Should my high school friend be my college roommate?

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“Should my high school friend be my college roommate?”

I hear this question a lot. No matter who your college roommate is–your life long best friend, a high school acquaintance, a girl you met at orientation, or a random assignment, it is going to be difficult. Many of you have never shared a bedroom or even a bathroom with another person. Those of you that have shared a room with a sibling will do better than those of us that haven’t, but it is still a different ball game when living with a peer (and hopefully a friend), that isn’t a family member.

I’ll probably write many posts related to the roommate situation. There is a lot to say about it and a whole lot more to learn from it. My dad always says that his college roommates did more to prepare him for marriage than anything else in life. I think having a roommate challenges the selfish people we naturally are and hopefully, helps us become a little less selfish and a little more considerate of others.

But I digress. You’re wondering if you should choose to live with someone you currently know rather than who the university may pair you with.  I wish I could sit down with each of you individually to talk about your specific situation, but here are some thoughts that should apply to all.

1. Do you actually like this person?

It seems like a silly question, but I have seen many girls agree to live with an acquaintance from high school just out of the fear of hurting her feelings. Deep down, if you don’t want to live with this person, don’t do it. It’s as simple as that.

2. Based on what you know of this person, are you compatible roommates?

Compatibility can look differently based on what you want. You may desire a roommate that has the same values as you. You may prefer a roommate who is neat and tidy like you are. You may prefer a roommate who is also a night owl. If I had gone to the same college as my high school best friend, I’m sure we would have chosen to live together. At that age, she was a total slob and I was a complete neat freak. We would have made it work because we knew each other well and had similar values, but I would have cleaned up after her every single day. I would have folded her clothes, made her bed, and whatever else I had to do to keep my sanity. As long as she never started feeling guilt or shame from me cleaning up after her, we would have been fine. But, had she started to resent me for that, disaster could have ensued… which brings me to the next question.

3. If things go bad in the relationship, is that okay?

I have seen high school best friends completely ruin their relationship by living together. It happens all the time. I’m not trying to scare you out of living with your best friend, but you need to decide if it’s worth the risk. You may not completely sever the relationship, but it is very, very possible your friendship will change due to living together.

4. Will you have friends outside of each other?

If there is a chance you will cling to one another and do everything together, I would strongly urge you to live apart.  You can still remain close friends while not living together, and you’ve widened your net to know more people and have a larger community.  I’ve seen roommates who are inseparable and share all the exact same friends.  While it’s great to share some of the same friends, it’s also important to be individuals and do your own thing at times.

5. After all of the above, are the known risks and potential problems better than choosing a set of unknown risks and problems?

The bottom line is that when choosing to live with someone you already know, you have much more control of knowing what you’re walking into, as compared to a random roommate assignment.  Some of you will get the most amazing, perfect fit random roommate.  She will be your best friend forever.  Others of you will get a girl that will cause you to pray every day, asking the Lord to help you not kill her.  And then there is everything in between.  So is the known better than the unknown?

If you’re hesitating at all, I think (deep-down) you want to go for the random roommate assignment.  Just go with your gut on this.  This should not be a decision you agonize over.  It’s just not that big of a deal, and I can promise you, God will use whoever your roommate is to refine you like crazy.  Buckle up; it’s a wild ride.

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