Selecting Roommates

Moving decisions are huge; you have to worry about where to sign a lease and who to sign it with. Your first instincts are going to tell you to choose friends. But living with friends takes a lot of patience, dedication and finesse. Maikel Alendy, a Community Resource Assitant for the University of Florida Department of Housing, offers his tips for making roommate choices.

Be open with your expectations.

If you want comfort and companionship, tell your prospective roommate that you want her to fill this surrogate family role. If you only want someone to split the bills with and have an occasional conversation, also make that known. Knowing what you hope to gain from your living partners and what they want from theirs will help decide if you're meant to live together.

Be honest about who you are and how you function.

Let's say you hate to party, love watching sappy romance movies and can't stand a messy kitchen. You want to live with a friend who likes action flicks, goes bar-hopping every weekend, and doesn't clean up after herself. Your inclination is to try and compromise, but you both need to be honest about who you are and how you act-- if you know you're not going to work well together and you value your friendship, you won't make the best match possible. Also, Alendy says that our desire to compromise in the beginning breeds contempt and frustration in the long run.

Be direct; take the initiative to get it out.

Much like being honest, you need to speak up and voice your concerns. If you know there will be problems but want to take that risk, be forward about your apprehensions, don't let them subside or they will come back in the form of anger and frustration. Take the time up front to discuss all issues so you know what to expect.

Megan's Choices

University of Florida junior Megan Budd has lived with strangers (or random roommates), acquaintances and best friends. Each situation had its ups and downs and different outcomes. Here is a list of her pros and cons for friends and strangers:

Living with Randoms

Pros

  • meeting someone new
  • no previous issues
  • no vested interest means no fear of confrontation

Cons

  • nothing in common
  • can be uncomfortable
  • may not know how to bring things up
  • may be uncomfortable with their guests

Living with Friends

Pros

  • great communication
  • shared background and beliefs
  • mutual friends mean guests are OK
  • built-in companionship

Cons

  • issues go unaddressed for fear of hurting them
  • friend issues become domestic ones, and vice versa
  • friendship can sour

The bottom line

Both sources admit there are pros and cons to each situation, but they agree that when you live with a friend you must have a stable enough friendship that you can share your concerns and frustrations in a constructive way before conflict escalates.