Choosing to live with your best friend might seem like a total win all around. After all, you already text each other 97 times a day and have practically everything in common, so living together simply makes sense…right? Unfortunately, living with your bestie can actually spell disaster, causing even the tightest of friendships to unravel in the most painful of ways.
Of course, rooming with your BFF can also be the best, but it will only work if you two have direct and clear communication long before you sign that lease together.
Here are all the questions you and your BFF should ask before deciding to be roommates to keep your friendship firmly in tact.
1Who pays for what and how?
Talking about money is never easy, even with your closest pal, but it’s an absolutely crucial part of living with a roommate. Sure, deciding to be roomies will likely save you money in the long run (hello, living alone is not cheap!) but you still need to clearly spell out which roommate will pay for which items. Who will take the electricity bill, the cable/internet bill, and any other utilities? Who is in charge of paying the rent each month? How will you transfer money to each other for your halves of everything? Making an easy-to-follow budget sheet will help manage the month-to-month expenses so there’s no confusion on who pays for what.
2What’s everyone’s food deal?
We all have to eat, but living with a roommate (even if they are your BFF!) can present some sticky situations most of us might never even think about. Maybe one or both of you has certain dietary needs or preferences, all of which should be discussed long before moving in.
Maybe you’re the type that enjoys planning out meals for the week, while your pal prefers to grab takeout most nights. Either way, figuring out each other’s food preferences in advance will make things less stressful once the boxes are cleared and you begin settling in to your new home.
3What’s mine: Is it really also yours?
Nothing is worse than finding out that your roommate has taken something of yours without asking or drank the last of your expensive AF organic almond milk. It’s definitely a good idea to make clear what is up for grabs in your apartment and what isn’t. Sure, it might seem fun to now have access to your BFF’s entire wardrobe or her super cool gadgets, but it’s better to know what is off-limits in your fridge, your closet, and everywhere else to avoid confusion on who shares what.
4How will we keep things clean?
Living with someone is a true test of your relationship with them, and your BFF is no exception to this. No matter how much of a neat freak you are (or how much of a slob), when you’re sharing a space with someone else, you need to be mindful of their comfort and keep things tidy. So how will you handle the housekeeping of your new space?
You can pick a day and time each week that works for both of you where you can tackle the cleaning together, or you can switch on and off so that one person cleans every other week. But even with an arrangement that fits both schedules, you must be respectful of the other person’s space. Your bestie shouldn’t have to clean up your half-empty water bottles from the coffee table. She is not your mother.
5How will we handle parties?
Sure, it’s tons of fun to christen your new abode by bringing the crew over, but having all-night ragers is something that most people don’t particularly enjoy once they’re on that full-time grind. Before you sign on the dotted line, you should set clear expectations about throwing parties in your pad. It’s a quick talk and a very important way to avoid any awkward encounters when it’s 2am, you have to be up for work in a few hours, and your BFF is on her third round of strip poker in the living room.
6What are your expectations on having other people spend the night?
Putting a sock on the door to signify you needed some ~alone time~ might have worked in college, but when you’re an adult, you’ve got to be honest with your roommate about visits from your significant other. It’s totally fine to bring your S.O. over for dinner or a Netflix night now and again, but if your roommate’s partner is around so often that he or she is in a group chat with your neighbors, you’ll be wishing you set boundaries long before you even packed that first box.
You should each set expectations that work for both of you. For example, maybe visits are fine on weekend nights but not during the work week? Maybe overnight visits are fine as long as they’re gone by a certain time each morning? Either way, you should always be respectful of your BFF when you’ve got your partner over, so we’d highly recommend skipping the all-night long, headboard-banging romp sessions when she’s home and trying to sleep.
Since you’re already best friends, you’re likely well aware of your bestie’s adorable four-legged friends, but it’s still worth clearing the air before you agree to become roommates. Whether your idea of a pet is of the standard variety (kitties and puppies, please!) or you’re more of a fan of, let’s say, less traditional companions like a lizard or a hamster, you must check with your new roommate before bringing another living being into your newly shared space. Some people are allergic to certain animals or simply don’t care to have a pet running around, and some buildings have strict rules about furry friends. While we’re on the topic, it’s also not your roommate’s job to pick up after your dog, no matter how cute and cuddly he is.
Asking these questions might make things awkward at first, but they will no doubt save you from arguments or issues that could potentially wreck your friendship, which would be devastating. Being honest and upfront from the get go about your living expectations and preferences will help ensure that the transition from BFF to roommate is a smooth one. Have the big convo with a glass of wine and some snacks, and remember that open communication is key to making any living situation work.