This is the second post of my BlogLines series where I share quotes that I’ve collected from other blogs or websites that resonate with me around a topic or a ‘line’. This week’s theme… “I hate having roommates”.
[My first BlogLines post: “…and I have nothing to show for it.”]
I wish I could write in more detail about my housing situation, and I have had a few longstanding requests from you guys to do so, but can’t risk it because the people involved are 1) familiar with the internet and 2) capable of doing certain things like…reading. So, I’ll have to stick to generalities for a while longer.
First, let me clarify that I don’t hate my roommates as people, at all. I just hate having to live with roommates at this point in my life. I wish I could afford my own place. The fact that I may have to wait up to 3 more years to do that is depressing.
I’ll be the first to admit that when paying off debt, renting a room instead of having your own place can do wonders for your budget, but there are downsides to living with roommates in our thirties and beyond.
There’s a stigma around living with roommates in your 30s. Interestingly, our cultural expectations have flipped, and whereas once living alone in your 30s would have been seen as a mark of personal failure now living with a roommate is the real oddity. (Fivethirtyeight article).
Note: Living “With family” in the above chart means living with a spouse and/or children or living with one’s parents.
According to this source only 2.6% of Americans my age live with roommates. For a nationwide average that seems to make sense, although in large cities, it’s obvious that the percentage would be much higher.
The raised eyebrows, furrowed eyebrows,
and crossed eyes that I get when I tell people that I live with roommates reminds me that it’s not a common practice.
Having roommates can feel like living in a fishbowl
I hate having roommates because I feel the need to perform all of the time. It’s like when I come home for the day I feel like I have to be “on”. I can’t cook in the kitchen without engaging in small talk. I open the door to use the bathroom and they’re in my face. Can’t stay in for two days because that’s “weird.” I don’t know, it just sucks living with people.
Plus, it feels like I’m living under a magnifying glass which sucks for a private introvert because you know you’re actions are being watched. Bring someone home, you’re roommates are nosy about said person. Go out, they wonder where you went. Personal space and alone time aren’t weird dammit. (Source: Reddit post)
I can relate to this. Sometimes it feels like my bedroom is the only personal space I have. I feel like I have to be “on” every time I open my door. When I leave the house I am in a sea of people walking to public transit. I sit (if I’m lucky enough to get a seat) in a crowded, smelly, loud, public transit vehicle. More walking in a sea of people. Work, meetings, presentations, co-workers. Then more rush hour public transit sensory and olfactory overload. More sea walking, then home again, drained. Imagine opening the door and having to socialize more with roommates when your battery is already on empty. Add to that knowing that you always have an audience for everything you do, whether you want to have one or not. It can be a bit much at times.
Sometimes the feeling of judgement is self-imposed, as one woman shared of her experience living with a roommate in a Salon.com article…
The problem wasn’t her. It was me. Living alone I felt perfectly happy and considered my lifestyle healthy and fulfilling, but her presence in my apartment made me see my life in a whole new way.
The amount of television I watch: too much? The shows I choose: too stupid? During the week, if it’s past 8 o’clock, I can be found in the same position on the sagging sofa, flipping between the Kardashians, Access Hollywood, and teenage moms on MTV. I was mortified she might catch me watching “The Bachelor” on Monday nights. But it was even more embarrassing when she came home from work to find me watching “Bachelor Pad,” a sub-par spinoff of a sub-par show.
So I decided to go out more. Get some culture. Get a life. Have a drink. But then I started worrying about how much I imbibe. It might be OK to live alone, stumble home and wildly scatter the contents of your purse all over the floor while digging for a lighter; it’s not OK to perform that inebriated dance in front of a roommate.
… Recently she took the week off from work and I sighed unnaturally loudly and often during the day. It didn’t help that I was plagued by an extra slow week in the freelance front, and I could just feel her thinking, “What does this chick do all day?” (Salon.com, My Roommate Ruined My Life)
Ok, I can’t relate to the television watching or drunkeness concerns of the author above, but I can relate to how having roommates can make me feel self-conscious. Do I spend too much time doing X? Should I be doing Y more? Is my diet too unhealthy? Yeah, those moments when I open the fridge and see my take out boxes next to my roommates’ big salads and organic fruit. Sigh.
Moving in with strangers opens the (small) possibility of ending up in a true crime version of Single White Female. While I’ve never had a roommate threaten physical violence or psychological torture, it is possible. I’ve seen many, many horror stories.
Then she started to weird me out. She always seemed to pop up wherever I was. She complimented me. A lot. It was starting to feel less like “What a nice shirt” and more like “I’m going to make a suit out of you.”
Then things escalated: Our apartment had a long balcony that extended along one side of my bedroom. One Saturday morning, I pulled back the curtain and was greeted by the angry face of my roommate. She’d dragged a chair right in front of my bedroom window and was just sitting there.
She made no move to explain herself, and I awkwardly retreated into my room until I could think of somewhere else to spend the night.
When I came back the next day, she was sitting on the living room sofa, dressed head to toe in my clothes.
Shocked, I blurted something like, “Oh, is that mine?”
And here comes the really scary part: She said no. (NY Post article)
Oookaay. I have absolutely NO experience with something like this, so for that I’m very grateful. I have had, however, situations where someone I was renting from was oblivious to the concept of risk. She would hold different types of open-to-the-public events in the house, knowing that we tenants didn’t like it, and sometimes leave these rando people in the house unsupervised with easy access to our (tenant rooms), while she got in her car and left to do who knows what, for who knows how long. With situations like this, you grit your teeth and deal with it, because…cheap rent. Being in debt sucks…
Yeah, I really can’t wait to get my own place.
Will I do so any time soon? Not if I can help it!
Yeah, alright! I know already! Sigh…
“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW) [All posts on one page]
Related DDSW Housing Posts
Where is my CTRL+ALT+DELETE button? Craigslist season opens again (Finding a place to live on Craigslist is a frustrating job)
The Hidden Costs of Cheap Rent: More Housing Problems (Some rents are cheap for a reason. Beware.)
The Wrath of the Landlord and Father Time (The time when I thought my rent was going up $250+/month!)
I’m Not Moving Anywhere (The conclusion to the rent drama)