There are dishes piled in the sink, and your bathroom could be a little (or a lot) cleaner. We get it — living with other people isn’t always a dream. Sometimes it’s frustrating and bothersome, but the grass is always greener on the other side, right? Well, not always. Sure, there are perks to being the ruler of your own castle, but roommates offer their own benefits — things you just can’t get when you live alone.
So, what happens when you finally decide to fly solo? We talked to some former roommates about what they miss most about their co-living partners-in-crime. You’ll be surprised — and maybe more likely to renew your lease — despite your current roommate’s [lack of] tidiness. Because when you live alone…
1. Networking is Harder
When you have roommates, getting out and about is as easy as tagging along with your live-in friends. Living alone requires making a concentrated effort to seek out those opportunities. While that’s great for developing social skills, sometimes it’s just awkward to show up to Happy Hour alone.
“In college, I lived with an eclectic group of four roommates who made my time in school lively and memorable. Our housemates consisted of very social and gregarious people was well as cerebral introverts and artists,” says Dwayne Franco, a PR professional based in San Francisco, who admits it’s harder to expand his network without the help of trusty roommates.
“Living with others was an easy way to be introduced to new friends, new hobbies and new restaurants. This balance brought a wide variety of people to the house, which is something that I miss about having roommates. Networking is almost effortless when you live with many different people, and now that I live alone in SF, I find it harder to meet strangers.”
2. You Have to Do All The Chores
How’s that saying go — many hands make light work? Yup, just another perk of having a roommate. From caring for the household pet to washing the dishes, co-living means less work for you. Ruler of the castle and all the trash. Go, you!
“I used to have roommates, and I loved it. One of the things I always did when looking for a new roommate was see how they took to my cat when they came to look at the apartment,” says New Yorker and comedian Dan Nainan.
“It’s pretty easy to see who is an animal lover and who isn’t. And my roommates were always kind enough to take care of him when I was on the road. When you have a great roommate, you don’t really think about things like division of labor, or chores, or anything like that.”
3. You’re All By Your Lonesome
Without having to send a text blast or organize a whole event, you always have someone to be social with any night of the week with roommates. The convenience of hanging with your roommate versus the extra work you have to put in when flying solo can really trigger the feels when remembering the good [co-living] life.
“When you have roommates, you always have someone there to do stuff with. It’s the little things you don’t really think about, like watching TV or going to the gym,” says Josh Heffernan, a manufacturing manager in Dallas, who misses the low-maintenance, yet totally social life with roommates.
“You wouldn’t call up a friend to do that, but a roommate’s already there. When you live alone it’s a lot of watching TV in your underwear. That’s a pro and a con.”
4. Eating in is Not the Same
Besides the fun of cooking together, co-living keeps you honest in the kitchen. Roommates with standing dinner dates help you resist the evil temptation of takeout or TV dinners all the time. (Though they can also be your demise when they bring home the good stuff — and you totally love ’em for it.) There’s always the dilemma of too much or too little to eat when you’re alone. Do you half the recipe, or eat spaghetti until you’re sick of it?
“I really miss cooking for more than one or two people. When I lived in a house of four or five people, I could make huge pots of food at a time, and there would always be hungry friends to eat it all,” says Natalie Andrews, a marketing professional based in Berlin, who transitioned from a house full of roommates to living with her partner.
“Cooking for one or two people means either lots of leftovers that you eat for a week, or cooking smaller amounts of food that require just as much effort as the big pot would have!”
5. There’s No More Nightly Chit-Chat
A roommate or two can be an extra set of eyes on your everyday life, and having a posse can be pretty sweet. They’re the first to notice a boyfriend who’s bad news and the first to tell you to chase your dreams and quit your dead-end job. Needless to say, co-living provides a perfect sounding board when you need to vent — and it totally beats talking to your teddy bear.
“I miss coming home and having someone to chat with in the evenings. It’s those hours between 6-9 p.m. when you’re eating leftovers and just hanging around talking about your day,” says Lori Tallent, a Dallas-based social media professional, who has lived alone for the last few years and admits she misses the nightly chit-chat.
“When I moved out on my own, I thought, it’s so quiet. It took some getting used to.”
So maybe living by yourself isn’t quite all it’s cracked up to be. Enjoy the time you’re spending living in close quarters. It’s hard to imagine, but there will be things you miss when you’re on your own.