What I learned from watching "Friends"

And the word is: cohabiting.

It’s no secret that living with another person is hard. Ask newlyweds or siblings or cloistered monks, and they’ll have a lot to say.

Ask college students, and they’ll have even more.

What time you go to bed at night and how often you clean your room matter to roommates, perhaps more so than those things mattered to your mom. And it doesn’t make a difference if that roommate is a friend.

Whether you’re sharing a space with someone you’ve known forever or someone you don’t know at all, you’re going to bug each other once in awhile.

Exhibit A: “Friends.” I’ve been revisiting my season DVDs recently, and I’ve noticed that most of the characters lived together in various pairings at some point – Rachel and Monica, Joey and Chandler, Monica and Chandler, Joey and Rachel, Rachel and Ross. I’m pretty sure it was also established that Phoebe lived with Monica before the series began.

Wacky, free-spirited Phoebe and obsessive compulsive Monica in the same apartment: That would have been fun to see.

Anyway, the friends dealt with stressful living situations. In fact, Joey and Chandler – one of the best television bromances of all time – got into a fight so vicious that Joey moved out. Of course, they eventually reconciled, and the fight allowed for the introduction of that enormous white porcelain dog.

I’m sorry if none of this makes sense to you. It’s the TV addict in me.

What I mean to say is that living with people, even people you love dearly, comes with challenges and rewards. A stranger could become a lifelong friend or advantageous business contact for the future. At the very least you’ll learn patience.

I want to live in New York City in the future, but I know I will likely never be able to afford the kind of places Joey and the gang could. I’ll probably end up in bunk beds with another poor grad student. That’s OK, though, because I’ll be where I want to be. Besides, no one starts out in a penthouse.

Accepting that cohabiting means getting on each other’s nerves has been one of my most significant realizations since starting college. A second significant realization: The experience is ultimately worth it.

For a smooth transition into residence hall life, check out these tips.

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