The Danger of Bad Association
Many young adults turn to bulletin boards, classified ads in newspapers, and the Internet to find potential roommates. But for young Christians, such sources have serious pitfalls. They will likely lead to your meeting individuals who do not share your faith, morals, or standards. Is it narrow-minded or antisocial to want to room only with someone of the same faith? No, it is the course of wisdom. The Bible itself warns: “Bad associations spoil useful habits.”—1 Corinthians 15:33.
Finding Suitable Roommates
It is advisable to look for roommates who are morally inclined, who hold moral standard in high esteem. Word of mouth can also be a powerful tool. The more people you let know of your need, the more likely you are to get results. (Ecclesiastes 11:6) Above all, ask Jehovah for help in finding a roommate, and look to him to bless your efforts.
Checking Things Out
Having found a potential roommate, you may be eager to get together soon. But it is wise to do some checking first. Is that person “well reported on by the brothers” in his or her congregation? (Acts 16:1, 2) Perhaps you and your parents can speak directly with spiritually qualified individuals who know him or her. You might ask: ‘What reputation does this one have? Is this person stable emotionally and spiritually? Does he or she share in preaching to others and in commenting at meetings? Is this person known for upright conduct?
Talking Things Out
Next, get together in person and discuss matters. Such conversations can help you determine if your personalities are compatible. Interestingly, a study reported on in the journal Communication Research Reports revealed that roommates who are similar in their communication traits “reported the highest roommate satisfaction and liking.” So if you are the open, sociable, expressive type, you may run into problems rooming with someone who is reserved, quiet, or inclined to be a loner.
Also worthwhile to discuss may be such things as hobbies, preferences, and tastes in music. “I’d like to room with somebody who likes the same kind of things that I do, who has a similar personality, who likes to do the same things,” says Mark. Of course, having different tastes doesn’t necessarily rule out rooming together. The real issue is, How flexible are both of you? Are you willing to tolerate differences and make adjustments to accommodate each other? You should also ask what the other person expects out of the arrangement.
Decently and by Arrangement
Another helpful principle is found at Luke 14:28, where it says: “Calculate the expense.” Yes, try to figure out what your living expenses will be. How much will have to go for rent? Food? Utilities? Will you share a telephone? If so, how will you split the bill? “I would definitely make sure that a girl can handle her share of the expenses before taking her as a roommate,” says Lynn. The on-line magazine The Next Step rightly observes: “Roommates who don’t kick in for rent or food . . . or incur high utility bills give you stress that no one needs.”
Being careful and prudent increases the likelihood of your finding a roommate who will be a blessing to you and not a source of distress. However, what if problems and personality conflicts develop? A future article will discuss these situations.