Do best friends equal best flatmates?


By Emily Herbert, Second Year, English

The Croft Magazine// Many of us think that living with our friends will be a stress-free utopia. Emily Herbert reflects on whether this is always true.

Should you have your friends as flatmates? The obvious answer: it depends on the friends. Your house dynamic could make or break a friendship - and vice versa.

Of course, it’s what we all dreamed of as children - to live with your best friends in a hastily decorated flat in the city. It feels great to have your support network around you and always available, especially during things like assessments.

You have your besties around you to cuddle when you’re touch-starved (or tell you to get a grip, whatever floats your boat) and so you can never feel lonely. Sounds ideal.

But here’s the catch: it’s basically impossible to live with someone without getting into some kind of argument. Whether it’s about the washing up, boyfriends, or FOMO, flat beef will always happen and, inevitably, it stings far more when it’s with your best friends.

it’s hard to set strict ground rules with people you know really well.

It’s all fun and games having a communal kitchen until someone scratches your precious non-stick pan, and it’s hard to set strict ground rules with people you know really well. Familiarity breeds contempt, and suddenly you find yourself knowing things you’d rather not know about your friends, whether they have a foot fetish or leave food in the oven for several hours.

This year, of course, we’ve also had lockdown thrown into the mix - how does your friendship group change when you are legally only allowed to hang out with them 24/7?

How many games of ring of fire can 6 people play? How many movie nights is too many movie nights? Living with strangers can ordinarily help widen your social circle, but when you can’t meet new people, it’s difficult to know who you would rather spend your time with.

On top of that, how do you focus on uni work when your bestie is just next door?

Maybe you’re the responsible type who has silent study dates with your neighbours, or you do your 9-5 very dutifully, but it’s difficult not to procrastinate when your excuse is sitting right there. God forbid someone brings Mario Kart, immediately sending your degree down the drain.

There’s no doubt that living with our best mates won’t always be the utopia that we imagined. There will challenges to overcome but, at the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like living with your mates.

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The bond that you build through weird procrastination schemes and the trauma of student lettings is irreplaceable. Maybe you’ll fall out sometimes after spending months stuck in the house with several other stressed-out twenty-year-olds, but it’s worth it for the late-night adventures and whispered group therapy on a Tuesday evening.

Featured Image: Emily Herbert / Epigram

What has your experience living with friends been like? Let us know!