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The Cohabitation Correlation – What Makes The Best And Worst Roommate

Roommate horror stories run the gamut from loud noises at odd hours to failing to pay their share of the rent. Whether you’re rooming with best friends or are randomly assigned, no one wants to be forced to pen another chapter in a story filled with dread or deceit with a failed roommate.

How can you end the cycle of bad roommates? We polled over 1,500 individuals to understand what makes for contentious cohabitation and how you can set yourself up for a better roommate experience in the future. Continue reading to find the renter’s delight with your next roomie.

How Much Do Roommates Fight?

42 percent of roommates fightAccording to those surveyed, less than we may think. Close to 60 percent said they didn’t actually fight with their roommates. Now, there may be disagreements about the temperature of the thermostat or where to place the potted plants, but most felt they didn’t end up in true fights with their flatmate.

It’s important to communicate any issues you may have — especially if they weren’t covered when you initially agreed to live together — to steer clear of major dustups.

You can do this by:

  • Establishing ground rules when you agree to live together and writing them down so you can be accountable to each other.
  • Informing your fellow roommate or roommates of your specific needs and being respectful of theirs.
  • Deciding on the way you’ll handle disagreements for when they occur — it’s too late when they’re actually happening!

Men Grade Female Roommates Higher


When it comes to compatibility, perhaps a coed arrangement works better for most men. Over 70% of the men surveyed shared they would award A’s or B’s to their female roommates, with just below 60% giving the same grades to male roommates. Conversely, men gave below-average grades, D’s or F’s, to a larger percentage of their male roommates at over 15% compared to female roommates at just under 10%.

  • Men, you may do better with a female roommate! If you’re looking for an A experience, your roommate should most likely be female.
  • This doesn’t mean there isn’t the ability to cohabitate with a male roommate. In fact, men gave out a B to more male roommates than female roommates.
  • A below-average roommate experience is more likely with a same-sex roommate.

Women Prefer Male Roommates, Too


Perhaps the concept of a slob male roommate is more fiction than fact! Over 40% of women surveyed gave their male roommates an A grade. Just over 20% of women received an A from their same-sex roommates. Women did award the majority of fellow females a B (over 35%), with over 80% receiving a C or higher. Across both genders, men and women seldom flunked as a roommate — under 5% of men and slightly over 6% of women earned this grade from their female roommates.

  • Women, you could love having a man as your roommate. Over 40% of all male roommates received an A from other women.
  • Too kind? Perhaps. Discerning tastes? Maybe. Very few roommates — both male and female — received an F grade for their behavior as a roommate.
  • Same-sex roommates aren’t a bad idea either. Over 80% received a C grade or better from fellow females.

Read next: 10 Roommate Finders That Will Take the Horror Out of the Hunt

Unforgivable Acts


As you look through the flipbook above, you can see how frequently roommates, based on graded compatibility, committed acts worthy of moving out or triggering eviction. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Even perfect roommates — with that cushy A rating — have committed acts that could have split the house up. But they were the least likely to do it multiple times at under 5%.
  • If you received an F for compatibility, here’s the best news: you weren’t the worst. Those who received a D for compatibility were actually the group of roommates who had the highest likelihood — almost 30% — of repeating offending behavior.
  • Those who weren’t perfect matches but pretty close, with a grade B compatibility, were the most likely to have never committed an unforgivable gaffe at over 40%.

Avoid Being Another Failed Roommate


In addition to minding your P’s and Q’s, the most common egregious offense came down to dollars and a lack of sense. Not paying rent ranked as the highest and easiest way to flunk out of a roommate situation as over 20 percent of those surveyed thought this was a terminable offense. More people felt getting stiffed, and being on the hook for the entirety of the rent, was worse than someone using substances or offending their race or religion.

Keep these in mind to avoid writing your own chapter as the next bad roommate:

  • Pay your share of the rent and your fair share of any combined bills (electricity, cable, water) on time.
  • Don’t engage in mean or insulting behavior toward your fellow housemates. Treat them as you wish to be treated.
  • Immature attitudes and passive-aggressive behaviors are no way to remedy your concerns. Speak with your fellow tenants as adults.
  • Being a clean and tidy roommate goes a long way. Don’t turn your space into a pigsty — clean early and often.

Uncovering Where the Best Roommates Come From


Friendships, whether newly formed or forged from grade school, proved to be the place where the best roommates came from, according to participants. Of those who were previously friends, roomies were graded an A by over 35% of women and close to 30% by men. Compared to men, women more frequently rated their roommates an A when met through a friend, an online service or social media, or as an existing tenant. Find your best roommates by:

  • Shacking up with a friend. These proved to be some of the most highly regarded rooming situations.
  • Friends of a friend are a good shot, too. Women, however, tended to feel this worked out better than men.
  • Online services or social media can produce a good outcome; just make sure to communicate your expectations.
  • Women rated more random roommates an A — the ones who already occupied a place they moved into — than men by almost 86%.

Personality Conflicts


Those who are extroverted and introverted may have different ways of approaching life, but one thing is for certain: Extroverted roommates are more likely to fight with introverted roommates and vice versa. However, this could be due to the way they process through a disagreement. Extroverts tend to be more emotional and passionate when discussing an issue. Introverts, on the other hand, may be more reserved, attempting to take a logical, dispassionate approach to addressing the concern.

Take these steps to resolve conflicts:

  • Acknowledge how one another processes – whether that’s loud and aloud, or quiet and internalized – and don’t be mad at how they work through their thoughts and feelings.
  • Institute a timeout policy to allow an introverted individual the space they need to process, but then make them accountable for following up.
  • Realize that arguments, while potentially upsetting, are better than constantly avoiding issues.

Professionalism at Home

Perhaps the best way to avoid a terrible roommate situation is to head it off before it even happens. We looked at the types of professions and whether there were common types of employment that sparked more arguments and disagreements for male and female respondents.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Women, watch out for roommates with jobs in the following fields: manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, technology, and broadcast and journalism. Our participants found themselves arguing or disagreeing with roomies employed in these areas 60% of the time or greater.
  • Law & Order indeed. Fewer than 15 percent of women shared they fought or disagreed with roommates in the legal field.
  • Men, steer clear of roommates who are getting paid for their work in construction, marketing and advertising, or legal fields. We learned men fought or disagreed with these roommates at least 50 percent of the time.
  • Breaking news: Men argued least with roommates involved in the broadcasting and journalism industry. More after this break and a look at tomorrow’s weather!

Rent Responsibly

Friends — especially those of the opposite sex — may produce the best roommate situation, especially when both parties are introverted or extroverted. Keep in mind, however, that there are plenty of elements involved in creating a close to a perfect match as possible. Whether you’re quiet or outgoing, work in a particular field, or have nasty habits plays a part in roommate chemistry. Make renting easier by using to find your next place with our Apartment Search app, available via the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Fair Use Statement

We invite you to share this information about roommates and compatibility with your readers. When you do, we ask that you provide a link back to this page, so your readers can learn more about this project and view any additional research.

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