How to Find a Good Roommate

The time has come for our apartment to bid a sorrowful adieu to one of our roommates. And although we will miss her, our attention must inevitably turn to finding a replacement. So how do we find one person who we think will fit in with our whole apartment life scene that we’ve got going on and who is actually willing to live with us?

(photo courtesy of A Natural Sound)

We wanted to include this post amidst the recent spree of roommate stories that may inadvertently encourage people to live alone, because we actually recommend living with others, for personal and financial reasons. We wrote them to be funny.

Step 1 – First, we sent an email to our friends to see if they knew anyone who was looking for a room or apartment. This is the most efficient method because:

  • I always read emails from people I know, especially friends.
  • Your friends are know what kind of person you are and probably have a good idea what living in your apartment is like and are therefore in a great position to recommend someone. They kind of act like a broker, explaining to each party what to expect of the other. And each party knows that they can trust this interlocutor.
  • Most often, if this is successful, you’ll end up living with a friend of a friend, which is a great scenario because you end up meeting new people, but neither the new roommate nor current roommates feel compelled to include each other in every single part of their lives. So there is a familiarity that creates but does not necessitate an opportunity for beers and jokes and friends. (beers and jokes and friends is the main concept behind living in 4 bedroom apartment)

Step 2 – You can post a note on Facebook; this casts a wider, yet less accountable, net into the people you know. Just be aware that this note easily gets lost in the shuffle. If only this were a roommate ‘Bat Signal,’ where everyone you know would rush to furnish a candidate.

  • This reaches out to people who you don’t always speak to and live in other cities, and they may know people who are thinking about relocating. Just having at least one friend or acquaintance is reassuring. At the very least, the cops will have some leads.

Step 3 – You can post an ad to the general public looking for a roommate. Now, this has the possibility of going really well or really poorly. Typically, a rule of thumb is that this practice becomes less acceptable as you get older. Everyone under the age of 25 gets along; everyone is still figuring out what they want to do and out their life plan*.

(*The only real way to do this as a recent college graduate is to go out and test ‘life hypothesis.’ This just means move in somewhere and get a job. See how it goes. Poli sci major? Move to DC, find some roommates and work for the Government. Tired of it? Move to Wyoming and be a cattle hand. When people are still forming their ideas and don’t have definite plans, it is a hell of a lot easier to move in and move out of places because they are exploring new cities, learning new industries and beginning to realize what options they have )

So what should this public solicitation for a roommate look like? It is important to get the facts across, but it should also convey some warmth, a kind of welcoming tone that portrays the current roommates as interesting yet responsible, whimsical yet reasonable; basically you want to make the point that you are the best friends that they have never met. Or at least this is my opinion on the matter. The language can get tricky. Often times it is more the tone than what is said that has the biggest impact, for that is what establishes a kind of pre- connection between some random person and your wonderful apartment.

So next week, we’ll have some samples for you to vote on, because we need to get someone in our apartment…QUICK!

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You are a self-starter who can produce well-written and engaging Blog Posts. You’re handy with a camera and have a passion for DIY. And you’re employed by MyNewPlace! You love your flexible schedule and workload ...