Choosing your roommates can be a tricky thing. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but you also need to do what’s best for you. After all you’re going to be seeing these people constantly for the next year (minimum). It’s important that you find roommates you enjoy spending time with, but also ones that suit your living style. We’re here to help you find this perfect balance.

1. Take some time and think about your ideal living situation

Spend some time visualizing your ideal living situation. Do you have a pet? Do you live with guys and girls? Are you throwing parties every weekend or having low-key movie nights? Do you care more about being near campus or being in a hip neighbourhood? Consider these questions, and others, when coming up with your ideal situation. A key part of this step is making a list of what matters most to you and ranking that list. For example, on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 one being not important and 10 being extremely important), rate how important the following are to you when it comes to your living situation: Proximity to campus, proximity to nightlife/shopping/restaurants, proximity to friends’ apartments, finding a pet-friendly building, living with a big group of people, living with one other person, etc...

2. Do some fishing around

Ask some potential candidates what neighbourhoods they would like to live in, how many people they were hoping to live with, and what sort of building (house, townhouse, apartment, etc.) The first step is getting the super obvious questions out of the way. If a good friend of yours wants to live 45 minutes away from campus by bus, but you are unwilling to live more than a 10 minute walk, then your list is narrowed down immediately.

3. Spend time in your potential roommate’s dorm

Without looking suspicious, keep an eye on your potential roommate’s living habits in their dorm room. Is their room usually messy? Do they cook for themselves? How often do they do laundry? Do they like to play their music loudly when they are relaxing? These are important things to find out as they will help you determine what kind of roommate someone will be without actually having the “roommate conversation.”

4. Bring up the idea of living together

When you think you have someone, or several people, you want to live with, it can be difficult to initiate a conversation about living together. Especially if the topic has never been brought up before it can be nerve-wracking to get the ball rolling out of fear of rejection. If you’re nervous, try broaching the topic in a subtle way e.g. “I can’t wait to move out of residence,” or “I love dreaming about decorating my own apartment,” and see what they say. From there, at least you’re on the topic of housing and can use it to segue into the question of “Have you thought about who you’re going to live with yet or where you’re going to live next year?”

5. When you’re ready, have the conversation

When you have one or a group of people that have all tentatively decided they are going to live together, it’s time to sit down and have a serious discussion. If you are going to be living together for the next year, communication is essential so it’s best to start early. Have a talk about what expectations everyone has from the living situation. How much alone time does everyone need, will people be trying to study in their rooms, are you going to go grocery shopping and cook together or do this separately. You can also take this time to talk about bills. Do you need to create a hydro or electricity account in your city? Which company are you going to hire to supply wifi? This is just the tip of iceberg. There are a lot of logistics to sort out when you’re moving in with someone, so be sure to lay it all out there before committing.