5 reasons you should (and shouldn’t) live with friends
You can't choose your family, but you can certainly choose your housemates! But is living with your besties really all it's cracked up to be?
Once your first year at uni is over, and you’ve survived your time being thrown into a house with complete strangers, you now have the luxury of actually getting to choose who you live with next year.
But as exciting as this sounds, choosing who you want to live with can be one of the most stressful decisions of your uni experience – particularly deciding whether or not to live with friends.
To some, this might seem like a no-brainer – cosying up with people who you know you get along great with, or living with people you wouldn’t necessarily hang out with or call ‘mates’?
Well, unfortunately, it's not always as straightforward as you perhaps think, particularly where money's concerned – living with friends often comes with as many perils to watch out for as it does perks.
It’s time to consider the pros and cons carefully before you come to a final decision!
Why you should live with your best friends
You get to hang out as much as you like
There’s no denying how nice an idea it is to get to hang out with your best mates at home as much as you like – even night and day if you’re really keen.
Making plans to socialise suddenly gets so much easier and staying in on a Saturday feels a lot less daunting when there are a couple of you kicking about at home!
You also don’t have to worry about making time for friends in between juggling uni and a part-time job, as you’ll come home to them every night!
You’ll have people to cook for (and to cook for you)
Cooking for one and eating alone can get a bit tiresome at times, and can be expensive if you haven’t perfected the art of planning your meals yet.
Living with friends can make dinners way more interesting and reduce wastage if you take turns cooking for each other throughout the week. And it means you get a break from being in the kitchen every few days without going hungry!
Cooking together is also a great bonding exercise and can make boring jobs like peeling potatoes and chopping tomatoes seem more fun!
You can share stuff without wanting to kill each other
We’ve all had our experiences of ‘the borrower’ when living in shared accommodation – that one flatmate who borrows just about everything from everyone and normally forgets to return it, or breaks it before they do.
Living with friends makes this stuff less of an issue as it's generally a bit easier to share with people we have a good relationship with (if you don’t mind sharing, that is!).
Plus, it means you get to borrow from them too (without being labelled ‘the borrower’)!
It can help cure homesickness
Having good mates around you is the ultimate cure for the homesickness blues.
In a house full of friends, you’re not likely to ever feel lonely. And if you do ever have a down day, you can count on them being there to perk you back up!
If that doesn't work, our tips for coping with homesickness will do the trick.
You can study together and motivate each other
Living with someone who's on the same course or who takes some of the same classes as you can be a brilliant motivator to get out of bed and make it to that 9am lecture.
Just try not to let it get too competitive!
Why you shouldn’t live with your best friends
You might never get time to yourself
So whilst being able to hang out with your mates as much as you like when you live together can be amazing, the other side of the coin is that you might start to feel the pressure to do so, even when all you really want to do it watch GBBO in your room alone. Especially if you live like these two students do!
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting time alone – in fact, studies have shown that spending time alone is the best way to de-stress.
But it’s worth bearing in mind that not everyone needs or enjoys spending time alone, so this can cause problems if you feel too much of an obligation there.
Similarly, you might start to feel guilty about doing stuff outside of the house that doesn’t involve your mates.
If you spend a lot of time together, you can start to feel under pressure to invite your friend out with you whenever you do anything, particularly if they seem bored or under the weather.
It’s important that you get to retain a life of your own, so if you think this could be an issue, give it some serious thought.
You’ll lose half your stuff
Ok, so time to be honest with yourself – for the sake of your friendship (and your sanity!).
Whilst being able to share stuff is often a perk of living with mates, are you really someone who is happy to share, or are you likely to feel the rage burning inside you when you see someone using your favourite coffee mug?
A potential issue that comes with living with friends rather than people you don’t know is that some mates see living together as a situation where everything is borrowable – from your best frying pan to your shower gel and even your clothes!
If this is something you don’t think you’d be able to cope with, it ain’t so certain you’ll cope with living with mates, either.
You can’t be an a**hole when you’re tired and grumpy
We all have our bad days, our sad days and our downright I-want-to-kill-everyone-who-comes-close-to-me days. That’s just life, and you’re only human!
The only problem is that this can occasionally get in the way of being the good guy – that super likeable friend can easily transform into a monster for the day. All you need is a bit of time to let it pass, but living with mates can make this difficult.
Money matters can cause strain
And unfortunately, financial disagreements can have a bit more weight if they happen between friends.
This is not to say that money issues will arise, but it's worth asking yourself whether this is a risk you'd be willing to take.
Whether you choose to pay bills individually or have everyone pay one flatmate as designated bill-payer, there’s clearly space for things to go wrong.
For example, if you have one friend who you know is experiencing money troubles, you might feel guilty about putting pressure on them to pay their way, but at the same time resentful if you're having to help by paying out more to cover them.
You’ll end up never leaving the house
Another (slightly paradoxical) downside to living with besties is that it might make you a bit more antisocial.
Whilst it might be great having your mates at home with you every day and night, the result can be that you make less of an effort to widen your social circle by making new friends, or socialise outside of your cosy flatmate bubble.
If you and your mates are prone to procrastinating (and come on let's face it, who isn't?) living with friends might not be the kick up the backside you need to get things done.
You could also end up leaving the house too much. If you're slightly lacking in willpower and are easily persuaded into going on a big night out when you should really be hitting the books, living with your pals could be risky for your studies, and your bank account!
Think about whether or not living with your besties would be too much of a distraction – as much as we want you to have all of the fun, you are at uni to get some studying done.
So now you're armed with a few arguments from either side – the decision is yours to make! No one can really tell you whether living with your best mates is a good idea or not, as only you can ultimately decide this. Good luck!
Next stop: nailing the house viewing process! And we've got just the guide to help you with that.