Dear Wayne and Wanda,
My best friend and I have lived together since college, first in a dorm, then apartment, then condo. We get along so well that I can’t remember ever having an argument or even awkward moment. It was all joking around, watching movies, playing video games and eating takeout. Everyone has joked that when one of us finally buys our own place, the other will move in. Well, now I’m not so sure.
Six months or so ago, he started hanging out with his work friends more often and partying with them on weekends. I was happy that he’s finally going out more because even though he’s pretty shy he’s also really smart and funny and girls have always been into him; he just never noticed. He’s noticing now! He’s brought home three different women (that I know of) in the past two months. In true form he’s trying to be respectful of our space, but it’s pretty weird for me to find a stranger in our kitchen or ignore noises from his bedroom (we share a wall, unfortunately). I’ve even had to wait to use the bathroom.
We’ve never had house rules because we’ve never needed them. We’ve also never had sexual conquests coming and going all the time. I’m honestly 110 percent stoked for him for getting some action and getting out of his shell. But it is getting harder for me to have to interact with or avoid the different women in our space at different times with no warning. And it seems the women also feel awkward when they suddenly see a stranger (me). Nothing fazes him though and he doesn’t talk about any of it or even give me a warning. He just smiles more around the house and talks more smack when playing video game with me. Cool.
I can’t afford my own place quite yet but I don’t know how much longer I can deal with my friend the player with all of his new friends in our space. Any tips to make this less awkward for everyone and to help him realize that it is awkward for everyone but him?
Alas, or not, it’s time to make some house rules. Look, we all have needs, boundaries and comfort zones, and these three things can all change over time. You two were ideal roommates for a multi-year period when you apparently each led either monastic or isolated sex lives to the point that you didn’t have to negotiate parameters on some of the most common behaviors that disrupt harmonious habitation: potential partners!
Frankly, it’s probably easier when we’re younger to live together. We’re all kind of starting off from the same place. First job. First serious relationship. First real house apart from our parents’ place or a dorm. But as the years tick by, paths can easily diverge, and just as our circumstances evolve and change, so can our needs and goals and desires as we evolve into our adult selves.
I mean, really, what did you think: you two would live your bromance out for years to come, no meddling female to be seen? That’s unrealistic, at best. Assuming you’re both straight, and sexually active, or at least interested in being active, you have to have space in your lives for current or future potential partners. This isn’t just about him. What if you met someone right now you wanted to nestle up with and get to know a whole lot better? Have you created a safe home space to bring them to? Would you feel awkward doing so?
Relatively speaking, you can relax. These are growing pains, not the death knell of your friendship. But you do need to come up with some mutually agreed-upon boundaries if you want to keep rooming together, because one or both of you will get a significant other sooner or later, or at least ambitiously audition candidates in the meantime, and it would be a shame to let such a natural thing detonate an otherwise smooth friendship.
You mean he doesn’t leave a sock hanging off the doorknob to let you know he’s inside with someone? Rookies.
Look man, it sounds like your friend is doing everything he can to maintain the best bro life with you, be considerate of the sweet little game zone you two have remodeled your condo into, while also, you know, start growing up and doing big boy things.
And it could be a lot worse. The noises from his room could be really loud. They could be making those noises, among other things, on your couch, in your shower or on your kitchen countertops. He could pre- and post-game with the party crew at your place on the weekends, getting goofy before leaving and then raging until everyone goes home or passes out on that couch. Your buddy could tell you to mind your dang business. Big picture, this new twist to the living situation is about as harmless and harmonious as it gets.
If anyone needs to — and has the power to — change the apartment atmosphere, it’s you. Ever think that you’re making it weird for everyone by acting like everyone else is making it weird? Relax. Be polite, say hi and acknowledge the visitors. Make everyone coffee when you wake up. Or if you want to ignore the whole thing, just put your headphones on and zone out to your video games/movies. It’s really no big deal and it’s also just a part of transitioning into adult life.
That said, if this living situation and activity continues to be awkward or anxiety inducing for you, it’s your move — literally. You can start looking at smaller places for yourself or a bigger place for the two of you.