There are many reasons for wanting a roommate:

  • Your parents booted you out of the house and you need someone to make sure you don't starve to death.

  • You want to enrich yourself with the experience of living with someone else, thus exploring your own sense of self (a la The Real World).

  • You're a cheap bastard.

  • You need someone new to pick fights with (a la The Real World).

  • You need someone to kiss you goodnight.

Whatever your reason, you're about to experience true camaraderie not! Ha! Wake up and smell the stinky socks. What you'll most likely encounter is an empty fridge and a sink full of dirty dishes. But it doesn't necessarily have to be that way, amigo. This SYW will help you recruit a roommate that will perfectly match your lifestyle.


Picture it: it's 9:00 on a Friday night, and you're ready to settle in for bed. (Oh, we forgot to mention that in this scenario, you're a loser.) At 9:30, as you've just fallen into R.E.M., you're awakened by a low-frequency rumbling and the raucous chants of "Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!" As a beer bottle sails over your head into your DVD player, you grab your roommate and demand to know what's going on, and he tells you, "I invited some friends over for a party tonight. You don't mind, do you?" You want to avoid such a situation.

If you're reading this, you've probably already decided that you want a roommate, but we want to be absolutely clear that you know exactly what you're getting yourself into.


  • You'll probably save money - rent for a double room divided by two is usually significantly cheaper than a single room.

  • A roommate can give you a new outlet to meet people, either for social purposes or business contacts. Also, if you happen to be an aspiring actor and your roommate is an aspiring chef, you each have line-readers and taste-testers.

  • You and your roomie can share cleaning/cooking duties, wardrobes, CDs, movies, secrets, and lots of other things. How sweet.

  • Many people feel safer knowing that there's always someone else around. After all, it's tougher for a burglar to fight off two (or more) people.

  • More space. Apartments with two bedrooms also tend to have separate living rooms and kitchens. The same cannot be said about studios.


  • Obviously, the main disadvantage of having a roommate is that your days of complete privacy are over. No more eating naked. No more watching TV naked. No more showering naked.

  • If you decide to room with one of your friends, you risk getting into roommate problems and losing your friend in the process, because being friends with someone and living with them are very different things. The adage "never room with your best friend" is pretty much true.

  • You run a financial risk if your roommate screws up and escapes without paying his/her part of the rent.

  • Unless you have substantial grounds (e.g. murder, arson, addiction to Star Trek), it can be difficult to kick your roommate out, especially if he/she is paying rent. This leads to some messy situations that may require a large, blunt object.

Still want a roommate? The absolute best way to realize this goal is to carefully pick with whom you will live. To start off, here are three basic questions that you must answer:

  1. Do I want a same or opposite sex roommate? For all the reasons that you've learned from Three's Company, a boy-girl living arrangement can pose some complications. We're not going to get into a diatribe about the difference between boys and girls. Just take our advice that unless you have a specific opposite-sex roommate already in mind and have worked out any potential conflicts, rooming with someone of the same sex usually prevents a lot of hassle.

  2. Will I be sharing a bedroom with my roommate or just common areas? Most likely, you'll each have your own bedroom, and this is by far the best option. Even though you'll still share the apartment, you'll always have a place to go for some privacy. That said, do everything in your power to secure your own bedroom - you'll thank us later. (We're serious about this - notice the bold print and italics. Oooo, italics pretty.)

  3. Am I looking for a new friend or just a rent check? Whichever you pick, the key is that you and your roommate want the same thing. If you'd rather not be seen in public with your roommate but he/she wants to be your best friend and always tag along with you, awkwardness will ensue very quickly.