Roommate Etiquette for the Young Professional

You’ve recently graduated from college and landed your first job, but you still find that your bills exceed your paycheck. Getting a roommate is a great way to help defray costs. But, before you sign on the dotted line, think carefully about the kind of roommate you would like to attract and then take steps to find the perfect fit.

  1. Make a list. Take the time to write down the qualities that you can live with and those you can’t endure. This is a good first step to fine tuning your search for your perfect roommate.
  2. Choose your roommate with care. Just because you enjoy a person’s company doesn’t mean he or she is a fit for a roommate. It is a good idea NOT to share living space with a friend because you want to be able to separate business from pleasure. There will be times you will disagree, and being your best friend’s roommate may make it difficult to draw the line when you have to point out differences or grievances. If you are planning to room with a stranger, don’t hesitate to do your homework first. Google, check social media sites, ask direct and pointed questions and even ask for references. Best case scenario is to avoid strangers.
  3. Talk about the bills. Have a candid discussion about how the bills will be divided. Decide how you will divide groceries, toiletries and household items.  If there’s only one carport and no garage, who will park in the street or back alley?  Who will maintain the lawn if you live in a house or condo?  Will you expect pets? Who is responsible for the security deposit? Whose name will the water and electric bill be under?
  4. Establish “house rules” and stick to them.  Hot topics you’ll want to cover include cleaning duties (including the bathroom, refrigerator, kitchen, shared spaces, etc.), and visitors.  Are you are private person, not interested in people coming and going in your residence or do you like to have one long party, starting on Friday night and lasting until the wee hours of the morning on Monday? Will you be comfortable with your roommate’s girlfriend or boyfriend staying over while you walk around in your pj’s?
  5. Discuss schedules.  Who needs to be where, when? If you’ll be sharing a bathroom, talk about what time you both need to be out of the door and into the office each day and create a schedule that works for both of your busy schedules.
  6. Enjoy the benefits.  Choosing to have a roommate may provide you with a small but valuable entertainment budget.  Use those dollars wisely to travel, visit new restaurants, attend festivals or other outdoor events, and simply enjoy life on your weekends off.  Remember to arrive refreshed and recharged to the office on Monday morning!

Best of luck in your new living arrangements and career,

Diane

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Diane Gottsman

Diane Gottsman is a national modern manners and etiquette expert, sought out industry leader, accomplished speaker, Huffington Post blogger, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Diane is routinely quoted in national and international media including The New York Times, The BBC, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Kiplinger’s, Huffington Post Canada, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. Her blog has been named by Forbes as one of “The 100 Best Websites for Women, 2013.” She is a regular guest on two popular morning talk shows, SA Living, NBC, and Good Day Austin, FOX. She has been seen on TODAY with KLG and Hoda, HLN Headline News, and CBS Sunday Morning. Her clients range from university students to Fortune 500 companies and her workshops cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media.

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