Defining the Qualities of a Good Roommate

Rose Morrison

Jan 7, 2022

qualities of a good roommate

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Whether you’re moving out of your family’s home for the very first time or you’re fleeing an imperfect roommate situation, finding someone who adheres to roommate etiquette is no easy task. There are so many factors that go into picking a good roommate. Though you might not find someone who checks every single box, prioritizing is key.

There are so many people out there that could make great potential roommates. Perhaps you already know them, but perhaps they’re new friends you’ll meet along the way. While you probably have a few specific qualities in mind for this dream roommate, there are a few universal traits you may want to keep on your radar.

And hey, maybe there are some qualities here you need to work on, too. Here are six non-negotiable qualities of a good roommate.

1. They’re Financially Reliable

One of the best ways someone can practice proper roommate etiquette is paying the rent on time — though rent isn’t the only factor in the financial game of rooming together. Ideally, you should find a roommate who has a stable job and can pay their rent, bills and share of expenses on time.

If you’re the only one buying groceries, cleaning supplies and toilet paper for two, that’s a problem. While talking finances can sometimes be considered rude, it’s a necessity — especially for those who are sharing bills.

2. They Respect Your Personal Space and Belongings

Sharing space doesn’t mean you have to share everything. There are plenty of things that should probably be left separate or depend on explicit permission to share.

Being friendly is all well and good, but it’s important to find someone who believes in the concept of personal space and privacy. Coming home and finding your roomie rifling around in your closet to borrow a skirt? Not a good look for anybody.

3. You Have Compatible Schedules

While this one admittedly offers a bit of leeway — going to bed a few hours apart won’t hurt anybody — it’s still an important issue to talk over. If your roomie likes to play deep house music at three in the morning when you’re trying to get a good night’s rest, that might not be the optimal situation for you.

Or, if you have a job that keeps you out late and you like to cook an evening dinner when you get home, you don’t want to sneak around like a mouse because your housemate tucks in tight at ten. Talk through schedules and see if you’re compatible.

4. They’re Willing to Communicate

Communication is key in nearly any relationship. While it may take a bit of time to discern, moving in with someone who knows how to communicate openly and honestly will likely be the key to a harmonious household.

You should ideally be able to talk about problems together without getting passive aggressive or starting arguments. Everything from groceries to fridge space to household chores requires communication — it’s a point you shouldn’t skip out on.

5. You Get Along

In all the hustle of roommate etiquette, it can be a little easy to forget some of the elements on the softer side — when it comes down to it, you should find someone you like. Living with other people is so much easier and more enjoyable when you have a few things in common and enjoy one another’s company. It’s important to find someone you could see yourself hanging out with every once in a while and spending a bit more time with than an average acquaintance.

6. But You Don’t Have to Be Best Friends

While you do have to get along, you don’t need to be partners in crime through thick and thin. Boundaries are important in roommate situations, and constantly hanging out with someone you also live with can get a bit exhausting.

While some people choose to live with their best friends or close friends, it often takes effort and intention for the living situation not to infringe upon the relationship. If you’re not sure if your friendship would survive cohabitation, it might be best to look elsewhere for a housemate.

Look For the Qualities of a Good Roommate

Finding the perfect roommate might seem hard, but someone is out there just waiting to be your perfect match. While living with anyone requires communication, respect and responsibility, it can also be a ton of fun.

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