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So you and your bestie are living together this fall? That’s great! Moving in with your best friend can often feel like the ideal living scenario. And it’s true, there are lots of great things about living with your best friend. You can spend even more time together, you can share things like food and clothes, and they can even make things like chores and errands fun. Besides, compared to some of the other roomie options out there, you can do a lot worse.
But here’s the truth that nobody tells you about living with your best friend: it’s hard. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. You’ll get into fights. You’ll have to learn to compromise. And not to be a downer, but if you’re not careful, sometimes, it can ruin friendships.
So before moving in, here are a few important tips for living with your best friend.
Going over the ground rules might seem boring, awkward or unnecessary at first, but trust me, it’s totally worth it. While you might think you’re on the same page about everything, if you don’t go over the rules at the beginning, in a few months, you might realize that you actually have different opinions on things like chores, parties and food.
Now it doesn’t need to be a formal contract or anything, but just having a quick chat at the start can really help. Some questions to get the conversation going include:
You might think you and your bestie have the same answers, but you’d be surprised how often people have different feelings about this kind of thing.
As an introvert, you need your space to recharge. It’s a given. So when you move in with your bestie, don’t feel guilty about asking for that space. If your friend is an introvert too, they’ll get it. But if they’re a little more extroverted where they want to hang out and talk your ear off 24/7, then it might be worth bringing up.
You guys could even make a system to let them know you need some space, whether that’s the closed door policy (“if my door’s closed, give me space”) or even texting them a specific emoji or code word (i.e. a shushing emoji) to let them know that hey, this is your alone time.
Of course, you absolutely love your bestie, but it’s also important to prioritize your needs and take time for yourself when you need it.
When I first moved in with my friend, this was a tough pill for me to swallow. But your friend can (and honestly should) do their own thing sometimes. Often when you first move in with a friend, you’re joined at the hip and do everything with them, all the time.
There’s nothing wrong with doing stuff with your new roomie, but college is also a time to branch out, meet new people and try new things. You’re allowed to go out and do things solo or even (*gasp*) with another group of friends.
My advice? Talk it out. I remember my friend/roomie wouldn’t always invite me with her to go out with her and her friends, and it really stung. Once I told her how it made me feel, she explained to me that while she loved hanging out with me, there were times when she just wanted to hang out with her other group of friends too. It hurt back then, but now, I see where she was coming from.
Yes, you and your bestie can be close and should still live together, but it doesn’t mean your entire life has to revolve around them.
That being said, still make time for each other. Even though you live together and see each other all the time, it’s still important to plan fun things to do together. This can be anything from a night out at the bar to a quiet night in playing board games or bingeing a show together. You could even make it a routine if you want (i.e. Mondays are Grey’s Anatomy night). When you’re living with your friend, prioritizing your friendship and spending quality time together is a game-changer.
You know the old expression, “when you see something, say something”? When it comes to living with your friend, it’s more like, “when you feel something, say something.” If something is bothering you (i.e. they wait days to do their dishes), the earlier you say something, the better off you will be.
You might not want to speak up, worrying that it will rock the boat and upset your friend, but it’s better to bring it up sooner than later. Because nothing is worse than bottling up all your emotions and then snapping at your friend in three months about the dirty dishes in the sink when you could have had a gentle conversation about it earlier on.
Your friend’s not a mind reader – chances are they had no idea that whatever’s bothering you is bothering you. So bringing up stuff like this is hard for sure, but it’s still a better option than keeping it all in and exploding later.
At the end of the day, if you’re living with your bestie, it is all about respect. When you put a group of stressed college students in a house together for long periods of time, chances are there’s going to be drama (and it would honestly probably make a great TV show). While things will come up, it’s how you deal with them that counts. Because nothing is worse than moving in with your friend and then having the friendship be ruined over it.
So even if drama comes up and fights happen (which they probably will), always make sure you’re coming from a place of love and respect.
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