How to Tell Friends You Don't Want to Move in Together

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How to Tell Friends You Don't Want to be Roommates

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Moving is a very personal life decision that should not be taken lightly. Everyone has their own reasons for moving, so things get complicated when other people are involved.

Frequently, especially during young adulthood, a friend may ask if you want to live together in a new home. You'll be roommates! It'll be great! Your friend may be enthusiastic, but you're not so sure that it will be the best living situation for you. How do you tell your friend "no" without crushing his or her spirits?

Good friends don't always make good roommates


There are several legitimate reasons why you may not want to live with your friend.
  • Your lifestyles clash- If you're good friends with someone, you probably know what they're all about. That also makes you uniquely qualified to judge them-- as bad as that sounds. Choosing the right roommate is a critical decision, and if you think that your friend's lifestyle could be an issue, you're probably right. Friends can certainly have different lifestyles, but it may not work as well if you are roommates.
  • Location issues- When everything else is stripped away, moving is simply a change of location. If the place your friend wants to move to is not right for you, don't just go along with it. If the move takes you away from where you want to be, it is not a good move.
  • Financial concerns- Moving takes money. Your friend probably is asking you to move because of how cheap living together would be if you split rent and living expenses, but that does not include the one-time costs of moving. Also, do you really want the potential for money coming between friends when one of you forgets to pay rent?
  • The timing is off- Your friend may be too excited about the move and rush into it before either of you are ready. Moving takes mental, logistical and emotional preparation. If you are comfortable in your current home or are otherwise not prepared to move, a spontaneous relocation doesn't make sense.
  • You want to move in with someone else- Your friend may want to live with you, but you always pictured your next move being with your significant other or another freind. Although this is obviously a good reason to decline your friend's moving proposal, it is perilous territory. The tension between multiple friends vying for your time is only rivaled by the same tension between your friends and your significant other. Tread carefully.

How to say "no" and keep your friend

Unfortunately, your friend may have a lot riding on your commitment to the move and your refusal could end his or her plans altogether. Fair or not, your friend could take your refusal personally. It's not so much what you say, as how you say it. Here are some tips to avoid hard feelings:
  • Don't lead them on- Continually telling your friend "maybe" when you know for sure that you don't want to move in isn't being nice; it could cause your friend more stress. The longer you let your friend hold out hope, the more preparation he or she may put into a move that will never happen. If you know it's not happening, let your friend know immediately.
  • It's not you, it's me- If your reasons for declining have to do with concerns about your friend's lifestyle, directly saying that can be insulting. Frame your response by putting the blame on yourself rather than your friend's failings.
  • Appeal to the friend's priorities- If you are good friends, you'll know what he or she values in life. For example, if your friend is career-oriented, try to highlight concerns about your job as a reason why you can't move in together. 
  • Avoid outright lies- Many of these tips involve slightly obscuring the reasons why you don't want to move, but outright lying should always be avoided. Your friend will be more mad at you if it's obvious that you're lying than if you tell the hard truth. If you say you aren't ready to move and then your friend notices that you just got an apartment with your significant other a month later, it won't sit well.
  • End by making plans- Try to make plans for the next time you will hang out at the end of the conversation. This shows that you're still friends and that you plan on seeing each other, even if it is less than it would be if you were roommates. Showing that you want to hang out will let your friend know it's not personal, you just need to make your own decisions about moving.

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on April 14, 2015

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