College is a unique time. You’re free from the limits imposed by your parents, able to eat essentially whatever you want and ready to experience new things. You also are swept back into sharing a room with someone else. Now, you live in a shared space and are starting to get flashbacks to sharing a room with your sister at five years old. What’s even worse is most of the time you have no idea who this person is going to be. You’re now in the awkward situation of learning all of their best and worst habits without really knowing them.
This gets better after your first year though because then you can choose who you live with. Many people will tell you not to live with someone you’re close with— the friction imposed by living together can put strain on (or even break) a friendship. But it can also strengthen one. While I wouldn’t recommend living with someone that you spend all day with in classes (because what are you going to talk about if you’re with each other all day?), you can definitely live with one of your best friends and still leave the year with your friendship intact. So, here’s five ways that living with your best friend can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make (with some advice sprinkled in).
1. Automatic Time Together
Long gone are the days of you and your bestie struggling to find time to be together; you now have automatic time together by living together. After a long and hard day of classes, work and other activities, you can both come together to connect and share the highs and lows of your day. Impromptu wine nights, watching movies during finals week and late night shenanigans will now dot your semester and give you countless memories for years to come. While I wouldn’t recommend only spending time together in your room, it’s definitely a huge perk that you don’t really need to plan time to hang out.
2. Built-in Support System
Remember how you don’t have to plan time together? Well there’s more than just one upside to that. Now that you come home to each other every night, you can not only talk about all the great parts of your day but also the horrible parts. You have someone who can support you through the rollercoaster ride that is college and young adulthood and you get to support your best friend through it all too. You don’t have to rush to your bestie’s place at 3:00 a.m., weathering cold temperatures in the process; you can just walk the five feet to their side of the room. It’s a huge win-win.
3. You’ll Strengthen Your Friendship
As mentioned before, the process of living with your best friend will not be all rainbows and unicorns. There will be trouble and there will be friction. The two of you might disagree on how to spend your night. One of you may say something stupid and hurt the other’s feelings.
While these times suck, they don’t mean your friendship is doomed to fail. Frankly, every long-lasting relationship goes through growing pains, whether that’s with a friend or significant other. And because you’ll grow and change as individuals, your friendship must grow and change with you in order for it to stay alive. It’s not fun but it is necessary. So, just hang in there, communicate with each other and find ways to relate and have fun throughout the process. It’ll be okay, I promise.
4. You’ll Learn About Yourself
Apart from learning even more about your best friend, you’ll actually learn a lot about yourself: how you handle conflict, how selfless you are and how you communicate are just a few things. You’ll learn about your best and worst habits when it comes to your friendships and you’ll notice the many ways in which you grow and change throughout the year. It’s an eye-opening time, full of memories and life lessons and it shows you the things you can improve on. It’s one of those pivotal times in your life, illustrating why your parents tell you that college is a time like no other.
5. Practice for the Future
When you live with your best friend you inevitably become closer with them. Sometimes you get so close that you start bickering like an old married couple. This is what happened with me and my best friend/roommate. We would bicker about who had to turn the volume down on the TV when neither of us were close to the remote. We would argue about the temperature of the room. Our parents would call and hear us squabbling and comment on how we sounded married. It was a weird time but we laughed it off every time.
It was almost refreshing to be able to quarrel with someone and know that it wasn’t going to ruin the friendship. In all seriousness, married life is obviously much harder (at least from what I hear) but it was a fun thing to joke about between the two of us. Not to mention, we also discovered how to compromise with each other. We learned how to share the cleaning and wash our own dishes so the other person wouldn’t have to. It probably prepared both of us for life after graduation more than we thought it would.
While living with a roommate can seem like a drag at first, it’s actually not so bad. It can actually be a really nice experience, especially if you live with your best friend. The built-in time together and support system is a huge win-win for the both of you and you get all the added benefits of a stronger friendship, practicing for the future and learning about yourself. It’s an interesting time full of growth, but a great one nonetheless.