Can Good Friends Be Good Roommates?
Many people dream of having their best friend be their roommate. Sometimes, this works out, but not always. Being roommates with your best friend can come with unexpected challenges. Before you jump in and move in together with your good friends, it is crucial to take a step back and decide if your friends will make good roommates. Knowing how you and your roommate can handle certain situations and boundaries will be helpful in this decision.
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Respectful of boundaries
As friends, you likely have boundaries in place such as how often you want to be contacted and when is a good time to reach you. All healthy relationships have boundaries, and in good relationships, these boundaries are respected. Boundaries are especially important when it comes to being roommates. You may want to spend every moment together and share everything, but each person needs to lay boundaries that will be honored and respected by the other person. If this is not something that has been feasible in your current friendship before becoming roommates, it will make being roommates more difficult and will strain your relationship.
Together but separate
As friends, it is only natural that you want to do as many things as possible together, especially now that you are living together. However, this bliss will eventually wear off and you will come to need some things that are separate. Try to get ahead of this by keeping some things separate. If possible, have separate bedrooms so you can have your own spaces to escape to when you need some privacy. Have classes and activities that you do on your own. Have other friends on campus that you spend time with other than your roommate. You may even opt to spend a few hours a week in a coffee shop by yourself to get work done without your friend. This does not mean that you do not like your roommate. It is simply a boundary to help keep things separate so the friendship stays strong.
Level of knowledge about your friend
If you are living in a dorm or apartment for the first time, it can be nice to have someone you know already can be really comforting. However, it is important that you know about the person and their living habits. Going into a roommate situation with someone you think you know only to find out their living habits are not what you thought can be challenging. This can happen when roommates do not know each other at all, but usually, this is something that is asked about before moving in. Ask your friend if they have any habits their family finds frustrating, such as being messy or even leaving empty milk cartons in the fridge. That way, you know ahead of time and can decide if you want to move in together or not. Otherwise, these things will get on your nerves and you will dread your living situation.
When you have a best friend, the extent of financial conversations is typically splitting bills at restaurants or even concert tickets. However, this changes when you move in together. You have to work out how you will be paying bills like rent, utilities, and even groceries. These conversations may become difficult, especially if you have never talked about these kinds of issues with your friend before. Before moving in together, have a conversation about how you will handle the finances of living together and how you each will pay. Be sure to find out if they have ever been late on other kinds of payments. This way, you are prepared and you will not be surprised. Knowing how you will work things out can help ensure your friendship lasts through disagreements that may arise.
When you live with your best friend, it is tempting to want to have fun all the time and talk constantly now that it is easier to do so. However, it is important that you know when it is time to focus and get work time and when it is time to have some fun. These distractions can lead to lower grades, especially if they are cutting into your study and assignment time. Carve out time each day when you can have a conversation with your friend about things such as upcoming plans, finances, and anything else you need to discuss. Also, have time carved out as study time so you can both work on schoolwork without distracting each other. Outside of these times, you are free to have fun and talk as much as you would like. Again, this boundary is crucial for ensuring that you are both successful and are able to maintain a friendship without feeling like the other person is disrupting your grades and college life.
Being upfront with situations that may arise over the course of living together can help figure out if you and your friend will be compatible as roommates. If you talk about these things and find yourselves getting into an argument, it may be best not to be roommates. Otherwise, you will make great roommates.
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