The answer may seem obvious as you have known yourself your entire life! This question poses more than what it may first appear. Understanding your habits, personality traits, and lifestyle goals is essential in finding housing companions that will be compatible. You probably have a good idea of who you think you are, but how does that compare to how others observe who you are?
Let’s look at a few different areas to consider:
How do you like to live and use your home? The objective is to create a complete picture of how you prefer to use and live in your home. Being able to communicate this will make the process of selecting a housing companion much easier.
Some items to consider:
Cleanliness – The state or quality of keeping your home clean, cleanliness should not be confused with orderliness. This refers to cleaning floors, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, sanitizing countertops, etc. A high rating on the cleanliness scale would have little to no water spots in showers, regularly cleaned floors, and little to no dust accumulation around the home.
Orderliness – The act of arranging and organizing items in the house in a regular and tidy manner. A home with high orderliness should be quick and easy to find any item in the home. Examples include folded and organized towels and bedding, organized cutlery and kitchen utensils, and little to no items left unattended or not in their place of storage. Leaving dishes in the sink or on the countertop is an example of low orderliness.
Environment – What kind of environment do you enjoy within your home? Do you like a home that is always quiet, or do you like social time, games nights, or listening to music?
Sharing – Do you like to keep things to yourself, or do you like to share? For example, are you happy with using your television, coffee maker, or special items? Would you rather share kitchen commodities like flour, sugar, salt, oil, and spices?
Visitors – Do you enjoy having friends visit for coffee or dinner? Do you have family that will like to visit and stay for a weekend? Or do you not want anyone to visit the home?
Note: A common area of conflict and difficult conversation is when a visitor (often a boyfriend/girlfriend) frequently stays overnight. Always discuss this during the interview process. You may negotiate an extra contribution towards utilities/rent (within reason) if this is a potential deal-breaker.
Meal sharing – Do you enjoy sharing meals and eating with others, or do you prefer to cook and eat alone? Do you like to take turns cooking meals, or do you prefer to cook together?
Food storage – Do you love to cook and buy in bulk? Sharing a home can result in conflicts regarding space used for food storage if not addressed upfront. Is having a pantry or a deep freezer a must-have for you? How will you feel if there is limited space to store canned or frozen goods?
Storage – How much space do you need to store your things? Do you have extra furniture, season decorations, or sporting equipment? Make a list of what you will want to keep in the home and how much space you need. If you are looking to have a housing companion join you in your home, can you allocate space for them to store items?
Home amenities – What features or amenities in the home are must-haves for you? Perhaps you need an office, a home gym, laundry, a bathtub, no stairs, or a yard.
Parking – Do you have a car, motorcycle, or boat? How much parking space do you need? Do you need covered parking, or is street parking sufficient? How much space will be available for your housing companions?
Transportation – How do you plan to commute, and how might this align with your housing companion? Do you usually take transit, walk, cycle, drive or carpool?
Fun – Everyone has fun in different ways. What do you like to do that makes you happy? Is it reading a book, watching television, dancing, singing, or working on your arts and crafts? Are these activities you would like to do with others or do alone? How compatible are your ‘fun’ activities with your housing companions?
Exercise – Do you like to exercise in the home? If so, could this activity be disruptive for others in the home? Would you like to schedule exercise time with your housing companions to motivate each other? Examples include a short stretch session, yoga, or using a home gym.
How do you like to live your life outside the home? Having housing companions that complement your lifestyle will help maintain a balanced household. For example, if you travel a lot, it may be nice to have someone in the home while you are away to water plants or look after pets.
Travelling – How often do you travel and for how long at a time? Do you travel internationally or regionally? Would you like to travel with your housing companions?
Social events – Do you enjoy going out to social events regularly, or do you prefer to do more home activities? How might this affect your fellow housing companions?
Exercise – Do you live an active lifestyle and engage actively in sports activities? How many days per week, and what hours are you away to pursue your activities? Would you like to do any of these activities with your housing companions?
Work – Do you work at home, or do you commute? Do you work late nights or early mornings? How might your work schedule influence who you choose as a housing companion?
No set rule says your housing companions need to have a similar schedule. Some households work better when everyone is on a similar schedule, while others will prefer different schedules to allow for more personal time and easier sharing of small spaces.
Morning – What is your typical morning routine? What time do you: wake up, shower, eat breakfast, leave home for work/school/activities? If you share a bathroom, how might you share the bathroom to prevent overlapping use in the morning?
Day – What does a typical day look like? Do you spend most of the day at home, or do you spend most of the day away at work? What time do you return home?
Evening – What is your typical evening routine? Do you like to cook, watch television, or play games? Would you like to do these activities alone or share them with your housing companions?
Night – What time do you go to bed? How would you feel if your housing companions go to bed earlier or later? How would you collaborate to keep the home quiet?
Weekends – Do you have a different routine on weekends? What are your typical weekend activities?
How your personal goals and priorities compare with your housing companions can result in harmony or conflict. Most people prefer a housing companion who has aligned priorities and goals. Having alignment can help you achieve your personal goals and live a healthier lifestyle.
Exercise and fitness goals – What are your personal goals for physical activity? Do you have a well-established routine? Would you like a housing companion to help motivate you and stay on track?
Professional development – What are your professional or academic goals? Having housing companions that are more experienced can pose an excellent opportunity for mentorship or learning. How would you like your housing companions to support you to reach your goals?
Health goals – How would you rate your current health on a scale of 1-10? What are your current struggles, and how would you like your housing companions to support you to reach your goals? For example, do you want to eat healthier or cope with stress better? Would you like someone who also wants to cook more plant-based meals or practice meditation?
Financial goals – What are your financial goals? Are you just learning about investing or trying to save up for something? Being around people with similar goals will help keep you motivated to manage your finances better.
Relationships – Are you currently involved in a romantic relationship? Do you want to meet a special someone in your life? Are you struggling with the relationships you have with family or friends? Housing companions can be a great resource to support you through the good and hard times. How would you like your housing companions to support you?
Many people receive great benefits from the financial incentives that companion housing offers. However, it is still very important to set reasonable budgets for your living costs. Living in a home with others who have very different spending habits can create tension within your household.
Rent – What is your monthly budget for rent or payment towards your mortgage?
Utilities – Do you like to have top-tier internet and TV packages? Do you like to keep your air conditioning on all summer? How much are you willing to spend on utilities? How will you share costs if your housing companion does not want to pay for television or internet expenses?
Spending habits – Are you constantly buying the latest fashions and gadgets? Living with others who are more frugal may create an awkward home environment. How will you feel if your housing companion does not share your views on spending and buying?
This can be a complex and sensitive subject to discuss. Many Canadians may not feel comfortable discussing this. However, it is an important subject for many people. Many people associate spirituality, religion, and culture as a closely related group; however, that’s not always the case.
Culture – Characteristics and traits of a particular group of people encompassing language, social habits, clothing, music, art, cuisine, and much more. Examples include Western culture, Latin culture, Middle Eastern culture, and African culture. Culture is diverse and complex.
Spirituality – This relates to one’s thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. People with spiritual feelings typically have a sense of peace and purpose connected to something bigger than them. One can be spiritual but not religious.
Religion – Refers to a set of organized beliefs and practices usually shared by a community or group. Examples include Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.
A person’s personality is complex. You likely behave differently in different situations. There are many tools to evaluate personality. We recommend looking at your Big Five personality traits for simplicity to compare. Having identical personalities is not necessarily the objective; instead, you want to find compatible personality traits.
The key point to remember is that one’s personality likely changes depending on the situation and environment. When getting to know someone, try to meet them in different environments so you can better understand their full range of personality traits.
Refer to the previous topic for more information on personality traits.
Tip: Have you taken a personality test before? If not, you can take a free test on the Happipad Portal.
Complete your self assessment to reflect on what qualities matter to you when selecting a housing companion.
Click the self reflection exercise below to begin.