The Advantages & Disadvantages of Living With a Roommate

Having a roommate can bring unexpected fun and forge lasting memories.

While roommates can be a source of stress and difficulty, they can also be great company and evolve into wonderful, lifelong friends. Before making the decision to live with a roommate (or roommates) or to live alone, consider carefully all the accompanying advantages and disadvantages.

Money

Having a roommate can leave you with extra cash every month.

Financial reasons are often a big reason for joining forces with a roommate. A shared living space also means you're responsible for only half (or less) of the rent or shared bills; additionally, when you're splitting costs, you can afford a better apartment than you could alone. However, money can become a point of contention for roommates as well. If your roommate gets laid off or quits her job, you may have to pick up the financial slack until she's back on her feet. Your roommate may also dispute his portion of bills, claiming he owes less because he doesn't uses the shower too often.

Security

Security can become a big problem with an overly-social roommate.

Particularly for females, living alone poses certain security risks. Having a roommate can decrease the chances of a break-in and help you feel safe at night just knowing there is another person in the house. However, taking on a roommate can also mean taking on his friends, many of whom you may not know or trust. A roommate can bring about an array of security issues, particularly if she likes to have frequent multiple guests when you aren't home.

Sharing

If you share a bathroom, you may find yourself a little rushed or crowded.

In addition to bills and the rent, roommates also typically share responsibility for unpleasant tasks and chores, such as vacuuming or doing the dishes. Without a roommate, cleaning and maintenance responsibilities are yours alone. However, roommates also frequently end up sharing plenty of other things many people would rather not: use of the TV, the bathroom, food and even clothing, for example. You may have to wake up earlier than you'd like to get a hot shower before work or forgo watching your favorite show because your roommate beat you to the couch.

Socializing

A roommate can become your social savior when you don't have plans.

When you live alone, you get to dictate the terms of your social life, and you go home to an empty house or apartment at the end of the day. That can be preferable if you're a serious student or professional, someone who needs lots of peace and quiet to work and rest. With a roommate, your social options can suddenly expand dramatically. You can have access to your roommate's friends and acquaintances. Your roommate can become a go-to drinks buddy or dinner date when neither of you has plans. Keep in mind, however, that having a roommate means that she may feel social when you do not, and you may have to deal with unwanted house guests or her pestering you to go out.

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