If you're the type of person to do everything with your best buds at your side, you may think that moving out on your own will be no different. This new chapter of your life is exciting, and you'll certainly want to share it with those closest to you. However, if you've never lived on your own or with anyone else other than family members, a friend-turned-roommate situation could very well turn into a friend-turned-enemy situation quickly.
Friends can be roommates, but it takes patience, ground rules, and a little bit of give and take. Want to know how you can move into your new apartment with a friend successfully?
Similar interests do not mean similar living habits
You may share the same favorite foods, favorite color and favorite music - and while this may make your decorating and dinner preparation easy, the differences you have with your close friends can turn into arguments if not approached properly. Here are some things to consider:
- Cleaning habits: Are you a neat freak? What about your best pal? If you get upset over leftover spills or articles of clothing strewn haphazardly around your living space, you won't change just because your good friend is doing it. In fact, this could end up in quite a few unsettling arguments. On the other hand, if you are both seemingly sloppy or untidy people, your apartment will still have to get cleaned somehow by someone - so who will it be?
- Sleep schedule: Do you work a shift job that allows you to sleep during the day and be up all hours of the night? If so, you'll have to see if your friends you are considering as roommates are in the same situation. If they're waking up just as you're going to sleep, one of you is bound to disturb the other.
- Significant others: Does your friend/roommate spend every waking minute with his or her significant other? You may think this is adorable now as you watch from the other side of the fence, but when that significant other has started camping on your couch and eating your cereal, you might change your mind.
- Finances: Are you a big spender, but your friends are careful with their money? Excessive spending might not matter so much if you have a great job to support it in addition to all the added bills, but otherwise, your friends aren't going to appreciate you spending your portion of the rent on concert tickets and a new pair of shoes.
- You already spend a lot of time together: If you work together, see each other on the weekends, and/or go to school together, living together may just get to be overkill - you don't want to get sick of your best friend, so carefully think it over before you decide.
Set ground rules before the move
You don't want to end up becoming a second rate version of your best bud's mother by telling him what he can and can't do in your new apartment, but you do want to have a very thorough conversation about the expectations on move-in day and beyond (preferably before any lease papers are signed). You don't want to end a lifelong friendship over dirty dishes in the sink or because someone drank the last of the milk without replacing it.
- Communication is key: If you've known each other long enough, you do not have to awkwardly mince words like you would living with a complete stranger. If something bothers you, or your pals, you can easily lay it out on the table without getting (too) offended.
- Plan your budget: To avoid any arguments over bills, plan out what bills will be in whose name, and how much each person is expected to pay. You may even want to draw up a loose roommate agreement just so expectations are clear (if you would do this with a stranger, why not also a friend?). You should include how you plan on paying for groceries as well - will you be splitting everything down the middle? Buying separate things? Sharing only a few staple items?
- Reiterate likes and dislikes: You've known your good pals for a long time, so chances are you each have a strong idea of each other's likes and dislikes when it comes to various things like decorating, cleanliness and other adult responsibilities. If you really hate the color red, don't just shrug off your friend/roommate's idea to paint your entire living room scarlet.
- Compromise: There's give and take when living with strangers, and it probably should be more so when rooming with friends. So maybe you don't want all the walls red, but maybe you can live with a few red pillows or accent chair? And maybe you despise messy, but you can learn to let a few jackets thrown over a chair slide. Your best friend will likely do the same for you.