The thing about best friends is that they often feel like an extension of ourselves. They love the same things, they talk the same way, and they definitely also have strong feelings against carpeting. So, sometimes moving in with a friend seems like the only logical, NAY, sane idea. Why not? You guys get along so well apart, surely the bond will only grow stronger if you live together. And while that may be true, living with a best friend can also be the fastest way to end a friendship if you’re not careful. So before you go cohabitating with your boo, check this list to make sure you’re ready to be the best housemate ever.
DO discuss boundaries
Good fences make good neighbors and a clear understanding of each other’s boundaries will make good roommates. Talk about what’s ok and what’s not. Do you authorize her to answer the phone on your behalf if you’re in the bathroom? Can you borrow her stuff without asking? While you’re doing this, it’s also a good idea to lay out a fair plan for splitting costs and chores. That way, when the time comes to wash the pile of dishes after a massive dinner, you won’t have to haggle over whose turn it is this time.
DO respect her space
This means her physical space and her emotional space. So, unless you guys have explicitly discussed boundaries (which I just told you to do. Why didn’t you do it? Geez) you should assume that some stuff is off limits, like accessing her room or using her stuff. And if she comes home from a long day of dealing with idiots at work, respect the fact that she might need some space and time to unwind a little before joining you for the scrapbook drinking game you’ve got laid out on the table.
DO your share of the chores
It should be no one’s job but your own to clean your house, and if you’re lucky enough to have another person splitting the work with you, then you have no excuse not to pull your weight. It’s not fair to ask someone else to take care of you when she’s got her own stuff to do. You’re both adults and you should both be long out of the stage where you expect someone else to pick up your toys. And if you’re not, then don’t go movin’ in with someone just yet. Maybe work on that first.
DO be fair
If, for example, you’ve got a boyfriend staying over 70% of the time, consider asking him to pitch in with some expenses, because it’s not your friend’s responsibility to pay for his water usage and food. Or if, unlike your friend, you absolutely positively must have all the sports channels EVER, OF ALL TIME, don’t expect your friend to pitch in for paying for them. Even if she joins you for a game from time to time.
DO stock up on awesome treats for when you both just want to get home and marathon a show
You might think this one’s optional, but it isn’t. You guys need some cookies, popcorn, and I think you’re out of ice cream drumsticks. Nothing brings people together like sweet treats. Thank me later.
DO bring up issues in a timely manner
So there’s hair in the drain or she keeps leaving her shoes out where you keep tripping on them. Instead of brushing it off but then watching to see if she does anything about it on her own, just tell her! Say, “Oh, hey boo, you left some hair in the drain. You mind taking it out?” And if she’s just as awesome as you are, she’ll totally appreciate the honesty and make sure not to do it again. And you’ll live happily ever after.
DON’T let the issues get out of hand
Ok, so you didn’t say anything about the hair right away. I dunno, I mean, I feel like you’re just not listening to me. But whatever. Moving on. So the hair keeps popping up every day (assuming she showers regularly. If not, then, uh, you might have bigger issues at play here) and you feel a little knot of resentment growing as you wonder, “Why doesn’t she pick it up?” “Does she expect me to do it?” ” Does she hate me?” “I think she hates me.” “DAMN IT I HATE HER TOO THEN.” See how that escalated? No one wants that. If it’s too late to nip it in the bud, just talk about whatever’s bothering you before it absolutely blows up in your face (which it definitely will).
DON’T treat the common areas like an extension of your room
There should be a clear divide between what’s ok in your private space and what’s ok in the common areas. A little clutter is probably fine, you’re not robots (right?), but if your clothes wander out onto the living room floor or your accessories are all over the kitchen table all the time, please remember that you’re sharing this space with someone else and she might not want to come home to a pile of dirty socks by the couch.
DON’T forget the pet peeves
Pet peeves are the bane of my existence. I wish I didn’t have any, because then my blood pressure would probably return to normal and I’d stop rage-breaking all my phones, but unfortunately, they’re a fact of life. For some inexplicable reason (or maybe explicable, I don’t know, I’m not a scientist), everyone has these seemingly minor things that cause them massive amounts of internal rage-pain (that seems accurate). For me? It’s when people smack their lips when they eat. Makes me want to smack the lips right off the offender. Makes my skin rise up in an army of angry goosebumps and I grind my teeth and glare at the offender until they’re too uncomfortable to eat in the same space as me.
So, if you already live together, try to keep these things in mind and avoid unnecessarily irritating your pal. If you don’t live together yet, consider whether either of you have any of these pet peeves and whether they are going to be too much to handle.
We all have mornings (I use that term loosely) when we just want to roll out of bed at 1p.m., pop open a beer, and finish off the salami platter from last night for “breakfast.” Or when the only reasonable thing to do is stay in your pajamas, watch Game of Thrones, and avoid sunlight. Try not to judge your friend for doing what she needs to every once in a while, because we all have stuff going on–maybe a low point, maybe sleep deprivation, maybe a hangover–when we just need to tone down all this “functioning human adult” business. And if we can’t do it at home, then where?
DON’T forget to care
One of the best things about living with a friend is that they’ll be more to you than just the other half of the rent. You get the benefit of having a person that loves you and cares about you around all the time. Don’t forget to care back: to take care of her if she’s sick (and her mom’s not around. No one substitutes a mom), to listen to her problems the way you would if you didn’t live together, and to help her out from time to time.
DON’T forget to cook each other dinner once in a while and catch up
Yeah, also not optional. Go ahead and roast some corn dogs on the open fire and share a pitcher of ale as you vent about the woes of the week and remind yourselves why living with your best friend is the best thing ever.