Qualities of a Good Roommate

by Anna Green

A difficult roommate can create many problems, ranging from financial stress to emotional discomfort. Although it can be difficult to learn about a potential roommate’s true character until you have lived with her, when interviewing prospective candidates looking for a few essential qualities will make your living arrangement comfortable for everyone.


Melinda Fulmer of MSN Real Estate explains that a responsible attitude and good track record are two of the most important qualities of a good roommate. Thus, when looking for someone to share your home or apartment, it is important to first look at whether the individual has the financial means to cover her share of the rent and utilities. Next, it is important to look for a roommate that has a consistent source of income and has a history paying her bills on time. Further, a good roommate will not be reluctant to take responsibility for part of the household chores.


A good roommate will be respectful of your property, personal space and need for privacy. Additionally, a good roommate will show you basic courtesy, including asking permission before having guests over and maintaining mutually agreed upon quiet hours. A good roommate will also show empathy when you are going through a tough time. “If one of you is undergoing a particularly stressful time, share the situation so extra-sensitive precautions can take place," suggests Baylor University. "Respect each other's property, feelings, and emotions; and they will likely do the same for you."


Although your roommate does not need to be a close friend, you will have a more harmonious living arrangement if you live with someone with a similar personality and habits. For example, if you prefer a quiet, laid back living environment, a roommate who prefers frequent parties may not be a good fit. Rice University states that “Being compatible with your lifestyle does NOT mean that your roommate accommodates your every demand or interest.” Instead, they explain that “it means that your daily living routines, habits, and tendencies align with each other enough that you can each independently function in the room without disrupting the other person.”


While everyone has problems from time to time, having a roommate who is constantly surrounds herself with drama and chaos can lead to a stressful living environment. Such individuals might also have difficulty resolving roommate conflicts constructive. Thus, a good roommate generally has stable relationships and is able to resolve conflicts without arguing or yelling and who can maintain emotional balance even in difficult situations.

About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.

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