Should I Live With My Best Friend? 13 BFFs Who Are Roommates, And How They Make It Work
If you're looking to move into a new place, you may wonder: Can best friends be roommates? After all, when you're looking for a roommate, why not live with a friend? You probably know them a lot better than an internet stranger from Craigslist, right? Even though not everyone has good luck when living with a friend, some best friends are roommates and make it work. "When moving in with your BFF, know that things can be different," Shirani M. Pathak, founder of the Center for Soulful Relationships, tells Bustle. "You'll get an opportunity to see up close and in person quirks your BFF has that you never knew about before."
When it actually comes time to sign a lease with your BFF, Pathak suggests some things to keep in mind to make living together go as smoothly as possible. "First, sure, your BFF is great in the spurts that you get to spend time with them, but living with them is a whole new ballgame, so don't have unrealistic expectations. Go into it with an attitude of openness and no expectations, just like if you were to move in with a stranger," she says. "Second, recognize they will have quirks you never knew about. Remember they are human, and take it as an opportunity to keep learning about them. Third, keep the lines of communication open and bring up any difficult conversations with 'I' statements — 'I feel,' 'I see,' 'I notice,' etc. Then, share the behavior you notice and what it brings up for you. Such as, 'I notice when you have other friends over, you guys leave dishes around the house, and then I feel our space isn't being respected.' Keeping the lines of communication open also leads to less resentments because you are choosing to talk about what's going on, rather than letting it brew and fester."
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I definitely agree with Pathak's tips, especially how talking things out with your BFF-turned-roommate is the way to go. But what are other ways BFFs who live together make it work? Below, millennial BFF roommates give the DL.
1. Genevieve, 23
"I live with my best friend from high school in San Francisco. After high school, we went on to different universities and graduated in May 2016 before moving to the city together in January 2017. At first, it was very exciting and fun to be reunited after both moving away from California, but then reality set in. We have to budget and clean and work — we also recently adopted a puppy and my boyfriend has temporarily moved in. So, needless to say, we've run into our fair share of tense moments. Some of the best advice I would share with other friends planning to live together is to over-communicate. If something annoys you or if you know you have particular expectations ahead of the move-in, express your feelings. In addition to that, take a breather before bringing it up — don't rush into a conversation while still heated. And, finally, I think it's important to remember you are both young people just trying to figure life out and it's important to be attentive to one another and in tune with each other and have compassion."
2. Danielle, 24
"My roommate of two years has been my best friend since I was 15 years old. Being friends for this long has taught us how to resolve conflicts as friends, but as roommates, it has definitely been a learning experience. My number one tip to any friends who decide to live as roommates is to address issues in real time. You want your living environment to be comfortable and safe, so if you happen to have an issue with your roommate, address it right away rather than letting it fester. It's important to practice communication, or else problems will build it and become harder to resolve if you avoid them for too long. It's also important to remember that just because you're friends and roommates, doesn't mean you have to do everything together. It's healthy to take time apart from each other or else you can become too dependent on one another."
3. Sarah, 29
"I've been living with my best friend and coworker for a year now. We both moved from Canada to work in PR and live in a tiny apartment — a closet, really — in Chinatown, NYC. The reason why it has worked out so well, in my opinion, is that we see our cohabitation more like a sisterhood than a friendship. Sisters are way more open and direct than even the bestest of friends — they don't judge, and accept their differences. They don't compete for the other's attention, they just 'are.' Does that make sense? As 'sisters,' eyebrows are not easily raised in our apartment. We've seen each other half-naked a thousand times, we leave our bedroom doors open in the summer since we only have one AC unit, and we wholeheartedly accept one another for who they are. And we're sick of each other, one of us goes back home to Montreal to catch a break. :) While my best friend/roomie/coworker and I both have real sisters in life, I strongly believe that our funny kind of sisterhood is quite unique. It feels like family and, as such, we can put aside the drama of friendship and just focus on being there for each other, no matter what."
4. Brenda, 24
"My roommate and I have made it through six years of living together (sharing a room for two of those years!), while still remaining best friends. The most important thing about learning how to live with your best friend is getting to know their habits, and accepting the fact that these habits are most likely going to be different than yours (some may be polar opposite!). Learning how to communicate with one another, avoid being passive-aggressive, and not taking anything too personally is key. One roommate is bound to be more clean than the other, so don't be afraid to speak up and figure out what type of household cleaning you each prefer to do. In terms of maintaining your friendship, plan fun roommate 'dates,' whether it involves staying in for pizza, wine and a movie, or treating yourselves to a bougie dinner out. We often switch off between the two and still manage to have the most fun when it's just her and I hanging out. We are both lucky enough to have our families living about an hour away, and take weekend trips together to visit and hangout with them all. Our lives are extremely intertwined on many levels, and we wouldn't have it any other way!"
5. Ellie, 25
"My roommate, Brittany, and I are besties, and we have been living together for the last 3+ years (since we met on Craigslist after college!!!!). We've been through three apartments — lived in a 4-bed, a 6-bed (with more Craigslist roomies…), and now a 3-bed. We are definitely opposites (I'm laid back, she's very routine and organized, I eat Flamin' Hots while she works out, etc.), but I think we accept and recognize these traits about each other. We watch The Bachelor/The Bachelorette every Monday with our other roomie (our close friend Katie), to have a set time to catch up and gossip. I think to get past the 'annoying' roomie drama, we are all good about Venmo'ing each other when someone picks up cleaning supplies/toilet paper, picking up after ourselves, etc. I also think knowing when the other person wants to be left alone is key, e,g., if their door is shut, not bothering them. Lastly, Britt and I share one tiny bathroom, so we told each other the set times we each need to be in the bathroom to avoid any morning crankiness. :)"
6. Heather, 25
"I live with my best friend from college. We just renewed our lease for a second year in Brooklyn, NYC. I think it's important to have a roommate whose personality matches yours. We are both neat, but not overly so, and we are very considerate of others when it comes to having guests over. Tip #1: Make sure your schedules work well together before moving in. We share a bathroom. We communicated our work schedules with each other early on and are always considerate of notifying each other if there will be a change. I often leave before she goes to work, so neither of us has a hard time getting in the shower in the morning. If she has to get up earlier, she lets me know in advance. Tip #2: It pays to be on the same page when it comes to relationships. We are both single right now, and when either of us is dating, we clearly communicate the ground rules for when to have guests over and try to give each other advance notice if we will have a visitor. Tip #3: Conflict is hard to manage, but it's easier with a friend. My roommate's alarm used to go off when she was in the shower, and it would go for 10 minutes at a time. Finally, I asked her politely if she could turn it off before showering so that I didn't have to listen to it. Don't wait till something is a big issue; address it early to avoid things blowing up. Tip #4: Do things outside the apartment. We make a point of going out for drinks every now and then. It helps keep our friendship so that we aren't always cooped up inside the apartment and get some quality time together in another setting."
7. Kaycee, 29
"I lived with my best friend, Sarah, when we were both 19 during college, then again after college when we were 24, 25, and 26. We have been best friends since elementary school and were probably overly involved in each other's lives. But, ultimately, that made us work as roommates. We knew how much we both took home with each paycheck and how much money was in the other person's bank account. Talking about money was never uncomfortable, because we were so close. It's the kind of conversation I could have with my best friend, but probably wouldn't with a stranger roommate. It also helped that we rented a property that we could both afford, and I trusted her to pay her bills and share of the rent and utilities each month, as much as she knew I would pay mine. As friends, we could boss each other around to make sure we each held up our end of making our home the best place to live — pay the bills, keep it clean, keep good company, and talk to each other. Knowing each other so well worked in our favor, and helped give the unspoken excuse as to why a shared chore wasn't complete just yet (a breakup, a bad day, an emergency — they never needed to be explained). I would leave half-drunk cups of coffee around the house, and she would take the toothpaste out of my bathroom if she ever ran out of her stash. We each had our own lifestyle quirks, but since nothing was too extreme, it made for a peaceful living agreement. Ultimately, we both needed each other."
8. Peyton, 27
"My last roommate was, and still is, a dear friend of mine. We didn't know each other before moving in together, but we just happened to be well-matched. We both lived in the same city before moving to L.A. and we shared a lot of common interests. It truly was a match made in Heaven. Most of the time, it's just the luck of the draw. If you aren't well-matched with your roommate, I suggest just sucking it up. Be an adult first and foremost, and everything will be OK. If I could go back in time, I would go with the flow, and I wouldn't obsess about my roommate's quirks or differences in communicating. Everyone is different, and we're all trying. As long as your roommate isn't doing anything egregious, unsafe, or exceptionally rude, then there's really no reason to fight over the small stuff. Use your energy towards something more productive — energy is fleeting and precious."
9. Amanda, 28
"I currently live with my best friend from college. We've known each other for years, but it's not necessarily the time we've known each other as much as our lifestyle similarities that makes us great roommates. We both really, really value living healthy — but fun — lives, and are constantly coming up with ways to do things together that support our lifestyles. When either of us need a couch and wine night, the other is there without question. We have so much fun together. We both use our Instagram accounts as a source of passive income and as creative outlets, and it's become such a fun source of bonding for us. Her account, @itscalledbalance, features healthy, tasty meals, and my yoga account, @thefeistyyogi, features lifestyle motivation, yoga tips, etc. Not only does living together help us brainstorm new content (whether it's new recipes or a new yoga sequence), but living with your BFF means you have your own personal hype girl behind the camera! We both motivate each other to share our passions with our communities — and it never hurts to have your roomie/personal cheerleader by your side! We're also both super-honest and balanced with our relationship. If she cooks, I clean. If someone's stuff is in the laundry machine, the other one will turn it on. We just take care of each other! I could go on, because we're really quite obsessed with each other..."
10. Sophie, 26
"I live with two Ashleys, and one is my cousin. My cousin and I have been best friends since day one. I am 11 months older than her and we have the same exact sense of humor. A couple months ago, my bestie Ashley moved in with us. Prior to moving in, I was freaked out that living together would ruin our friendship. I knew she was meticulous and I knew I was far from it… Regardless, the lease was signed and we had to move in together. First things first, we are honest, straight-up with one another and don't beat around the bush. Secondly, we are considerate of each other's spaces. She is meticulous and doesn't like any dishes in the sink, and so I NEVER leave dishes, spoons, pots or defrost chicken in the sink! We also have relatively the same work schedule and both go to the gym after work, so we don't see each other until 8-9 at night. She normally cooks dinner at that time, and I'll follow. We have it down pat! For instance, if she's grilling up some chicken in a pan that I need to use to cook my dinner, she will wash it off after and hand it off to me. Now that's teamwork! Then I get to cooking while she enjoys her very healthy dinner. We also share the same friends, another thing that freaked me out before moving in. But I also have my own friends in the area (Hoboken) that I invite over often. She has clicked with them and now considers them her friends, too! So, all in all, respect each other's spaces, be considerate, share friends, and also share pots and pans."
11. Michelle, 30
"I've lived with my best friend for five years now and it's been a great living situation the entire time. We both moved to the city after a few years at home and we were both newly single — so we were completely on the same page. I think when you live with a BFF, you have to treat them like family almost and address anything that comes up but also let things go. Our personalities, how we grew up, and living styles mesh well together too. We're both pretty laid back and respectful of each other. Neither of us are messy but we're also not neat freaks/rigid, so I think because we pick up after ourselves and communicate we've avoided arguments or getting sick of each other. Not only do we live together, but we hang out together on the weekends and travel together."
12. Myreete, 26
"Just layer on the opportunities for a reality TV show: Dr. Dre, aka my best friend Andrea, and I are not only best friends who live together, but we also work at competing PR firms. We met in college at Alabama and now live together in Chicago — actually, I just bought a condo here and she is my awesome tenant. Our birthdays are two years and one day apart! What are our tips for making it work? We have a few. 1) Faith. We both take our faith process differently, but we find the most harmony when we are both immersed in the Word. We were actually just baptized together in July and got tattoos last Sunday as a reminder of what we are living for. 2) Personal Passions. When we focus on what moves us most, we thrive. Andrea is working to become a small group leader, and I focus on my young professionals boards. When events happen, we get amped up to support the other in obnoxious, kind ways. 3) Safe Word. When we are in a disagreement and the discussion is not positive nor helpful, we yell the word 'Patricia' and we walk away until we've calmed down. Not only is 'Patricia' funny (stemming from this Vine), but it just serves as a reminder that little issues don't matter in the grand scheme of things. 4) Singing. When Dre is upset, some MIKA's Grace Kelly Karaoke always does the trick."
13. Tiffany, 23
"When I graduated college two years ago, I was wanting to move to a new city — but was always so terrified of finding a roommate that I didn't get along with. I couldn't afford an apartment on my own, and was #blessed beyond belief because I had lived in my sorority house for three years with 52 of my best friends. It ended up working out that two girls I was very close with wanted to move to the same city — so we packed up and got an apartment in the downtown area together. Being in a new city, we became instant best friends because we didn't know anyone; we only had each other. Not only were we in a new place, but we experienced essentially growing up together — and, by that, I mean figuring out this whole 'adulting' thing — which, as we all know, somewhat sucks! We rarely ever get in any fights because we're all used to living with 52 other girls, so two is a huge downsize. But if we do, we realized the trick for success is to just be transparent with each other. If there are too many dirty dishes, we call each other out; if we steal each other's food, we'll replace it; if the air is on too low, we tell each other to deal with it so our bill isn't high AF. Honesty is the key in both a living situation and a friendship — which are two things that we all share. My roommates, Sarah and Arianna, started as my sorority friends, turned out to be my roommates, grew to be my best friends and, now, they've become my family."
OK, I bet you can relate to some of the tips above for having a best friend turn into a roommate, while keeping them as your best friend If not, there are more than enough tips above if you decide to take the BFF roommate plunge.
Psst! Download CNBC Make It x Bustle's roommate contract and never fight over things like whose turn it is to buy toilet paper ever again.