Living with close friends: great idea or total no-no?


It may seem like you’ve hit the jackpot when you and your best friend both are both looking for a new place the same time. Housemate – sorted. Careful though, as you might find that living with a close pal is not all it’s cracked up to be.

To start, from past experience I definitely agree that it pays to think long and hard about who you plan on living with, be it someone you’ve never met before or a best bud.

When it comes to total strangers, the decision can be a bit of a gamble. Either you’ll find that the dynamic works perfectly, or you’ll get to the stage where you dread arriving home to make small talk with someone you really have nothing in common with. Been there, done that. Never again.

Living with friends can be an equally dangerous choice though. A great friendship does not necessarily equal a great living situation. Sure, you’d tell your pal anything, and the two of you could spend hours discussing the merits of Gilmore Girls versus Dawson’s Creek. But it might not be so easy to speak up when your BFF has avoided cleaning the kitchen for six days, or has invited fifteen people back for an after-party on a Tuesday at 3am.

Before moving in together, it can be hugely beneficial to discuss some basic house rules. Four male friends of mine became housemates last year. At the beginning, there was always a huge pile of dishes sitting in the sink any time I visited, which everyone studiously avoided. Now though, they’ve developed a rota system – each time someone does the washing up, they write their name and the date on a piece of paper hanging on the fridge, so that it’s easy to see whose turn it is to get the Marigold gloves on. Sure, it might seem a little OCD to an outsider, but it’s a genius way to avoid awkward conversations and potential tension.

Another key thing to keep in mind is that, no matter how close you are with your future housemate, you’ll still need some time apart. If you’re already in college or at the office together every day, you might not be running home to see more of each other in the evenings. Think back to other times you’ve been in close quarters, even for a few days at a festival, on a holiday or on a project at work. If the two of you got on like a house on fire, that’s definitely a positive sign. If things didn’t go quite as smoothly as you might have liked, perhaps becoming housemates is not the best plan.

Of course, the only way to truly know how well you and your pal will click as housemates is to bite the bullet and sign that lease – because if things work out, you’ll never regret it. There’s nothing like coming home after a crappy day at work to find your bestie waiting with a cup of tea and Netflix lined up for a House of Cards marathon. And no one is better qualified to give you dating advice at 3am than your closest friend.

If you’re in two minds about living together, I'd definitely recommend thinking through the pros and cons, but do remember that with some common sense and good communication, most potential problems can be ironed out easily.