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Things That Only Friends Who Used To Live Together Can Relate To

Things That Only Friends Who Used To Live Together Can Relate To

Living with someone can be a logistic nightmare, and you can never really tell what you are in for, even if you move in with a great friend. There’s an entirely different dynamic at work – one that neither of you have explored before – and if you manage to click on one more level it creates a deep bond of trust and respect that very few things can compare to.

Having had the good fortune of sharing a home with a long-time friend for a while, I can honestly say that are certain things that you can only understand if you’ve spent a lot of time cooped up in the same apartment with someone you know well. There are too many little details to cover in a single article, but here are ten of the most memorable things that stay with you and change you.

1. Moving in together is an adventure you’ll fondly remember for the rest of your days

Moving in with a friend is a huge lifestyle change, and even if you are both easy to get along with and do things by the book, there can still be a lot of stress involved. However, as they say, the strongest steel is forged in the hottest fire. A little bit of adversity is what will ultimately help you become a more capable, mature and responsible person, and the things you and your roommate had to go through will always have a special place in a corner of your mind.

2. Going your separate ways is almost like a divorce

This might sound a bit over the top, but when you really think about it, you see that it makes a lot of sense. You go over a few basic steps in both divorce and when moving out:

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  • There’s an emotional mix of excitement and sadness
  • You go over detailed list of your stuff and try to split it up fairly
  • You feel anxious because you know you’ll have to get used to a new roommate all over again
  • The prospect of living alone makes you a little anxious
  • It’s an end of an era, and you feel compelled to go out with a bang

The whole situation is stressful – much less than divorce, but still – everything feels weird and there is plenty of uncertainty in your mind, but you can’t wait to give your new life shot. Luckily, you’ll have Skype to help you get through that initial shock.

3. It’s hard when no one gets your random TV show references

There’s nothing I loved more than to have someone laugh at my incredibly obscure reference, or at my attempts at a joke that borrowed themes from several shows that no one seems to watch. My roommate and I had a penchant for quality British television, but, for some inexplicable reason, no one else knew anything about them.

Oh sure, they’ve all heard of “that doctor guy, the one with the blue phone booth,” but I gave up trying to explain it to them after my fiftieth consecutive joke fell flat. I guess we all have some guilty pleasures, but it’s no fun when you can’t share it with someone.

4. People can be vastly different, yet complement each other’s characters perfectly

I would’ve never thought it possible, but I actually managed to get along great with a musician. It may not seem like much, but even though I have a creative mind and enjoy art, I never really thought about music in terms other than music that I like and music that I don’t like, party music and relaxing music. However, it turns out that you can dissect a song quite thoroughly and talk for hours about scales, genres and so on.

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My roommate taught me quite a few things like that and he was great at haggling, while I, in turn, helped him learn his way around a computer, how not to turn all your white laundry pink and generally dealt with minor fixes around the home. A grumpy techy and a laid-back artist sound like a pairing straight out of a comedy show, but you find that you can help each other out in areas that the other one is not really good at. You’d be surprised how easily you can get used to someone after living with them for a while.

5. There is now a permanent yardstick based on which all future cohabitants will be measured

The bad thing about hitting it off and getting used to living with someone is that it’s easy to get set in your ways. This means that you’ll have a certain way of doing things and anyone that comes to live with you afterwards is going to have habits that will annoy you, simply because they’re different then what you’re used to.

If your roommate liked to keep everything squeaky clean and never really asked for help unless you offered it yourself, it’s easy to think that someone who likes to make a list of chores and assign everyone something is actually a difficult and bossy person. You end up saying things like, “Well, so and so never gave me grief about the little stuff, and we got along just fine for years.”

6. You really get to know a person when you’ve both hit financial rock bottom

Being fresh out of college, my friend and I had a substantial debt to pay. Even though we were lucky to get jobs that were interesting and paid well soon after finishing school, there were times when we had to really buckle down. We’d burn through most of our money within a couple of weeks, and then subsist on cheap pasta, pastries and whatever was on sale for the rest of the month. It’s then that we both learned a lot about each other that we never knew about before.

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First of all, my friend took charge by doing some research and suggesting that we should take a new route – start saving up and consolidate student loans. I’ve never found the guy to be the financial savvy type before, or one to take matters into his own hands come to think of it, but when he presented me with tons of details and showed a willingness to do what it takes, I knew that this was something he had in him all along.

He just never had the chance to take the initiative before, because he never had someone else depend on him. The fact that we weren’t screaming at each other all day and complaining showed me that some people give their very best when they are at their worst.

7. Even years down the road, you can get your point across with a single look

A side-effect of spending a good part of each day with someone is that you gain a near telepathic ability to communicate without uttering a single word. It’s usually when you’re with a bunch of other friends that this ability truly shines – someone says something awkward or tries too desperately to be funny, and you just shoot a sideways glance at your friend, whose eyes are already rolling. It’s these priceless little moments that you end up missing the most.

8. You bore everyone to death with your roommate stories at every get-together

After a few years, there will be tons of little disasters, funny moments, heated or dangerous situations that only seem funny after a bunch of time has passed. It’s quite natural to want to reminisce once you meet up with an old friend who you shared all these exciting moments with, and quite few boring ones as well, but those around you won’t really appreciate it. Others will often feel excluded during your long-winded stories of what life was like back in the day, but you just won’t be able to help yourself.

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9. You catch yourself doing the same things that you used to tease your friend for

During the first few weeks of living together, I used to tease my friend about his unhealthy obsession with turning off all the lights in the apartment except the one that was absolutely necessary. It just seemed like something a secluded vampire hermit would do, but I recently caught myself running around my home and switching off lights because the TV provided more than enough light and there was no need to waste electricity.

I remembered my friend, let out a few mumbled cuss words and laughed. On the other hand, I heard that he now puts butter in every meal and double checks all the doors and windows as a safety precaution before going to bed, so some of my annoying habits must have rubbed off on him too, and worked out well for him.

10. No matter how hard you screw up, you’ll always have one number you can call

In the end, the most rewarding thing about living with a friend is that once you’ve earned a deeper level of trust and respect, you know that there will always be someone who feels like its their duty to help you out when you’re in need – no matter how much trouble you’re in or how insignificant a problem may seem to someone else.

I can count my good friends on the fingers of one hand, but if push came to shove and I needed to talk to someone at three in the morning or needed to bury a body, I know who’d answer the phone and remember to bring work gloves so we wouldn’t get blisters while digging.

I’m sure anyone who’s been in a similar situation will agree when I say that even though there is a certain sense of freedom you get when living on your own or with a partner, living with a true friend really opens your eyes to a lot of things. You learn a lot, not only about the other person, but about yourself and people in general as well. Just don’t let the nostalgia get to you, and stop teasing your ex-roommate about those dishes she broke when she was drunk or that weird girl he brought home from the club one night.

More by this author

Vladimir Zivanovic

CMO at MyCity-Web

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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