Moving into your first apartment can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to figuring out who to live with. Do you ask your best friend to move in? A co-worker? A stranger? I’ve lived with someone I found on Craiglist, and I’ve also had the chance to live with my best friend. In both situations, I’ve found it extremely helpful to have an honest and open conversation before (or right after) moving in together about how to live with one another. As I’m sure you know, you’re can be a very different person out in the world than in your home.
With each of my roommates, I’ve found that some topics are important to talk about up front:
- Guests: Are there certain nights during the week that you would prefer not to have people over? How do you or your roommate feel about people spending the night?
- Schedules: Do you need to be out of the house at a certain time and therefore need the shower in the morning? Are there times when you need to use one of the common spaces (living room, kitchen, etc).
- Parties: At your place, or go somewhere else? Can the party come back to your apartment?
- Chores: How are you splitting them up?
- Common Space: How would you both like to keep this kept up? You room is your room, but the space you share is the responsibility of you both.
- Hanging out with each other or not: This one might come a little more naturally in some situations, but letting your roommate know whether or not you want to be included in their activities is important. You don’t want to feel left out or obligated.
For myself and my roommates, I had these conversations before moving in, just so I knew what to expect. As things have changed over time (for example, if neither was in a relationship when you first moved in, but one got involved in one later), I’ve been sure to revisit some questions. I’ve also always double-checked with my roommate before I’ve have people over (even if I think that they will say yes and don’t mind). This gives her the opportunity to let me know in case that’s not the best night for her.
As I blogged earlier, when I first moved to NYC I moved in with a girl I found on Craigslist. I was a little nervous since I was moving to a city where I knew no one, but luckily everything worked out really well with her. She helped me adjust to the city by suggesting new places to check out and she included me many times when she was having people over for dinner or if they were going out at night. We even got into the habit of watching certain shows together. Living with her was great because it exposed me to new experiences and new people.
Recently, I moved in with my best friend and co-worker. So far, I have really enjoyed living with her! In contrast to living with a stranger, it’s really nice to come home to someone who understands what I’m going through at work and in my life. We have a great relationship where we include each other when we have people over for parties and when we go out, but we can also go out separately without feeling obligated to invite the other. I was a little hesitant at first to move in with someone I work with because I was nervous we would be in each other’s space too much, but since we work in different departments it’s worked out really well.
Remember that when choosing a person to live with, you need to feel comfortable. Do not force yourself into an iffy situation, no matter how desperately you need that apartment. Your apartment is meant to be a place of serenity. Take advantage of your time together with your roommate, to learn more about yourself and others, and be open to new possibilities!