Which is better: living alone or with a roommate? There’s no right answer to this question — it depends on you and your preferences.
If you’re trying to decide whether to fly solo or start auditioning potential roommates, you may find some clarity by asking yourself these questions.
Finances are often the number one reason why folks decide to get roommates. Simply put, having a roommate saves money on just about all your living expenses. You can split the cost of utilities or even the food bill, when you make the proper arrangements. Maybe you can even afford a larger apartment when you split the rent with another person, but be cautious because you will be responsible for the entirety of the rent if they don’t pay.
Money’s not everything. There’s certainly more at stake when it comes to deciding whether to live alone or invite someone else to share your apartment.
Read more: Your Roommate is Leaving You … Now What?
If you have a roommate, you’ll probably feel less lonely. But if you crave solo time and really need to be alone to relax and recharge, living with someone else can cramp your style and may even cause stress — even if there are no particular problems between you and your roommate.
When you have a roommate, you share your life with another person — how much you want to share is up to the two of you. Whether you’re like two ships passing in the night or BFFs, you and your roommate will need to be OK with sharing. You’ll share financial details to take care of the rent and other expenses each month. And you’ll share living space, of course. (You might even share friends!)
It can be fun to have someone else to have these experiences with. If you find a roommate soulmate, you could wind up having a built-in best friend in your apartment to share meals, chat and pal around with — and that’s a nice perk!
Another way to think about whether or not you want to share your life is to consider the degree of privacy you need. If you live on your own, you’re free to eat peanut butter right out of the jar at 3 AM — in your Bugs Bunny pajamas. But if you live with others, you can’t necessarily do what you want when you want. Your roommate may have friends or guests over. You may have to respect your roommate’s wishes not to be loud during certain times. If you value privacy and independence, living with a roommate may not be optimal for you.
Read more: How to Break Up with Your Roommate
It’s nice to have a roommate around who can help you out from time to time. It’s nice to be able to trade off on the not-so-much-fun duties that come with having an apartment. Don’t feel like doing the dishes tonight? You might convince your roommate to take care of that chore, for instance. And if you also live with a pet, having a trusted partner around who can watch your dog or cat when you go away for the weekend is great.
Read more: How to Negotiate With a Roommate
Living with someone you already know won’t magically work all the time, but it can help. Having to find a roommate out of a large pool of strangers can be a big gamble, especially if you’re not the biggest people person to start with. You’d be starting a new friendship while living with someone, which is a difficult balancing act in the best circumstances.
Even if you’re living with your best friend, you’re going to face conflict. Maybe they’re late on their share of the rent or they play the kazoo at all hours of the night while you’re trying to sleep. No matter how carefully you screen potential roommates or set up agreements to avoid conflict, you’re bound to have disagreements with them occasionally. Big or small, these can add up to a stressful situation at home. If this idea scares you, it might be best to avoid these people conflicts by living solo.