Roommates. When moving somewhere, having one is taken into consideration for no reason other than to increase our quality of life. The average American spends roughly one-quarter of their paycheck on rent and utilities, and having that extra 12.5% of your income freed up by splitting the month to month costs of simply existing with someone seems like a no-brainer. That is, of course, until you hear the nightmare stories people have about roommates.
Thankfully I’ve had a pretty positive experience with all of my roommates in college, but not everyone I knew was lucky. The worst I’ve experienced was having a suitemate that you could smell through the walls. As bad as that was, I wasn’t the one that had to live with him, and my roommate and I were treated to several late night rants by his roommate and some very high-end air fresheners in our shared bathroom that said roommate also purchased as a form of mercy for us and anyone that visited the suite.
Others weren’t so lucky. Perpetual house guests, bad hygiene, fighting, late with rent, and letting filth pile up were among the dozens of nightmare stories I’ve heard from friends on the topic.
User ShallowTits on Reddit asked the community, “What are ‘red flags’ for roommates?” If you’re planning on sharing a place with one anytime soon, you’re definitely going to want to add these to your list.
The number one offender that all refuse to deal with is the Kidult
Mom moves him in while he watches. Mom sets his room up while he stares into his phone. Mom shops grocery andcooks it for him while he complains he’s hungry. Mom fills the fridge with pre-cooked meals while he eats. Mom cleans up everything and leaves.
Congratulations! Now you’re his mom.
This is my most hated kind of person. Unfortunately it usually ends up being men. My #1 red flag for male roommatesAND potential boyfriends is if they are going from their mommy to me. Because inevitably you become their new mommy which is fun in exactly zero ways.
Then there’s the problem of learned helplessness. You’ll ask them to do X, Y or Z chore and they go “oh I don’t know how” or they’ll give a half hearted attempt to prove to you that they can’t do it, so that you’ll have to from now on, etc.
I WILL NOT DO IT. I was not born with the ability to cook, clean or organize. I had to learn it on my own, and so do YOU.
This. I had to teach my boyfriend, who is 4 years older than me, how to cook for himself, do dishes, clean, etc. when we first lived together (with other people) towards the beginning of our relationship a few years back. I love him to death, and he’s a lot better at domestic things now, thank goodness. But 25 years as an only child getting doted on by his mom really did a number on him. Gotta nip that nonsense in the bud early.
Several Take The Opinion Of Their Favorite Roommate Into Consideration
Of course you get the stray case that makes you wonder if you can scrimp enough change to not need a roommate
One user tried to have others learn from his mistakes
Oh, man. I have a couple, all gained from painful experience:
If someone, before they live with you, constantly comments on how clean your/someone’s place is, when in reality it’s just normal and not that clean at all, take this as a sign that you have very different standards of cleanliness.
A little more personal, but- if the person has a history of many friendships lasting less than one year (without excuses like moving or switching jobs), or seems to have a long trail of people that they no longer speak to (orall their old friends are described as crazy psychos), or seems like the greatest person in the world but inexplicably has no friends whatsoever.
If someone tells you who they are, listen. For example, when my old roommate said casually in conversation, “Yeah, my mom and my sisters don’t think that I’m capable of feeling empathy, like I’m a sociopath. They used to say that a lot.” The same roommate also once told me that she’s never felt guilt before, and didn’t know what it felt like (she’s almost 30). She also had a restraining order served on her a couple days after she moved in.RED FLAGS.
If friends of your potential roommate come to you and ask you if you’ve really thought this through, and mention that maybe you don’t know this person as well as you think you do, listen to those people.
If you’ve noticed that this person doesn’t seem to respect the property or personal space of others.
Those are the biggest ones I’ve experienced.
And this one is a lesson for the post-college crowd
In my experience, if you live with a stranger, than sometimes there’s a mutual understanding to be on good behavior. You may never be close, but it may not be an awful situation, either. Sometimes it doesn’t work this way, but in my experience it does a surprising amount of time.
If you live with a friends, expect every one of their flaws to go up by a multiple of at least 5x. They always are down to drink? Guess what, your house is going to be a party house. Is their car a mess? Guess what, your house is going to be a disaster? Is their homework always late? Don’t be surprised if the rent is late, too.
And with family, make that 10 – 20x. I knew a guy who always on the lazier side that moved in with his cousin. He then proceeded to stop paying rent and looking for a job. Be very cautious moving in with family.
This one starts as general advice and gets more specific as it goes.
Kind of too late to call, but if there’s a fight on move-in day, the whole thing is going to be a fight.
Also, if one person tries to impose a cleaning schedule or rotation. These things are always doomed for disaster I find, because then there’s documented blame to go around if one person slacks off, even if it’s for a good reason (overloaded with school work, extreme bout of sickness, works 12 hours/day, etc.).
Finally, if she disappears for four hours and returns bragging about spending $ 200 on professionally done glue-on nails one day, then has her grandparents over the next day bringing food because she’s broke, she has absolutely no understanding of time or money and will not be able to empathise with you when you say you can’t afford the $ 10 it costs to buy a pack of toilet paper because your part-time Wal-Mart job barely covers your share of the rent and your bus pass. She will also eat your food despite labelling and try to flush hard stalks of celery down the toilet.
Then there’s the in house social aspect of living with someone. Make it clear ahead of time if you’re looking for extended family or just someone to pay the rent on time.
Drinking habits are a big one. If you have a roommate who’s alright sober but always a problem drunk, consider having to deal with that every time. I’ve had roomates who were great except their drinking was too much.
Another is expectations. My old roommate thought we’d be that household that goes out every weekend and has grill nights. I just wanted someone to pay rent. While it didn’t cause major problems with me, our third roommate was roped in a lot of social events he didn’t like and caused a great deal of tension
One user was clearly more experienced than the rest and gave the most in depth advice in the thread
Having had several roommates, in various housing situations (house, apt, dorms, single-roomie, multiple housemates), my advice would be:
At same job for 18 months or more preferably: This helps show financial stability and so you are less likely to get stuck paying extra shares of rent.
A reliable vehicle: You don’t have to help them get around.
Reasonably clean vehicle: How they keep their car is in my experience a good indicator of how they will keep their personal area.
Do you know them already?: Think of the thing that you dislike most about them. That thing they do, that even if they’ve been your best friend for 10 years, still makes your jaw clench. Can you live with that as a daily occurrence?
You will likely conflict over washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, and groceries/food. Do you have any idea how they handle themselves on these things?
Would you be okay spending time with someone who matters to you while this person is physically present? I’ve had roomies who interrupt 1-on-1 conversations to put in their thoughts, have horrible odor that permeated the apartment due to only showering once every couple days, and listen to their music loud enough that it interferes with other housemates media usage or family/friend visits.
Do they have a shitty significant other that you’re aware of? You’ll have an extremely high chance of also being exposed to that person’s crap also like extra bathroom mess, bottles of stuff in the shower, their clothing sitting around or ending up in your washing machine (assume you’re rooming in a house), cigarette butts if they smoke, sex objects, and so on.
I’ve had my share of horrible roomies who stunk, left messes, had a live-in partner try to piggy back off of their share of rent, disrespected my family, and straight up opt’d not to pay rent thinking I’d be stuck paying for us both. Hopefully any of this helps someone avoid the same.
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