I have lived with my fair share of people. Family, friends, strangers, and everything in between. Each experience has been a different one with their own positives and negatives. Each experience has taught me what I am really looking for in a living arrangement.
Living alone versus living with roommates is a question many post-grads have to ask themselves. Growing up I lived with my parents and my two younger brothers. In college I lived with roommates (I actually shared a dorm/bedroom all 4 years). Then I graduated and found my first job with an apartment company. A requirement of the job was to live in an apartment located on one of the properties. For the first time in my life I was living completely alone.
Living alone was strange at first. Senior year of college I lived with my four best girl friends and someone was always around to hang out with or talk to. Coming home to an empty apartment everyday was weird. If I had a bad day there was no one there to commiserate with me. (Side note: I had one of the worst days of my life senior year of college. My roommates surprised me with my favorite Chinese for dinner, wine, cupcakes, and my favorite movie to cheer me up. That doesn’t happen when you live alone). The apartment seemed quiet and lonely in the beginning.
After awhile though, I became used to living alone. No, my roommates weren’t there to cheer me up after a bad day, but I could take a long, hot bath without worrying about someone needing the bathroom. I could leave dishes in the sink if I didn’t feel like washing them that night. I could watch whatever I wanted on TV without worrying about sharing. I could decorate my apartment however I chose. I didn’t have to worry about being quiet in case someone else was sleeping. I didn’t have to ask permission when I wanted friends to stay the weekend. Plus getting my cat Ollie helped make the place seem not as empty. Soon I wasn’t feeling lonely and I enjoyed being alone.
Now I’m back living with roommates, and this time they aren’t my best friends, but strangers I met through Craigslist. This presents its own set of challenges. Will our personalities mesh? Will they clean up after themselves? Will they eat my food? Will their dog like my cat? Will our design styles match? Things certainly aren’t perfect, but it is manageable and the positives outweigh the negatives.
Some things to consider when deciding alone vs. roommates:
- Cost. Can you actually afford to live alone? For me, I can’t right now, hence why I have roommates.
- Location. Maybe you can afford to live alone but the places you can afford are on the outskirts of town. Is it worth it to you then, or do you prefer to be in the center of it all?
- Privacy. You get a whole heck of a lot more privacy when you don’t have roommates.
- Friends. Have some friends you wouldn’t mind being roommates with? Great! Living in a new city and want some people you are forced to hang out with? Roommates are your answer.
- Space. If you live in a house with roommates, you’re going to have more space (ie larger living room, dining room, maybe even a backyard) than if you live in a studio alone.
What is your current living arrangement like? Do you prefer to live alone or with roommates?