Or if you get extremely sick, they’ll buy you some soup or pick up your prescription on the way home from work. Or, if you have an accident (say, you cut yourself badly while chopping veggies, or you break your leg falling down the stairs) a roommate can shepherd you to the hospital. If you’re living on your own, dealing with these situations is much more difficult.
Also, there’s the issue of convenience. Lock yourself out? Your roommate will let you in. Going on a weekend getaway and need someone to feed your goldfish? Your roommate’s got it covered. Need help moving an unwieldy piece of furniture? Just ask your roommate nicely…
Of course not all roommates are helpful or friendly, and your roommate shouldn’t be a crutch … that said, if you have a decent roommate, with whom you get along, you should expect these types of favors, and you should do them in return. When you live by yourself … well, it’s just you.
Whether you want to believe it or not, humans need social interaction. If you’re living alone, you need to make sure you have a way talk with other people. For some, it’s simple: they have a job that requires a lot of face-to-face time, they have a significant other, and they have a tight circle of friends. But for others, it can be more difficult – say you’re working at a computer all day in an anonymous cubicle, and you’re in a new-ish city, where you only know a few people. All of a sudden, going home to an empty studio apartment after a boring day in a windowless office sounds pretty dang lonely.
This might seem like a minor issue, but it’s actually a pretty big deal. As the study linked to above points out, without regular social interaction, you’re likely to be less happy and less healthy. In fact, the healthy effects of social isolation can be as severe as those of alcoholism or obesity. So before you think about living alone, make sure you have a social network in place. If you don’t, it might turn into a decision you quickly regret.
Are You Ready?
Living alone can be great – it’s wonderful to walk into your place and know it’s yours. You can throw your socks on the floor, clean up the dishes when you like, and watch television late into the night without anyone telling you any different. That said, before you take the plunge, you need to make sure that you’ve fully considered it: Do you have enough money? Are you willing to sacrifice the safety and convenience of living with other people? And do you have a social network in place?
If the answer to all these questions is yes, then the hunt for your own place is on!