• Suzanne Noble

Top 10 Questions to Ask a Potential Sharer

1. How often do you clean?

Our survey found that 12.1% of roommates break up because of uncleanliness. No matter whether you’re neat or messy, considerable discord is likely to arise if you’re not on the same page. Since it can be a potentially sensitive topic, avoiding the direct approach is recommended. Instead of risking offence, it’s better to begin your roommate interview by asking how they plan to keep the shared space clean; this isn’t as upfront and you’ll immediately find out if your personalities converge. Asking a potential roommate “how often do you clean?” is likely to go a longer way than asking something blunt such as “Are you a clean person?”.


2. What do you like to do on the weekends?

Asking this question helps you determine if you’ll end up spending your precious free time doing something you’d rather not—like having to vacate the flat every Sunday a.m. while your roomie hosts brunch (or feeling obligated to stay despite not really getting along with the others). Cramped city flats often pit roommates together, for better or worse. If you will both be having in-home activities, best to work out a schedule ahead of time.


3. What time do you generally wake up and go to bed?

Early to bed, early to rise or night owl? An important follow-up to this is are you a light or heavy sleeper? The answer to this one will establish the nightly sound barrier of your home.


If you're a night owl, you might be happiest with other night owls. And if you're introverted, you might get along best with other quiet types who never have any guests. And so on.

It's nice to share a space with people who have a similar lifestyle to your own, so that you don't have to clash over mismatched noise levels, sleeping times, etc. It's all about attempting to create a harmonious environment.


4. How often do you have visitors over?

This all comes down to personal preference. If you are more introverted and prefer a quieter home, you probably don’t want a flatmate who constantly brings people over. Set some ground rules about overnight guests. On the contrary, if you are a social butterfly who loves meeting new people, this could be your dream flatmate. Whatever the case may be, make sure to get some clarification here.


5. How Do You Spend Your Free Time?

Asking a question about how they spend their free time will help you glean some important info. How social they are and what hobbies they enjoy play a large role in how often they might be out, how often they'll be home, and what their daily habits might look like, life coach Melissa Drake, tells Bustle.

6. Do you smoke?

Smoking (and any other addiction issues) can be a deal-breaker for many people, so finding out where a person stands on cigarettes, alcohol, vaping, drugs, etc. is essential for getting the right roommate. It may be a bit awkward, but you need to ask. If your potential roomie says they’re occasional smokers, ask what they mean by “occasional”. If you don’t smoke, but don’t mind sharing a flat with a smoker, talk with your roommate about whether they can smoke inside and where exactly they will be allowed to do so (see if your lease prohibits smoking indoors). If you smoke at home, be frank about it. Source:

7. Do you have any food allergies?

Your love of peanut butter could be an issue if the person can’t even be in the same room as any type of nut.


8. How often do you cook meals at home?

This will give you some insight into how often they will be in the kitchen and how much space they will need in the fridge and pantry. It might be difficult for you both to be cooking your own extensive dinners in a small kitchen every night! Be sure to discuss ground rules for sharing food and kitchen utensils as well.


9. Are stray cats adorable, perfect creatures for feeding and loving, or are they flea-ridden, allergy-inducing nightmares?

Stray cats are cute to some, but to others, they are flea-ridden nuisances. Make sure all parties are on the same page when it comes to what to do with wildlife and pets, in general. (This includes bird feeders, which can affect a night owl’s sleep in the morning.)


10. How do you handle conflict?

Although an uncomfortable question to ask, this is very important. When a situation comes up, you want to know how your potential roommate is going to handle it.

Does your potential roommate bottle up their emotions or are they confrontational? If your candidate tells disaster story after disaster story about ex-roommates, there is a good chance that they were part of the problem.

Likewise, if they don’t want to talk about it, you better look a little more closely at references. There may be something there to find.

Regardless of how you or your potential roommate handle situations, it is always a good idea to keep open communication among yourselves and to hear each other out.



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