Your Best Friend May Not Make the Best Roommate (and That’s OK)

You remember your first roommate, right?

You probably had your first roommate in college. They were a random person, and you knew nothing about each other except that you chose the same school and maybe where they came from. It either turned out to be horrible or amazing, and you're best friends to this day!

Probably not. But seriously, living with someone is a big commitment, and it isn't easy. Whether it's your significant other, a sibling, a best friend, or a murderer (who knows!), you know for sure that sharing a space with someone will, at some point, drive you crazy.

When you finally have the opportunity to live on your own, on your own terms, it may not be the best idea to live with your best friend. Why? It can seriously ruin your friendship.

Admittedly, it's convenient to just walk to your best friend's room and drink wine whenever. And yes, you can vent in person instead of typing your life away on your phone. But boundaries are important, and having a best friend doesn't mean they need to be accessible to you at all times.

You know the little things you don't mind when you go over to their place? Now imagine their dirty dishes piling up in your space, dealing with their neat freak side or them leaving passive aggressive notes for you to clean up your shit. Of course you're thinking, "Oh not (insert name here), she'd never be like that!" But conflicts happen, and these are realistic concerns that come with living with someone you care about.

For the first two years of college, I had a different roommate each semester. Yes, you read that right: I had four different roommates in two years. For various reasons, I bounced around. I ended up finding the perfect roommate my first semester of sophomore year, but she ended up going abroad the next semester, and I got a new roommate! She laid in her bed all day, had guys over all the time, left dirty clothes on the floor, and drove me insane.

When it came to moving out of the dorms, I thought I wanted to live on my own, but then I realized how lonely I'd be. So instead of starting all over again, I asked the roommate who drove me crazy if she'd want to live with me. We both had unstable living experiences and wanted to feel settled. We knew each other's habits, and in an apartment, we wouldn't be sharing a room. What bothered me about her would stay in her own space, we wouldn't have to check in with each other if we didn't want to, and we also had an unspoken understanding that we weren't the best of friends. We'd talk when we wanted to and hole ourselves in our rooms when we wanted to, as well. There was no obligation towards one another besides the essential roommate responsibilities. I got to separate my home life from my personal life; my space finally felt like my own. Nowadays, I know that I don't owe anything to anyone when I'm alone in my bedroom.

In a living situation, indifference does not equal hate, since living with someone you're indifferent towards or even just friendly with can make life much simpler. When you aren't emotionally invested in your relationship, you can go about your business without concern. However, when you're living with your best friend, you're already invested. Merging the relationships of best friend and roommate or partner and roommate comes with new territory. It's important to recognize that you can't fully escape who you're living with and even closing your door may result in hurt feelings.

At the end of the day, adapting to the personalities of who you're living with is a complicated reckoning that most people don't even consider until it becomes a problem. When problems arise—and they will— it's best to consider how well a future roommate could handle hypothetical conflicts. While you may love your friends for the people they are, that doesn't mean you want to live with them when sh*t goes down. Sometimes, it's better to be a phone call away than down the hall— and that's ok.

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