As September approaches I am not only anticipating the start of a new school year, but also the start of a new living arrangement: I will be living completely alone for the first time. For the past two years I’ve lived with 1-2 roommates and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve learned a few things along the way.
First of all, living with a friend can be the death of the friendship. When you live with a friend, he or she might feel more entitled to cross boundaries than a roommate who you have no established relationship with. In my case, this meant that my roommate would regularly take my belongings without returning them to me and I would constantly have to chase her down to find my possessions when I needed them. This got extremely annoying and I ended up resenting her for it. Furthermore, living with a friend can mean that your roommate might not feel as obligated to pick up after him or herself because he or she might expect more leniency from living with a friend. While this may be true for the honeymoon phase, it gets annoying after a while which can cause added tension. Personally, I am hesitant to ever live with a close friend again following my current living arrangement.
With that being said, there are also downsides to living with a stranger. For starters, you don’t know the person well so you might not feel comfortable asking them to clean up their dishes or pick up after themselves. Additionally, you don’t know what their personality is like so you might end up clashing with each other. For example, in my previous apartment my roommates were both very social and liked to have large groups of guests over. I, on the other hand, am an introvert and I absolutely hate parties and large gatherings. Needless to say, the combination did not mix well and I spent most of my time in that apartment disliking my roommates.
In my experience, living with just one other individual lead to more conflict than living with two other people. Granted, in my current living arrangement I share a bedroom with my roommate whereas in my last apartment I had my own room. However, I believe that living with just one other person put a lot of strain on the relationship because there was never a third neutral party to help mediate conflicts. Living in a group of three meant that whenever there was a conflict we would have a roommate meeting to work things out. However, when living with just one roommate it was much more difficult to resolve conflict and disagreements were often much more heated.
So what did I learn? NEVER EVER SHARE A ROOM WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND. Never. It will ruin the friendship. Sharing an apartment is one thing; sharing a room is a totally separate level of living arrangement and it really is it’s own sort of mental torture.
Which leads me to my next point: living alone. While my relationship with my current roommate has drastically improved in the past few months, I am still relieved that she is moving out. I find myself feeling annoyed whenever we are home at the same time because it feels as though she is invading my space. So while it will cost me more money in rent now that she is moving out, part of me is still really happy that she is moving home to live with her parents after finishing university.
With that being said, I still have my reservations about living by myself. Won’t I be lonely living on my own? Who will I talk to? Who will help me if I’m having a bad day? Realistically though, my current roommate and I hardly speak to each other so she certainly does not help me when I’m having a bad day and if anything she makes me feel more lonely. Therefore, my fears are a bit nonsensical at the moment. While I don’t doubt that there will be moments when I’m lonely, I think living on my own will be the best thing for me, especially since I’m starting grad school in a few weeks. It will be good to alleviate the stress of roommate conflict and I think this will actually help me focus better on school than I would be able to if I was still having to share my room with someone who does not respect my space or my need for a quiet study space.
The moral of the story? If you find yourself constantly having conflicts with roommates and feeling miserable with your living arrangement, maybe it’s time to consider getting your own place. Having a space that is entirely your own may come with added responsibility, but it could also make a tremendous impact on your happiness and overall wellbeing. So why not give it a shot? I’ll be sure to make an updated post about my experience living alone once I’ve got some feedback about the experience!
Thanks for reading!