So you aren't meeting scintillating people, your clothes don't fit, you never have enough money -- you're just not having any fun.
The right roommate situation -- although not easy to come by -- can change all that, according to Bruce Brown, businessman, comedian and author of The Complete Roommate Handbook (Doubleday/Dolphin, $4.50 paperback).
"You can have any sort of roommate situation your heart desires," declares Brown, 32, who in his quest for the perfect situation has gone through eight different arrangements in the Los Angeles area.
It's the negative approach to the word "roommate" -- as a temporary situation to get out of as soon as possible -- that hampers the hunt, he says, and detracts from the arrangement.
But first off, "If you're a devout Christian, you probably want to make sure that you don't wind up with a roommate who's a practicing Satanist."
Seventy percent of all roommate situations fail within three months, says Brown, because of "a lack of communication . . . It doesn't have to be that way. You can use a roommate situation to literally change your life financially and socially . That sounds real dramatic and corny but it's true."
His new guide, based on "at least 150 interviews" with a variety of roommates -- college students, young professionals of the same and opposite sex, seniors and single parents -- details personal qualities that should be taken into consideration and includes a short quiz and questionnaire. Comprehensive lists of specific resources and agencies around the country dealing with shared housing situations are a major part of the book.
And if all fails, Brown tells you in the last chapter "How to Successfully Lose a Roommate."
The trend of young adults living with the elderly "is on the rise," says Brown. "Millions of seniors are living alone in houses larger than they need. The place is paid for . . . it would be nice for them just to have some companionship . . . Older people have a lot to teach younger people. It can be helpful and enriching."
If you aren't completely satisfied with the interview with a potential roommate, Brown suggests a trial living period. "Most people," he says, "should set down five or 10 house rules in writing and not assume how, day in and day out, they're going to live together. People that assume are frequently disappointed.
"If you're not in a roommate situation that isn't basically fun and enjoyable overall, you're in the wrong situation."
His own roommate?
A live-in, 27-year-old Kentucky-born comedian, writer and "great cook"/housekeeper who gets room and board plus $110 a week. "It's a platonic relationship -- we fix each other up." One of their agreements: "She can watch her soap operas." -- Elaine Lembo