8 Things You Learn About Your Friends When You Move in Together

Going away to college is a young adult’s first taste of the real world. For most of us, it’s our first time living on our own. It’s the first time paying for utilities. It’s the first time being in charge of an entire household’s cleanliness. And if you are like me, it’s also the first time discovering just how many kinds of toilet paper exist solely to torture you at Target. For many of us, this  happens to be the first time we take our relationships to the next level with our friends—that’s right, I am talking about becoming roommates!

This semester I moved in with two of my best friends, and while we are lucky enough to say that after nearly two months of living within the same four walls we are still best friends, we can also say we were wildly mistaken thinking we knew everything about each other before sharing a home. For proof, I compiled  a list of eight things you learn about your friends when you kick things up a notch and move in together.

1. Sleeping patterns/quirks

My friends know I love to sleep (and so  do they), but sadly, now  they have discovered I “sleep talk.” When you live with your friends you tend to be with each other all the time—eating, watching shows, doing homework, and yes, talking. For some, the latter even takes place after hours when you finally think you are getting peace and quiet. I have been known to sleep talk in the past , but the stories your friends will tell you surpass anything a parent’s ever could. For example, my roommates have caught me saying names of people we know  while I am sleeping (creepy, I know). Additionally, I have apparently told figurative war stories my friends still enjoy making fun of, and  when I wake up , I have no recollection of them. One of my roommates is an avid sleepwalker, and we have had to steer her away from hefty objects. I also know my roommates’ necessary nap schedule to a T , and when to avoid them during sleep/coffee deprived hours.

2. Cleanliness

You probably have a general sense of which friends are neat, slobs, or somewhere in between (me); however, when you move in with them, you know this and more in unfortunate detail. I could tell you my roommates’ laundry preferences, vacuum techniques, whether they prefer cleaning or drying dishes, which one refuses to take out the garbage (me again), and even their hygiene patterns.  

3. Household roles

Every friend group can pinpoint the “innocent one,” the “drama queen,” the “sporty spice,” etc., but when friendships evolve to encompass a living space, the roles within the  group change   as well. It was revealed rather quickly which of my friends was  to become the mom of our  apartment, the distant cousin, and the clueless child (you guessed it, me). If you are reading this as the roommate that takes care of everyone when you all inevitably catch each other’s colds, cooks a little extra because you know you will be asked for leftovers, reminds fellow housemates to pay rent, offers to wash everyone’s clothes when doing a late night load, or teaches your friends basic life skills—then congratulations, you are the mom of the household! We love and appreciate you. If you are often in your room bundled in layers under covers, study at the library instead of the kitchen table, come home at random hours (or sometimes not at all), then you are the distant cousin. This means you are there for things that matter, such as hard breakups, “family meals,” and when I need my hair braided (you know who you are), but otherwise you are off living in your own little hermit of a world. Now, if you are left reading this thinking neither role applies to you, then you are the me of your apartment: the child! You need help putting the fitted sheet on your bed (there are no corners so we cannot be blamed), you require supervision while cooking (you cause one fire and lose all trust these days), or you need hand-holding when grocery shopping (fine, the mailbox too). No matter the role, you are a valued apartment member.  

4. Sometimes, clothing is optional

When your friends become your roommates, you learn who is comfortable enough in their own skin to walk around practically naked. Meaning, some may consider their underwear shorts, no matter how many times you tell them they aren’t. Others live in their sports bras, and I am convinced don’t own any shirts. You may even discover that one of your beloved friends sleeps in the same thing every single night.

5. Cooking

Before living with friends, you may know one of their hobbies includes cooking. However, you have no idea to what extent your pal will go. While I consider meal prepping to be pre-packaging my milk and cereal, I now know that for my roommates this means they become gourmet chefs on Sunday nights, and if lucky, you get to eat their scraps. You also learn their grocery store habits as you make weekly trips to Trader Joe’s and Publix together. Special thanks to the roommates out there who remind you that a second bag of chocolate chips is not a necessary purchase.

6. Holiday traditions

It goes without saying that you know the religious practices of your good friends. Under one household, these practices blend, and you create new traditions incorporating a part of each roommate. For instance, my apartment will be featuring both a menorah and Christmas tree come December. We also decorate our door depending on the season. Right now, there is a cobweb with spiders ready to welcome Halloween.

7. Decorating styles

You may know your friends’ wardrobes inside out, or what picture is sitting on the right-hand corner of their dresser, but when you decorate a living room together, you might as well be strangers. For a month, my roommates and I could not agree on a rug, even though we interchange clothes all the time. It is difficult to find pillows, lamps, wall décor, etc. that appeases every individual’s personal style, thus the only advice I can offer is that compromise (although cliché) is key.

8. Bugs!

Personally, I can handle spiders and cockroaches, but the minute a lizard steps foot in this apartment, I am on a one-way ticket back home. You come to appreciate the friends turned roommates that are the designated bug evacuators, and you learn who is strong enough to handle four (or eight) legs. As a bonus, you may discover a special scream your roommate saves just for those that crawl.

Choosing to live with my friends is the best decision I have ever made. Your relationships grow in entirely new ways and you become closer than you ever thought possible. Often humorous and meaningful, the memories you make as roommates are the ones you will cherish forever.