roommate

How to Survive Living With a Roommate Who’s Also Your Friend

Adulting, Author: Danny Abriano

I didn’t go away to college, so the first time I ever had a roommate was when I was well into my career. And that roommate just happened to be one of my closest friends.

There are all types of things — good and bad — that come along with having a roommate. When that roommate is one of your best friends, those things present themselves in different ways. And how you handle them will impact not just your living situation, but your relationship with someone whose presence in your life you value.

 

Rent and bills are business, even when your friend is involved
Do not be the person who needs to be asked more than once for the rent. If only one of you has your name on the lease, the other is responsible for paying the rent each month. That means the other roommate has to transfer the money over at least a few days in advance. Whether it’s with Venmo, by handing your friend cash, or some other way, do not ever slack off and pay late. It’ll put your friend and roommate in an awful spot. The same goes for bills (cable, internet, other utilities, etc.). Pay your share immediately.

Understand that you’re a team
If you’re a millennial who is living with another millennial, odds are that one or both of you has an active social life that often precludes you from paying attention to the cleanliness of the apartment. When you do have time to focus on it (at least once per week, unless you want visitors to think you’re a slob), help one another out. Dishes in the sink aren’t yours? Wash them anyway. The bathroom is filthy and you don’t want to clean it alone? Guess what, someone has to. Your roommate will recognize that you did something you didn’t have to, and take care of it for you next time.

Respect boundaries
Even though you’re close friends and have probably seen and done almost everything with this person, there are times when they’ll need space. Offer to be there for them if you think they’re in need, but back off if they reject it. If your friend comes home, and is furious for no reason, chalk it up to them having had a bad day. Don’t take it personally. And give them time to cool down.

Enjoy one another’s company
This seems obvious, right? You’re close friends who are living with one another. Hanging out and having fun should come naturally. But often, it doesn’t. If you both have full-time jobs, life will get in the way. And seeing each other every single day and night can take a bit of the shine off the friendship. But you’re close friends for a reason. Go out to dinner. Watch the game together. Sit on the couch and talk nonsense for a bit. Unwind.

Have an issue? Don’t let it fester
If your roommate/friend is doing something (or multiple things) that get on your nerves, tell them. If you keep it inside, you’ll start to resent them, while slowly going insane. That’s a bad combination. It can be awkward to tell your friend if something they do is bothering you. But the alternative is much worse. Tell them what’s on your mind. Your friendship and relationship as roommates will be better for it.

The “But we just started talking…” Dating App Struggle

Author: Maria Pappas, The Dating Game

A couple of months ago, I was exchanging messages with a guy on Bumble. To make things easy, let’s just call him Mike. Maybe two or three days after I started the conversation, Mike and I were messaging when all of a sudden he started giving me one word answers. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but finally he apologized and told me that his family had to put their dog down that night and so he was upset.

Rightfully so, right? Yet for some reason all I could think about was how I felt about the situation. And by that, I mean that I was sincerely confused about how to feel.

I mean, I was sorry that he had to go through that. But I also thought, “I know you from Bumble.” Like, are we allowed to hit these not-so-easy topics before we’ve even met up in person? When exactly are we allowed to show that we are upset? What’s the right medium to do so? With all of the different ways that millennials communicate, it’s hard to be sure about any of this.

Fast forward a bit later, and I’m talking to another guy on Bumble. Let’s call this one Nick. Nick tells me a few short hours after beginning the conversation that his cousin was shot and is in critical condition at the hospital.

Of course I offered words of consolation for this terrible situation that he was dealing with, but what could I do? All I could offer were words of comfort via a dating app… not the most meaningful thing, ya know?

My conversations with both Mike and Nick, for the record, have fizzled out. And, although this might sound bad, I don’t think that this is in any small part due to the fact that they revealed so much so soon.

If it were a close friend going through a situation like this, I would want to help them handle it if I could, and make sure that they were okay. But I also know so much more about close friends: how they deal with tragedy, how supportive their families are, and that they’ve helped me over the years, to name a few.

The fact was, I barely knew Mike or Nick, so even my deepest words of comfort and sympathy could not mean much. They were just words. I didn’t know them well enough for the words to be any more than that because there isn’t a relationship behind them. I couldn’t provide them with the proof, the actions, or… anything really… to let them know that I meant what I said.

I also felt bad for the fact that I didn’t feel I could truly or fully sympathize with them or understand what they were going through.

Of course, we can’t control life’s circumstances, and we have to be honest with one another about what is going on — that things aren’t perfect, that we struggle, that things are happening below the surface that no one knows about. But it’s more difficult for others to deal with those situations when they don’t know you.

There is something to be said about online datingdating apps, and dating in general through these stories, though. Our conversations with one another can range from the most general small talk conversations, to these deep, meaningful ones about what you want out of life and what’s going on in yours.

There has to be discernment in what we share, though, and how we respond. Remember the medium that you are using, and think about what you choose to share.

How to Start Mending a Friendship

Adulting, Author: Emmanuel Pepis

Millennials, sometimes we try to make things better for someone we care about, but instead, we have the opposite effect. Either we act out of character for a brief moment in time, or we try too hard and wind up failing.

I was recently in this position with a friend of mine. I was trying to make things better in what was a tough situation and ended up making things worse instead. And I can say from experience there are very few worse feelings in the world. Luckily, this person was forgiving of my inexplicable folly and moment of stupidity.

What can you do if you also find yourself in this situation, or a similar one? These are a few things to consider that hopefully you’ll find helpful if you ever mistakenly travel the same path I did.

Apologize profusely
Until someone is tired of hearing it, don’t just stop at “I’m sorry.” Say what you did wrong. Even though that person knows, the fact that you are acknowledging and aware of your wrongdoing is a step of admission that could keep the lines of communication more open.

Don’t make excuses 
Don’t scramble to find a story that you think may fly. Just own up to it without any explanation that may sound logical, but is most likely not truthful. There is some level of trust and honesty that builds every type of relationship. An excuse conjured up beyond the action will only more than likely deepen the cut.

Accept the consequences
Things may go back to being the same; then again, they may not. It all depends on several factors. In life, sometimes we learn lessons the hard way. If a person isn’t forgiving or isn’t liable to be as trusting going forward, then that’s something we live and learn from.

Learn from it 
It’s cliché, but we all make mistakes. I know how and why I messed up. I know what not to do in the same situation if or when it arises again. I still feel terrible about it, but I can’t go back and change my misstep. I can only try to be a better person going forward. Beating yourself up will do nothing productive. By going through this experience, I learned that I should have known better. I tried too hard, and I ended up causing more harm than good. At the same time, I know there’s only one option and that’s to try to be a better person through learning from my own mishaps.

Not Your Typical Movie Night

Adulting, Author: Claire Greene

Be it Disney, Star Wars, horror/Halloween or Harry Potter, themed parties are a great way to break the ice with new friends and celebrate with old, be it young or old. Here are a few ideas on how to get a themed movie night or party going.

Pick a theme
So, this is the fun part. There are so many different ways you can throw a movie night, and it all has to do with what you love! I have thrown a bunch of different themed movie nights including horror-themed and Disney Princess-themed. Both of these were so much fun to plan and host because I love both of those genres, and it was a blast to explore a bit and come up with my own ideas.

However, make sure that you know plenty of people who will be interested in attending. When I threw the horror movie night, I was in high school and it was right around Halloween, so I knew plenty of people who were eager to be scared. If you want to throw a Halloween movie night of your own, our list of Halloween movies from decades past is a great place to start.

Also, don’t worry about what’s necessarily appropriate for our millennial age group. This is your night to have fun, guilt-free, so you can have a Disney Princess party in your thirties. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Pinterest it
Okay, okay, so I know this sounds a little cliché, but Pinterest really does have some great party ideas! For my Disney Princess movie night,  I simply went to Pinterest and within minutes I had ideas on what to cook and how to decorate. I ended up making “Grey Stuff” from Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel braided bread, Minnie’s bow tie pasta salad, Cinderella’s carriage veggie dip and princess cupcakes. All of these were ideas that I got from Pinterest — but depending on your theme, you could include some of our college favorite recipes too.

Also, don’t let yourself get too stressed out. Have fun with it! The night before this party I got a little overwhelmed with all of the cooking I had to do, and it just made me make mistakes and have to cook things over. Just stay calm and have a blast. I promise you no one will mind if you end up having to order pizza.

P.S.: the dollar store makes these themes inexpensive. Books found at Goodwill can be awesome center pieces. I found a porcelain apple that I filled with Hershey kisses and said it was true love’s kiss. Be creative and have fun!

Get input on what movies to watch from your friends
So, when deciding exactly what movies to watch, I always take votes from my friends. With the Disney movie night, we decided that nobody wanted to watch Princess and the Frog. You can get a few more ideas from our lists of favorite sports movies, classics from before we were born and romantic comedies. If it’s holiday time, turn on one of these classic comedies and whip up some of these holiday cookies — but see if your friends have any favorites, too.

Also, be realistic. Unless it is a sleepover, chances are you will only be able to watch about three movies. I started my party around two in the afternoon, and it went until midnight. However, everyone kept getting distracted, so how many total movies did we watch? Four. Go with the flow and let everyone enjoy their time. If everyone wants to wear pajamas, have a pajama party.

A good movie night is not about how much you spend, but how much fun you have and the memories you make. Make sure to take pictures so you can look back and remember what a great night it was. Enjoy yourself, and maybe let your friends help you a little.

I’m a Millennial, My Best Friend Isn’t, and it Works

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Real Life Stories

One way that I consider myself not a stereotypical millennial (or, not another millennial, ha, ha) is that I am not just friends with millennials.

But over the course of my life, I’ve been known to befriend those who were 15 when I was 20 (which at the time is a big difference), and even those who are more than ten years older than I am. Perhaps it’s part of being an only child…but it’s always been a part of who I am, and it’s led to me meeting one of my best friends.

My best friend and I are only eight and a half years, give or take, apart. We’re truly not that far apart in age, but we’re far apart enough that we grew up surrounded by two different sets of pop culture (as evidenced by the fact that he was born before A Christmas Story debuted in theaters), two different newsreels of current events and witnessed two different types of parenting culture.

We met almost eight years ago as we were both part of the same local theatre troupe — and it was one of those friendships in which you click instantaneously. Neither realized how old the other was until later on and had a good laugh over the fact that I thought he was younger, and he thought that I was older (or, as he described it, “way mature” for my age).

The rest, as they say, is history. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t speak to each other. We have a language that is truly all our own. Our age difference has not mattered to us in the least, save for the fact that he can get a little overprotective at times (which I pretend to protest, but secretly love), and we’ve joked about how I was in fourth grade while he was in his senior year of high school. I also taught him how to use Twitter (in 2011 when not everyone had a Twitter account) and his BlackBerry (back when BlackBerries were a thing). Hello, millennial natural digital native prowess.

friends

But while our age difference has not mattered per se, we have a few differing philosophies — and that fact is a direct result of our respective upbringings taking place in two different eras.

Most notably, my best friend has had some choice words about millennials and is one very proud Gen Xer (his 1980 birth year puts him right on the cusp but he is not, in fact, a millennial)…who, on occasion, shares posts on Facebook about “what’s wrong with millennials.” And you can bet I get on his case every single time he does…to the point that his latest post had a qualifying paragraph that was meant just for me.

While we had a good laugh over it, we’ve also had some great discussions that have led to a better understanding — on both sides — of our differing philosophies.

We’ve been able to do that. We’ve been lucky enough to respect each other and have an exchange of ideas, even when our work methods or political ideologies differ.

So, for those of you millennials who find yourselves with a friend or friends of a different generation, use your friendship and mutual respect for each other to encourage discussion. Both of you are most certainly entitled to your feelings and opinions, and you are also allowed to disagree. Be sure to listen to the other side. But don’t let one disagreement signal the end of your friendship.

Because I really don’t know what I’d do without my best friend.