Student Voice


February 2, 2023



Ask Colleen: Living with friends

April 12, 2017

Dear Colleen,

I'm moving into an apartment with one of my friends. I'm really nervous because I've heard people say that living with your friend isn't a good idea. I don't want to ruin this friendship. With my past living situation it wasn't with any of my previous friends, so I didn't really have any expectations. Any advice?

Wants to be a good roommate

Wants to be a good roommate,

If you are already feeling this way, you should definitely talk to your friend right away. Getting it out in the open that you’re worried that this might change or possibly ruin your friendship is important. That way, you two can talk about your concerns before you even move in with each other.

I’m sure they are probably feeling the same way. Living with someone is completely different than just being friends with him or her. You are really going to get to know each other, like really well. You’ll know each other’s good and bad habits, what ticks them off and if they are really as clean as they said they were when you agreed to live with each other.

I’ve lived with both complete strangers and my friends and they both have their ups and downs. When living with someone who wasn’t your previous friend, you kind of always have to be on your best behavior. You want to make a good impression and overall be a good roommate, especially in the residence halls when your living space is basically a 5-by-5 jail cell.

But after you live with each other for a while, you start to become more comfortable and your guard slowly starts to come down. Plus, it’s exactly like what you said before: You don’t have any expectations when it comes to living with someone you didn’t previously know. You go in blind and figure it out as you go.

Living with your friends is a totally different story. Don’t get me wrong; it’s really fun! You always have someone to hang out with or someone to tag along when you go to the store.

Personally, I think it’s harder to tell my friend to clean up or actually was a dish for once. I don’t want to start any drama and create tension in the place that I’m living. When it’s a friend, sometimes it’s easier to not say anything for the sake of keeping the peace.

However, I would argue that not saying anything in order to keep the peace does the complete opposite. I’m going to be a mom for a second, but you have to address these issues right away. I think we’ve all experienced a bad roommate, and the longer you hold it in, the worse it gets.

As far as you and your future roommate, my best advice would be to talk to them before you move in about how you’re feeling. Just get these feelings out in the open. That way, you both will be on the same page.

When it comes to actually living with each other, make sure to spend time apart! Like I said before, it’s fun because you always have a friend around, but there is such thing as spending too much time with someone. Find different hobbies and make sure to socialize with people besides each other.

Trust me, everything will work out with your friend or soon-to-be roommate. The fact that you are concerned and proactive now is already a good sign that you respect the situation. You want it work out and to create a living space that is harmonious for the both of you.

Good luck, and remember that keeping the peace means that you’ll have to keep quiet. And holding in all those feelings only leads to one thing: an explosion of emotions. Speak up when issues arise and face them together.



Colleen Brown is a student at UW-River Falls.