5 things to consider when deciding between solo living vs roommates

Ever since moving out, I’ve been posed with this question about ten thousand times: how would I know if solo living is for me? My answer is always that it boils down to your own lifestyle habits and preferences.

That being said, solo living is a luxury that not everyone can easily afford. In fact, even if you are able to afford it, you might still contemplate a shared apartment for various reasons.

Here are some factors to consider when making the big decision.

1. Privacy

For me, solo living is a huge breath of fresh air because I thoroughly appreciate my privacy and personal space.

I can’t stand the idea of having to walk on eggshells around a roommate and vice versa. I enjoy being able to clean my apartment as and when I see fit, rather than on structured days or instances. I value the ability to run my own home the way I like it, instead of following or accommodating to someone else’s preferences.

roommates on a couch solo living
Image by: Cottonbro on Pexels

On the other hand, others might enjoy the notion of having someone to come home to—be it a partner, or even just a roommate. To be frank, I never really saw the appeal behind this.

Perhaps they are enticed by the potential camaraderie that transpires from inevitably falling apart and back together. Either way, you’ll know you’re suited for this living arrangement if what I described sounds intriguing to you.

2. Lifestyle choices & habits

friends drinking party
Image by: Cottonbro on Pexels

Do you drink, smoke, or take drugs? Do you often have friends over? Do you jam out on the guitar or drums in the middle of the night?

I take no personal issue with any of these activities, but they are some of the more commonly deemed sources of annoyance. Hence, if your answer to any of the above is ‘yes’, you might want to avoid living with roommates. Or at the very least, ensure that your potential roommates are more than okay with these habits.

3. Expectation vs Reality

Do you imagine living with roommates to be akin to the esprit de corps we see in shows like Friends and How I Met Your Mother? Because unfortunately, not all roommates are here to make friends.

roommates gathering
Image by: Daria Shevtsova on Pexels

Some are simply here to cut down on expenses and get by with life—and there’s nothing wrong with that. But keep in mind that even if you do find a roommate who is keen on bonding, personality clashes are still not out of the question.

Ergo, as much fun as it is to imagine the comradeship that could be, it’s just as important to set realistic expectations of what having a roommate is truly like.

4. Stubbornness

I know, sounds odd, but consider your level of stubbornness when contemplating living with others. Or in other words, your willingness to give in.

How tolerable can living with someone else really be if both you and your housemate are equally incapable of compromising?

You can’t control or foresee how others will behave. What you can control, though, is how you behave.

So if you know that your future attempts at being accommodating will most likely be unsuccessful, it might be wise to lean towards solo living. At the very least, it is safer than banking on the slightest possibility that your roommate might be the easygoing one.

5. Family ≠ Roommates

“Oh, I’ve lived with my nauseating family for years,” you might think, “Therefore, living in a shared apartment mustn’t be too difficult, right…?”

solo living family in kitchen
Image by: August de Richelieu on Pexels

Wrong! The reason you put up with your family isn’t because you’re teeming with patience. It’s because they’ve fed and clothed you from the moment you took your first breath. If you don’t, what kind of ingrate would you be?

So unless your potential roommate has also fed and clothed you the way your family has, I highly doubt you'd possess the same amount of patience for them.


At the end of the day, you know yourself the best. Which is why the only person who can tell you for certain what kind of living arrangement would be best suited for you, is yourself.

And one final tip—put your pride aside and be objective when self-assessing. The last thing you want is to convince yourself that you are not at all stubborn, or that you’d do the dishes right after dinner, only to find out that that’s not the case way too late in the game.