Real Life Roommate Stories: When Best Friends Share a Home

published Jul 20, 2016
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(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Is living with your best friend awesome…or a nightmare that ends with no one speaking to each other? We spoke to Amy and Steph of Two Best Friends (& Two Adorable Dogs!) Share a Comfy Minneapolis Home and asked them to give us the dirt on what it’s like sharing a space with a best friend, as well as share any advice on how to stay friends!

How did you meet?

Steph: We met in 2006 because our siblings were dating. I actually lived with Amy’s sister first in college. Our siblings are now married, which makes all of it even sweeter.

Amy: We always find it amazing that we didn’t meet earlier in our lives—we both grew up in Arizona, just a few miles away from one another, and then both moved to Minnesota for college. Over the years we’ve realized how many mutual friends and shared experiences we had before we even met—it’s no wonder we instantly clicked! We’re honorary members of one another’s families.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

We’ve joked many times that once one of us gets married, we’ll just build an addition over the garage, and the husbands will just have to deal with it. — Amy

How did you guys decide to move in with one another?

Steph: I was wanting to move back to Minneapolis after living in a small town outside of the cities. Amy and I had talked about how it would be great to live together because that just made perfect sense. So when the opportunity arose after a roommate moved out, I moved in!

Amy: We’ve lived in three different houses together now. There have been periods where Steph has moved away and I had a different roommate or lived on my own, but we’ve always been excited to move back in together. One of the hardest parts about buying a house on my own was finding an amazing house but not having a family of my own to fill it with. Lucky for me, Steph is my family, and for this time in my life she’s the perfect person to share this house with! We’ve joked many times that once one of us gets married, we’ll just build an addition over the garage, and the husbands will just have to deal with it.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

What’s a typical day like around your home?

Steph: I wake up first, around 5:50 (sometimes 6:20 when I cant bare leaving my cuddling dog) and make the pot of coffee for the day. I usually leave the house around the time Amy’s alarm gets her out of bed. I am also usually the first to go to bed.

The living room is probably where we spend the most time. When we are actually both home we will bring our nights to a close by watching a show. When we have company over, time is usually spent around the dining room table, in the living room, or on the porch. Anywhere were we can sit for long hours and be comfortable.

Amy: It’s always harder to get out of bed when Steph hasn’t made coffee first. Sometimes we’ll cross paths in the morning or we’ll say “good morning” if she brushes her teeth while I’m showering. There are plenty of days where we maybe see each other for 15 minutes due to our schedules—usually when we both get home from work and are letting the dogs out or catching up about our days in the kitchen making our dinners. Sometimes we’ll watch a show together, other times we spend the whole evening in our respective rooms with the doors shut. Over the weekend we are both in and out, but sometimes we’ll go to the dog park together or go out to brunch.

“When you are thinking of moving in together have a conversation about how you see your living space utilized. Do you have the same ideas about hospitality and community?” — Steph

Do you guys cook and eat together?

Steph: We seldom cook together. Amy is a great cook so she spends a lot of time in the kitchen. As of late I have been keeping my meals quick and easy so I usually eat while she cooks her own food. We do have excellent meals together for special occasions (ie Friend Thanksgiving).

Amy: Once in awhile I’ll share what I’m making, but usually we cook separately.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

How often do you throw parties, and is it together as hosts?

Steph: We do love a good gathering of friends! I think there has only been one party that was not thrown together as co-hosts and that was for my birthday. I threw a 1920s Murder Mystery Party. That is a bit more up my alley.

Amy: I feel like I’ve always been more of the party thrower/planner…except when it came to that murder mystery party! I draw the line at game nights. We’ve usually thrown an annual Halloween party (although it didn’t happen this past year), and Friend Thanksgiving is also a yearly event, either at my house or our friends’ house. I’ve thrown quite a few large birthday dinners for Steph or other friends as well. When we do throw parties, I’m usually in charge of food, and Steph is usually in charge of the social peace/keeping most people out of the kitchen while I’m cooking!

How do you divvy up household chores?

Steph: Because Amy owns the house (and enjoys these things) she takes over outside tasks like gardening and mowing. For inside I actually enjoy cleaning so I do most of the inside of the house sans her room and kitchen.

Amy: Steph remembers to clean significantly more often than I do. Her room is always cleaner than mine! I take care of everything outdoors, and she does a lot of the cleaning inside. I feel like we both end up sharing the chores of cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, but she thinks to clean things like windows and floors and seems to see the dust in the dining and living rooms significantly more often than I do. We help each other out with certain things though, like combining smaller loads of laundry or taking one another’s things to Goodwill if we both have a pile going.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

If you guys love to watch TV or movies together at home, what are some of your favorites?

Steph: Oh boy. We do love doing this. We are going through Sex and the City again because, you know, why not. We also really just got into About A Boy but found out it got canceled!

Amy: The only time I ever think to watch movies is with Steph, and that’s usually during the weekends over the winter when we just want to be cozy on the couch with our dogs. We’ve had a few that we have watched over and over, such as Son of Rambow, Moulin Rouge and Elizabethtown, but usually I just request a certain genre and she finds a movie that fits the bill. We always have a show or two going though. Currently Sex and the City, but previously Firefly, Gilmore Girls and Boy Meets World. I pretty much don’t use the TV unless Steph is home… mostly because I’m terrible and/or lazy with remotes and buttons and I give up too easily trying to switch the TV from Netflix to DVD.

The best thing about living with a friend?

Steph: Having that person there whenever you need them. It’s nice to be able to come home and be able to talk if you need to or not talk and just be around someone for comfort. Its also amazing having someone there to help take care of you when you are sick since my mother lives states away haha.

Amy: I would say the best part about living with Steph, in particular, is that I can be totally myself around her. I don’t feel like there are any secret habits I have when she’s not around, and I know she feels the same about me. Even if we spend the whole night in the same room and only say a couple things to each other, it’s nice to have that company. It’s also nice to know that if I need to spend the evening by myself with the door shut, she’s not going to take it personally. We’ve both taken care of each other when we’re sick or emotionally distraught, even if it’s coming and sitting with the other person when they’re on the receiving end of a terrible phone call or in the middle of a panic attack. We also just have a ton of fun being around one another, so I suppose that’s kind of nice, too!

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

The most unexpected thing about living with a friend?

Steph: I’m not sure if there was anything unexpected for me. I grew up living with my brothers and worked at summer camps before moving in with Amy so I was very familiar about sharing a space and had a taste of what living with others should look like.

Amy: I think the most unexpected thing was when we realized we need to make sure we’re making intentional time for one another. We’re both busy people and there have been times when we’ve been like, “ok, we need to just leave the house and get brunch and hang out because we haven’t actually talked in two weeks.” When I came back from vacation recently, it took us two days to find time to go get a couple of beers together and for her to hear the entire trip recap, but we made sure to make time for it. It was also unexpected when she turned me into a total dog lover the second she brought Marvel the point where I would maybe even say I’m an animal lover now…

“Communication and compromise are important to making sure that you make it out of the living situation still as friends!” — Amy

Your favorite/funniest/weirdest “living with a friend” moment so far:

Steph: Hmmm. There are many moments that could be listed here but I am going to go with one of my favorite Saturday mornings rituals. This one particular day we had both slept in a long time but eventually could tell the other was awake. My phone rang and I was getting a Facetime call from Amy. I answered and we made plans to meet at the couch to watch Saturday morning TV. She made the coffee, I set up the tv. It’s ridiculous but I loved it.

Amy: I really like a lot of our living-together-on-vacation moments—we end up traveling together quite a bit and live on the road as well as we live in the house together. We have extremely similar travel philosophies, and we’re always up for the adventure of a long car drive and can entertain ourselves for hours taking turns being Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor singing the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. We traveled to the UK together last summer and agreed that it was the perfect travel experience for both of us. I also found it funny that while flying on an almost empty plane over to England we were the only two still sitting next to each other while everyone else took advantage of empty rows! In terms of actual living in the home together, I really enjoy when our siblings or parents come and stay at the house and all of the rooms are full of our family!

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

What advice would you give to two friends considering becoming housemates?

Steph: Give it a try! When you are thinking of moving in together have a conversation about how you see your living space utilized. Do you have the same ideas about hospitality and community? Communication is key!

Amy: I think one of the biggest things for Steph and I have been that we’ve both agreed that our friendship is a top priority. We’ve always pushed through disagreements or hard times with the understanding that we need to just figure it out, because we’re basically family. Communication and compromise are important to making sure that you make it out of the living situation still as friends!

See Amy and Steph’s home: