Don’t settle for a bad roommate

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So you’re looking for a roommate, and of course not just any roommate, but a really good one.

You’re looking for a friend to cohabitate with, because at the end of a long day there is nothing better to come home to, be that a dorm room, apartment or cave dwelling, than someone to split a pizza with.

On some level we all want a college companion, and even though this companion’s existence and financial contribution is necessary to pay your rent, it’s always a plus when you all can get along.

In my experience, the best way to track down a potential roommate is to use your awesome network of friends, classmates, coworkers and family. Reach out to your people and let the world know you are looking for someone to live with. Often a friend of a friend, or your cousin’s coworker’s boyfriend can be great options.

You might not know this person well, but you do have some sort of preexisting connection with them and that’s something to build on. And if rooming together really doesn’t work out, you can always throw the blame on whomever recommended you live with that person in the first place.

Now that you have found a few options, commence the awkward online dating stage. Get each others’ numbers, text and stalk each other super casually on all social media outlets. Get to know this person on a superficial level.

But as things start to get more serious between you and that special, could-be housemate, keep in mind these possible red flags. I’m talking serious deal breakers, people.

Potential roommate smells funny

Potential roommate is terrible at spelling

Potential roommate leads a nocturnal lifestyle

Potential roommate tweets things like “Haven’t gone to class all week, oops!” or “I honestly have no idea how to use a dishwasher!”

Potential roommate has five previous roommates who all mysteriously moved elsewhere in the middle of the night

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If you notice any behaviors or attributes close to these in your future roomie, back out while you still can. The best way to avoid a monstrous roommate is not to get stuck signing a lease with one in the first place. Just don’t do it.

Also, be upfront about what you expect from your living companion, while at the same time making sure you understand their expectations of you. Maybe even write these down just to make them feel extra official.

Now say your future roommate passed all your tests and you signed your lease together for that shitty apartment, but two weeks later tensions rise and there is a lot of passive-aggressive door slamming and eye rolling. What do you do?

First off, it’s best to address the uncomfortable atmosphere as soon as you sense it. You are basically an adult, so don’t try to pretend you are oblivious to arising conflicts. Let your roommate know you sense some tension and want to clear the air, regardless of the situation.

Just sit down and chat, even if it’s really uncomfortable at first. Get it all out. For those fond of clichés, communication is key. But basically just treat one another like grown-up human beings who deserve respectful and productive conversation.

It’s already tough enough out there, so don’t make your life even harder by settling for a roommate who uses all of your coffee creamer without asking. Search around for that special someone, because the ideal home companion is out there — I promise.