Homesharing has many perks for anyone who is single, widowed or divorced and if your best friend is in a similar situation, then it may make perfect sense to share a home. The hit TV show The Golden Girls is a great example of the fun that's to be had when you home share with friends. If you're familiar with the show, then you know that there is also potential for conflict when you're sharing a home with someone else, especially when that person is a good friend.
So, to protect your relationship with your best friend, it's wise to tread carefully before making any decisions. Talking about expectations and goals before hand is important. Here are some tips to help you make it work:
1. Discuss Food Ownership
You're probably used to sharing a lot of things with your best friend, including food! That's why it's important to set ground rules for food and groceries. In some home sharing arrangements food is shared and grocery bills are split, in others food is clearly marked and separated. Either way decide what will work for you and ask before you take anything that's not yours. That slice of leftover pizza may be your BFFs plan for lunch!
2. Talk About Money & Bills
In any home share arrangement, it's important to make decisions about money, expenses and who is paying which bills upfront and then put this information directly into the home share agreement. This practice ensures everyone is clear on expectations and responsibilities and remains on the same page. This agreement is especially important when your housemate is your best friend. Being clear on expectations and rules around money and bills is critical to protecting your relationship. Check out our blog post on great apps for home sharing – there are some wonderful ones out there designed to help you and hour housemate stay on financial track.
3. Set Boundaries for Alone Time
Can you spend too much time with your best friend? The answer is yes! While it will be amazing to see your best friend all the time, it's completely normal and healthy to ensure you each have time alone and spend time separately with other friends and family. Talk about these boundaries and how you'll communicate your need for space with each other in a healthy way.
4. Discuss Expectations About Cleaning
When it comes to cleanliness, not everyone has the same level of tolerance. Talk about what "clean" means to you, and what areas of the home are of particular importance (for some people it's the bathroom, for others it's the kitchen). It's a good idea to establish a cleaning routine that will work for both of you at the onset. Be prepared to adjust this routine as you go. Also, if you can tolerate more mess than your best friend, know that you may need to cater to their tolerance level to ensure their happiness (it's a small price to pay)!
Clutter and organization come into play here too. Different people organize differently. Ensuring each of you has separate, well defined spaces of the home will help contain clutter and any disorganization.
5. Discuss Conflicts and How You'll Resolve Them
Sometimes even the closest friends get into arguments. When you're living apart it's easy to cool off and regain perspective, but this is much more difficult to do if you're living together. It's important to discuss how you'll resolve conflicts when you're living in the same household.
6. Set Expectations about Significant Others
This last tip won't apply to everyone, but it's still a good conversation to have. If you or your best friend is single and dating, then it's a good idea to talk about what behaviour is okay and what isn't. For example, will sharing affection with your significant other in a common room (a kiss while making dinner, for example) be uncomfortable for others? What about over night visits? It's good to discuss these scenarios ahead of time and then check-in with your housemate to ensure that you're not stepping on any toes.
The common saying that "great friends don't always make for great roommates" may have some truth to it, which is why it's important to talk about expectations and goals before agreeing to a home share arrangement with your best friend. Doing so will protect your relationship and ensure a harmonious home sharing experience. Considering a home share arrangement with your best friend? Give the team at HomeShare Alliance a call. We'll walk you through everything you need to know!