No, my best roommate ever isn't this adorable cat named Angus. My real human roommate had already left for work, so you'll have to suffer through his photo, which is a shame because my roommate is quite photogenic. But it's more than just her ability to look great in every photo that has made her such a great person to live with over the years.
What started as a completely random Craigslist roommate search has led to two blissful years of roommate-dom for my roomie and I, who live in a two-bedroom duplex in East Austin. How did two complete strangers possibly find in each other the perfect living partner? Luck. Fate. And we asked a few key questions before we ever signed a lease to ensure that we'd be at least fairly compatible on some key issues. Rather than focus on roommate horror stories (as we've all probably had before), let's focus on the things that make for great roommate situations! For me and my roommate:
• We're both at the same level of messiness. In other words, neither one of us is a complete slob, nor a complete clean freak, and we both tend to feel like it's time to clean up around the same time. We also don't get defensive if we need to communicate when one or the other hasn't been pulling their cleaning share.
• We pick our battles. We've become friends over two years of living together, so keeping our friendship solid is as important as our living arrangement. That means we don't complain about every single annoyance to one another — just the vital stuff.
• We respect each other. My roomie's a strict vegan, so I limit any meat cooking to rarely and when she's not home (which suits me fine since I don't eat a lot of meat anyway). She knows I work from home, so she listens to music with headphones during the day to keep things quiet for me.
• We genuinely like each other. We've both lived in roommate situations where each roommate was perfectly polite to one another, but no real friendship was there. Though that's a totally doable situation, it's a lot of fun living with someone you can talk and laugh with.
So let's be positive and celebrate the great things about past and current roommates! Tell us about your best living situations with other people. Tell us about what made them so great to live with. Feel free to brag about yourself if you think you're a great roommate. Help others appreciate their living situations — or know when to recognize a bad one and to move on!
(Images: Adrienne Breaux)