The title makes it seems as if living with friends is either yay or nay when it could also be meh but hey, meh doesn't pack a punch as much as yay or nay.
For me,I learnt some lessons whilst living with friends four years ago and I will share below.
It is fair to assume that for most people you live with friends you are close to, perhaps very close to. As such you may go out together, speak a lot and the like. Now, living together you may think that will continue. It may and it may not. The most important thing however is to give each other space. Think about it, you are living together 24/7, you do not need to do every single thing together. I can't speak for anybody else but as for me I get claustrophobic quickly if I am doing everything with a person all the time. There really is no need for that. It is fine to have other friends over and for you to also see other friends. There should be no need for jealousy. Besides, space is good for friends at times. Even married people don't do every single thing together.
If you are the type of person that does not like people just going into your room to grab a straightener, use your mirror, use some hair products etc, ( you get the drift), it is important to say. Maybe you prefer for friends to ask before they enter your room. If so, let them know. It does not make you a bad person. Different people like different things and for someone else they may not mind as long as you put the items back where they saw it. Whatever your boundaries are it is best to say at the beginning and adjust accordingly as time goes on- if you need to. The same goes for food/ kitchen things and general household appliances. Most importantly share your boundaries from a place of love and also be flexible. You don't want to be that uptight flatmate either that your friends need to put in an application form 24 hours in advance and then get your approval before using your straightener (ok, not really but you get my drift). Also, boundaries with romantic relationships is important too; I don't think it's cool to have a partner live in basically 24/7 who does not even contribute to the bills. If they feel so strongly about their relationship they can either move out or add the partner to the tenancy agreement. You think it's all good until you find yourself fighting for a bathroom with a person who is not even on the tenancy. But I digress.
Pick your battles
This is so important and I learnt it from my friend that I lived with. As a popular saying goes and I am paraphrasing here, it is not everything that the eyes see that the mouth must talk about. In this context, it is not everything that you are not happy about in the house that you need to say. Of course, if something is really bugging you then talk but if everything is bugging you then I hate to say it but you are the problem. When living with people, and friends especially, recognise that people are different from you. You friend may not dry the dishes how you do, tidy up the way you do and so on but it does not make you better than them. Some of the disagreements stem from seeing things only from only our point of view and wanting everyone to do things exactly how we do them. I learnt to pick my battles when living with friends as I didn't want to be constantly repeating myself and also realised that some things are not worth bringing up. In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter. When you remember that where you live is also meant to feel like home you realise that you do not want to make your friends feel like they are walking on eggshells living with you. Friends should feel free living with you and vice versa.
Healthy conflict resolution
It is not a matter of if but when a disagreement may occur relating to living arrangements. How you deal with it is what matters most. Some discussions are good for the house group chat but even that should be translated to a face to face discussion. Passive aggressive texts that end up being aired in the group chat are not the one. If need be schedule a house meeting and be polite in how you discuss your issue and also be willing to listen. Truthfully a friendship does not need to end over living together and the key is in healthy conflict resolution on BOTH sides. It takes two and if another friend is not willing to discuss AND listen in a polite manner then just remember that you will not be living together forever and make the most of and enjoy your remaining time living together.
Overall I did enjoy living with friends and the good far outweighs the bad. Would I live with friends again? Probably. But in the same vein it is not every friend you live with. Really, the stage of life I'm in, if it's not living with family or living in a flat share due to moving to another town to work then I'm not really looking to move with friends. I'd rather move in with my own family now after marriage.
But yes, living with friends can be an amazing experience. The getting ready for events together, the catching up in the common areas, shopping together and general 'mundane' living together things.
How about you? Have you lived with friends? How was it? Yay? Nay? Meh? Let me know in the comment section below.