From when I was a wee baby up until I finished high school, I lived with my parents in the same house. We never transferred, and we’re lucky that we never had to. When I decided, for some reason, that I attend a university very far away from home, I had to live away from my parents and stay at a dormitory. Through the months, I had to transfer from one dorm to another, and then later finally came the time when I had to transfer to a boarding house. During those times, I wasn’t lucky enough to have an entire room all to myself; I had to share it with other people to make living more affordable.
I like to think that I’m an unproblematic roommate. I’m clean. I don’t have a lot of things. I keep my things arranged, neat, and tidy. My dirty laundry is properly folded. My bed is always kempt. I don’t feel the need to fill the silence with unnecessary conversation. I don’t bother people, and I don’t ask for requests or errands. I never complain about anything unless it’s completely important. The catch? I like my space quiet. That means that I’m also quiet. Yes, that means, unless I have a relationship with them prior, I barely talk to my roommates. We just coexist quietly.
To be honest, I felt a lot of embarrassment having to admit that. 😅
So far, I’ve lived with seven different people. Did I make any connections with them beyond the casual? Apart from one close friend I lived with, not really… I think one of the main reasons is that I didn’t really live with someone for very long, so we weren’t really forced into a situation where friendship would come out naturally (a.k.a., being stuck together for many years). I can say, though, that I am one of the lucky ones; I’ve only had really nice roommates. I have never had any drama happen between me and any of them. They were also the type who don’t really bring other people over, which I’m very thankful for, because I treasure my privacy. My room is my personal haven.
I guess out of all of them — this is not counting my friend — the one who really has stuck with me the most or left the most significant impression was my first one. Maybe because of the obvious reason that she’s the first one, but also I think it was because we were both like little ducklings with wet feet just getting to know the world at that time. We were both freshmen, both from the province, and we had never stayed in Metro Manila for a long time. In that way, we had something in common between us, and we only had each other during those times. (Of course, we had our own friends, too, who exactly had the same experience as we did.) Not to mention we spoke the same dialect, too! We bonded over all those things. (I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I miss her! 😭)
Of course, living with strangers does not not have its annoyances, too.
Firstly, anyone who has ever lived with a roommate knows that the #1 worst enemy is your roommate’s alarm… that wakes everybody else but them. I’ve been with heavy sleepers, who have alarms set for the weirdest times throughout the day (night, mostly), and they don’t even get up! Only after it takes them 10923928384 freakin’ hours to finally register the sound. Of course, when it takes too damn long, I wake them up myself, but if it doesn’t cross that event horizon yet, I wait. I’m not even sure what kind of sleeper I am, but maybe I am a light sleeper with how easy it is for me to wake up to other people’s alarms. First ring, I’m awake. My sleeping habits are already messed up. It’s made even worse by this. 😢
A bit related: I’m a little sensitive to noise. I don’t like it when every movement has to make a loud noise. I have lived with a few who had a habit of dragging heavy things (chairs), their feet, or walking loudly, and banging things when they put them on surfaces. I don’t think they’re even aware of what they’re doing honestly. It annoys me, and I usually have to resort to wearing earphones and maybe listen to something to block out the sounds.
My roommates weren’t that messy, and we kinda have imaginary boundaries, so we know what space each of us is responsible for. Well, there was one where her space was kind of a mess, but it wasn’t really that bad. 🤔 I think.
Apart from those three points, I can’t really think of anything else I could complain about. And yeah, they are things I could mostly tolerate, too. Maybe except for the alarm. It’s not really a big deal. I only complain about these things, because I have nothing else to grumble about — nothing like physical and emotional altercations or anything dramatic like that, and no kleptomaniacs.
Would I like to have it any other way? Honestly, I would love to live by myself, with no burden to keep up appearances for other people, without the unspoken obligation of having to interact with these strangers you live with. I did have that chance for a while, for a few times. But, this is one thing I have learned: living alone isn’t safe for me. I wouldn’t say it’s completely unhealthy, because I like to think I have some hope for myself (🤣), but back when I lived alone, I became too immersed in myself that I get depressed. There was a time when I became a hikikomori. I locked myself up in a room for days. I basically just rotted on my bed, talking to myself, not eating, often crying or just feeling empty. It was really bad. When I live alone for a while, it can get like that. It gets to a point where the landlord or landlady has to inquire if I was still alive at all in that room… And it actually happened, on two separate occasions. One was at a motel I was staying in. It was a motel. I was surprised they cared or paid any attention to who left and who didn’t.
Anyway, before this goes to darker places: living with another person helps me become accountable for myself. It’s a, “If I can’t do it for me, I have to do it for them,” kind of thing, I guess. Especially when I have a landlady who regularly checks up on me and worries about me. But if circumstances were better (mostly my circumstances), I am 1000% sure that I will be fine living alone. I definitely will when I can finally support myself financially. I want to experience having my own place, even for just a few months! 😊