After years of living under your parents’ rule, living with friends seems like it’ll be a non-stop party, but along with new freedoms comes greater responsibility, and not all of your friends may be up to the task. One of the most common roommate problems is rooming with friends.
Think It Over
Living with friends doesn’t automatically mean trouble, but it may lead to roommate problems if you don’t carefully consider potential problems and try to resolve these issues before they become worse-or before they even become problems in the first place.
Here are four common problems that can happen when living with friends.
1. Lax with Responsibilities
Both you and your roommates run the risk of becoming lazier when living with friends instead of acquaintances or strangers. You consider your friendship solid and don’t worry about offending anyone by not picking up after yourself. You think your friends will understand that you’re busy or just don’t feel up to it. You keep making excuses until the entire apartment is a mess and/or one of you is unfairly stuck with all of the chores.
To avoid this, draw up a schedule of chores and divide it evenly amongst you before you move in. Include consequences, such as extra chores the next day or treating the others to dinner, for failing to meet responsibilities. Extra work and losing money is a great motivator.
2. Lax with Payment
Similarly, living with friends can mean late-or missing-payments. If your friends think nothing of “borrowing” $5 from you for a lunch that they never wind up paying back, perhaps they won’t think much of being late with their shares of the rent and utilities because you’re their friend and you’ll “understand.”
Before you move in, draw a contract witnessed by an impartial third party that clearly states everyone’s responsibilities and the consequences of not making payments on time. You might consider asking the landlord if this can be included in the lease in order to protect yourself from getting kicked out because of a roommate’s late payments.
3. Not Getting Along
Just as siblings can drive each other crazy despite their love for one another, friends don’t always make perfect roommates, either. You don’t always know if your friends will make good roommates for you before you move in with them.
Spend more time with your friends before you move in. If possible, spend a few nights together. See what it’s like to be with them 24/7. Agree that there will be no hard feelings if one of you wants to move on when the lease is up.
4. Broken Friendships
This is one risk you can’t avoid when you’re living with friends. If you don’t get along with a stranger, you can move out and never see the person again. If you get into fights with a friend and move out, you’ll be much more hurt and your relationship with your mutual friends will turn awkward, too.
Living with a friend can be a positive experience, as long as you are both committed to avoiding conflict before you even sign a lease. At the very least, having friend roommates can prove a learning experience. You can learn a lot about friends when you live with them, for better and for worse!