A lot of people are amazed that we lived together for so long and never once wanted to [seriously] kill each other. I’ve heard horror stories of never speaking to friends again after living with each other, so the fact that we not only came out the other side, but are closer than we were before is quite a feat I’d say. So today, in honor of our milestone, I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts on successfully living with your besties.
First, I think it’s important to know a few details of our background. Mary Beth, Meagan and I met in high school. When I went to school in Chicago for college, they stayed in Arkansas to attend the University of Arkansas together. Through four years of living apart, we remained close. When I moved back and got a job, we decided to take the plunge and live together. A dream come true for us! We quickly learned how to live with each other—who’s the cleanest (Meagan), who likes her private time (me) and who is the most easy going (Mary Beth).
Here’s what I would say to friends who want to live together… you have to be really open and communicative. You also have to know that your friendship will always, no matter what, come first. Not being friends isn’t an option for us. So we weren’t going to let stupid things like stealing each others clothes and cleanliness effect our relationship at the end of the day. We may get annoyed and mad at each other, but once we process those emotions, they’re gone. Out the window and won’t affect our friendship in the future. You can’t hold grudges for small things. And keeping in mind that in the end your friendship is the only thing that matters helps. It’s not who took out the trash the last time or the roommate who hasn’t done dishes in weeks.
You all need to be on the same page as far as cleanliness and rules of cleaning go. Meagan is our resident neat freak and I know she still to this day got annoyed that Mary Beth and I weren’t as concerned with cleaning as her. But here’s my take: Keep your personal spaces as dirty as you want them. But make an effort to help keep common spaces neat. You also can’t be of the mindset of, well I filled the dishwasher last so it’s not my turn. If it’s bugging you—do it. If you have time, do it. Everyone will pitch in when they can, and the house will be orderly. As long as everyone puts in an effort, it will all work out. And if it’s really bothering you, COMMUNICATE. No one can read your mind.
Which leads me to my last point… unless mind reading is a skill you have mastered, you have to understand how to communicate with your roommates. And be warned: confrontation and communication are two different things. If something is bothering you, there is something to be said about the way you approach the subject. Be calm, cool and just casually mention it. If you build it up to a bigger deal than it really should be, people will come at you guns blazing and that’s fun for no one.
I’ll always look back on the fond memories of living together—getting ready on weekends together, downing bottles of wine on random Wednesday nights, baking together and a few things that can’t be mentioned on the internet. Now, as Mary Beth and I start to think about living with someone else, it will be more important than ever to remember these important “rules” to living with friends. So to recap: communicate, be respectful, and remember that your friendship comes first. There will be times when you want to pull each other’s hair out—that’s natural. But in the end, as long as you can still stand to be around each other, that’s all that matters.