11 Life Lessons I've Learned From Living With My Best Friends
For almost my entire life, who I lived with was completely out of my control. As a child, I didn't have a say in whether or not I wanted to share a room with my sister and as a freshman in college, I didn't get to choose who I'd be sharing my dorm room with. But now I live somewhere that's just a 15 minute walk from the heart of Syracuse University's campus, and a 15 second walk from the bedrooms of my best friends. Choosing to live with my best friends was one of the easiest decisions I've ever made, but the actual living part isn't always that easy.
Living with four other people means living with four other sets of beliefs of how things should be done around the house. Once while cooking dinner together, I noticed my roommate Ellen putting butter into the pot of boiling water for our pasta, which, in my humble opinion, is completely wrong. You're supposed to put the butter in right after you drain the pasta and no one can tell me otherwise. Except of course Ellen tried to, which was just not fun for either of us. I still think she's wrong, but hey, at least no one we live with has set pasta on fire (which is more than I can say about some of our other non-roommate friends).
Since living together, my roommates and I have learned a lot about each other, ourselves and life. Some of the things we've learned have been incredibly frustrating, while others have been immensely rewarding. Here's what living with my best friends has taught me about life:
1. Mom Friends Make The World Go Round
I am absolutely not the mom friend in the group. I tried it once when the usual mom friends weren't around. One of my friends was in dire need of a mom friend and based on the peanut butter that ended up getting smeared on his arms, my legs, and the wall, I was incredibly unsuccessful.
But living with a group of my best friends has taught me that some people are just natural leaders and these people make incredible friends. My roommates Ellen and Brianna are the two people in our house that organically became the parental figures my other roommates, Adrianna and Stasia, and I need. They drive us to get groceries, they get us all home safely from our local bar, they somehow make actual plans in the group chat, and they take over organizing the Labor Day BBQ when I forget to make the Facebook invitations. Love your mom friends; they're always there for you when you need them.
2. Menstruation Is A Team Sport
All of my roommates and I are cis women who all experience menstruation. Two of my roommates and I are actually on the exact same cycle due to our birth control pills being lined up. Our other two roommates have already begun syncing their cycles with ours. Stasia likes to claim that this is happening because everyone's estrogen is fighting for dominance and hers is the strongest so we all have to adapt to her cycle. Recent research say that's not actually a thing, but I don't know enough about science to disprove her.
But living with four women who's periods are all at the same time as mine has taught me that we really are all in this together. During my last period, Ellen even drove me to to get a McFlurry. Now that's #feminism (or Ellen just being her killer mom friend self again).
3. People You Love Can Also Deeply Offend You
My roommate Adrianna and I have been best friends since freshman year of college and have lived together ever since. We even shared a room in London when we studied abroad there together and she's coming home with me for Thanksgiving this year.
Adrianna and I love each other, but there's also something about her that deeply offends me to my very core. Adrianna hates cheese. Literally, who hates cheese? Honestly, I can't even talk about this — it makes me so mad. Anyways I still love her which taught me that sometimes people close to you will do things that you don't always agree with; but that doesn't mean you shouldn't still love and accept them for who they are.
4. I'm Not Perfect
I wouldn't consider myself a messy person, but I'm definitely not the neatest person either. I have this habit of leaving things where they don't belong: I leave my backpack on the couch, I sometimes forget to take my laundry out of the dryer and all of my shoes are just sprawled across the front hallway. Ellen's actually moved some of my things back into my room for me while I wasn't home because I left them lying out somewhere they shouldn't have been.
I've learned that I do have some really annoying flaws, but luckily my roommates are also very patient and accepting of them. They taught me that even though I'm not perfect, I don't need to be in order to be loved and respected.
5. Bodies Do Weird Things — And That's OK!
My roommates and I all have very different hair colors, so it's pretty easy to tell whose hair was left in the shower. I'm constantly finding Adrianna's curly purple strands around the house and Brianna has found pieces of my white blonde hair on the floor. Every single one of us has participated in this hair scavenger hunt, which taught me that it's OK if my body does something "gross" because it's something that everyone's body does and it's actually a totally normal part of life that you shouldn't be ashamed about.
6. Conflict Is Unavoidable
When you're sharing a house with four other people, it's inevitable that some sort of issue will arise. It doesn't matter if you're best friends or not — you're going to disagree about something. Conflict is just a part of life. But living with my best friends taught me that when you respect and love each other, you can get through any issue. Sure, dealing with conflict is frustrating and awkward, but you can always work through it, and even become stronger because of it.
7. There's More Than One Solution To Any Problem
All five of us have a slightly different idea of how a dishwasher should be loaded and where things go in the refrigerator. But our dishes are clean and our food isn't going bad, so clearly we're all doing something right — even though we're all doing it differently. As long as our bowls are getting clean, it doesn't really matter which shelf of the dishwasher they were in; this taught me that there's more than one way to get the same results, and my way isn't inherently better than anyone else's.
8. You Need To Speak Up When Something Bothers You
There's nothing that bothers me more than being woken up from a nap because someone decided to come into my room without knocking. I've asked my roommates to start knocking before coming into my room, and they've definitely been working towards respecting my privacy and boundaries.
I also used to pronounce Brianna's name wrong, but because she spoke up about it and pointed out whenever I said it wrong, I've been able to get it right. I've learned that it doesn't ever make you a bad person to speak up about something that bothers you and that the people who love and respect you will actually be glad that you said something.
9. Sometimes You Need To Take A Break
Living with my best friends means that there's always some sort of socializing going on, and while I love hanging out with my friends, I'm also an introvert that needs time alone to recharge. One of my friends and I had #RealTalk about how we haven't had any time recently to just be alone, so we made a pact to both take time this week to hang out with ourselves. There's nothing wrong with needing some space from your friends and I've learned that I shouldn't feel guilty about closing my bedroom door.
10. Life Goes On
One of my roommates said something to me recently that really rubbed me the wrong way. It was a small thing and I know she didn't mean it in the way that I took it, but I still couldn't help getting upset about it. I'll admit that I've even been pretty passive-aggressive towards her since the incident, but I've also been working towards forgiving her and moving on from it. I've learned that in order to have a happy, healthy friendship and living situation, I need to let some things go.
11. Small Moments Can Have A Big Impact
The oldest member in our squad is only feeling 22, so basically all of us are very young and have a lot of life yet to live. While we were finishing a road trip and jamming to Smash Mouth's "All Star", my friend who was driving turned to me and said, "Today is one of the days that we're going to call the good 'ole days when we're old."
I've thought a lot about this and realized that right now really is a special time in my life. After graduation, my four roommates and I will never all live under the same roof ever again. But right now, we're sharing moments that we'll carry with us for the rest of our lives.
Living with my best friends can be difficult and awkward at times, but that's also just how life is. But for now, I'm glad I'm learning from them, because these lessons and memories will stay with me throughout my life.
Images: Courteney Larocca; Giphy