Choosing a roommate who's already your friend can be plenty of fun. However, just as living with family requires hard work and cooperation at times, the same can be said for living with friends. Some people are even apprehensive about living with friends because they don't want the constant proximity to influence their friendship negatively, but this can easily be avoided by communicating with each other openly and honestly. So without further ado, here are five tips for rooming with a friend.
1. Talk about your expectations for each other.
Living with someone requires you to be respectful and mindful of their space and belongings. People often grow up doing chores in their house and following a certain set of rules. I'm not saying you need to write an actual list, but it's important to determine whether you both want the same thing. For example, if you put a lot of effort into being neat and your friend doesn't mind leaving messes around, it's important to address this before you decide to live with them.
2. Be open and honest with each other.
If you're living with someone, trust is important to maintaining a healthy relationship with them. So if you accidentally ate their favorite cookies, you're better off telling them you made a mistake instead of trying to keep it from them. This is a minuscule example, but the concept is important: Be upfront with each other about everything. You do have to live with each other for a certain period of time as outlined by a contract, so you might as well do everything you can to make it a good experience!
3. Set boundaries.
If your friend enjoys sleeping around but you don't want to wake up weekend mornings to see strangers in your apartment, tell them. You can easily come to a compromise by having them text you whenever they plan on having someone over so you know who is and isn't in your living space. This is a concept that applies to many things: having friends over in general, playing loud music, being disruptive, cooking, cleaning and so on. Know what's okay and know what isn't.
4. Don't be afraid to tell them when something isn't working for you.
Maybe they like to sing at the top of their lungs when they go to the bathroom, or maybe they leave their belongings all over the common area. Whatever it is, do make sure you tell them when something is bothering you. Any repressed thoughts or feelings will create a one-sided tension that won't be healthy for your friendship. You're better off politely confronting them about it with the intention to collaborate on a solution together.
5. Do make sure you set aside time for hanging out.
College gets busy very quickly, and with your friend(s) constantly one door away from you, you may begin to take their presence for granted and not set aside time for them. Obviously, you have time to eat together, clean together and do many other things together, but make sure you still set aside time for casual hangouts outside of your dorm or apartment. It's healthy to spend time with people in a purely social setting. Remember that they aren't just your roommate, they're still your friend.
Rooming with a friend can be a lot of fun, but it also has the potential to turn sour very quickly if you're not upfront with each other about many things. Always be proactive when it comes to solving issues, because it will make you both happier and could make you friendship much stronger.
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