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Choosing a Roommate - Rooming with a Friend May Not Be the Answer
by Tatiana Ringenberg

One of the biggest questions renters face during their apartment search is that of the "roomie". With the cost of tuition being so high, many of us cannot afford to go solo on our first apartments. So, the obvious answer often seems to be shacking up with one or two of our closest friends. Unfortunately this does not always turn out quite like you would hope. Before jumping into anything too quickly, consider the following.

Reasons to re-consider rooming with the best friend

  1. When rooming with someone, the little annoying things pop out at you much more clearly than ever before. Things as minute as toothbrush placement or cell phone habits can drive you nuts. This can cause a huge strain on friendships.
  2. Bearing bad news is much harder to do to a close friend. Roommate not paying rent? Just can't live with them anymore? Try explaining that to someone you care about.
  3. Often two friends have different opinions on what it means to be roommates. One may hope that it will be one big sleepover, while the other may frequently choose to be alone. This easily leads to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
  4. You see people in a different light when you're constantly around them. You may not think as highly of a friend if you see them in different social scenarios than you are used to.
  5. Money is never an easy subject between friends. Who pays for groceries? Utilities? Any extra costs? These matters need to be worked out before you move in together. Not doing so can result in many uncomfortable situations.
  6. Get stressed around exams? When we're overly stressed we tend to take it out on those closest to us, geographically or otherwise. No one likes to fight but it's often a side effect of having a roommate.
Although the idea of living with a friend is exciting, it's important to really take some time to think about your future apartment and living arrangements. Sometimes it's just easier to have a roommate that you're not as close to. Expectations are generally lower and problems may be easier to address.

Of course not all friendships are ruined by rooming together, but if you don't take the time to discuss potential problems it can really strain a relationship.

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