When you talk to any family members or other adults in your life, they probably give you one piece of advice: Don’t live with your best friends. Obviously, everyone has different life experiences, but I’ll tell you this: I lived with my best friends for two years and we came out at the end closer than ever before. Of course, we had our fights too–they do happen–but we learned more about each other in the process and ended up just fine. If you have the opportunity to live with your best friends you should take it.
You’ll have way more fun than living with strangers.
As my freshman year came to a close, I knew two things for sure–I absolutely did not want to live on campus for my sophomore year and I wanted to live with my best friends. I knew the age-old saying–you shouldn’t live with your best friends, but with mine, I felt willing to give it a try. I met my best friends from my college sports club team, and in that time, we already learned a lot about existing in the same spaces. We traveled together, shared rooms together and oftentimes had to share the same beds with each other. When I proposed the idea that we live together, they all got excited at the prospect, and our group chat blew up with pictures and links for ideas of decorating our dream apartment (none of which ended up going into our actual apartment).
The apartment picking process actually went much smoother than I anticipated.
We met at the library in April together where we hunkered down at four computers to start our apartment search process. Tip number one when you want to live with anyone, friends or otherwise: communicate, communicate, communicate. We immediately got out a sheet of paper and wrote down a range of prices we all felt comfortable paying for rent. We figured out if we wanted to share bathrooms, and if we wanted to all pay rent together or get separate leases (if an apartment offers separate leases, you really should do it). It just ensures that you only pay for your own room, and you don’t share everything with everyone, so if your roommate breaks something or forgets to pay rent you don’t get penalized too. Getting all of these things out of the way early meant we already narrowed down our options, and we could discuss our choices ahead of time instead of getting into arguments later on. It also set a precedent for us living together. Open communication about our needs as far as living together happened from the beginning, and all discussions about our living situation–even if discussed between two people–only got put in our group chat so no one got left out of the loop.
Once we finally picked out our apartment, we needed to start step two.
Who brings what? I immediately got on Gmail and made an excel spreadsheet to make a list of all the things we needed (tables, silverware, plates, etc.). Thankfully, one of my roommates already lived in an apartment before so she had a lot of the things we needed, but the rest we split up and made sure everyone brought an equal amount to the table. I brought a lot of the appliances, another roommate brought the furniture, someone else got most of the kitchen supplies and the other roommate took care of the electronics we wanted like a TV and game consoles. This set yet another precedent–we made sure one person didn’t get burdened with everything and that everyone contributed to the apartment equally. We considered meeting up before we moved in to see who would bring what too, but decided a spreadsheet worked the best.
Once our parents left after helping us move into our new home, we all felt a buzz of excitement.
We invited two close friends over to see the new apartment and ended up watching movies together until late in the night. As the year went on, we got closer–doors remained opened and we always ended up spending time in someone’s room until midnight. Fridays became roommate nights, and we played Mario Kart together on the GameCube or my roommates Switch where we took turns playing Breath of the Wild (and often screaming when we died in the game). Anytime anyone went somewhere (even if it just ended up as a trip to Target to pick up shampoo or toothpaste) everyone knew anyone could come along. This happened more out of convenience than any real situation, and as the semester continued and we got bogged down by our classes, shopping together became a way to hang out without wasting time.
Don’t let me fool you, best friends have their arguments too, and we certainly had our roommate disputes.
We have typical problems where someone hasn’t done the dishes often enough, someone doesn’t help buy communal items or someone hasn’t taken out the trash. We learned instead of silently burning in anger, to just bring it up to each other in a respectful way. It really ended up helping us out in the long run, because instead of wasting time upset, we could address the problem quickly and go back to having fun. We got a whiteboard to keep track of who did what to make sure no one ends up getting stuck doing everyone’s chores. We learned everyone doing their own dishes ended up as a better method than having one person do it each week. Instead of having cleaning duties get stuck on one person we usually pick a day each week (or as often as needed) where we all have time to have a roommate cleaning day–which ends up doubling as a music screaming fest.
I made the best decision of my college career by choosing to live with my best friends.
When you’ve had an awful day–maybe you failed a test or broke up with your significant other or just had an unusually anxious day–knowing you have your best friend right there to cry to, or even just to vent to until 3 A.M. makes up for any disagreement you could possibly have.