A compatible housemate is a comfortable home-mate. Your relationship is easy, relaxed, and warm. When you are in a room together you might chat and visit. It often happens that housemates encounter each other in the kitchen. You are friendly.
Living with someone who is not compatible is difficult and, possibly, a nightmare.
The difference is significant and important. On one side heaven, on the other hell. And yes, there is a middle ground where you function okay enough. Sometimes a house with housemates develops a pattern where everyone lives in their own room without any interaction. That is not our idea here at Sharing Housing. Our ideal is the comfortable housemate who grows to become a home-mate. A home-mate is someone you like and respect, whose ways of living at home are compatible enough that everyone is comfortable. You have a home together.
So what is compatible enough? We think it’s about the nitty-gritty of daily life. How do you use your home? Do your ways of living at home mesh with another person’s? Only you can know for sure, which is why we teach a selection method for you to use. We have it in a course, in the book, and in our interviewing guide.
The Nightmare Housemate
Many people fear having someone who is not compatible and in fact becomes a nightmare. This is a totally understandable fear. It’s no fun living with someone with whom you are uncomfortable. What’s wild is that in a housemate situation little things can become huge. It’s even hard to describe it to someone outside the home. That’s why it is essential to conduct a thorough interview process and ensure compatibility in how you live in your home. During the interview process you might notice “red flags” that cause you concern. Notice those—do not dismiss them. Explore the issue.
Take Your Time
We’ve heard of mistakes that were made because of a hurried process and/or desperation. It’s scary to be looking for a place to live with the worry of having nowhere to go. But one person’s desperation does not obligate the other. If you are in such a situation, look for short-term options as a stepping stone to longer-term housing.
One way to take your time and test it out your compatibility is to have a trial period. You could do this before anyone moves their stuff. The potential housemate could live in the house for a weekend, a week, or more, as a trial. This can also be done after a move, with an understanding that it’s for a period of time, say four weeks or six weeks. Once the trail is over, you can decide whether to continue living together.
Yes, there is a period of adaptation and adjustment as people start living together. This is natural. It takes time to create relationships. In our instant world, many people forget that making friends is a process that evolves over time. If you’ve done your selection process correctly you will have a housemate relationship that becomes comfortable. And then the benefits of saving money, having companionship, getting help with maintaining a home, living sustainably and having whole person health will be yours.
Hi Annamarie, glad I found you – the prospect of once again being a home-mate soon is appealing, though I sense many of those with homes in my area of VT are (understandably) cautious unless they have mutual contacts to vouch for a potential sharer. They haven’t seen your resources to help! Plus, I see many upper-end larger rentals taking longer to rent, if only I had a few people to rent one together. I’m not even limiting my search to one state or region. Would love to talk with you.
I’m still struggling with the house share ideal. I’m getting better at making that clear in the listing but too much of the time I get nightmare renters. Even through Airbnb I have been getting horrible reviews and just people who don’t want to share my home but to lock themselves in their rooms.
How come you are getting “horrible reviews” on Airbnb? Are you doing short-term housing? Something is off about either what you are offering or whom you are letting live with you. I send you a private email to ask about this.