You probably haven’t thought about a roommate since college!
Ah, but you are now somewhere between 40 and 70 and you find yourself living alone. You’ve heard about this new “movement” where single adults are trying a new version of communal living (homesharing) called the Golden Girls Lifestyle (like the TV show)…and you realize that it makes sense for you!
Should you do this? Where do you start? How do you find the right person?
I’ll be sharing some of my personal experiences…I’ve lived in a Golden Girls Home for over six years, and have many stories to tell…and I’m here to tell you that it can work. Have faith, keep a positive attitude, and hold on to your hat!
“FINDING THE RIGHT PERSON” is probably at the top of your list when you start thinking about this adventure. You’re right! But, who is right for you? How do you know?
Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and say to yourself, “Who am I, and what is important to me?” When you know these answers, you know who you are looking for!
Let’s look at deal-breakers first. Deal-breakers are different for everyone, and you may have some issues that aren’t on this list. Start by considering some of the common ones, and think about others that are important to you:
Does she/he smoke? Is it OK with you if the person is an outside smoker?
Make sure you ask the question! I always advertise that I have a non-smoking home. Once I interviewed a woman and we never talked about it and she moved in. Afterwards, I discovered she was an “outside” smoker…I’m super sensitive and the smell came into my house on her clothes! There was one time when it was too cold outside and she smoked in her room. She didn’t last long.
Will she/he bring a pet? Sometimes pets don’t like to move, and they let you know. Bringing in a new pet is a “two-fer!”
Make sure you meet the pet before you decide to accept the roommate. Set rules for the pet right up front, and work out what the pet-sitting and pet-caring arrangements are.
I’m not much of an animal person, and at first, I didn’t realize how much someone else’s dog would impact me. I learned. I became the accidental pet sitter. I noticed the shedding hair, the accidents on the carpet, and the need to walk the dog! The “dog period” at my house lasted for only two years.
Are there cultural or lifestyle differences that will become too difficult? I encourage diversity, but sometimes you can live next door to someone but not in the same house. For instance, are there significant differences in religious practices, eating habits, hobbies, political interests, working hours, and a bunch of other things that are important for a comfortable living situation? You have to decide what works for you, and then talk about it.
Once I had a lovely woman in my home, but she belonged to a religion that did not celebrate holidays or birthdays. When I accepted her, I did not realize these differences. I decorate for everything, and always have birthday cakes for my roommates. When I brought out the Halloween decorations, she moved.
I’ve talked to women who were vegetarian, and they can’t stand the smell of frying bacon in their homes. These ladies need another vegetarian as a roommate!
And finally, woe to the person who can’t be accepting of my interests in political and social causes! You don’t have to be as passionate as I am, but I can’t live with someone who feels strongly in the opposite direction! We always have this conversation up front!
You have to look at your lifestyle and what is important to you. Nothing is right or wrong, it’s just who you are. When you have this list, you will know the types of questions to ask, and you will be halfway there!