Whether it’s the result of a college dorm lottery or a fiscally responsible choice in adulthood, living with a roommate can be a pleasure or a pain. It usually depends upon whether you have a similar lifestyle, desire for cleanliness and order, and respect for one another and each other’s belongings. That said, most adults probably eagerly await the day when they no longer have to share a living space with a roommate or housemate, especially if they’ve had bad experiences in the past.
Recent research from Brigham Young University, however, indicates that living with someone is actually a boon for your health and wellbeing. In fact, living alone—whether or not you feel lonely as a result—actually puts you at a 32% increased risk of death. Beyond that one major incentive for living with someone—be it a sibling, parent, spouse, or friend—there are myriad other good reasons to cohabit.
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1. To positively influence your eating habits
If your roommate is stocking up on organic produce, whole grains, and lean proteins, you probably aren’t going to indulge in fast food and sweets all that often. His or her good eating habits will likely rub off on you. In fact, you may want to begin sharing groceries and planning weekly food shopping trips together where you both come up with healthy meal ideas. And if one of you cooks while the other cleans on rotation, it’s a win-win for both parties.
2. To amp up your productivity
There are mornings where you jump out of bed ready to start the day, and then there are mornings where you can’t seem to get up. A roommate can help you get out the door on days when you might stay in bed. Just hearing him or her awake and moving around the house or apartment, perhaps preparing a wholesome breakfast, is enough to rise you from your rest. Seeing another person being productive may inspire you to follow suit and take care of a few things on your to-do list while making it to work on time.
3. To maintain connections with other friends and family
Some people are just naturally good at remembering to call their parents on a weekly basis or make plans to catch up with friends who live nearby. If your roommate is that type of person, his or her highly social behaviors will likely remind you to call your own parents, siblings, or friends if you haven’t reached out in a while. If your live-in housemate calls his mom every Tuesday, don’t go watch television to give him privacy. Go and call your own mother!
4. To have someone to talk to
Whether you’re feeling down and worried, or even happy and excited, it’s important to have someone to talk to about what you’re going through. A roommate is usually a good listener simply due to proximity and, if you return the favor, he or she will probably listen with a sympathetic ear. You can ask for advice or just request a therapeutic venting session. Either way, make sure it’s a two-way street for the future.
5. To get more sleep and exercise
If your roommate turns in by 10 p.m. and wakes up at 6 a.m. to go for a job, you’re less likely to stay up all night surfing the Internet and miss your morning exercise class. On the flip side, seeing someone suffer the effects of too little sleep and exercise may shock you into bed early and the gym every dawn.
6. To keep your health in check
Beyond adopting healthier eating, sleeping, and exercising habits, a roommate just might remind you to book your annual doctor appointments. Seeing your live-in pal head to the physician or the dentist can be a helpful prompt for you to arrange some visits.
7. To share resources and save money
You’re already saving money by living with another person who’s paying half the mortgage or rent, plus electric, heating, and water bills. You’ve likely split the cost of furniture too. Why not take it one step further and go halfsies on other household items like food, cleaning products, tools, and toiletries? These actions are good for your wallet and good for the environment as well.
8. To widen your circle of friends
Living with someone outside of your own social circles has the potential to broaden your group of friends and acquaintances. Again, if you return the favor, you might reap the benefits of being introduced to all sorts of new people and opportunities.