Note – this mini guide can be used by anyone looking for a room mate but it is geared towards an introverted mind. Someone who needs down time to recharge and may not be looking for a crowded, busy house.
Finding great room mates is tough.
As an introvert, I’ve found that the best option is to live alone.
You still need to find convenient and safe neighbourhoods. One you like.
But you may be limited to choosing a building with other tenants or a house with neighbours close by.
I’m lucky…I live in the country. It’s usually peaceful but I still live with people that aren’t the most considerate and silent people.
My solution was to buy a RV (recreational vehicle), not to drive it about but to find a peaceful location for 6 months of the year with my own four walls. That happens in May.
I’m a minimalist. I can fit all my stuff in one car load. I can pack in a matter of hours.
That leaves me with the option of looking for short term solutions, such as temporary accommodation or house sitting.
If you freelance and work independently your location is less important.
As a forty something male writer, I have often secured a longer term house sitting solution. There are house sitting websites to assist you. One of the best one is housecarers and you can find long term solutions.
The options above may not be available (or right) for you.
And unless you are independently wealthy or have a great job it might not always be possible.
You might need to live with other people.
So that leaves you with looking for a nice place to live.
first things first
Start with what introverts do best.
Get a pen and paper, or if you are environmentally conscious like me, use your computer.
You’re back now. Let’s get started.
You need to take the time to discover what is important to you which includes answers to the following questions:
- What type of a room mate do you want? Be specific. Define the qualities of a good room mate. Age. Sex. Relationship status. Introverted. Maturity. Etc.
- What are your interests, values and beliefs? This is important. Finding out what you are interested in and what you value or believe will help you focus on the ideal room mate.
- What are your interpersonal skills like? And theirs? Make sure you both have communication styles, learning and interactions that won’t conflict.
- What things are non negotiable in a living arrangement? Private bathroom. Clean kitchen. No visitors. Pets. Quiet environment.
- Can you land a rental agreement that gives you the lease to sublet rooms on your terms? If you can do this it allows for short term arrangements. You can test the waters to screen for a longer term room mate.
- Can you describe yourself? Use your inventory to articulate your behaviours, traits and a typical week in your life…this honest evaluation will paint a better picture for you and your potential mate.
Once you are done with your assessment, it’s time to move on to the nitty gritty. You’ve addressed what you are looking for in a room mate and what you are offering. Now you need to find your location and ideal person to live with.
- nice location – a great ‘hood can often provide solace. Maybe it’s close to work to reduce the stress of travel (with all those people on the bus) or maybe it’s close to your friends or favourite places to visit. If it’s expensive, finding something close by to one of those areas can get you more bang for your buck and make your life a lot more pleasant.
- like minds – you have done an assessment of interests but also consider looking to live with another introvert
- writers – while quirky, if you are a writer you may want to look for other writers or people with a quiet disposition because it will feel familiar and you will understand some of the basic needs you both have.
- avoid people you know – do not attempt to live with friends, friends of friends, family or coworkers. If there are problems or financial issues it will avoid an awkward situation.
- courtesy agreement – consider writing out or creating a courtesy agreement contract to both honour if it isn’t working out or to resolve without conflict. This also raises awareness up front for the type of people you both want to live with and indicates a willingness to create a comfortable and courteous environment.
- define everyone’s roll – what get done by whom?Who is responsible for rent, utilities, food, what gets shared, what space is communal, guests, noise, cleaning, etc? The more defined, the easier it is to address if there is an issue.
- absentee room mate – these are sometimes the best ones to have. Look for a room mate that has a job that takes them away often … the obvious is a airline worker. Do some research and advertise for people in these types of jobs. You may even want to go to a company that provides that type of work and advertise on their bulletin board or website if it is available.
- sleep habits – find out if they are night owls or early risers
- personal situation – find out if they have kids, a partner and guests on a regular basis – define it.
- web search – do an internet search on them…this will provide you with a good insight and often paint a picture or discover some interesting activities or things they have achieved.
- credit check – consider a credit check, this will fill you in on reliability and type of character.
Lots of work.
But it’s worth it, considering you are looking at an arrangement to share your living environment. Somewhere you may spend most of your time.
It’s a good idea to take the energy now rather than expend it later looking all over again.
points to ponder
As an addendum, it’s important to be realistic.
If money or your job force you to look for a situation where you share, realize it may rarely be perfect. Compromise is going to happen. Don’t forget to look at some of the other things that make a place liveable:
- Look at the space…is it enough? What about the common areas?
- Is your room close to a traffic area in the house?
- Is it private?
- Are the walls thin?
- Is it clean?
- Is it secure?
- Do they smoke or drink?
- Do they have a partner over all the time?
- Do they talk on the phone a lot? That means you might hear it all the time
- Are they musicians?
- Do they play loud music…is it the same music you like?
- Are they minimal…do they consume? If so they may have a lot of stuff lying around.
- Do they cook…and do they clean up?
- Is there a dishwasher (green or not clean dishes are one of the biggest things people get upset about)
- Are they smelly?
- Will they replace things they damage or take?
- Are they considerate?
Ask those questions.
The more you can do your research the better chance you have of settling in to your ideal (or at least close to ideal) living arrangement.
By knowing everything you need to know about how you want to live you can pinpoint the exact home and person you want to live with.
In the next article, I’ve decided to explore the type of room mates anyone should avoid?