Adulting 101

Roommates: friends for life or those people you avoid on a daily basis

Madeline Fuerstenberg

More stories from Madeline Fuerstenberg

November 2, 2020

A major consequence of growing up is learning to look after oneself. This means finding one’s own roof to live under, buying one’s own groceries and yes — scheduling one’s own dentist appointments.

A nearly-unavoidable solution to the problem of self-sustainability is roommates.

Not only do roommates provide students and college graduates with financial support when it comes to the daily costs of living, but they also provide young adults with the social interaction and emotional support necessary of successful integration into adult life.

Though having one or more roommates as a young adult can be beneficial in many ways, no living situation is guaranteed to be perfect. However, there are ways to ensure a peaceful coexistence between best friends, Craigslist strangers or random pairings attempting cohabitation.

Mareena Ribich, a third-year biology student, said she lived with a friend of hers for almost two years.

Though the pair moved in together as friends, Ribich said their relationship was quickly complicated as her former roommate failed to clean up after himself, communicate effectively, use proper hygiene or shoulder his fair share of the housework.

“It was difficult because … there was a lack of communication,” Ribich said. “I would try to talk to him about it; he would just avoid it.”

Ribich said she believes nothing could have been done to solve the problems; it is simply a good roommates job to have empathy and accept responsibility for their own actions.

Jasmine Manislovich, a third-year elementary education student at UW-Eau Claire, said she plans on living with another student she had a class with during her freshman year.

Though Manislovich said she recognized this woman from class, she regrets neglecting to take the time to get to know her before allowing her to sign the lease.

By complete chance a few weeks ago, Manislovich was being shown an article by a friend, only to recognize her future roommate as the subject. The person Manislovich intended to live with is facing up to 24 years in prison for criminal charges against her.

“I freaked out right away,” Manislovich said. “But then I talked to her. She explained her side of the story, and it eased a lot of stress.”

Manislovich’s future roommate said she was confident the charges would be dropped. Manislovich said — assuming this woman did not go to prison — she still intended to live with her, for the time being.

Manislovich said she would advise those looking for a new roommate to meet any prospective roommates in person, talk with them and get to know them before making any serious commitments.

According to WikiHow, there is a series of steps that should be followed when finding a good roommate. If a person in need of a roommate does not have a friend in mind, they should advertise online and ask their friends for potential leads.

It is important to begin the search for a roommate as early as possible before move-in day, according to the WikiHow article. When advertising for a roommate, one should be as detailed as possible regarding who they are and what they’re looking for in a roommate. This should include personal interests and hobbies as well.

Any potential roommate should be interviewed in person before any commitments are made. Personal lifestyle, cleaning habits and reasons they’re in need of a roommate should all be discussed. According to the WikiHow article, it is also vital to ensure that this potential roommate is able to cover the necessary costs.

Before any final decisions are made, WikiHow recommends contacting potential roommates references and doing a background check.

When all is said and done, it is beneficial for a pair or group of roommates to write out a list or contract of cohabitation expectations in order to avoid future conflict, according to WikiHow.

There is no perfect living situation. Even if someone chose to live with their best friend in the world, conflict is unavoidable. But different steps can be taken to lessen the stresses that come with living with another person.

Fuerstenberg can be reached at [email protected].