Best Friend, Worst Roommate?

The age-old question: should I live with my good friend? …And by “age-old,” I mean “several decades old, since more than just rich kids started to go to college, women included, young adults stopped living with their parents until marriage, and people have been allowed to choose their own roommates rather than being assigned by a matron who may also be a nun and doesn’t allow visitors past 8 p.m.” But you catch my drift.

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The truth..

If you clicked on this link hoping to see a blinking, bedazzled “YES!” or “NO!” followed by seemingly justifiable and trustable advice, based on the ten seconds you take to skim it, then sorry. It’s not as easy as all that.

 

What it comes down to is not love, or sense of humor, or whether you make excellent savory dishes and she bakes like a queen, but rather whether your living styles align and complement each other. That’s a tricky thing to discern, especially if you’ve never lived in an apartment together before. When do you normally go to bed? How noisy are you, and how tolerant of noise? How do you feel about houseguests? What do you want from a living space? These are all relevant questions, conversations you should have. The caveat, of course, is that people sometimes don’t know themselves that well. I had one notable roommate, a total sweetheart, who considered herself very easygoing—which she was, except about her own life—and very clean—which she absolutely wasn’t. Do you know how hard it is to ask someone to pick up after themselves when they think they already have?

Life can quickly change your apartment dynamic

Then there are the unpredictable factors. You might both be single now, but one of you might start dating. You might both be employed, but one of you might lose your job. One of you might choose an awesome house to move into, and the other might end up hating it. These are the kinds of things that can strain a living arrangement, and when your roommate is a friend, there’s more of a relationship at stake.

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The best determinant, in my mind: how well do you communicate? Not just about matters of the heart, but about day-to-day life? For example, if you have plans with your friend that you want to change, will you tell her and explain, or say nothing and show up unhappy? How would she take that conversation? In other words, how clear and honest can you be with one another about living in the same home, and how comfortable is that honesty?—because when you share a home, there will inevitably be issues you need to address. How and whether you address them will largely determine how happy and comfortable you feel living together.

Don’t rush your decision

My absolute best and most horrifically worst roommate situations have been living with dear friends. The stakes are very high; so can be the payoffs. You’re right to have reservations. Now sit down together, go over all the possible eventualities, good and bad, and see how you feel at the end of the discussion.

 

If you have any ideas on how to live with your friend then let others know on Facebook!

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