Two friends moving in together.

How Living Together Changes Friendships

You’re about to move out of your parent’s house for the first time, and you’re on the hunt for a roommate who shares a similar lifestyle as you. So, should you choose to live with a close friend?  Many people make the decision to move in with a friend because it seems like a safe bet. After all, you hang out with each other practically 24/7, so it shouldn’t be a huge adjustment, right? Well, hanging out with your best bud and living with your best bud are about as different as night and day. As much as you think you understand them now, you never truly know someone until you live with them.

The Good

Rooming with your friend can potentially be beneficial for your friendship. If you’re both starting college in a new city, then having a buddy by your side throughout this adjustment period can bring you two closer together. You can fret about tests, do homework together, and help each other pick out the perfect outfit for the frat party on Friday night. You’ll also always have a shoulder to cry on after a breakup, and if you bring a group of people over who don’t leave until 4 am, they’ll forgive you more easily than a stranger would.

Living with a close friend also makes your lives easier when planning at-home activities, like cooking a nice dinner or playing drinking games. Each of you always knows you’re welcome to participate in whatever activity the other has planned without having to ask.

The Bad

Before living together, you may have never realized that your friend only does dishes once every two weeks or leaves her dirty laundry all over the floor, but now, you either have to learn to live with these things or ask her to change her habits. It can be harder to confront a close friend about a ‘roommate issue’ because you care about her feelings and don’t want to make things weird between you as friends. This can lead to problems festering under the surface, and possibly blowing up between the two of you when the annoyances can no longer be contained.

To counter this problem, treat your friend as you would any other roommate. Communicate. They’re your friend too, so they’ll hopefully be open to your suggestions and will let you know if you’re doing anything that bothers them as well.

The Ugly

The unfortunate reality of living with a close friend is that sometimes it can destroy your friendship. Even if you’ve known this person for years, you may still find out aspects of her personality that you cannot move past, such as how rude and inconsiderate she is when your other friends or boyfriend comes over. Or, maybe you have constant disagreements over whose turn it is to clean and take out the trash, and no matter how many times you fight about it, she will never do her fair share of the chores. This animosity can sometimes be reversed if you both make different living arrangements in the near future, but that isn’t always a possibility.

Still, knowing this person inside and out, even if your friendship comes to an end, isn’t necessarily a negative thing. Would you want be ignorant of these flaws and continue being friends with a person whom you don’t really even know? Or wouldn’t you rather know her true colors now instead of possibly figuring them out further down the road?

Risk vs. Reward

Ultimately, only you know whether or not rooming with your best friend is a good idea. If you’re the type of person who isn’t bothered by the little things then you could end up having the time of your life. Or, you may decide that you’re better off as just friends instead of roommates, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Throughout this experience, if you choose it, you’ll learn a lot about your friend, but you’ll discover even more about yourself. Even if the experience isn't wholely positive you'll still emerge more mature, experienced, and better able to handle sticky situations in the future.

Last Updated: August 20, 2015