Pros and Cons: Living with Friends vs. Living With Strangers

In our Pros and Cons series, we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of important decisions that apartment dwellers are making every day.

In 2015, approximately one-quarter of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 lived with roommates. If you currently live with other people and are lucky, your roommate might be your friend, whether you knew them beforehand or became friends through sharing space. On the other hand, you might live with an acquaintance or complete stranger, and this arrangement can initially seem worrisome.

At first, living with a friend might seem like a better option, but that’s not always the case. Below, consider the pros and cons of living with friends or living with a stranger.

Pros and Cons Living with Friends vs. Living With Strangers

Pros of living with friends over living with strangers 

Feels less risky

Choosing to live with a friend can feel less risky than sharing an apartment with a stranger. During the roommate screening process, you can save some time and skip plenty of basic questions because you already know your potential roommate.

Additionally, if you tend to be conflict-avoidant, it can be more awkward to address your concerns with a stranger than with a friend. When living with a friend you trust, you may feel happier and more secure.

Easy social life

It can be great living with a friend instead of a stranger because you two already have camaraderie. When you want to hang out with a friend, having a friend as your roommate can save you some time since you share the same living space – no having to go outside, text, or call someone. 

Flexible move-in

If you decide to live with a friend, you might have more flexible move-in and move-out dates. A friend can be more understanding than a stranger if your friend knows you’re busy due to your work schedule or certain life circumstances.

Cons of living with friends over living with strangers

A good friend isn’t always a good roommate

Living with a good friend might not always be the best idea because they can be a bad roommate. Your friend might not clean as often as you do, or they might regularly miss bill payments. As such, although you might think your friend would be a good roommate, a stranger could be a better one. A stranger might feel less comfortable leaving your apartment a mess or missing a bill payment.

Less intense screening process

The possibility of living with a friend might make you overlook some concerns or less likely to set clear boundaries. Interviewing a stranger who is a prospective roommate can be better because you will feel more inclined to ask more questions. Additionally, you can both clearly communicate your boundaries since you don’t know each other.

Potentially more challenging to resolve conflicts

It might feel riskier to bring up serious concerns with a friend than with a stranger. Having disagreements or living with an avoidant friend might result in one of you wanting to move out, which can change the friendship. That’s why, when living with a stranger, some situations can be easier to address – you two might have a healthier emotional distance from each other.

Would you rather live with friends or with a stranger? Sound off in the comments!

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