When I moved to Colorado to take my first “real job” at 22, I didn’t know anyone in my new town. My parents helped me find a one-bedroom apartment that would be my home for the next 10 months before driving their empty SUV back to Washington State.
Those first few months of living on my own were lonely. I spent evenings watching sitcoms and eating cans of Progresso vegetable soup. On the weekends, I counted down the hours until Monday morning (who does that?!) when I could see my co-workers again and have a social life.
Needless to say, after 10 months I was ready to have another human in close proximity to talk to on the weekends and lounge on the couch with. If you’re living solo and trying to decide if a roommate is for you, consider these five benefits:
- You save money. This one is obvious, but when you can divide household expenses two, three or even four ways, you end up with a lot of cash back in your pocket. Not long ago I was describing to a friend the disposable income I enjoyed during the years I shared a house with three other women. With my income much higher than my expenses, I was able to save money, travel more and spend some cash on fun “extras.”
- You gain a sounding board. A good roommate can also be a trusted friend. When you come home at the end of a long day, you have something more than Netflix waiting for you. A roommate provides in-home community and someone to process life with.
- You learn flexibility. A friend recently described how living alone is allowing her to become a little obsessive in her control issues (such as having everything in the house “just so”). For better or worse, having other people in your space forces you to make adjustments. You have to pick your battles to live at peace with someone who has a different background, habits and personality from you. If you happen to be married, this scenario may be starting to sound familiar. And yes, I’m going to say it: having a roommate is excellent practice for being married. Because basically, marriage is the experience of gaining a permanent roommate (and then possibly messy, freeloading yet lovable and tiny roommates down the road).
- You expand your social network. A single man I know recently got a roommate after years of living alone. Soon he was telling us about all of the game nights and dinners he was hosting at his house, thanks to his roommate’s group of friends. If you’re introverted, an extroverted roommate can give your social life a boost. I often accompanied roommates to parties and social events that I might have otherwise missed out on.
- You have more fun. Some of my best memories in life involve roommates. The early morning donut run in a limo for a roommate’s birthday. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner complete with IKEA statuettes dressed up as pilgrims and Indians. Late summer night trips to Sonic for milkshakes. Roommates can make life more fun and truly provide the “family” experience before you have a family of your own.
A big part of why my life has been so rich is because of wonderful roommates. Each one has shaped me in some way, strengthening me along the journey and preparing me for tasks and challenges ahead. Perhaps the greatest benefit of having a roommate is doing life together, rather than alone – which is exactly what God intended.