Last week, I completed my typical routine of going to the gym after work. Tired, smelling awful, I crawled home to my apartment only to be greeted by my best friend. She offered me a seat on the couch to finish an episode of That 70’s Show, and after a minute remarked, “Did you know your head was in my armpit last night?”
Let me backtrack.
I absolutely adore my current apartment – it’s spacious, newly renovated, and close to several major highways. What I don’t adore is the rent, which, in LA isn’t too bad, but it’s definitely straining my budget. My friend, S, also needed a change; she was ready for new roommates and a place closer to the heart of the city. We decided that finding a new apartment together was the obvious solution.
The trickier part was managing our leases. Hers was up in May, mine is up August 1st. After some consideration, she moved in with my current roommate and I. That way, she doesn’t have to find a temporary place to stay, and we all save some money for a few months.
The apartment, though, isn’t large, and so she and I are not just sharing a room, we’re sharing my bed. S had been living on an air mattress for a year, afraid to buy a real bed lest she needed to move, but there was no way I was going to hog an entire queen sized mattress to myself while she enjoyed the floor.
Luckily we’re incredibly compatible, but I think there are a few things keeping us sane while we share such tight quarters:
- We discuss everything. For us, there is no tiptoeing around certain subjects (chores, anyone?). When we owe each other money, when we have to divvy up our two parking spaces – I find it’s always better to be honest and upfront. It saves you from miscommunication and hurt feelings.
- We respect each other’s schedules. Sometimes one of us has to be out the door first, or sometimes I just like to be in bed extra early. Whatever the schedule change, we always let the other person know. That way no one comes banging into the room while the other is sleeping.
- We are actually compatible. I’ve lived with friends before, but it hasn’t always worked out. You never really know somebody until you live with them! In this case, we already knew that we made good housemates – we have not only traveled together before, but we’ve lived in the same dorm suite. Obviously, nothing prepares you for being sudden bunk mates, but we knew going in that we were a good enough match to make it work.
- We respect each other’s space. The room has been halved so that her things are on one side, mine are on the other. I don’t go tearing through her clothes or makeup, and she allows me to keep my clean laundry in a pile at the foot of the bed. When you’re sharing such a small space, it can be important to remember that others need room to breathe and to keep their own things separate.
- We’re making the most of an interesting situation. I love having her here; it’s like having a sleepover every night. Rather than thinking of it in terms of we’re too poor to afford anything else, we joke that at least we know in the future we will make great roommates if we end up single.
Living so closely with other people isn’t always fun or preferred, but in times like this when the options are few, it helps to make the most of it. We’ll laugh about it later on our private yachts 😉