Don't Make Assumptions
A bad living situation can disrupt an otherwise peaceful life, and more often than not, a bad roommate can be a major factor in such a situation. Deciding who to live with is an important decision, and it's often assumed that living with people you already know and like negates any potential for a bad roommate situation.
It seems like a reasonable assumption. You get along with your friends so well, and spend so much time together. Living together will be easy! Plus, it will save time spent traveling to each other's houses. Unfortunately, living with friends isn't always a dream come true. Sometimes, living together can irreparably damage, and even end, friendships that were otherwise very strong.
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Bad Roommates, Good Friends
The fact of living with others is that you're bound to disagree with and annoy each other from time to time. In some cases, these issues are relatively minor, and can be ignored or dealt with. But sometimes, serious conflicts arise between roommates. Maybe one person's standards of cleanliness are so low that it becomes unbearable for the other housemates. Or perhaps each roommate's different schedules and social priorities lead to tension over noise and privacy issues.
This is why it isn't such a great idea to assume that living with friends will work out well. Getting along with someone outside of cohabitation is entirely different than getting along with that same person when you find out they don't pay rent on time or clean up after themselves. With a stranger or distant acquaintance, cohabitation doesn't come with the same stakes that it does with a friendship. Bad roommate situations are always stressful, and adding the stress of a damaged friendship on top of preexisting turmoil can make a bad situation even worse.
What to Think About
Of course, living with friends isn't necessarily a terrible idea. If your living styles are compatible, it can be a great situation. It's difficult to predict whether living with a friend will end up being a good or bad thing, but you can take a practical approach to assessing the situation before committing to anything. Here are a few points to consider:
- Do you have similar schedules?
- Are your standards of cleanliness the same?
- Does your friend have a history of getting evicted or kicked out by landlords or roommates?
- Do you feel comfortable confronting this friend about problems?
- Does this friend respect your space and personal belongings? Or do they assume what is yours is also theirs?
- Is there any history of tension in your friendship? Do you have any unresolved issues that might come up if problems relating to your home life boil over?
- Can your friend afford rent and utilities?
- Is your friend responsible and on-time with rent and bills?
You might think that the similarities between you and your friends will lead to a harmonious living situation, but that's not necessarily true.