Gabrielle Sorto
guy and girl posing for selfie

Finding a good roommate is no easy task. You have to find someone you can trust, get along with and respect. Many people often choose to live with someone of the same gender, but friends of the opposite sex can make great roommates, too.

But you may need to set a few rules to ensure harmony and boundaries with your opposite-gender roommate. Here are a few to think about.

1. No romance

First and foremost, you want to be sure to avoid a romantic relationship with your roommate. Although we see it on TV all the time, the situation is typically messy in real life. Agree to keep things platonic to have a drama-free apartment.


2. Be upfront about relationships

If you're not dating each other, it's likely you and your roommate are or one day will be dating someone else. If your roommate has a significant other, make sure their partner is comfortable with the living situation.

What if a future partner isn't thrilled about your opposite gender roommate? If you're both single, it's best to talk about all of the “what ifs" before moving in. Discuss how you'd handle it, so you can skip a difficult conversation later on.

3. Establish boundaries

Boundaries are essential to any living situation. Just because you have a shared space, doesn't mean everything is fair game.

Is it cool that your male roommate walks around the apartment in boxers? Or that your female roommate goes from the bathroom to her room in a towel?

Establish what's acceptable for everyone to be comfortable in the space. Be cognizant of knocking, opening doors and respecting privacy in general.

4. Discuss guest rules

Make sure to lay out the ground rules regarding guests. Figure out when it's OK to have guests over and how long they can stay. Establish if there's an open-door policy or if you need to let each other know when guests are over beforehand.

Setting specific rules will ensure you won't come home to a house party when you thought you'd be having a quiet night in.

5. Who's cleaning what

Would it be your worst nightmare to walk into the bathroom and see facial hair in the sink? Or locks of hair stuck in the shower drain? Living with the opposite gender means different cleaning habits.

Don't expect the woman to do all the dishes or the man to always take out the trash. Divide up specific chores and when they should be done on a weekly basis.

It's also a good idea to make each other aware of cleaning pet peeves. Have a conversation about your cleanliness expectations, so you never have to complain about how gross the bathroom is.

6. Clear communication

If you have a problem, you should be able to let your roomie know. Before moving in, set up the expectation that you each have an equal voice in the apartment. Keep an open line of communication so problems can be addressed.

These are great rules if you and your roommate are of the opposite sex, but they also apply to any roommate situation. Regardless of who your roommate is, be open, honest and clear about your expectations.



About The Author

Gabrielle Sorto

Gabrielle Sorto is an Atlanta-based freelance writer, whose work has appeared on CNN, Insider and Alloy. She loves traveling and the challenge of keeping her many houseplants alive. She can usually be found writing with an overpriced coffee in hand or with her dog, Rihanna, who is named after exactly who you think.