All About Roommates

September 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Articles, Guest Authors, Scot McKay

This is one of those topics I can’t believe hasn’t been written about more often. After all, by definition if you’re “single” that means you either live alone or with roommates.

Sure, some of us like having a place to ourselves. If that’s the case, and we have the means to afford such an arrangement, that’s fine. But the reality is that lots of us get roommates, be that for financial reasons or even for social reasons.

Social reasons?

Sure. For starters, you may be of the opinion that it’s nice to have someone around to hang out with when you DON’T have a woman visiting.

And if you’re talking about having MORE THAN ONE roommate, there’s something about a house full of guys that seems to encourage women to “drop in” more frequently.

That can be a good thing.

Back when I lived in Arizona, I lived alone in a one-bedroom apartment for a few months before finally moving into a rented house with three other guys.
My roommates and I had a common interest in fast motorcycles, which the garage was therefore packed with. And let’s just say that there were more women around that house on a regular basis than I was used to back when it was just me in my apartment and my bike parked out in the parking lot with a cover over it.

In fact, I look upon those days in that house as some of the best of my life. There was ALWAYS something going on, and attractive women were usually part of it.
Now, notice that my roommates and I in that particular scenario had a very key COMMON INTEREST.

Note also that we were ALL FRIENDS before deciding to move in together. That’s not to say we never had a few testosterone-fueled differences along the way, but the fact that we pretty much knew what to expect from each other beforehand proved to be major.

On top of all that, we were all relatively equal in terms of social skill, ability to interact with women, etc.

Add all of this up, and we had a situation where it was reasonable to expect that nobody was going to drag down anyone else’s social status or even flat-out embarrass someone. In fact, we basically “winged” for each other all the time…even when women dropped in to visit.

So yeah, choosing a roommate (or roommates) cannot be treated as a “random” decision. The last thing you want when you’re getting better and better with women is to be stuck with a roommate who is utterly dateless…and bitter about it. The dichotomy between your respective levels of success may cause him to try to sabotage your good fortune, possibly by saying embarrassing things when you bring a woman over or even “refusing to yield” when you’re ready for some “alone time”.

I mean, think about it. Life would be a nightmare for your ROOMMATE also, wouldn’t it? You just can’t bet on him being energized and motivated to do better with women having seen your level of success, can you? It might very well be KILLING him, actually, to watch you bring women home.

This isn’t college anymore, gentlemen. It’s not like you have to settle for whichever roommate you get by luck of the draw, like what happened when you arrived for your freshman year.

So choose your roommate carefully. Don’t just post an ad on Craigslist and let the first guy who flashes the cash for half the rent money move in. Make sure you’ve got a guy who’s pretty much on equal footing with you socially…from every angle.

And every bit of what I’ve just said couldn’t be more important if your prospective roommate happens to be your BROTHER. You’ve got to stay in touch with that guy (and hopefully like each other) for a LONG, LONG time. If there’s even a remote hint that there will be significant social differences between you and a brother–or other family member you may be considering rooming with–just say “no”. I’m telling you…a little potential friction now is better than a lifetime of never speaking to each other again. Don’t kid yourself.

But there’s even more to making sure a roommate arrangement works effectively.

It’s crucial that you have decent housekeeping skills and choose a roommate with a similar outlook on life. Women can’t stand it when a guy’s place is a complete mess. When you “get” that, you can’t afford to have Oscar Madison living in the same house. Otherwise, you’ll pay dearly by being the one who cleans up after BOTH of you. Either that, or don’t expect women to come back a second time.

You also have to have a pre-set agreement with your roommate on how to react when one of you invites a woman over. Hopefully, the place is at least big enough so that you each have your own bedroom and therefore don’t have resort to the “sock on the door” signal. Whether you agree to vacate the premises for each other, stay out of sight for each other or say a quick, polite “hello” THEN disappear from sight is to be decided BEFORE “crunch time” is imminent. Believe me, things are more likely to end well if you get that plan in place ahead of time.

It has been implicit up to this point, of course, that your roommate is a guy. I have to say that’s preferable to having a woman who is allegedly “just friends” living with you. After all, it’s going to be a pretty tough sell to most women that absolutely nothing is going on there. In fact, if you DO have a female roommate and the relationship is legitimately platonic, I’d recommend not mentioning your living arrangements to ANY woman you’re dating…and I’d find somewhere else to take her OTHER than your place.

And if your “roommate” happens to be your MOM, that goes double!

But speaking of family, what if you’re a single dad and your “roommates” are actually your CHILDREN? Well, that’s a whole different ballgame. But having been there before myself, I certainly didn’t want to forget about you.

Generally speaking, I highly recommend AGAINST bringing a woman home when your kids are around, unless you’ve clearly established an exclusive relationship with her and the kids know that. Let’s face it, you just don’t want to be introducing your sons and daughters to a steady stream of “female friends”. They’re more socially observant than you might think…even as young as say, two years old. Parading lots of women through the house will only confuse them. Plus, it might bum them out if they particularly like OR dislike one or more of them.

What’s more, there’s perhaps the most overlooked factor of all relevant to this point: A woman can work REALLY fast at winning your kids over. The next thing you know she’s leveraging your own kids toward getting into an exclusive relationship with you before you’re ready. And that’s not the kind of political wrangling you need in your household, right?

I used to think that finding women who had kids the same age as your own young children was the perfect storm. After all, you could just sell get-togethers as “play dates”, right? But nowadays, I’m even reconsidering the validity of that strategy vis-à-vis what I just told you.

Seriously…there’s a lot more to think about when it comes to roommates than you may have thought, right? Make no mistake about it, choosing a roommate and building a solid plan with the dude when it comes to your M.O. when women come over is mission critical. And getting all of that right isn’t necessarily easy. It’s enough to make you re-think the idea of living alone after all.

But then again, it sure was cool having women around the house all the time back in Arizona…

Be Good,

Scot McKay