From Joey and Chandler, to Will and Grace, to the Golden Girls, pop culture narratives inundate us with the idea that living with friends is an essential part of being young, a right of passage into adulthood. These iconic friendships have romanticized this idea, establishing it as the norm, despite the reality that many people choose not to live with close friends, instead opting to live with acquaintances or random roommates. Though it’s not for everyone, living with close companions can make for a wonderful experience—late night chats and evenings filled with laughs are merely a sliver of the plentiful benefits. The memories created within the walls of a shared apartment last a lifetime.
Many McGill students opt to room with their friends. Having roommates takes dedication, but having best friends for roommates takes a whole lot more. Though it serves as a way to grow closer than ever, living with one’s bestie should be thoughtfully approached. Rooming with friends isn’t one sleepover after the other; it requires effort to maintain the closeness of a relationship. There will be times when arguments occur or lifestyles clash—some people prefer to do dishes at the end of day, while others might perceive this as leaving nothing but a mess in the sink. Or perhaps one roommate likes to go to bed before 11 p.m., but others in the apartment enjoy staying up until 2 a.m. watching movies. The small conflicts can create larger issues in any relationship if they’re not properly addressed, which makes strong communication vital.
On the other hand, potential pros of living with one’s close friends include the fact that friends have already established a certain level of respect with one another; their quirks and habits are nothing new, thus eliminating the grace period of getting to know one’s new cohabitants. Rooming with a best friend can be the ultimate bonding experience. Roommates see each other when they first wake up, when they come home from a long night out, and at the end of the worst of days. Living with a best friend can also mean having someone to come home to and unwind with.
Emilie Marsaudon, U2 Arts, has made a learning experience out of living with her best friend. Though sharing an apartment with one of her closest gals entails spending a lot of time together, that extra time has ultimately brought them closer together.
“Living with someone you know, or in my case, one of my best friends, is absolutely amazing,” Marsaudon said. “It brings the friendship to a whole new level because you are with them a vast majority of the time. [For me it is having] someone to eat junk food with […] and watch obnoxious TV with you, which is a mega plus.”
Living with roommates can also help ease the transition into a new environment. Because moving to a new city lacking familiar faces can be isolating for out-of-province or international students, rooming with other people ensures that they have a small network on which to rely throughout this process.
For Isis Palay, U2 Arts, having roommates has helped her adjust to life in Canada after moving from France to attend McGill. Reducing her rent cost was one original reason she decided to live with roommates, as was wanting to live with her best friend. Currently, Palay, her best friend, and three others live together in an apartment.
“I love living with people in an apartment,” Palay said. “Living with people is work, but it is also super rewarding. Having flatmates is the perfect choice for me. I love that my roommates are always in a good mood in the morning. It cheers me up.”