The Essential Questions to Ask a New Roommate

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Essential questions to ask a roommate

I had a random roommate in the dorms my freshman year of college. We knew next to nothing about each other, except for the fact that we shared the same major. I’m a rather weird and quirky person, so I got lucky that she embraced me and we became best friends, but not every couple is as lucky. Odds are, you and your roommate won’t fall into a natural routine without a little work.

If you’re looking to get to know a prospective or random roommate, consider asking these questions:

Noise Preferences

If you love blasting music while studying or taking a shower, it’s probably best to avoid someone who loves silence. Additionally, if you plan to have friends over or throw parties, you should check to see if that kind of noise is okay at night.


I know someone who was shocked to learn that her new roommate had a pet. Most people will disclose this information, but you don’t want to end up in the situation of my friend– allergic to cats and apparently living with one!

(Clothes) Sharing


This probably won’t make or break your search for a roommate, but it’s a good conversation to have after you move in. People who are used to sharing clothes with siblings or other friends may assume that this behavior is acceptable (I usually do). For people who prefer not to let others borrow their stuff– at least not immediately– this is disrespectful and can lead to problems early on. 

The same conversation should be had for any items you might wish to share. In an apartment this may include pots and pans, food, or hair products. While most people are accommodating, it’s better to ask first than inform your roommate later. 


Smokers typically live with other smokers, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if your potential roommate smokes occasionally and/or socially, especially if you have asthma or allergies.

If you’re planning to keep any alcohol in your apartment, you may want to run this by your roommate to make sure storage isn’t an issue. We all know underage drinking is a reality in college, but if you wish to drink inside your apartment, make sure your roommate will be okay with this. On the flipside, if you don’t drink and your roomie does, let her know if you feel uncomfortable about the situation.


Woman cleaning

The key here is honesty– be upfront about how often you clean and your organizational style. The key is getting two people who will work together.

For example, my roommate is super clean and I tend to throw things on the floor and leave them there. However, knowing that she lives in my room makes me more accountable and I’m willing to help her clean as often as she likes.

If you don’t want to answer to someone else when it comes to cleaning the bathroom or doing the dishes, you may want to find someone who is also more relaxed in this realm. 


This tends to be a problem when one roommate lets her boyfriend come over every day and he becomes an extra roommate who doesn’t pay rent! This can also be an issue if one roommate has a lot of friends who crash overnight and end up making it difficult for others to get around. 

Set some ground rules with your roommate when it comes to guests. Whether it’s a significant other or friends, it’s always best to tell one another when someone will be spending the night.

What do you think?

Having roommates is a blast– but making sure you are respectful of their wishes is the key to a successful school year! 

Do you agree with these questions? What else should you ask a potential roommate? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

2 thoughts on “The Essential Questions to Ask a New Roommate”

  1. I graduated college a few years ago, but my biggest recommendation– DO
    NOT live with your *best* friend. It sounds really appealing, but I have
    seen bffs go down in flames after one year of living together.
    Definitely live close by each other and visit frequently, but live with
    someone who you consider a friend, but has their own social circle and
    own life– that way when you do hang out together it’s because you
    choose to, not because your lives are way too intertwined.

  2. What do you recommend doing if, after a year with both a random roommate and one you pick, you find you absolutely HATE living with other girls? I’ve applied for a single room but haven’t heard anything back and I’m dreading having to live with someone. Does anyone have any tips to make it bearable?


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