• Keeping Friends

Living with a close friend: What happened to our friendship?

Published: September 12, 2012 | Last Updated: October 28, 2012 By | 3 Replies Continue Reading
Living together as roommates can change the dynamics of a friendship.


Hi Irene,

About two months ago, a close friend and I moved in together. At first, I was very excited about our new living arrangement and assumed that it would only strengthen our friendship. However, living with this friend seems to have had the opposite effect.

I know that living with a friend can be difficult and I anticipated arguments over things and annoyances over things too. But as of yet, we haven’t had any issues. Our friendship just seems to be slowly dissolving.

Part of me thinks that this has to do with the fact that we no longer identify as friends, but rather as roommates. We no longer do the friend-type things that we used to do (e. g., go for drinks, go for dinner, take trips together). We still do things together, but now it is more like a chore. We go to the supermarket, we go to the pharmacy, we go to the hardware store, etc. We still spend time together, but the time that we spend together is no longer fun.

I want to tell my roommate that I feel like I am losing her as a friend but I am not sure how to go about it. Like I said, nothing bad has happened between us. But it seems like she has forgotten that we were friends before we were roommates. What do you think I should do?

Signed, Penny


Dear Penny,

Your living arrangement is still relatively new, and living with anyone is always an adjustment. It’s great that things are going smoothly in terms of the logistics of living side-by-side. However, your frustration at not having more “quality time” with your friend may suggest that you and she have different expectations of how closely interwoven you both want your lives will be.

Although your roommate still considers you a close friend, someone she feels close enough to room with, she may still need some downtime for herself (especially if she is used to living alone) or may want to make sure she doesn’t spend all her time with only one friend (who, in this case, happens to be you).

My suggestion would be to approach this situation positively. You are still friends, you haven’t had any disagreements, and you get along as roommates. Open a dialogue and ask her if she wants to plan a night out together next week. However, you need to be sensitive to her boundaries so she doesn’t feel like she has taken on a needy roommate. By the same token, you need to seek out other social relationships so you don’t feel as dependent as you do on her.

One last thought: Try to remain confident and secure in the soundness of this friendship and that you’ll work things out together. Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Prior posts on The Friendship Blog about roommate dilemmas:

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Category: Creating and maintaining boundaries

Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Very similar to being a married couple. 😛

  2. Anonymous says:

    Try to have a friendly, non-defensive talk with your roommate. Maybe go out for coffee or a meal, someplace you would have gone together before, when you were friends. Ask what’s going on and tell her the friendship means a lot to you and you want to preserve it. It could be a “boundaries” issue. People do have their own ideas what should occur when you are roommates. Some people expect a joined at the hips thing; others need a lot of space. Best of luck to you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I had a friend who with we weren’t roommates but who with we did alotqof everyday things having to do with home life together. It felt very bonding and intimate sharing the mundane together. But you’re younger it seems, we were %0,s and 50’s. However, maybe you can change some things. For example married couples don’t shop together most of the time and do chores at different times, rtc. If you live more separate domestic lives you wont feel so attached at the hip and appreciate each other more. If you’re both working that helps too, do you see each other too often? Hope this hekps!

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