A couple years ago I was invited to a summer party. No, no one paid these people to interact with me in a social setting. I’d met Kathryn through our volunteer work with Big Brothers Big Sisters (we’re great people who give our time to help children, praise us – only her more so because she actually has worked with children in a teaching setting, and I just loved Role Models). We quickly sparked up a friendship thanks to our mutual understanding that Backstreet Boys is the best boy band ever. She soon told me one of her roommates was an N’SYNC fan, but I chose not to judge this girl I didn’t know too harshly about it because my own BFF was a trader to Joey Fatone in the past. That aside, I went to her and her roommates party, and their cute decor and sitcom-like reality made them picture perfect candidates for this week’s interview. Yes, all three were asked; Kathryn, Rosie and Jessie.
Rosie’s love of Friends always put the idea of living with her besties in the back of her mind, but when they all packed up and headed to LA – it was all perfect timing. Kathryn was planning on moving there with Jessie already, and then when a breakup led Rosie to make a change in her life – all three found a place and shared a space for two years. Now remember the whole realistic sitcom I just mentioned? Well that’s the thing about friends who live together, they eventually find new paths to follow and end up parting ways. So while these lovely ladies don’t have their Leonardo DiCaprio movie sessions anymore at Puppycake (the official namesake of their humble abode), they’re still as tight as jeans on a Monday after laundry day. Now let’s get inside the minds of a few women who are pretty much experts on rooming with others.
Jessie: There were occasional times where there was a show only two of us would watch or times where only two of us would go out, but that kind of thing only happened when the third person wasn’t around initially or had other plans. We really tried hard to not have situations where someone was left out so it didn’t end up being a problem that often. I don’t think there was ever a situation where anyone was ganged up on, although I think there were plenty of times where two of us vented about the other one, but I think being able to talk it out with someone helped us to not turn on each other!
Kathryn: I think whenever you have a group of three people, it’s hard to make sure everyone feels super included all of the time. I mean, especially with three super busy independent ladies, which also means making three crazy schedules talk to one another. What would happen quite often is that it would just happen to be two of us home at the same time, we would make a plan and then sort of assume that the other person could just read our minds and so would know to join, or wouldn’t care that we had made those plans without her. It definitely was a source of stress at times.
Rosie: I suppose there were certain little things that made someone feel out of the loop, but nothing really major. The three person thing actually came in handy all the time. Because we had this rule that if two people agreed on something, then that’s what we did. It was really easy deciding on decorations, party dates, what to watch, where to eat, etc. Usually we were on the same page, but majority rule is the best system, or at least it was for us.
Kendra: One of the biggest factors that can cause distress with roommates is finances. Was that ever an issue or were all you independent women able to pay those bills, bills, bills? (There was a Beyonce story on TV when I wrote these out)
Kathryn: We had a whiteboard where we kept track of everything super transparently, and we all got to pay our rent independently, so I don’t think finances ever really came up for us.
Jessie: We never had any issues with that and everyone paid their bills on time luckily!! We did split the rent differently based on things like who got garage access/who had their own bathroom but we talked that out before renting and all agreed on what each of us would pay before we put in our applications.
Rosie: Oh girl we are independent women! Our white board was the go-to. Anytime someone paid for all of us, they just divided it and added it to the board, and the person paid for it when they could. It was usually within the month. I’ve lived with lots of people (sorority and stuff) and that’s the best way to go! We were all pretty respectful about being timely.
Kendra: On a lighter note, what’s your favorite memory of living with one another?
Rosie: Ah my favorite memory? That isn’t fair. So hard! We were all so new to LA, so there were so many times that we went out to explore the city together, and it was always great. But honestly, the memories of just going to brunch, and Target, and then sitting in our living room together laughing was the best. It is like a 7th grade slumber party. Only every week. Also, trying to take our first Christmas picture was freaking hilarious. We all got so punch-drunk, delirious, that it was fantastic.
Jessie: My favorite memories are just hanging out in the living room with each other watching Lifetime movies and laughing, and being able to be spontaneous and grab some frozen yogurt or Starbucks just because.
Kathryn: Oh I don’t know if I have a single favorite memory, or just a collection of beautiful ones in which we’re sitting together watching really dumb Lifetime movies and making each other cry with laughter. The best memories were all the super unplanned ones, when we just all got home around the same time, congregated in our living room and chatted about nonsense.
Kendra: Again, you guys happen to be lucky enough to know one another before living together, but do you have any advice for those who have to move in with strangers – like maybe something they can do together to form a real lasting friendship, or to at least make them tolerate one another?
Jessie: I haven’t had much luck with random roommates, but I think that’s because I have a hard time communicating with people I don’t know very well which is really the key to getting along with roommates. If you can talk openly about what you want in a roommate and what you’re willing to do as well I think it helps a lot. I’m not good at following my own advice though, which is why I live alone now!
Rosie: My advice would be the same for friends or strangers: be respectful of the public space, and be generous of your time. If you want to sit in your room and watch TV all the time, then don’t expect to build any life-long friendships. But if you want to involve your roommates in your life, then the experience will be so rewarding. Even something like going grocery shopping. Planning roommate dates is always a must. And don’t sweat the little things. It is easy to get caught up in “they didn’t wash a dish,” and it’s easy to let that ruin your time together. But as long as it’s something small (like they aren’t expecting you to do their dishes all the time), then let it go so you can have fun with them, and be happy to be around them.
Kathryn: Transparency and honesty is everything. The second resentments start building up at all, it’s all over. If anything bothers you, and it bothers you for more than 24 hours, just say it. It’s probably not as big of a deal as you think it is AND talking about it will actually make your friendship grow or, at the very least, keep annoyances at bay.
Kendra: Years and years from now, could you see you guys moving back in together like the wonderful Golden Girls?
Kathryn: I can only dream.
Jessie: That’s the dream!! If we can’t be the Golden Girls, I want us to someday be like Friends and at least live across the hall/next door.
Rosie: I can’t really imagine us living together again, which breaks my heart to say! But that isn’t due to the act of living with them, it is only because our lives are moving in such different directions. Part of the amazingness of Puppycake was that it was all right, the timing and location. But if someday Fil and I broke up, and the three of us were all living in the same city, then sure!
Jessie: Having that social interaction every day that you don’t have to plan, basically having your friends around all the time. And splitting the bills!
Rosie: The biggest high is that I am not one to want to be alone. I love that it is a built in slumber party with your best friends. And the Starbucks and baking Kathryn would leave for us.
Kathryn: Having built in buddies for everything. When I had a shitty day at work or just needed someone to go see a movie with me, I knew I had at least one person (probably two) who would be there. Even in the worst days, my mood instantly lightened when I got home because there was just so much joy in the house.
Kendra: And lastly, what’s the biggest low about having roommates?
Jessie: I’m an introvert, so sometimes even though I loved them having to walk past the living room or use the kitchen when someone was in there and trying to talk to me was terrible and I would just hide in my room for a while. Also having to deal with roommate’s levels of cleanliness which differed from yours. But overall the highs were better and happened more often than the lows!
Rosie: The biggest low would probably just be like… like I consider Kathryn to be like a sister to me. And if you have siblings you’d know living with them is sometimes frustrating. But when it is also a friend, and you have the same friend group, then it can get compounded. But luckily that almost never happened!
Kathryn: Sort of connected to the biggest high, when two roommates are fighting, it is really an impossible situation. It makes the whole house tense and even if you aren’t the one in the fight and you don’t want to “take sides,” you end up doing so by default just because someone talks to you in the kitchen first. Hence my advice about transparency and honesty – just get it all out there, don’t make anyone be in the middle of anything.
That said, if you get the chance to live with your best friends, definitely take time to think through that decision really carefully. I feel forever lucky that my two besties also happen to be super easy-going, sufficiently different people to make a harmonious household. I can think of other dear friends I adore who would be the WORST roommates and living with them would probably ruin our friendship. So evaluate living with your friends just like you would strangers!