Unless you are very lucky, if you are a twenty something moving to New York City, you will need a roommate. I don’t think I know anyone of my age who lives alone here, which can actually be a good thing if you are new to the City. Your roommate, or most likely roommates (the more people you can squeeze in an apartment, the cheaper the rent) will be one of the first people you meet in New York. So choose them wisely! Although your passion for the City was probably fueled by all the fun Rachel and Monica had in their Greenwich apartment, I thought I’d share a few basic rules that your favorite TV shows didn’t teach you about roommates:
Rule #1: Roomies Don’t Equal Homies At least not when you first move to New York. Making real friends here takes time, so until you find your Ted, Lily and Marshall, you will have to settle for the next best thing and search for roommates on Craigslist! I know that American Television taught us otherwise, but New York is too big of a City to stay in a small apartment and hang out with the same people all day. Once you get in the swing of things, chances are you will barely see your roommates, but this is actually not a bad thing. Think of your New York roomies as the siblings you grew up with: you love them – deep down! You are not a selfish brat, but you’ll come to realize that sharing things sucks, especially when it comes to space – or the lack of it.
Rule #2: Roomies Rhyme With Parties Just because New York roommates do their own things doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be here for the fun times! Creating a friendly environment in your apartment is essential to survive in the City. When times are hard and you’re too broke for 15 dollars cocktails plus tips, you want to be able to bring the party to your place! That’s why you shouldn’t feel bad about stalking potential roommates on Facebook before you commit to an apartment. Nobody wants to be stuck with anti-social people! Having enough in common with roommates so that your respective friends can mingle and party together is crucial. With that being said, also make sure that your new roomies are as active and independent as they are requiring you to be. The busy New Yorker who you are about to become doesn’t have time for needy roommates! Hanging out should be an exciting option…not an obligation!
Rule #3: Roomies Have No Guarantees Roommates will definitely be a part of your New York experience, but the bottom line here is that you shouldn’t depend on anyone to make yours a fabulous one! Buddha probably had New York in mind when he preached that the only constant thing in the world was change. All anachronisms aside, people move in and out of the City all the time. Think about the interns, students, artists and travelers that come from around the globe to take a bite of the Apple. They are the amazing people you will live with, so enjoy their free-spirited energy while it’s here and before everyone – including you – goes onto the next adventure!
Having roommates in New York is like dating: there will be no strings attached, until you find the right one.