When you find a friend you really click with, why not move in together. Right? Not so fast. Before you and a pal make the big move, you need to talk things through to make sure you'll be a good fit as roommates. If you don't, you could have such a hard time living together that your friendship will suffer. Here are some tips on how to make your experience a positive one.
Discuss Your Daily Routine
The tendency when you're friends is to assume that you both have similar preferences about your living arrangement. After all, you get along so well, why would there be a problem when you share the same space? The issues generally start with communication, which now needs to be ramped up to a completely different level than the kind you had when you were just friends.
First, talk about your day-to-day habits. Does one of you get up at the crack of dawn while the other stays up until all hours of the night? Do you like to invite people over a lot, while your friend likes to have some quiet time at night? Discuss the things you do each day so you can work out a system that allows you both to live happily and also stay friends. Specific things to hammer out might include:
- Time you each get up and go to bed
- Work schedule
- Bathroom routine, especially in the morning when you'll need to shower, use the blow dryer, put on makeup, etc.
- Having other people over, especially any guests that frequently sleep over
- Study time for school when you'll need it quiet
Recognize Your Need for Time Apart
Best friends who live together find it hard to draw the boundary line in their relationship. Friends that enjoyed getting together frequently before they shared the same apartment find it hard to let their pal know when they just need to close their bedroom door and get some "me time."
The best time to discuss this is before you move in. Even if you anticipate that you won't run into an issue, you should talk about each other's expectations for the time you'll spend together. You might find now that you live together, you don't want to also go out every Friday night. Or that weekly movie night that seemed so fun before, now is a mute cause because you're watching TV all the time together anyways.
Time to yourself is a natural thing, and it shouldn't cause hurt feelings in your friendship. Let your friend know that there will be times when you just need to be by yourself and recharge your batteries so your pal doesn't take it the wrong way and think you're angry at them.
Chores and Bills
While it's obvious how to split some bills (you each pay half the rent, for example), others need some compromise. What if one of you decides that they should not pay for half the cable bill because they never watch TV? Or what if one friend only uses their cell phone and doesn't use the land line?
The same type of give-and-take needs to happen with chores. What days will you do the cleaning? Who cleans up the commonly shared areas, like the kitchen, bathroom, and living room? Who buys supplies, and how often? One roommate may think the place is perfectly spotless while the other insists on running the vacuum every day. Chores can be a small thing that don't interfere with your happiness level at all, or a big thing that cause arguments. Talk about your expectations to make sure you're both on the same page.
You'll Have a Blast, But...
Speaking of arguments, you will have some as roommates. These will be different than the kind you had when you lived separately. Know that it's normal to argue at times, and always remember to do it in a respectful way. Your relationship changes when you move in together, and as a result your communication level should evolve as well.
If you sense that things aren't working out, talk about it with your friend. Just because you might not be compatible when it comes to living arrangements doesn't mean that you can't still be friends.