Once again, it’s a Monday night in the little dorm room we call home. The ‘we’ of course, being my best friend/roommate and I. The scene is the same every week, I have an assignment due promptly at midnight, and she is prancing around keeping me delightfully distracted. And as though a light bulb had flashed above my head, I sprinted from my kitchen to my computer in one foul swoop. Considering these dorms are the size of a shoe box, it was really more of a half-skip-half-leap, but it was a speedy motion all the same, the inspiration for my assignment burning in my brain. The final post on my blog centered around living with best friend should be my testament as to why friends as roommates are better than strangers. Living with someone you love is not always easy, but long term, it’s more comfortable than living with someone you don’t. With a best friend, you already know one another, you know you’re safe, you can speak your mind and there is a level of privacy unachievable with a stranger.
Whenever you share a space with someone, there are many different levels of comfort that are missing from when you live alone. Strangers are entirely new beings you’ve never encountered before. What if they don’t like the same music as you? What if they think you’re kooky way of lining the cereal boxes up in descending order is stupid? When you live with someone you know very well, the element of surprise is usually lacking. Although sometimes it’s impossible to know everything, with best friends, you know the majority of what is going on under the surface. I know how my roommate’s brain works, the same way she knows how mine does. Being aware of exactly what you’re getting into is very beneficial when looking for a roommate. Last year, I lived with a stranger who turned out to be…difficult, making my living situation less than desirable. I know the aspects of my roommate that didn’t match mine, and knowing what you’re getting yourself into is half the battle of choosing a co-habitant.
As soon as you’re on your own, it becomes abundantly clear there is no adult who’s constantly reminding you the world is not as innocent a place as you think it is. I lived in my own little bubble before I moved out, the knowledge that my parents were always right down the hall left me with little to fear. Within my first week of living alone last year, a fist fight broke out across the hall from me. A girl had brought home a stranger from the bar, and he’d begun getting aggressive and loud. Locked behind my door, peering through the peep hole I saw the entire situation unfold; once the boy had been escorted off the property, the real battle begun. The two girls that lived there screamed for hours about how one of them had jeopardized the safety of the other. Living with your best friend gives a sense of comfort, you know the kind of people a friend would bring home, and they’re likely to think about you before doing so. Also, a stranger them self could be a little on the dangerous side, as well as the safety of your belongings and personal items.
Often time’s people think that when two friends live together, expressing your needs can be difficult, as you don’t want to risk hindering your friendship. However I’ve found when living with a stranger, it is far more difficult to approach a subject that needs attention. When young people live together, cleanliness is often a factor. Who didn’t do the dishes, whose turn it was to vacuum, it was your turn to take the garbage out, and things of that nature. When I lived with a stranger who never cleaned up after herself, I never approached the subject of her mouldy dishes with her, as I didn’t want to insult her and feel awkward in my own home. On more than one occasion I wound up washing them for her, with not a word of thanks. Now that I live with my best friend, the task of dishes is divided among us and neither has a problem mentioning that we’ve fallen behind. It is easier to discuss an issue calmly with a friend, usually you know they’re coming from a place of love and mean nothing big by it. With a person you’re not very familiar with, it is hard to anticipate their reaction.
Another assumption is that with a friend you lose your privacy more so than a stranger. I’ve learned with a friend, it can be much easier to say “hey, get out of the living room, I need to watch this show alone” than with someone who you’re not close with. When you live with someone you don’t know very well, the house is really just a space you share, not a home for the two of you. The bathroom needs to be split evenly, and all the stuff that in there is out in the open for someone you’re not comfortable with to see. Being uncomfortable with someone makes it feel as though you are guest position within a shared space. Living with a friend generally means you’re not hiding much from them, but also that they respect you enough to leave the things you say are private that way.
Two years ago, I moved out of my parent’s house and into a place with another girl. The first time around a stranger, and this time my best friend. I can tell you exactly how this mundane Monday night would have ended last year. I would post my blog, sit in my room turning the volume on my iPod up louder, painfully aware that my roommate sat on the other side of this wall, playing her terrible music at full blast, making dreadful smelling food and yapping as loud as humanly possible on the phone. This year? I’ll finish, leap out from behind my desk, and tell my best friend she once again had inadvertently saved my blog. Living with her I feel comfortable, safe, I know I can express my needs and I’ve never had as much privacy as I do now. Living with my best friend has changed the way I look at living with another person, and next year; I’ll live with her again without a second thought.