Roommates, Student Life

Choosing Your College Roommate: Why Rooming with Your Best Friend May Not be the Best Idea

When you head off to college, it is one of the scariest times in your life; you’re away from most of the people you know, you are living away from home, and you’re starting a whole new chapter in your life, all at once.  This may also be the first time you’ll be sharing a room with someone, and it can be an incredibly scary to think that you’ll be sharing a room with someone whom you don’t know.  You will immediately ask yourself “Who do I know that I could room with?”

In an article we read by Julie and Lindsey Mayfield on U.S. News and World Report, they explain that while it may be tempting, your first choice shouldn’t be your best friend.  While you feel like it may take a lot of the pressure off the situation, you may actually be putting more stress on the relationship.  This is because when you move away for school, you are not only trying to get used to living with someone else, but you are also just trying to get used to being away at school.  Considering all of this, it can end disastrously.

In another article we read by University Language Services, they explain that besides the fact that you may lose your best friend, there’s a myriad of other problems you can encounter.  First, your social life can take hit because you are often less likely to push yourself to make new friends.  Second, you may miss out on new experiences.  By choosing to room with your best friend you are less likely to seek out new friendships, and are therefore less likely to experience new people and new things. Third, your old habits will be harder to break.  When you live with your best friend you are more likely to hold onto your old habits and your more likely to stick to your old routine.  By living with new people, you could introduce yourself to new things that you might not otherwise have tried.  Lastly, your work ethic (and your bank account) are sure to suffer.  If you live with your best friend, you may end up spending more time socializing than you do on your schoolwork, as your room will double as a study and social area on a daily basis.   You will also most likely be going out more often, and so your wallet will suffer too.

Alternatively, many suggest that living with a friend (rather than a best friend), or even living with a stranger are better options than living with your best friend.  Not only will this experience expose you to new people and new things, but you friendships will remain in tact.

When you’re encountering any situation with a roommate, it’s always a good idea to set out a list of ground rules and expectations for the room beforehand.  In a previous post to our blog, we gave you a list of topics that may be useful to discuss with your roommate.  According to the Mayfields, you just have to realize sharing can get tricky, and that you have to open and honest when problems do arise. While you don’t have to be best friends, it is in the best interest of both of you to ensure that you can get along for at least the next year.