“I’ve been thinking…”
Oh, God. Those three words. My heart rate quickened, hoping the next set of words weren’t going to be awful.
“I want to move to live with you in D.C. I really do. It’s just … I feel like this is all happening so fast. In a few months, I could have a new job, new apartment, a new life basically, and I keep asking myself ‘Am I ready for this??’ I think I am. I’m almost completely positive that I am. But I’m trying to figure out what’s best for me AND what’s best for us, and I’m feeling a lot of pressure.”
As serious as I knew this conversation was, I just couldn’t contain it. I busted out laughing.
I’m the one who pushes the envelope a bit too far sometimes, and she’s the practical one who reins me back in. She doesn’t let me get out of hand, and I in turn force her out of her comfort zone a bit.
“What’s so funny?”
“We sound married,” I said.
She broke down in a fit of tear-inducing, breathless laughter. The truth of it was too ridiculous not to laugh about. Between gasps for air, she asked, “What’s your boyfriend going to think?!”
My best friend, K., is planning a total life-transplant to Washington, D.C. to live with me. The plan has been in the works for over six months, though we had always wanted to live together after we graduated college. She’s tired of living in the same city—and in the same house—that she’s lived in with her parents since infancy. Moving back home wasn’t exactly her first choice after graduating over a year ago, but in this economy it was practically impossible to save any money without making the move home. She’s eager to get out of the city and her parents’ home, and start a more independent life in a place with much more opportunity.
Last August, I also moved back home in order to save money. Like K., I’m ready to leave, and my parents and I have agreed on a time range for me to move out. I lived alone once and hated it, so I’m determined to have a roommate. I’d prefer not to live with a stranger, K. prefers not to live with a stranger, and K. has always planned to move to D.C., so it seems logical that we move in together. We’re looking at a deadline of anywhere between two and four months from now, which means there are a lot of details to work out in not a lot of time.
The impending move has forced us to think like an entity, like a married couple. We’re facing questions and hurdles that any committed pair would face in our situation. Where do we want to live? How much are we willing to pay? How much would we each like to save? What kind of job is K. looking for? Should she move before she finds a job to ensure she’s there before I have to sign a lease? What’s our long-term goal for the place we choose? When should she tell her current employer that she’s leaving?
Answering each question is an exercise in patience, compromise and understanding. There isn’t any, “Well, I want this so we have to do that,” or “I’m moving at this time and that’s final. Live with me if you want” … you know, the kind of passive-aggressive bitchy dialogue you might find between two female friends and future roommates. We find a way to answer each problem that faces us in a way that we can both live with and agree on, that will be mutually beneficial to each of us now and in the future. There are no ultimatums or snappy requests, because we’re committed to each other. We can’t be demanding because that’s not healthy for the relationship in the long-term.
So. Why the hell am I so committed to being with my best friend? Why is it so important that we make decisions together and sacrifice things for each other, when we aren’t a couple? We aren’t required to have a life-long dedication to each other, so why act like we do? Living with strangers isn’t that bad.
More than being best friends, K. and I are also business partners. We found out long ago, when we were roommates for three years in college, that we had strikingly similar goals for our life. Over the past two years we combined those interests and similarities and formulated a plan for an enterprise that we want to undertake one day. It has proven to be an all-consuming passion for both of us, and the fervor has only grown now that we’ve each been out in the working world for a year, at jobs that neither of us are overly thrilled to be doing. Living together isn’t a vital necessity, but it would make working toward this goal a hell of a lot easier.
It’s not simply that we’re dedicated to our friendship, it’s that we’re dedicated to that joint life ambition — we know where we want to be in two, five, and 10 years from now. We depend on each other to make this goal a reality because we’re each one half of how the enterprise works. I’m the one who pushes the envelope a bit too far sometimes, and she’s the practical one who reins me back in. She doesn’t let me get out of hand, and I in turn force her out of her comfort zone a bit. The dream would flounder if one of us decided to leave or give up; we balance each other out in a way that we’re confident will prove very successful in the future.
Just like any committed couple, we’re looking at the bigger picture. Yes, asking K. to leave her job and relocate her life so that we can make more headway on our plan isn’t easy. But we made a promise to turn this goal into a reality years ago. So in sickness and in health, we’re sticking to that vow.
Original by Rachel East