During college, or even after, a big decision we will have to make is who our roommates will be.
This is an important decision because we will be sharing a lot with this person. Often you’ll share food, fridge space, a couch and in general spend a long time in each other’s presence. Many people think the obvious choice would be to room with your friends, but that isn’t always the best idea.
Rooming with your friends sounds fun of course. It sounds like it could be a never-ending sleepover. But there are a few things to consider before deciding to do this.
One reason you may want to room with your friends is that you know them so well and you get along super well. However, this isn’t always the case when you actually start to live with someone. Friends may be super fun to hang out with, but some of their fun habits may be annoying to live with.
For example, your friend who you like to party with may be fun to hang out with once in a while, but staying up late and stumbling in at 4 a.m. can be annoying, particularly if you share a room with them. If you have a friend who has a super loud voice, you may not want to room with them in case they have guests over or talk on the phone.
When you room with someone you likely want to have similar lifestyles. If you both go to bed around the same time that can be especially useful. If you’re a neat freak, you may not want to room with someone who is a slob, even if they are your friend.
There is more to finding a roommate than just getting along with them as a friend.
You may be thinking that you know your friend is great, but you often don’t really know someone until you live with them. What you think you can tolerate from your friends right now may be harder to tolerate when you live with them.
Again, hanging out with a person weekly or even daily is a completely different experience than sharing a space with them 24/7.
Another big reason to not live with your friends is that roommates can sometimes have conflicts with each other. When it comes to things like taking out the trash, dirty dishes in the sink, and cleanliness in general, it’s not uncommon for tensions to rise.
Often, these issues can be cleared with communication but it can be hard to have confrontations, even if it’s something as little as wanting them to clean the shower a little better. Confrontation is already difficult but it can be even more difficult with friends.
If you and your friend get along well, you may feel uncomfortable bringing something up and tensions will continue to rise and possibly damage your friendship.
You may think that with a friend, it’s easier to talk to them about these things, and that may be true depending on the friendship. But many friends may not be used to genuinely criticizing each other, and it can be hard to tell your friends that the way they do the dishes stinks. Again, when rooming with your friends, you risk tension and conflict. You risk hurting a friendship.
One may say that conflict and tension exist in situations where you aren’t friends with your roommates, and that is true! But the good part about that is if you aren’t friends with the person, there is no risk of losing that friendship. There is that risk with a friend.
Additionally, there may be an obligation you feel to hang out or talk to your friends all the time if you live with them. Sometimes you may just not feel like hanging out and it can be nice to get an escape from friends, especially if you’re an introvert.
Additionally, you may want to hang out with friends all the time, but rooming with them may not be the best idea even still. If you’re constantly hanging out with friends it can be hard to focus on things like homework. So even if you are a social person, rooming with your friends may not be a good idea.
While it may sound fun, choosing to room with your friends next year may not be the best idea. Think through whether you guys are really fit to be roommates or just friends. Sometimes living with someone you don’t know may be the best option.