Having a Roommate: Advantages and Disadvantages

(This is cross-posted at BlogHer.)

I’ve never had a roommate from hell.

The closest I came to having a hellish roommate was during my freshman year of college, when I lived with my best friend and her boyfriend. This other girl moved in with us for a few months…and she and I didn’t get along very well. Other than that, I’ve been very lucky.

I lived with my older sister for about five years, and then my younger sister and I had a place together for a while. The thing about living with my sisters is that we already knew in advance how to coexist. We definitely got annoyed with each other from time to time, but we also knew the best way to get over it — avoid the other person until we cooled off.

Even though I love my sisters, I was looking forward to living by myself when I moved to northern Virginia in the fall of 2006. But even though I enjoyed the advantages of living alone (complete privacy, the ability to decorate however I wanted), there were disadvantages as well.

For one thing, the apartment I’d moved into was…well…not in the most desirable area (this is one of the biggest things you have to contend with when you’re dealing with a single salary). And the bills? All mine. But another thing was just trying to get motivated — to go out and meet new people in an unfamiliar city — when I was working a late schedule. Without anyone there to spur me on, I was finding it easier and easier to spend time by myself.

I’ve done a lot better about getting out in the past year, and one of the things that helped me (in addition to slowly meeting more people) is that a few months ago I gained a new roommate. Right around the time the lease on my first apartment was up, a girl I’d worked with at the first job I had when I moved to Alexandria asked if I’d consider moving in with her (we’d stayed in touch and continued to hang out after we left to take different jobs last summer).

Now? I still live in Alexandria, but in a much nicer neighborhood. Since we’re in a two-bedroom place, I’m actually paying less than I was when I was living by myself. There are no more excuses to sit at home alone (we went to a modern dance performance at the Kennedy Center a few weeks ago, and that’s solely because she found out about it and suggested it). We go out on the town together. We only have one bathroom, but she gets up earlier than I do during the week and is already showered and out of the way before my alarm goes of. It’s working out quite nicely. And it’s nice having someone to talk to.

(Two Additional Reasons Why My Roommate is Awesome: 1) As I was running out the door one night, I accidentally spilled bright red wax on the beige carpet. She got back before I did and cleaned it all up before I got home. 2) We both drink soy milk, so if I run out before I’m able to get to the store, I can always take some of hers.)

Have you ever had a roommate from hell? Or one that you really adored?

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