A roommate is a person with whom one shares a living facility such as a room or dormitory except when being family or romantically involved. Similar terms include dormmate, suitemate, housemate, or flatmate ("flat": the usual term in British English for an apartment). Flatmate is the term most commonly used in New Zealand, when referring to the rental of an unshared room within any type of dwelling. Another similar term is sharemate (shared living spaces are often called sharehomes in Australia and other Commonwealth countries). A sharehome is a model of household in which a group of usually unrelated people reside together. The term generally applies to people living together in rental properties rather than in properties in which any resident is an owner occupier. In the UK, the term "roommate" means a person living in the same bedroom, whereas in the United States and Canada, "roommate" and "housemate" are used interchangeably regardless whether a bedroom is shared, although it is common in US universities that having a roommate implies sharing a room together. This article uses the term "roommate" in the US sense of a person one shares a residence with who is not a relative or significant other. The informal term for roommate is roomie, which is commonly used by university students.

Those moving to another city or another country may decide to look for a shared house or apartment to avoid loneliness. Social changes such as the declining affordability of home ownership and decreasing marriage rates are reasons why people may choose to live with roommates. Despite this rise, shared housing is little researched.

The change in the cost of housing makes the consideration of roommates more attractive. As the housing market increases, so too does the roommate ratio rate. When house prices drop, the opposite can be expected. This has been seen extensively in cities such as Washington D.C., Phoenix, and San Diego.

One difficulty is finding suitable roommates. Living with a roommate can mean much less privacy than having a residence of one's own, and for some people this can cause a lot of stress. Another thing to consider when choosing a roommate is how to divide the cost of living. Who pays for what, or are the shared expenses divided between the two or more roommates. Also, the potential roommate should be trusted to pay their share and trusted to pay it on time. Sleeping patterns can also be disrupted when living with a number of people. Some of the challenges that come with share housing may include advertising for, interviewing and choosing potential housemates; sharing communal household goods, rent (often this may be determined by the size or position of respective bedrooms); sharing household bills and grocery costs; and sharing housework, cleaning, and cooking responsibilities. Conflicts may arise if, for example, residents have different standards of cleanliness, different diets, or different hours of employment or study. Guests and partners may also begin to board frequently, which can raise complications pertaining to utility expenses, additional rent and further possible cleaning duties. Often when these responsibilities go untended, friction may result between co-tenants. For this reason, responsibilities should be delegated and fairly assigned as early as possible in any living arrangement with roommates. A clear and defined list of alternating chores and bill lists are easy to see and enforce.

Living with an individual who exercises and diets can be beneficial because it very often "rubs off" on the other roommates, while a calorie cutting roommate could be a potential negative influence. College is a time that students often start drinking, specifically binge drinking (more than 4 or 5 drinks in a row). By the end of second semester in college 53% of freshman students had binged. Students explained that having a drinking roommate provided a “buddy” to go through it all and was a big influence in the decision to do so.

Effects on Studies: Studies showed that having a roommate that plays video games causes the other to most likely participate, which reflected in a half-hour less of studying, also showing GPA's .02 lower than others. When dealing with a college roommate the choice to study or sleep should take precedence over the choice to party or play loud music. This understanding allows those to choose to focus differently on school to do so without harm to the roommate relationship or grades.

Addressing an Issue: The best approach to address an issue with a roommate is an upfront and in person conversation, preferably a one on one conversation. While approaching the issues understand and respect each other's differences. When discussing the issues allow both sides to express their thoughts and feelings on the issue. And after both listening and speaking to each other present a resolution. and in doing so create a win-win situation this allows for the conflict to be more easily resolved. The resolution may not be the personal idea, but it should help the situation to some degree.



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