As the posts searching for roommates and suitemates flood social media, housing season descends upon us. For many students, our first instinct is to room together with people we know. After all, since we already have a close relationship, living with them should be a breeze.
Rooming with friends often comes with the added benefit of rooming with someone sharing your cultural background. For example, in Asia, we take off our shoes at the door and only wear socks inside. An Asian person rooming with non-Asians might internally scream as they watch their roommates stomp around over their just-cleaned floor. If your roommates come from the same culture as you, this crisis can be avoided. Also, Asian foods have a tendency to include fermented products — such as a fish sauce or Gochujang (red chili paste) — which might smell off-putting if you aren’t used to it.
Despite the benefits, being best friends with your flatmate can also lead to uncomfortable situations. On one hand, since you’re best friends, you are more willing to compromise. The little things such as your pet peeve of a wet bathroom floor might not matter as much as you work it out.
But as these things pile up, it could become quite frustrating. Home is supposed to be a place where you can let loose and unwind after a stressful day, and dealing with these little irksome things might not be what you want after a three-hour meeting. Living with your best friend could even break your friendship, in extreme cases. No matter how close you are, living with a person shows you their full self, including all of the quirks you probably didn’t know about before. Your best friend might have some deal-breaking habits, which will create an awkward atmosphere throughout the year.
If you go into it prepared to compromise, living with your best friend carries more benefits than drawbacks.
In the case that either you don’t have a “BFF” or they have other housing arrangements, Special Interest Housing on campus is also a great option to live with people you share a passion with. For people who have trouble making friends or consider themselves awkward, living in a place where everyone on your floor has something in common can bolster your social skills. Regardless of whom you live with, it’s always possible to make friends with your roommates, suitemates, or hallmates if you try hard enough.