Qualities of a Good Roommate

A roommate should respect your personal belongings.
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Finding the right roommate is essential as you will be living with this person in close quarters -- possibly, for quite some time. Although you need to accept that no one is absolutely perfect, you still want him to possess certain traits that will make the living conditions workable for both of you. Keep in mind that you need to remain somewhat flexible -- and exhibit the same qualities that you would like a new roommate to have to make for a happy living situation.

1 Gaining Your Trust

You want a roommate whom you can trust. After all, he's going to be around your personal belongings and you want to be sure that he will respect them. Nothing causes more friction between roommates than borrowing, according to the Emily Post website. Ask for references from his current or former roommates. Then ask them if he was respectful of their possessions and if he borrowed things without asking. You might also ask a potential roommate to provide you with receipts showing that he paid his bills on time.

2 Being Cooperative

Living together will cause friction between you and a future roommate if either of you is uncooperative. Because you are sharing a living space, it will create a commonality and dependency on each other, according to Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., writing for Psychology Today. While you are interviewing a potential roommate, inform her of any habits you have and ask her about her habits. For example, you should discuss whether either of you smoke or mind having guests stay overnight. If either of you feels that she can't compromise her habits to accommodate the other, you likely should not be roommates. If both of you are open to compromise, then it will be easier to come to an agreement on your house rules.

3 Give Respect, Get Respect

A roommate must be courteous and respectful. He must show politeness to you and any visitors you have. You can generally determine how courteous he is upon your first meeting. Spend some time together and discuss your viewpoints on certain situations or current events to see if he respects your opinions even if he disagrees with them. Additionally, the way he communicates with others will give you a glimpse of how he will communicate with you. Plan your interview or meeting at a coffee shop or a public place. Observe if he exhibits respectfulness to other people he encounters. Acting judgmental or critical shows a lack of respect, according to psychologist Carl Pickhardt.

4 Keeping it Clean

Living with someone who is a slob will cause problems for both of you; after all, you don't want to risk having unwanted critters filtering into your entire living space. The kitchen, the bathroom and the living room are common spaces that all roommates need to keep clean. Your roommate must know how to pick up after himself. Ask if it's possible to see his current living quarters or room to see how he keeps his place. His current roommates should also be able to give you some information concerning his tidiness. Additionally, good hygiene must be a priority for him. Take a good look at him to see if he appears well-groomed and neatly dressed. Taking care of his personal appearance can provide some insight as to how he will take care of the space in which he lives.

Wannikki Taylor is a professional writer with a Bachelors of Arts in journalism from Temple University. She serves as a children's columnist and covers family entertainment for several print and online publications. She specializes in games, crafts and party planning ideas for kids and their families.