My South Asian upbringing encouraged me to submit to other people’s desires and perspectives before my own and prioritize my community over my individuality. As a result, I ended up doubting myself frequently. While this was not always ideal, I admit it was a big reason I felt a deep comfort while engaged in research work. Research often requires intellectual humility.
I started working on CoDee as a project that would allow me to understand the real-world applications of psychological theories and research incompatibility. Over the past year, I have been involved in creating an algorithm for co-habitant platonic relationship compatibility that enables young adults to find roommates that would serve as their social support in a new environment.
I discovered that compatibility is more complicated than just similar choices– in fact, the old saying “opposites attract” applies even to non-romantic relationships sometimes. The top personality variables that played a significant role in determining compatibility were:
If you search the meaning of compatibility on google, the first definition to come up is “the ability (of two things) to exist or occur together without problems or conflict”. However, when we speak of roommate compatibility, it has to be more than just being able to exist together.
Compatibility definitely means having shared interests, but it also means being able to handle each other’s personalities, having shared philosophies, supporting each other, and most importantly feeling safe and comfortable around each other.
To be compatible, you don’t have to be the same in every aspect. In fact, in many situations, it is possible that being opposites makes you more compatible. It was rightfully said that opposites attract, and it applies to the case of roommate compatibility as well.
We, at CoDee, have come up with a compatibility formula that consists of the top personality variables that play a significant role in determining compatibility and would help you find a compatible roommate.
Let’s take a deeper look.
Have you ever been friends with someone who could walk into a room and just make everyone feel at ease? Meanwhile, your other friend sticks to themselves and scans the room. I think it would be safe to say that the first one is a little “warmer” than the other.
That essentially means that they easily show affection and care as compared to the other friend who might find it relatively harder. They are the person who would hug you when you first meet them and bake you cookies all the time. The “colder” friend? Yeah, you already know you don’t expect them to do that. Especially if they don’t know someone very well. That doesn’t mean they don’t care, it simply is their personality and they just find it hard to show.
You must be thinking, What does this have to do with roommate compatibility?
Well, I think it is safe to say that more often than not warm people would naturally be more compatible with warm people and vice versa.
There would be a mutual understanding about each other’s “vibe” or “persona” and it would be much easier for them to get along. A warm person might, for example, burst into their roommate’s room and start asking personal questions to try to get to know them better and make them comfortable. However, if the roommate is not as warm, they might lash out.
In conclusion: someone’s feelings are going to get hurt. Thus, the level of warmth and empathy becomes an important factor when talking about roommate compatibility.
Sometimes when I am playing board games with my family, things get heated. I am naturally a competitive person. I don’t like to lose. My brother, on the other hand, is very easygoing in that sense. He is just there for fun. He knows that if he cheats, it would annoy me, and so he does exactly that. Needless to say, it works and I get angry. Something similar can happen when it comes to roommates.
Individuals who are more or less equally competitive (even if it’s in different aspects of their life) are able to appreciate each other’s vigor and hence be more compatible in today’s cut-throat world. They would be able to understand each other’s reactions to certain situations and would deal with it without much issue.
If, however, one is more competitive than the other, I don’t know how long they would be able to stand each other as roommates. In friendship, a certain level of difference in competitiveness is okay. That is because you don’t have to live with your friend. For roommate compatibility though, a huge difference in competitiveness would not work. Both the parties would be disappointed.
Thus, a compatible roommate should be more or less similar to you when it comes to being competitive.
I don’t know about you, but I consider myself a relatively dominant person. In a public setting, I would be the one leading a conversation with a stranger. At a party, I would be there dominating the dance floor. One thing that I have noticed though is that this dominance isn’t always there.
Sometimes, when I am around people who are as dominant as I am, I tend to talk less and even feel suppressed at times. When a bunch of dominant people are put together, it is a battle of dominance. Now, if I am with some other friends of mine who are less dominant, or “submissive”, I thrive. I don’t stop talking because I feel at ease. I also don’t feel like I am dominating anyone because my submissive friends love to listen and just be there with me. If we are working on a project, I simply lead and they do their work and follow. Everyone’s happy.
The same is the case for roommate compatibility. If one is more dominant and the other submissive, chances are that they would work great with each other. However, if both are submissive, taking decisions on important matters would get tough. They would both want the other to take charge of important matters.
Similarly, if both are dominant, neither would want their decision to be wrong. There would be conflict over important matters as neither would back down and simply listen. Thus, for roommate compatibility, it is important that both or on opposite levels of dominance and submissiveness.
Many times, you would find yourself in situations where you would, either, have to go with the bunch or choose your own path.
There must have been times when your friends were out partying, but you decided to stay in and catch up with your studies (or maybe, the other way around). Or, at times your parents would ask you to make friends with the “smart” kids in class because that would help you get inspired and study harder.
All of these situations reflect the “academic competence” of an individual. It is likely that the friends, who decided to go out the night before an exam, were not as academically competent as you. (If they had already studied enough, then it is a different case, but if they decided to just “wing it” the next day then they are not as competent.)
You can’t deny the fact that friends have a strong influence over each other, and roommates? More so!
That is why this is an important aspect of roommate compatibility. It is important that you are not stunted by your roommate’s idiocy and negligence of their academics. Similarly, the roommate might get hurt as well if they are not as competent as you. They might start feeling like they are not good enough, and may project their insecurities on you.
The bottom line is that different levels of academic competence would lead to disaster.
Now that we have talked about what CoDee’s compatibility formula and the key variables involved in it are, we have one important question left to answer.
The answer is simple: to live a non-toxic, comfortable, and happy life with your roommate.
From whatever I mentioned above, it is clear that roommate compatibility is very important to avoid conflicts and enjoy living with each other. If you are not compatible, there will be arguments, fights, and tension in the air all the time.
It might not seem so initially, especially when you first meet. You might even think you guys are a great fit for each other simply because they like the same stuff as you and you have a lot to talk about. However, having things in common like movies and food doesn’t mean you would be able to live with each other peacefully.
When trying to find an ideal roommate, it is important to understand that compatibility is more complex than it looks and has much more to it than meets the eye. Things like dominance, warmth, academic competence, and competitiveness play a huge role in it too.