Let’s get one thing straight – sharehouse living can either be the communal utopia of your dreams or your little house of horror. And it depends, almost entirely, on your choice of humans to share said house with.
Now, I’ve been sharing houses, bathrooms, fridge space and sometimes, to my absolute disgust – towels – for the better part of a decade now. I’ve lived with everyone from the absolutely anal and downright dirty to the master chef, late-night partier and couch hog.
I’ve lived with boyfriends and broken up with boyfriends. I’ve lived with besties and made new ones for life. Sharehouse living can be a wild ride, but it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I wouldn’t swap mine out for nada.
I’m currently living in a sharehouse. All through lockdown, we were a peaceful abode comprised of three women, living and working together in zen-like tranquillity. But alas! Our Belgian housemate had to move back across the ocean and we were left to find a post-pandemic stranger to fill the empty room. Talk about daunting! Talk about needing to find the perfect roomie dynamic!
Here’s what we did to make sure our new housie fit our vibe and wasn’t a rubbish human:
You gotta interview
It’s one thing to chat online with potential housemates, but I’m a firm believer in a face-to-face interview. You’re going to be LIVING with this person, you need to scope their energy, suss their vibe and ask them point-blank if they know how to scrub a bathtub.
We blocked off a week to hold house inspections and subsequently grill every person who walked in the door. Treat it like a job interview, ask the hard questions. Are they dating? Are they vegan? Are they off the booze wagon or on the booze wagon? Do they come with pets? What childhood trauma are they navigating? What’s their love language? Do they like Christmas movies? ASK IT ALL.
Platforms like Flatmates genuinely take all the hard work out of finding new roomies. It works like a dating site, where you plug in all your preferences – like age, length of stay and price point rather than tall, dark and handsome – and then swipe till you find the one.
Flatmates will filter people into matches based on your preferences (pet-friendly, LGBTQ-friendly, smoking or non-smoking, etc) saving you the hassle of scrolling through a heap of duds who can’t afford your room rate. You can even write a bio about yourself and chuck up photos of the pad. It’s stress-free and I’m very pro it. Plus, I just like matching with people. Call me a narcissist, I don’t care!
Okay, so you’ve got a short list of housemate applicants. The next step you should consider is plugging them into FB / IG / LinkedIn and seeing if you’ve got any friends in common. You do? That’s good news. Now go ahead and contact these mutual friends and ask them for a discreet, but honest, rundown on the potential roomie.
It’s always good to get another person’s objective opinion. Think of it as a low-key background check.
Stalk their socials
This is a no-brainer in today’s modern world. Stalk the hell out of them. I know you can’t necessarily judge a person based solely on their social media presence, but golly it’ll give you at least a little bit of insight.
Are they partiers? How do they spend their downtime? Do they seem to be normal and have normal friends and do normal things? How spiritual are they? Do they practice any weird occult rituals? Do they seem to have a stable job? Don’t forget to hit up their tagged photos for the juicy, unfiltered stuff.
Ask them the golden question…
“What would you do in the face of a zombie apocalypse?” This question will help you identify their levels of selflessness versus psychopathy. It can also give you insight into their go-to survival methods, which, you never know, could one day come in handy. We are in the midst of a pandemic, after all.
If you’re on the hunt for a housemate, just stress less already and start swiping on Flatmates. You won’t regret it.Image: Friends