The post that tries to find the downsides to solo living.
After last weeks’ post about the 5 Best Things About Living Alone I thought that in the interest of balance I should look at the negatives to living alone.
Hold on a minute, you might say. How have you found 7 bad things about living alone but only 5 good things? Does this mean there are more bad things about solo living than good things? Not at all. Firstly, I pared down my last post in the interest of brevity. Secondly, the 7 things below are mostly niggles compared the major comforts of living alone. To be honest I haven’t really felt these niggles too strongly yet, and I’m not sure I ever will, but here goes.
1. It’s a lot more expensive
Let’s get this super obvious one out of the way. A couple of weeks ago I did a post about the additional costs of being a home owner, but in reality these are the additional costs of living alone. I don’t think this really requires any elaboration.
2. The loneliness
I enjoy my own company and haven’t felt lonely at all so far. In fact, when I’ve been out socialising for the night, often I’ve just been longing to be snuggled back up in my lounge alone. But for more gregarious folk this is no doubt a big downside of living alone. Housemates provide such easy socialising. They are just there to chat to in the evening. I found this highly annoying; I love the silence of coming back to my own place.
But perhaps in time I’ll come to miss this side of share living. One thing I am conscious of is that in order to afford a flat in London I’ve ended up moving further from the centre. This means people being less likely to come and visit me and a lot more effort to go out and meet people. If I’m not careful, I can see me becoming a bit too isolated as I take the easy option of staying in. But I’m speaking as though I’ve moved to a cabin 20 miles from the nearest neighbour. I’m only in zone 3!
3. The lack of pooled DIY talents
I am useless at DIY. I can’t put up a shelf or do any basic house maintenance tasks. Even the lightbulbs in my new place are pretty much impossible to change without assistance as the fittings are too tight for my puny little hands.
Previously, in my house of four, it was more likely that between us we’d be able to fix things around the house (although to be fair, we were fairly stereotypically useless millennials in that regard). But even having people of different heights and physical strengths helped. If I have a burst water pipe, the lever to turn off the mains water is behind the washing machine. I’d need to desperately knock on my neighbour’s door for help as my kitchen floods.
4. Fear of locking yourself out
I keep a spare key back at my office as it’s a building that’s open 24/7. But it would be pretty depressing to get home only to find out I have to traipse to my place of work (a 1.5 hour round trip) in order to get into the flat. In a shared house there was usually someone home already to let you in – although to be fair I’ve only left my key at work once in the 10+ years of shared housing. I’m hoping that over time I’ll become friendly enough with my neighbours in the ground floor flat that I can give them a spare key.
5. Drinking too much
This won’t be something everyone experiences but my drinking has gotten worse (or at least more frequent) since I’ve started living alone. I almost never used to drink at home alone (except at the weekend). It didn’t seem socially acceptable drinking alone in my bedroom. But now I can relax in the lounge or kitchen, having a glass of wine or bottle of beer with dinner seems so civilised. The problem is that I never stop at just the one. And I’ve drank every day since I moved into my new place. From next week I intend to impose some rules on myself about drinking at home – i.e. only at the weekend.
6. Being at work feels so much worse
I now hate being kept away from my home. Before, I used to like leaving work purely because it was leaving work. I was never particular excited to get home. Now I just can’t wait to be home every night. I’m itching to be back in my flat and resent the work keeping me away from it. I suppose at least this has given me the motivation to push for FI even quicker.
7. Getting spooked
OK, I’m probably clutching at straws now (I really do love this living alone business!).
I love horror films. It’s probably my favourite film genre. But when I’ve been watching something particularly scary, it can be comforting that there are other people in the house. People to call out to if there’s a serial killer/ghost/demon lurking in my room. I remember once watching the original Funny Games late one night at a friend’s house. She fell asleep and I got so freaked out I was very tempted to shake her awake. But even her physical presence was reassuring. Now who will protect me from creepy men looking to borrow some eggs?
What do you like the least about living alone? Anyone voluntarily gone from living alone to shared living again (moving in with a partner aside)?