The guide to a first date, except it’s your potential future roommate.

Bwog wishes all Columbia students the best this housing-lottery season, but we know that finding a group to live with for a year can be a stressful process. Maybe you have three people but are looking for a six-person suite, or maybe someone dropped out of your suite at the last minute. Whatever the case may be, you’ve likely had that awkward conversation with an acquaintance, mentioned you’re looking for another group of however many people, and their eyes brighten, “My friends, (insert names here), are looking for another group of (insert number here)! You’re perfect for each other! I can set you guys up if you want?” You find yourself sitting at a coffee or a dinner with strangers making small talk and dancing around the possibility of living together for nine months: the roommate’s first date. 

Almost more stressful than an actual first date, it can be hard to decipher the long-term living compatibility of two groups of people based on an hour or two of chatting. The what’s-your-majors and where-are-you-froms can only go on for so long. So how does one approach these dates? How do you find “the spark?” Bwog is here to help. 

Firstly, do some soul-searching. Who are you? Be real with yourself, are you someone who won’t stick to agreed-to household tasks? In that case, make sure to make some jokes about your own irresponsibility, that time you forgot to take out the trash for several weeks, and the weird smell that developed. Your prospective roommates’ reactions to this will tell you everything you need to know. Do they laugh and recount their own tales of unruliness? Or is there a sudden awkward silence? Now you know something about their habits.

Conversely, if you are compulsively tidy, don’t act like their uncleaned dishes sitting in the sink “are totally not a big deal” and won’t bother you at all. Take some initiative and complain about “that asshole who kept leaving hair on the shower walls and never did their dishes.” This is no time for niceties. The same thing can be done for your other living habits; how loud you are, how late you go out, how many people you have over, and how often. 

“Sure,” you say, “I’ve been through all this, but I don’t want to tolerate them, I want sparks to fly.” Not to worry, the next phase of the first date will make absolutely sure that they room with you. Once you’ve established a general compatibility of living habits, move on to the next step.

Talk loudly about all the summer internships you have lined up for the summer, and all the extra swipes you have left. Make fun of their summer plans. Make them question themselves so they feel in need of validation and then you can swoop in! And boom! Roommate acquired.

In all seriousness though, Bwog wishes you the best in your roommate hunt! It can be tough out there folks!

Sparks image via Flickr