(photo by Katie Treadway https://unsplash.com/@katietreadway)
After you decide that you want to room with someone, the logical next step is to pick a roommate that is close to you, someone that you already get along with. You have made close friends in the dorms and you imagine would make ideal roommates for when you move off campus into your own place. But do good friends really make good roommates? Here are three ways to maintain your friendship when you become roommates:
1. Ground Rules
Even though you two are friends, it’s important that you lay down some rules. You don’t necessarily have to write down a roommate agreement but it is still important to decide how rent is going to be paid (one person pays and the other pays the person back, or both pay straight to landlord), whether significant others are allowed to stay at the apartment for extended periods of time, whether you have quiet time after a certain time of night, etc. These rules help quell disagreements later on.
2. Be Honest and Forthcoming
Honesty is incredibly important in roommate relationships. Though you might not want to tell your roommate that it is their turn to do the dishes, it’s better to be honest with them and let them know than hold that thought in and get angry (or leave a passive aggressive sticky note). If you’re having a problem, it’s important to just be honest.
Talking about chores, money, cleanliness and other difficult topics may be difficult, especially with someone whose relationship you want to maintain.
However, these conversations need to happen, and if you feel that at no point would you want to talk about these things with your roommate, maybe that person isn't a good person to room with.
3. Do Friend Things
It’s important to remember that you were friends first and roommates second. Make sure that you take time to hang out with your roommate: go to the movies, go out to a bar, grab ice cream, play video games, do something fun and engaging. Maintain the friendship that you two cultivated before you became roommates and make sure to not let being roommates crumble the friendship that you two have built together.