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Is living with friends a recipe for disaster? Nairobians speak

Living with friends sounds like a dream come true, right? Late-night movie marathons, impromptu kitchen dance parties, and endless laughter echoing through the halls. But behind this facade lies a potential minefield of tension, misunderstandings, and ultimately, fallout. Is living with friends truly a recipe for disaster?

If you have watched sitcoms like FRIENDS and How I Met Your Mother, then you may have an idea of what living with a friend looks like. That’s if you haven’t yet experienced it for yourself. At first glance, the idea of living with a friend sounds like a great idea with the potential for a closer bond, but on the ground, things tend to flare out differently.

Of course, like every other thing, having new company in your house will be exciting and warm, but after a week, you start to feel suffocated and a little of privacy invasion. But do you have the guts to tell your friend that you no longer want them in your house? Considering that most of the time when friends choose to cohabit it’s because of financial constraints? Would you be willing to evict a friend during such tough times? Most probably not. But what price are you paying while hosting a friend for an indefinite period of time?

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I recently had a chat with a close friend of mine, Gertrude Nyambura, a 26-year-old marketing professional who learned the hard way that mixing friendship with cohabitation can indeed lead to disaster.

Nyambura’s story began with excitement and anticipation. When her longtime friend, Carol, found herself in need of a roommate, Nyambura eagerly volunteered. They had been inseparable since college, sharing secrets, dreams, and countless memories. Moving in together seemed like the natural next step in their friendship.

“At first, everything was perfect,” Nyambura reminisced, a wistful smile playing on her lips. “We cooked together, watched our favorite shows, and had the best time. I thought living with my best friend was going to be the ultimate adventure.”

But as the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, cracks began to appear in their once-solid friendship. Minor annoyances—dirty dishes left in the sink, clothes strewn across the living room—escalated into full-blown arguments.

“It was like we were seeing each other’s flaws for the first time,” Nyambura confessed. “And instead of addressing them like adults, we let them fester until they poisoned our friendship.”

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The breaking point came one fateful night when Nyambura returned home from a work trip to find Carol hosting a raucous party without her consent. The apartment was in shambles, and Nyambura’s cherished belongings had been trampled and broken in the chaos.

“I felt betrayed,” Nyambura admitted. “Here I was, thinking we were in this together, and she went behind my back and disrespected our home. That was the moment I realized living with friends was a mistake.”

Nyambura was left with no other choice but to kick her friend out, and as was expected, their friendship ended. Countless others have found themselves caught in the friendship trap, where the lines between personal and professional blur, and boundaries are routinely crossed. But why does living with friends often end in disaster?

Psychologists suggest that familiarity breeds contempt—a phenomenon wherein close proximity can magnify existing tensions and lead to heightened conflict. When friends become roommates, the stakes are raised, and small irritations can snowball into major rifts.

Not to mention, the dynamics of power and control can shift dramatically within the confines of a shared living space. Decisions about chores, expenses, and guests can become battlegrounds for dominance, leaving both parties feeling marginalized and resentful.

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So, does this mean living with friends is doomed from the start? Not necessarily. With open communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to set boundaries, it is possible to navigate the murky waters of cohabitation without sacrificing friendship. But in all honesty, if you can avoid it, the better.

“We may not be friends anymore, but I’m grateful for the memories we shared,” Nyambura reflected, a bittersweet smile on her face. “And who knows? Maybe someday we’ll laugh about this over a glass of wine and wonder what we were thinking.”

I got to ask a few other friends and acquaintances about the matter and they shared,

“I lived with my best friend for two years, and it was the best decision I ever made. We had our disagreements, sure, but our friendship only grew stronger because of it.” – Emily, 29

“I tried living with a friend once, and it was a disaster. We ended up arguing over everything from groceries to who should clean the bathroom. It ruined our friendship.” – Alex, 25

“I thought living with my friend would be a blast, but it turned out to be a nightmare. She was always borrowing my stuff without asking and inviting people over without giving me a heads-up. Needless to say, we’re not friends anymore.” – Cate, 27

“I’ve had both positive and negative experiences living with friends. It really comes down to compatibility and mutual respect. If you can find the right balance, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.” – Jack, 32