How To: 10 Tips for Moving In and Living with your Best Friend
- Make a List and Check It Twice
- Be ready to have that awkward conversation with your best friend about what it might be like moving in together. Not everyone has the best past experiences with living with friends so it can be scary to try that similar scenario with your best friend. You will have to learn how to set and navigate new boundaries that were not present when you got together to hang out or going on vacation together.
- Experience Tip: Ena actually wrote out a pros and cons list about what it might be like to live with your best friend. As silly as Jenna thought it was, they both sat down and talked about it.
It’s All About the Money, Money, Money
- Always be ready to compromise. I don’t mean comprising to save money so that you are living in an unsafe environment but understanding that each of you doesn’t make the same amount, and you may have to compromise to find the perfect place.
- Experience Tip: Ena moved away from the charming neighborhood she had been living in so that Jenna could have easier access to the highway for her job.
- Bigger room vs. parking spot. We lucked out by being open and outspoken about which we would prefer. It just so happened we had our eye on different perks, and there was no need to argue or compromise. Can having the smaller room be tricky when it comes to organizing and storing belongings? Of course. That just means there’s got to be a bit more creativity with how the room and belongings are stored. On cold or extremely hot day can it be a pain in the ass to have to walk across the street or to the far end of the complex? Definitely. In the end, you’re getting in your steps, and you’ve got a bigger closet to store all your coats for those rainy days.
- Experience Tip: Because of the smaller room and closet space, Jenna also gets to take over the hallway closet for her coats. Plus, if the weather is bad enough, she has no problem driving Ena to her car in the mornings.
Moving On Up!
- Realize that moving in all of your belongings with family to help on the same day can definitely get hectic. Play to each other's strengths (and your dads) to know who can do what. Let dads do the heavy lifting while moms start to organize. Understand that you’ve both got a lot of work to do to get the apartment set up and it doesn’t all have to be done on the first day.
- Experience Tip: After the big furniture had been put into its place, we got our rooms together before tackling the kitchen or living room. It took a few weeks to get everything how we each preferred it, and after a year and a half of living together, we’re still finding new things to change or add!
During: Can You Hear Me Now?
- One of the number one issues with living with other people is not communicating. By not discussing things that bother you, the other person may not realize something is wrong. That leads to feelings getting bottled up before an explosion that may end with some detrimental fallout. Start with little things. Communicate things you do like and things you don’t. Shop together so you can learn how the other person operates and how they think of things before they purchase it. Always, always, immediately speak your mind, so thoughts are not forgotten or bottled up.
- Experience Tip: Understand that everyone doesn’t like the same things. Six months into our first year of living together we found out we have VERY different views on decorating a Christmas tree. We learned to compromise by Jenna getting her voice for the Christmas tree while Ena receives freedom with most of the apartment decorations. Let’s be honest; it can also very well end in a coin toss
- Split the bills. All of em. There is not one person who pays for one thing. That goes for internet, cable, electricity, food, cleaning supplies, etc. If it is not in our individual rooms, it is shared. I have heard stories of roommates not even sharing cleaning products! If we buy it, we split the cost, and it belongs to both of us. If the other person already owns more significant necessities like a couch or pots and pans, just be respectful, and you’ll be totally fine. There is no worry about needing to use something and no fear about upsetting the other person because we split payments evenly always.
- Experience Tip: Receipts and Venmo are going to be your best friend.
To Each Her Own
- Spending time together is paramount to strengthening your friendship. We have shows that we like to watch together because everyone knows it’s easier to watch stressful or sad shows with your best friend. We also have shows we watch apart that the other isn’t interested in. We plan things during the week such as dinner but are also flexible in case our plans change, and one or both of us are not at the apartment for dinner that night. Just because you live together doesn’t mean you’re tied together. It is okay to go to lunch with a friend alone or not always feel the need to invite the other along to family get-togethers.
- Experience Tip: We use a wall calendar in our apartment as well as a shared calendar app (we like to use Cozi!) to make sure we are kept up to date on the other’s plans.
Open door policy
- Except for the front door. That remains closed and locked. We take this policy literally and figuratively. We do our best to leave annoying things, like tension from work, outside of the apartment but sometimes it can follow you home. While your roommate had nothing to do with the annoyance you sometimes can’t help but be in a bad mood- and that's okay! Just don’t take it out on your poor roommate. Be open to sharing if you have a shitty day as it might help but on the flip side, know your roommate will understand if you don’t want to. Going into your room and disappearing behind a closed door can make it awkward for everyone. Your roommate may not have all the answers, but venting always helps.
- Experience Tip: Sometimes it's as easy as simply asking “Do you want to talk about it?” and being ready to listen.
Keep it Fun
- Don’t forget that you’re living with your best friend! Keep it real and keep it fun...keep it real fun.
- Experience Tip: We have a chalkboard on our wall full of quotes and memories we’ve had over the months.
House of Rules
- Sit down and set some rules. Make some funny and fun serious but set them to be clear and understood. Make a mental list or even a physical one. Just make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Experience Tip: Try not to break the rules...it doesn’t usually end well when someone does. But when they are broken, think of creative IOUs instead of getting super upset.
Luckily for us, there is no after! By following these tips (with some trial and error of course) we have found the best way to make us work as best friends and roommates for almost two years now with no end in sight!
J & E
Living with your Best Friend