetry!