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Six Tips on Choosing the Right Roommate
One of the joys of living with the right roommate is having a friend you see every day, first thing in the morning and last at night. On the other hand, crazy roommates can make your skin crawl, your face turn red with anger, and smoke blow from your ears. To avoid that, here are six tips on choosing the right roommate:

1. Find a similarly tidy roommate. Neat goes with neat, and messy goes with messy. For a roommate to be right for you, it's important that he or she is roughly as clean or as messy as you are. For larger households--three or more roommates--the level of neatness tends to lean towards the majority preference, so avoid being the odd one out.

2. Find someone with whom you can discuss finances and money issues. This is essential. Because you'll be splitting the bills on electricity, gas, cable, Internet and possibly furniture, you must feel comfortable enough with your roommate to talk candidly about the size of the gas bill or whether premium cable channels are worth the cost.

3. Discuss your preferences for inviting friends over. How often do you like having people over? Do you mind if your roommate's friends are at your apartment late? If you disagree over having people over all the time or letting friends sleep on the couch, it'll be a source of tension.

4. Discuss how late or early you go to bed and how sound of a sleeper you are. Could you handle it if your roommate always had people over who talked loudly late into the night? What about an early-to-bed roomie who's always yelling at you to turn down the TV to near-silent levels? The right roommate should have a similar sleep schedule and/or noise preference as you.

5. Ask about pets. Don't forget to find out what pets they have or whether they're OK with yours. Are they willing to help care for the animal, say, when you're out of town? Also, discuss any allergies.

6. Choose a person for compatibility, not likability. Friends do not always make the best roommates. You see your friends on a limited basis, so neither of you has to deal regularly with each other's idiosyncrasies. This would change once you became roommates, and your friendship could be strained as a result. So, make sure you're especially honest about your lifestyle preferences when discussing rooming with a friend.

 
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