Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo


This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

Roommates have the potential to either make or break your living situation while in school. As college students, we already face tons of academic stress in the classroom. Because of this, you don’t want to come home from the end of a long, hard day on campus to find yourself stressed out and frustrated with your living situation at home. 

Many of us have dealt with an annoying roommate, and it’s not fun. However, today, I want to give you five tips on how to avoid ending up in a situation like this. Now, of course, as much as I’d love to tell you that these solutions are magical and will help you avoid a frustrating roommate altogether, I can’t promise you that. However, these tips will help you to significantly decrease your chances of getting stuck with an annoying roommate and drastically increase your chances of finding someone that you get along with or, better yet, are able to become very close to!

Tip #1: Inquire about the social habits of your potential new roommate

Before committing to living with someone who you may not know very well, it’s important that you ask questions! This’ll allow you to get to know the person on a deeper level and learn a bit more about their lifestyle before deciding to live with them. 

My first tip is for you to ask your potential roommate about their social life. Ask them questions like whether they are more introverted or extroverted, if they like to host get-togethers or parties, and whether they consider themselves to be more loud or quiet. This is important because if you’re a person who tends to be more extroverted while your roommate is someone who tends to be more introverted (vice versa), this could be a problem! 

If your roommate never wants to have people over, while you are someone who enjoys hosting people at your apartment, you may find that you are not compatible. On the flip side, if you’re a person who values peace and quiet, but your roommate is someone who’s very loud and energetic, this may be overwhelming for you and create an environment that makes you unhappy. 

Tip #2: Find out what their cleaning habits are like

If you’re someone who enjoys having a neat dorm/apartment (clean dishes, clean floors, no mess, etc.), you’re not going to enjoy living with someone who couldn’t care less about living in a clean space. Speaking from personal experience, it’s not fun! 

On the flip side, if you consider yourself to be someone who’s carefree when it comes to cleaning, you won’t enjoy living with someone who constantly asks you to clean up after yourself. When seeking out a new roommate, learn what their cleaning habits are like. Do they tend to tidy up as they go about their daily routine, or do they wait until their space is a total mess until they choose to clean (if they clean at all, that is)?

Living with someone with very different cleaning habits has the potential to cause tension and issues in both the short and long term. Because of this, it’s very important to ask questions so that you can make sure that you are both on the same page about how clean you want your living space to be.

Tip #3: Ask them about their sleeping schedule

If you’re someone who’s a night owl who thinks that morning people are crazy, you probably aren’t going to want to room with someone who wakes up at the crack of dawn. If you’re a morning person who tends to head to bed early, you’ll likely find it frustrating to have a roommate who likes to stay awake until 3 a.m. In both of these cases, either your sleep could be negatively impacted, or your sleep habits could negatively affect your roommate’s. As busy college students, sleep is important. Therefore, it’s important that you look for someone with a sleeping schedule that’s relatively similar to yours! 

Tip #4: Inquire about whether or not they have a significant other

Asking your potential roommate about any possible significant others can give you some insight into what it’ll look like living with them. If they’re the type to want to have their partner over all the time, that’s something that you need to know so that you determine whether or not that’s something that you’re comfortable with. A lot of us have heard stories of roommates overstepping boundaries when it comes to their significant others/partners, so asking about this can give you some better knowledge on what you might be working with! 

Tip #5: Try to get an idea of where your potential roommate stands regarding their respect towards others and respecting people’s boundaries

Respect is essential when living with roommates. Without mutual respect, living with a roommate just won’t work. When you’re living with a roommate (or roommates) whom you don’t know well, you’re in a vulnerable position. I know this might sound dramatic, but it’s true! I mean, pretty much all of your personal belongings are accessible to them, they’ll see you at both your best and at your worst, and if things go sideways, it could be very hard to get out of that living situation (breaking a lease is expensive). Hence, you’re in a vulnerable situation. 

This is where respect comes in. You want to make sure that your roommate has a good character and will be respectful of you and your belongings. You may be wondering how you can gauge a person’s level of respect for others when you don’t know them very well. My advice to you is to be observant of the way that your potential roommate interacts with both you and other people. Are they kind? Are they considerate? Do they seem like they respect people’s boundaries? If you saw them at a party pressuring someone to drink more than that person was comfortable with, that could be a red flag. Respecting each other and each other’s boundaries is essential when living with a roommate. 

All five of these characteristics are essential to learn about before deciding whether or not you should live with a person. Just because you and another person may be compatible outside of the home, living with someone is a whole different ball game! Asking these questions will set you on the right path to finding a roommate with whom you’re compatible with and can have the potential to become good friends. 

Tahlia White

UC Berkeley '24

Tahlia is a senior studying Global Studies and Public Policy at UC Berkeley and will be graduating in Spring 2024. She enjoys writing lifestyle articles and about ways in which young women can optimize their college experience. She is interested in beauty, fashion, politics, and history. When she is not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, hiking, watching movies, and trying out new restaurants.