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September 19, 2014 5:13 PM   Subscribe

So I'm moving and getting roommates, any advice from the green on how to move forward with my life?

Long story short I moved for a relationship and it didn't work out. Thankfully and gratefully I'm lucky enough to have a former roommate and co-worker ladies to room with me. However, it's in Portland, OR. So I'm moving to Portland and need some help navigating rooming issues. I've lived with one of them before and we mostly get along well, but how do I bring up that I need the master bedroom because I'm an introvert and need my space? I'm willing to pay more, so how to split the bills 3 ways but still make sure that what I'm paying for the master bedroom is in a fair and equitable way? I'm hoping to get whatever job to pay the bills when I get there and applying on-line before the move to have some things lined up. I'll have my BA by then so maybe the job market in OR won't be so tough as I'll be more marketable? I've read some asks about the situation in OR so I'm slightly apprehensive about the job thing and worried I might not find one. Are my concerns well-founded?

I'm thinking a 3 bdr 2.5 bath house with yard somewhere along $1300-$1800. Is that reasonable? And when should we start looking? Two weeks before we need a place? A month before we want to move in? How's the rental market out there? I'm ok with the weather. My roomie is going to Portland State so.. any neighborhood suggestions? We're shooting for sometime next summer, she lives a few hours outside Portland, but I've never been.

Our lifestyles all mesh pretty well except for the social extrovert/hermit introvert part. I don't foresee that changing because I'm basically a hermit crab, and some advice on how to negotiate friendly socialization with needs for privacy are welcome too. I'm thinking tell them straight up I'd love to do a monthly dinner together, but most of the time I'll be in my room reading so respect that kind of thing?

I'm scared and want to move forward with my life and put this relationship behind me, but it's tough because we were together for a long time (~5 years) and that was my first "real" live-in relationship that I thought was *the one*. So, I'm struggling with depression and the aftermath of the break-up because I'm still in love with him, but know we're not right for each other. I'm hoping my girlfriends could help me build a new life and get over this painful part and start anew. How do I make this transition as smooth and painless as possible? Oh, and I'm a college student so I don't have the best credit, do I make sure I have a few months' rent to help my chances of being able to rent with them? I'm kind of nervous about the embarassment of being denied because of that, so advice on that would be great! Thanks Mefi! :)
posted by lunastellasol to Human Relations (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How do I bring up that I need the master bedroom because I'm an introvert and need my space?

I think the first thing to do is to understand getting the biggest room (which often also means having an en suite all for yourself) is a want, not a need.
posted by mochapickle at 5:19 PM on September 19, 2014 [19 favorites]

The job market in Portland, even for very employable people, is terrible. Getting a 'whatever' job will likely take you many months of networking and applying. I would not move to Portland without at least a savings cushion of 6 months living expenses.

A 3 bdr house for $1300 is highly unlikely, unless you want to live fairly far out. 3 bdr for 1800 is more likely but it may not have 2 bathrooms. The rental market in Portland is insane. It is impossible to get a place prior to actually being there and hustling.
posted by Lutoslawski at 5:25 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just ask for the Master, but it may be a deal breaker for someone.

I guess my question is why not just rent a studio for yourself and hang out with your friends when you feel like it? Or perhaps there's a weird little house with a basement suite. We have friends who have such an arrangement. It's a 2/1 on the top floor with a living room and kitchen. There's a bedroom and bathroom in the basement, accessible from a separate entrance.

Keep your options open and express your wishes, it either works out or it doesn't. But really think about that studio.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:29 PM on September 19, 2014

Response by poster: Mocha, I understand it's a want (for me a need because I get stressed out with too much social interaction, why I've avoided roommates) and why I'm perfectly okay paying more to make it possible. I don't think my roommates will mind, but what is fair? 40-50%? 35-45%?

Ruthless Bunny, that's a great idea. I'll keep that in mind because I do appreciate the suggestion. It might even be the same price as paying for the larger bedroom.

I'm kind of on the fence of making such a drastic change and moving out there honestly. I'm afraid of the unknown and it seems Portland might be just out of my reach. I know some people go out there for the "lifestyle" and it's hard to make it out there. My wants may not be realistic so I'm asking for advice of course. *sigh* I just had the rug pulled out from under me because I thought this LTR was going *somewhere* and now I'm aimlessly drifting on a life raft.. /threadsit
posted by lunastellasol at 5:32 PM on September 19, 2014

Best answer: If you're that much of a hermit crab, you might want to rethink moving to a community that is overpriced because of the social aspects that you won't be partaking in. It's enough to know you intend to move on--somewhere, somehow. Take your time, weigh your options and take care of yourself. A better life can be yours.
posted by Scram at 5:45 PM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

A fair split is usually to add up the square footage you each have alone and a third of the shared square footage and then just split it based on those ratios. If you have your own en suite bathroom and the other two share, you would probably go a bit higher.
posted by jeather at 5:53 PM on September 19, 2014

Well, what's fair is whatever you and your roommates can agree on is fair; it depends on the house, the rent, who is making how much money... we're renting a 3/2 for $900 a month (in Greensboro, NC - nowhere near Portland, sorry!) and the master is about a third bigger than the other two rooms, with a walk-in closet and hardwood floors (the other two rooms have carpet). They wanted the carpet, I wanted the hardwood and the master (I'm in a commuter marriage right now, and while my wife and I happily shared a bathroom with roommate #1, if we don't have to...) I offered them that they pay $275 each and I'm paying 350, and they jumped at it. Is that "fair"? I dunno - I probably should have offered $400 for my end. But they're happy with the deal they're getting, and I'm going to do some rounding on the water bill unless it gets nuts. So there's that.
posted by joycehealy at 6:09 PM on September 19, 2014

I am a hardcore introvert that lived with a hardcore extrovert (who thought she was an introvert, but that's a story for another time). It was a highly stressful experience for me, to say the least. I'd really advise against this unless the boundaries are really, really, really super clear. You also have to be able to enforce boundaries, and your roommates have to be able to respect boundaries. I'm not great at enforcing boundaries, my ex-roommate was not good at respecting them, and it was pretty awful for me (and probably for her, too), all told.

"I would prefer the larger bedroom, as I'm an introvert and I'll be spending a lot of time in my room with the door closed," is sufficient. But is that enough of a boundary for you? My ex-roommate wanted to talk every time I came in the door; it was expected that we would chat every time I was in the common areas, including the kitchen, etc. And for a true introvert like me, that kind of social expectation is just exhausting. And to her I think as a true extrovert, it just feels strange and alien to her that someone wouldn't want to chat with another human that was in their vicinity. So I don't know, this might be a difficult match to deal with in the long-term.

I also think that a big part of Portland is the social nature of the city. Are there other places that you could think about moving to? Other places that might have a college vibe but be a bit smaller? I'm thinking like, Ann Arbor, or Chapel Hill, or Champaign-Urbana... somewhere like that. Have you explored other options aside from going to Portland with these two friends?

Good luck.
posted by sockermom at 6:49 PM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Another hardcore introvert here. I once lived with an uber extroverted friend (at the time, we were also coworkers). We each wound up feeling hurt and misunderstood -- I wanted an hour of companionable silence when we got home from work, Roomie wanted an immediate mutual debriefing session on the day just passed. I felt like one of those Madmen-era dads who shut out the whole family while he hid behind the newspaper!

tl;dr -- Wherever you wind up living, a studio where you can retreat and recharge after hanging with friends might be just the thing. Take care of yourself -- you're worth it.
posted by virago at 7:55 PM on September 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

You might find this website helpful for working out how to split the rent.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 11:54 PM on September 19, 2014

Extrovert here, housesharing since 2000. I have found sharing with introverts to be generally an awful idea.

That "I'd love to do a monthly dinner together, but most of the time I'll be in my room reading" sounds like my idea of domestic hell, and if I realised my housesharer was mainly sharing a place because they were hoping I would help them build a new life and start anew, I'd run a mile. Houseshares only work if everyone there is really doing it for the pleasure of other people's company.

If money is not too much of an issue, why not find a place of your own nearby these friends, and make the most of the social opportunities and your personal space without becoming the deadweight in the houseshare?
posted by creeky at 3:07 AM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @creeky, I enjoy their company and we've lived together before so it's not so much a deadweight situation. I'm not a pile of heartbroken rags or anything, mostly the fact that they're both outgoing and I *want* to be more social. I'm mostly asking for advice on how to explain to them when it gets too much without hurting their feelings. There are a lot of fun activities that we enjoy together and we also enjoy working out together. I'm just not sure how to balance the social interaction in a way everyone's happy. Interaction that's solely for the purpose of socializing, kind of what virago said, talking for the sake if talking kind of drains me. But I enjoy activities and doing stuff together, like picnics, dog walking, going to markets, galleries, museums, stuff like that.

These are the only people I would ever consider living with besides family, and they have been asking me to move out there with them for about a year now. I've just been hesitant to take the offer because I thought I could work out the issues in my relationship. So they invited me to live with them, it's not like I'm crashing their party and being moochy, I just want to let them know that I'm not as social as they are and when it's getting to be too much for me in a kind way.
posted by lunastellasol at 9:50 AM on September 20, 2014

Sharing food goes a long way. When I've shared homes with friends, we always made a point to share a meal or have a glass of wine together every day. And then we'd go off and do our own thing: read, write, watch a movie.

From your most recent comment, it sounds like these folks know you. Set boundaries, be an extra-good roommate (which means, do more than what you think your share of the housekeeping is, because everyone assumes they do their share when they really aren't), and continue to be warm and positive in the activities you do attend.

You can be perfectly happy in a small room so long as it's your private space. It's OK to ask that everyone gets permission from others before entering their private spaces. It's OK to close the door, but try not to keep it closed all the time.

As for equitable splits of rent, that's all kind of hypothetical for now. When a friend and I were first thinking of moving to NYC, we had all sorts of budgets and maps and preferences worked out before actually moving there -- and things were a lot (I'll even say laughably!) different when what we expected! Give yourself time and be flexible.
posted by mochapickle at 12:11 PM on September 20, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you for all of the advice, I wasn't in the greatest mental space when I posted this Ask and I gained some perspective reading these answers. I have decided the best course of action is to move in with family at this time and visit my friends whenever possible.
posted by lunastellasol at 11:16 AM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

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