I’ve known my best friend Ashlyn for about 14 years now. We met in kindergarten on the bus and have been steadfast friends ever since. Going to the same college after high school was never the plan, and I had actually accepted at the beginning of senior year that it would be the last year I’d get to see my best friend almost everyday. I had already chosen to go to Morningside College the next fall, and Ashlyn was undecided. Her top three picks were nowhere near Sioux City, so we joked that we would have to Skype every night to keep in touch.
I told her that she should visit Morningside, just to get the feel of what a college visit was like, and if she didn’t like it then at least she got out of going to school for the day. Well, she visited Morningside and ended up liking a lot more than she thought. She applied and was accepted and now we live together!
The first year, I was a little apprehensive considering everything you hear about people hating their roommates and the horror stories of friendships falling out due to the stress of living together. Ashlyn wasn’t concerned however. We were basically like sisters and knew everything about each other. She was confident that if we had a problem that we’d be able to talk to each other about it and fix it. And while she was mostly right, there were times when we did kind of get on each other’s nerves.
Not every friendship is perfect, so if you’re going to move in with your best friend and want to remain friends, here are some tips.
Respect each other’s space.
Living with your best friend can be like having a sleep over every night of the year, which is great, but sometimes you can get a little worn out and want some alone time. Living in a dorm made this a little bit harder for Ashlyn and me, but we made it work. Around about 8, we were both in bed and watching our own Netflix shows. Occasionally, Ashlyn would Skype her boyfriend, and I would put in my ear buds and listen to music or just ignore the conversation completely.
Communication in these cases are key. Ash would give me a heads up like, “Hey, I have a bio test that I have to study for tonight.” I knew then that I shouldn’t really be doing anything too noisy in the room or have anybody over.
Talk about your problems.
Another big part of the communication is being able to confront your roommate about what is bothering you. If Ashlyn didn’t like that I was leaving my shoes everywhere, she told me. If I didn’t appreciate Ash’s coats on my chair, I told her. You don’t have to be angry when you confront them, actually you should be understanding and maybe even ask why they are doing what they’re doing. A lot of times, the other person doesn’t even realize what their doing, and you telling them helps them fix the problem that they didn’t know existed.
Spend time away from each other.
As much as I love Ashlyn, I know that I can be a little annoying at times. Spending time with my other friends on campus really gave Ashlyn and I a break from each other when things got tense.
Even though we live in the same hometown, we didn’t see each other at all during our holiday breaks. In that time away from each other, we actually started missing each other, and we were so excited and happy when we got back to college and our dorm. Our brains got a nice detox of each other, and we were a lot calmer when it came to problems.
If you’re quick to anger, be slow to speak.
No one ever says the best things when they are angry. If you don’t want to ruin your friendship (or any relationship for that matter), wait until you are calmed down to talk to your roommate about something that they did that made you angry. Trust me, it’s way more effective and less damaging.
Remember why you’re friends.
When things get bad, and I mean bad, it’s important to remember why you are friends with this person in the first place. Also try and think of your life without your friend being a part of it. This will help put your situation into perspective. If they mean as much to you as you say they do, then you’re going to have to work to make things better.
This is something we learn at an early age but forget about along the way. Maybe the best way to make things work is for both of you to give something up. Compromises make living with someone work and help relieve the tension.
Whether you’re living with your best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, or just some other roommate, hopefully these tips will help save your relationships in times of stress and anger.