Op-ed

The dangers of living with a close friend

With the end of the academic year soon approaching, I see this as a time to reflect — particularly on all the mistakes I’ve made. Taking five classes in one day, waiting until rush hour to do laundry and all those times I spent my flex when I could have just used a meal instead. Yeah, folks, it’s been a rough go.

Though, I’m pretty sure my ultimate ill-fated move was rooming with my best friend from high school.

Now, to call it a mistake would be unfair because that implies that I wish it never happened. I don’t necessarily regret rooming with my best friend. Overall, the choice served as a learning experience and has brought me to where I am today. However, if I were to make a suggestion for an incoming freshman, I would advise against living with someone they’re close with.

One of the most common arguments against rooming with you’re close to  is that you’ll grow to resent them. This was the cautionary tale of many of my family members.

“You won’t like her when you’re sharing a five-foot box with her.”

“You’ll get sick of her when you see her every waking hour.”

This is true to some extent. Any time you’re living in close quarters with someone, you’re going to get annoyed with them, best friend or not. More than that, there was the issue of running out of things to talk about, or even think about it. When you get into a new relationship, platonic or romantic, a fun and exciting honeymoon period follows. It’s exciting to learn about new people, hear stories and explore their unique personality. One of the greatest things about having a roommate is that period of meeting someone new and taking the time to get to know each other.

On the other hand, you’ve heard all your best friends’ stories; you were probably even there. We’ve had every conversation we can have and watched all the movies we’re interested in on Netflix. It’s sad to say, but it really is possible to get tired of someone when you’re always with them. Not only is this limbo boring, but it’s also frustrating. It’s difficult to see everyone so giddy with their new, exciting roommate when you’re stuck in a humdrum “old married couple” state.

Though living with a best friend affects your relationship with them, the greater reason I’d advise against it is because it can prohibit someone from continuing their personal growth. One of the big ideas of college is to broaden your horizons, and that’s hard to do when you’re playing it safe. It’s so easy to not go out of your way to make new friends and fall back on your pre-existing relationship with your best friend. I wanted to join a few clubs when I came to WCU, but that also encouraged my roommate to do the same. It’s very important for roommates to have their own experiences, but if it’s a close friend, suggesting that you two pursue things separately can be a touchy subject.

In one of my organizations, there’s a roommate pair who were best friends in high school. They’re great people, but it’s hard to get to know them as individuals when they are so concerned with each other. I see them as one entity. College is the perfect time to meet new people and that can be hard to do when you’re always with a close friend.

To anyone who really wants to room with their best friend, I completely understand where you’re coming from because I felt the same way. While not everyone will have the same experience I had, I would still discourage it. Friendships need some degree of separation to stay healthy, and people need their own space to grow. Especially during college, we never want to regret not meeting more people. College is the time to prosper and get out of your comfort zone, and that starts at home.

Samantha Batty is a first-year student English writings major. SB908125@wcupa.edu

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