The time has come. You’re moving in with your person, and it feels like a helluva long time coming. Sure, you may have a few doubts. Like, what if this new living arrangement tarnishes your pristine friendship or jostles the unshakable bond that was formed the day she or he saw you pee with the door open for the first time? What if you no longer refer to each other as best friends, but simply “roommates?” Well, consider my current living situation with my main squeeze since junior high proof that you can live with your bestie without compromising the relationship. (Right? Homie?).
The first step in creating a foolproof living situation—after securing an affordable apartment, of course—is to blatantly accept the fact that your dynamic is going to change. You thought you and your BFF were tight before? Well, now you’re sharing a toilet seat. You’ll either grow closer, or further apart. But don’t worry—if you follow these easy guidelines, the latter will soon become an irrelevant worry. A passing concern.
Learn how to be comfortable with spending time apart.
Sure, this sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s actually harder than you think. You’ve heard of FOMO, right? Well, after years of missing out on my bestie's major life milestones (i.e. Her first kiss, her 21st Birthday, the time she saw Joe Jonas standing outside El Sombrero), I was really looking forward to being there for it all. But people (yes, even your person) need space. And as much as they love you, acting as a constant shadow will eventually dim their sparkle. Distance makes the heart grow fonder—even if you're only a wall apart.
Make an effort to do things together outside of the apartment.
Contrary to my aforementioned statement, you should not only spend time apart, but schedule special outings outside of the apartment as well. You don’t want to be the BFFs that only hangout while binge-watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer on Netflix, right? As tempting and comforting as that may be, make an effort to plan adventures together. Make a bestie summer bucket list!
Remember: What’s mine is yours…as long as you replace it.
We’ve all done it. No matter who your roommate is, you’ve eaten their food, used their shampoo and borrowed their clothing without asking. But when it’s your best friend, it doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything wrong. It’s expected! So you can totally eat their entire box of Pop Secret Sea Salt Microwaveable Popcorn while they’re out-of-town (sorry, Chan) as long as you replace it (which I did—the exact brand and flavor). Follow this rule and you’ll continue to live in perfect harmony.
Split everything in half—even your drunk food.
This city is amazing, but it’s a money-sucking vacuum. Unless you make a good chunk of change that allows you to live frivolously, then you’re a penny-pincher just like the rest of us. Where expenses are concerned, the only way to avoid a tear in the friendship is to keep everything equal. That includes splitting the rent, heat and electric, cable, Netflix account, even that toasted pastrami hero in half. Being fair is showing how much you care. And splitting a $5 sammie is just downright cost-effective!
Never go to bed angry. (It’s not just for couples, y’know).
Friends have spats—and, certainly, so do roommates. Hopefully you live with someone that realizes it’s okay to be human, and your feelings are valid, even if you’re upset about something completely stupid. If you live with your best friend, more often than not, they’ll be forgiving—but don’t put the issue on the back burner. Be vocal, be open, be present. My roommate and I would stay up well past our bedtime in order to get every troubling emotion off our chest, and you know what? I always slept like a baby (er, not the whiny ones) afterward.
Check your bad mood at the door.
You might be carrying a lot of negative or bad energy around, and your best friend will notice. When you get home, don’t just stomp angrily into your room. Take a moment to realize you’re living with someone that truly cares about you, and being passive or distant will only make him or her worry. This could turn a relaxing evening at home into Anxiety Fest 2016. So when you walk through the door and see your best friend sitting at the kitchen table, don’t be a dick. Say “Hi.” Ask him or her how their day was. And if you’re ready, spill your woes.
Motivate each other.
Your bestie likely wants to help you become the best version of yourself, if that's what you want too. So don't waste an opportunity where you can lean on each other to make important improvements in your life. Whether it's doing a personal training session at the gym together or taking a painting class, your person will always be around to help you keep a level-head and challenge you to achieve your goals.
Make all apartment decisions—especially décor ideas—together.
Just because you love the Brooklyn Bridge painting you nabbed at IKEA doesn’t mean your roommate does. So before you nail that sucker to the wall, take the time to ask your bestie if the painting is a worthy representation of your aesthetic as a twosome. The way you decorate your space says a lot about you. So if you and your best friend have very different tastes, designate areas of the apartment where you can each let your freak flag fly (i.e. You take the kitchen, he or she decorates the bathroom). The common living room should, however, remain neutral territory.
Create a cleaning schedule and stick to it.
This one’s pretty easy. Alternate who cleans the kitchen and bathroom every other weekend, divvy up who takes out the trash and recycling, and if your roommate was the last person to buy cleaning wipes or dish soap, buy the next round of supplies. You’ll get bonus points if you remember to do so without a reminder. It’s common courtesy, folks.
Never underestimate the healing powers of an impromptu dance party.
Twirling around my room while blasting Taylor Dayne’s “Tell It To My Heart” like I’m thirteen has pulled me through my darkest days more times than I can count. And I’m convinced that when you invite your bestie to this spontaneous twerk-fest, every pressing concern (the boy who ghosted you, work stress, that heart-wrenching episode of Game of Thrones) will disappear—at least, for the moment. But it’s actually more therapeutic than that. After living with my person, the one that listens to my rants and concerns without judgement, I’ve found that these tough conversations happen more frequently than when we lived separately. Why? Because after venting, we can dance. And after we dance, we’re not only growing closer emotionally, we’re creating new happy memories that triumph over all the bullshit, and make us feel like our true weirdo selves again.