When it comes to living situations, things can get tricky when moving in with a friend. Things are already awkward when you move into a space with a complete stranger (hello freshman year, anyone?), but moving with a friend should be a piece of cake, right? You know each other’s quirks already. You like each other enough to be considering moving in together. You don’t plan to break up anytime soon. Piece of cake and an ice cream sundae included!
Unfortunately, when we move in with a friend, it is much like the first couple of months of dating someone. You are in what many people like to deem: The Honeymoon Phase. We are blind to each other’s faults and only see the best in each other. Both friends will coordinate who buys what and in what color schemes. We begin to image what we are going to do every Sunday brunch together, and late-night talks while we try to cram in a last-minute paper. It will be match-made in friend-heaven. Everyone is going to wish they had a friend/roommate like yours!
Columbia University Undergrad, Amy*, couldn’t agree more with the pros of living with someone you know. It is like having the “comfort of being surrounded by someone you know and care about. Support system.” Friends are meant to have your back. They are there through thick and thin. We become more than friends, we become sisters. We begin to believe that they will always be there, because they said they would be. We do care about them, and we will be there for them.
But Amy also understood the cons that came with living with a friend, “[There was an] absence of space outside of the relationship, possibility for judgment, clinginess, the erasing of healthy limits and boundaries.” That’s something Her Campus NYU reader and NYU junior, Cristina, realized when she moved in with her friend Mary.
Cristina recounts how there would be a heavy mess everywhere and Mary would not clean up after herself. It was usually Cristina having to wash everything Mary left behind in the sink, bathroom, and everywhere. Eventually Cristina opted to move out. Chaffey College student, Jess has heard plenty of people tell her that cleanliness is usually what breaks friendships. People don’t want to come off as “too pushy” or as a mom or “neat freak.”
“But on the positive side, it can definitely strengthen the friendship, making them feel more like family than just a friend.” CalState University Long Beach student, Vicky states. It goes back to what Amy said about support systems. Friends can become families.
What I recommend is communication and compromise. Snap out of The Honeymoon Phase as quickly as possible and set house rules. This will help you learn how to live with a friend, and keep that friend. And hey, sometimes there are no cons. Sometimes there is nothing but bliss in living with a friend. Living together is much like getting married to a friend. Be ready to learn each other’s faults, but be ready to learn yours as well. We aren’t perfect, but friends understand that. But don’t lose who you are and be an honest friend above everything else. Don’t be the passive aggressive friend that leaves notes about the mess, but instead suggest cleaning it together. It is the little things that will make a huge difference.
Compromise, communicate, live together.
*Names were changed to save friendships.