On Feb. 1, I was sent a highly anticipated housing email from Community Living that read: “Good afternoon Brits- What kind of community do you want to belong to next year here at Albion?”
There I sat, next to my best friend, absolutely panicking. A million questions swirled around in my head: Do I want to live with them next year? What if they don’t want to live with me next year? What if they don’t love me anymore if I don’t want to live with them?
Do I have anxiety? The answer is yes, but that’s not the point. The anxiety-induced thoughts pose an important question: Should you live with your best friend?
According to long-time best friends and first-years from Petersburg, Ella Bolster, and Madison Waterhouse, the answer is yes, with a caveat.
“It also depends on the relationship,” Bolster said. “The personalities can clash so much that it would be a bad idea.”
However, this is not the case for Bolster and Waterhouse, who always intended to live together, and will continue to next fall. The only doubt in Bolster’s mind was that Waterhouse would be inclined to live with one of her softball teammates instead.
“I feel like she’s the type of person that someone on the team would ask her if they want to live with her and she’d be like ‘Aw sure,’” Bolster said.
Waterhouse confirmed Bolster’s worry, saying that she “wouldn’t know what to say,” in that situation.
While that might’ve been the only doubt in Bolster’s mind, mine was still filled with many more.
I’m a transfer student. This is only my second semester at Albion College. Going into roommate selection last year, I was randomly assigned to live with my current roommate. Luckily, it ended up being a perfect fit. Yet, unlike Bolster and Waterhouse, we are far from best friends.
My roommate and I have very different schedules. On weekdays we are in classes at the same time, but we rarely see each other outside our dorm room. If we do, it is jarring. After my classes, I often return to an empty dorm room because she has already left for work. Around 9:30 p.m. we give each other a daily update. Then, she does her homework while I read before we go to sleep. On weekends, she leaves Friday afternoon and doesn’t return until Monday morning for her 9:15 a.m. class.
To me, it is the perfect roommate relationship. We don’t share the same friends, but we get along great and make sure to keep each other updated on our lives.
Waterhouse also said her favorite thing about living with Bolster is talking about things that happen while apart, even though they spend the majority of their time together.
I don’t think I could possibly spend more time with my best friend. Most people already assume that we already are roommates. If we lived together, we’d never have any space from each other.
In contrast, Bolster says her favorite part of living with Waterhouse is that she is always there for her.
“If I’m ever nervous to go somewhere I can always ask her,” Bolster said.
The thing is, I have that with my best friend already. I know they are there for me when I need them. But, I also know that if I lived with them, I would do everything with them, rather than challenging myself to do things alone.
It doesn’t mean I love them any less; I just need my own space to love and appreciate them.
And that’s the hard, unfortunate truth: I want to be able to appreciate my best friend and my roommate, separately.
So, what should you look for in a roommate?
Above all, look for someone who will communicate with you when they need something or are upset about something. You want someone who you can talk to about your day, someone you can invite to do things with you and someone who you feel comfortable existing with daily.
In terms of practicality, look for someone who will share cleaning duties equally and who actually leaves the dorm room from time to time.
If you’re struggling to find a roommate with those qualities, and your best friend fits the bill, then give it a try. After all, it’s working for Bolster and Waterhouse. Ultimately, the choice to live with your best friend depends on the relationship you share with that person.
Next year I will live with my current roommate again, but my best friend won’t be too far; they’ll only be a shared bathroom door knock away.