The Pros and Cons of Living Alone

pros and cons of living alone

To live alone or not to live alone: That is the question. It’s a big decision to make, so you need to think through all of the benefits and drawbacks of it before packing up and waving goodbye to your roommates.

From age 19 to 24 I shared a house with two roommates and three dogs. I was used to coming home to a house full of girls, dirty dishes, wagging puppy tails, and Law & Order: SVU echoes, and I loved every minute of it. Moving out on my own was not an easy decision, but one I felt I needed to make for my personal growth.

It could either be the best decision you make in your young adult life — or it could lead you to feel alienated, financially broke, and just plain sad. Here’s the list of pros and cons I’ve realized since moving out of the house I shared with my dearest friends for four years and into an apartment all by myself.

Pro: You’re the boss.

If you want the couch on the left side of the room, then that’s exactly where it’s going to go. When you live alone, you call the shots on everything. You can arrange your space exactly how you like it without worrying someone else will complain, and you never have to tolerate something you hate. Well, not unless your mom gives you a poorly selected picture for you to hang up. Essentially, you are the queen and your home is your kingdom.

Con: You have to pay for everything on your own.

Rent. Utilities. Cable. Internet. Household supplies. It’s all on you. There’s no one to help you pay the bills or to grab a new package of paper towels when you’ve forgotten. This is a big responsibility, and you need to make sure it’s one you can handle before diving in.

Pro: You can do whatever you want, whenever you want.

Without roommates, you’re free do anything you please. If you want to make chocolate chip pancakes at 2 a.m., then you go right ahead. You can play the tribal music you enjoy, watch your guilty pleasure TV shows, and leave your smelly gym sneakers wherever you want to. There are no limitations.

Con: There’s no one else to split the chores with.

Just like the bills, the chores are entirely on you. When you have roommates, you can leave the dishes in the sink in hopes someone else will clean them. That doesn’t really work when you live alone, because there’s no one else around. If you want to live in a clean environment, you’re going to have to clean it yourself.

Pro: There’s no one else to use up all the hot water.

Oh, the sweet, sweet satisfaction. As a woman all too familiar with the pain of sharing a hot water heater with roommates, I know just how magical it is to be warm from start to finish when washing your hair. Having a mostly endless supply of hot water is the best part of living alone.

Con: You’re alone all the time (unless you have a pet or constantly invite your peeps over).

Obviously, living alone means you’re alone most nights. This can be a good thing sometimes, like nights you need to work or just want to sit on your couch and ugly-cry to Bridget Jones’ Diary, but it can quickly make you lonely. Night after night by yourself in a quiet apartment can take its toll on you emotionally. You’ll probably end up calling your mom a lot.

Pro: No one can monopolize the washer and dryer.

Living alone means the washer and dryer are always open. If there are clothes left in the dryer, they’re yours, and you don’t have to ask someone to get them or wait for them to moved. You don’t have to do the laundry room shuffle when you’re free of roommates.

Pro: You can walk around naked all the time.

Seriously, clothes are not required. You never have to worry about being decent or run from the bathroom to your bedroom before someone can see your naked self. You can just bask in the glory of walking around without the shackles of clothing. (But make sure you’ve closed the blinds.)

Con: There’s no one at home waiting to hear about your day or the date you just went on.

You know those days when you come home brimming with information you need to share? Well, living without roommates means there won’t be anyone at home ready to listen. You can call someone of course, but it’s just not the same. Sometimes you need to tell a story in-person.

Pro: You don’t have to tolerate guests unless you want guests.

There’s nothing more awkward than trying to patiently socialize with your roommate’s weird friends and obnoxious boyfriend. You can’t exactly tell your roommate to make people leave simply because you don’t feel like dealing with it. But when you live alone, you never have to have company when you want to be alone.

Con: You make a lot more phone calls than normal.

Since you’ll be lacking human contact, you’ll have to supplement this with phone calls and FaceTime chats. It will seem like you spend all of your available time on your phone, and chances are you’ll wear out the people on the other line. I’m pretty sure my mom and my best friend would pay me to stop calling them for a week.

Pro: There are always enough spoons.

For some reason, the spoons are always the first utensils to run out between washes. It’s a constant irritation when you have a roommate or two or three, but living alone means you have all of the spoons to yourself. The days of hand-washing a spoon from the dishwasher are no more. Now, there’s always one ready to help you scoop up your mac and cheese.

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