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It’s not all movie nights and ‘girl dinners’ when you move out on your own.

| By Sangeeta Kocharekar | Entertainment

What No One Tells You About Living Alone

It’s not all movie nights and ‘girl dinners’ when you move out on your own.

Recently, I wrote about how much I love living alone. I wrote that I’d never imagined I’d do it, but now, a year and a half in, I’d never go back to living with housemates.

I asked my dad what he thought of the article. “You didn’t mention the downsides,” he said. He was right (and yes, very blunt). Because though I really do love living alone and think there’s a lot you can learn about yourself from doing it, there are some downsides to it, too. And as a journalist trained to always be fair and report both sides of a story, I realise I should’ve mentioned them.

Ahead are just a few things no one tells you about living alone. Some have  happened to me personally and others I have  heard about from friends who also live alone. Knowing these, you can be fully informed about the pros and cons of living alone and so, if you’re ever thinking about doing it, be fully prepared.

1. More financial pressure

The worst negative of living alone, in my opinion? More financial pressure. My rent nearly doubled when I moved from a two-bedroom apartment that I shared with one other person to a one-bedder on my own. At the exact same time that the cost of living really started to rise – perfect!

Now, every month, I transfer almost half my salary to my landlord. I also pay monthly internet bills, and gas and electricity bills every few months – all on my own. And, as much as I enjoyed making my apartment look exactly the way I wanted it to, that meant I had to buy all its furniture and homewares – not to mention organise their transport – on my own. If you’re planning on living on your own anytime soon, I recommend you start saving up.

2. More responsibility

I mentioned independence as a positive of living alone, but along with that comes more responsibility than if you were living with someone else. It’s up to me to pay all my bills on time. It’s up to me to ensure my apartment’s clean and tidy. And it’s up to me to decide if I want to accept my landlords’ rental increase or try to fight it and risk getting on their bad side. 

Be prepared: living alone comes with a lot of decisions that most of the time, you’re making all on your own. And if you get them wrong, annoyingly, there’s really no one else to blame but yourself.

3. No invested helping hand

Sure, I could have asked friends to help me move in, put together complicated furniture (damn, IKEA!), and organise my housewarming. And for most of the overwhelming tasks I faced as a new solo dweller, I did.

But as appreciative of the help as I was, I always had in the back of my mind: this is a favour they’re doing for me. The outcome to them didn’t matter. And if the task did ever prove to be too much for them, they could just quit. They didn’t have to stay until it got done, like I did. Plus, afterwards, I always felt like I owed them for helping me out.

4. You may become less accommodating

Here’s a possible downside I worry about on the reg: that spending so much time alone and doing things my way may lead to me being less flexible and accommodating in the future. I might be so used to having my interiors look exactly the way I want, not having to clean up right after making a mess or having to ask anyone else if I can have friends stay over that when I eventually move in with a partner, I may find it hard to compromise and change that. 

5. You might feel lonely

Finally, a possible downside of living alone that I was fully aware of – and frankly, downright scared about – is that you might get lonely. This is probably what I was most curious about from others who lived alone. “Don’t you get lonely?” I’d ask them.

Surprisingly, I didn’t – and don’t. I live steps from some of my closest friends and within a 15-minute drive from most of the others. Plus, I go into the office three times a week and have heaps of after-work events. At home, when I’m finally alone, I enjoy the quiet. But feeling lonely is a very possible byproduct of living alone, and one you should be aware of. The way I see it, living alone is just a different way of life.All living situations have their pros and cons. They’re ways of living you adjust to and then, for you, become the norm. You end up living both sides of the story.

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