Here are the five most common worries we hear to the idea of living in shared housing:
- I don’t want to give up my privacy.
- I’m afraid of having a bad housemate I can’t get rid of.
- I don’t want to live with a stranger.
- No one could live with me.
- I like living alone.
Let’s look at each one of these.
I don’t want to give up my privacy.
This is also stated as “I like my privacy.” What does that really mean? Does it mean you don’t want anyone to know you… drink too much? Don’t keep a kitchen clean? Like walking around in the nude? Smoke cigarettes when no one is looking? In other words, does it mean you have ways of living that you think no one else will appreciate or enjoy. Au contraire! What if instead of hiding you rather found someone who appreciates those things you appreciate. You can find someone who shares your taste for alcohol, doesn’t care if the kitchen is clean, rather likes being clothes-free or is a secret smoker like yourself. The good news is that you probably aren’t alone in your preferences. You can find a housemate for whom your ways of living at home are compatible enough that everyone is comfortable.
But maybe it means you have habits you are ashamed of and don’t want anyone else to know about. Shame is a horrible feeling and bad for one’s emotional health. Addressing those habits is certainly outside of this article. But maybe, maybe you’ve fallen into those habits because you are living alone and trying to manage feelings of social disconnection and not belonging. There’s research that suggests that some people compensate for loneliness by drinking too much, overeating and/or using recreational drugs.
Finally, and most importantly, we found when living in shared housing with compatible housemates that what was once “my privacy” becomes “our privacy.” What happens at home, stays at home.
I’m afraid of having a bad housemate I can’t get rid of.
This is a very legitimate fear. It is really, really, not fun to have to evict someone, especially as you are already not not getting along. Telling them to leave is difficult. The best solution is to not let the bad housemate move in in the first place. Seriously. Every single bad housemate story we have heard has at its beginning an incomplete, inefficient, or non-existent selection process.
We have a course to teach you how to find and select a suitable and not-bad housemate. (We also have a book.) It doesn’t take long to take the course, but it is thorough in teaching the steps of the selection process. Is the potential housemate compatible in how they live in their home with you live in your home? Do you like and respect this person? You can know the answer to these questions before you agree to live together.
Never, ever, make a housemate decision in desperation. Desperation leads to bad decisions.
I don’t want to live with a stranger.
That makes sense. By the time you and a potential housemate are actually living together, you should not be strangers. You may start out as strangers, but if you follow our selection process and do each of the steps you will get to know each other. Should you agree to live together on move-in day you won’t be strangers.
No one could live with me.
Ouch. Where did that self-concept come from? That’s past experience talking. Some people have only experienced living with family members or a spouse/partner relationship. Or worse, the last housemate experience was freshman year in college when you roomed with someone not of your choice. The housemate relationship is unlike any of those relationships and completely different. It is a relationship of adults who have agreed to have a home together for the benefits of cost, companionship, mutual support, sustainability and whole person health.
I like living alone.
Good. Really? Sometimes we don’t realize what the unintended consequences could be. I like ice cream, but I don’t eat it for every meal because I know that a diet of milk fat and sugar will not feed my body the nutrition that it needs to support my being. Living alone has unintended consequences. It is the number one reason for social isolation, which has a higher risk of early mortality than smoking, and can lead to chronic loneliness.
There are significant benefits to shared housing. Check them out by taking our course 5 Key Benefits of Shared Housing.