You hate them, you love them, you hate that they use up all the hot water, but you love that your rent is exponentially cheaper… roommates are a rite of passage in the quest of leaving your parents’ house and entering that scary world of Adulthoodland. Sometimes, you’re lucky enough to sign a lease with your best friend, and sometimes you wind up taking your chances on a the least ostensibly creepy person Craigslist had to offer. But lest you hole yourself up in your room until you can move out, there are real benefits to having a roommate beyond rent and going halvsies on toilet paper. Really.
1. If you get along, chances are you’ll get along with their friends, too. Your circle of acquaintances and friends just potentially doubled. And even if you don’t get along with your roommate, chances are they’ll at least have one friend with whom you get along. Cherish this friendship. They know what you go through with your roommate.
2. They can get you out of compromising situations. Find yourself on a bad date? Get tangled up in a thing at work you realized you really don’t need to be doing? Send your roommate an emergency text (a pre-agreed upon emoji usually works here) and they can conveniently call you saying they’ve locked themselves out of their apartment. Oh, that silly roommate! Guess you have to go help them!
3. If you’re the kind of person who locks yourself out of your apartment, there is always a spare key. Unless they’ve locked themselves out, too. In which case, help?
4. Their parents almost become an extension of your parents. It’s all the benefits of having stepparents with none of the tween angst you harbored against them. When your roommate’s parents are in town, chances are they’ll want to invite you to dinner, too. You can play tourist in your hometown with them! (Really, this is fun.) Just be sure to give them proper parent/offspring bonding time. Respect the sanctity of family. (Yes, it exists.)
5. Leftover food galore. Chances are, if your roommate has a beating heart under their ribcage, you will come home one day to find that they’ve returned from holidays spent at Grandma’s laden with Thanksgiving leftovers. Or they’ll have gone on a sugar blackout at the grocery store, only to have come home with three boxes of those delightfully soft sugar cookies and no way to eat them all. Or better yet, they’ll be BAKING when you come home, the sweet smell of heaven wafting through your hallway. Really, it’s the least you can do to take a few of those morsels off their hands.
6. You get to spend less on furniture. Sure, you’ll still have to buy things for your own room, but chances are one of you will have a couch to their name (and if you’re a newly minted 20-something fresh out of the college dorms, a couch is the ultimate in roommate credentials.) Will you have to face the task of furniture if and when you or your roommate moves out? Yes, but that’s something you can deal with later. You just forked over how much on rent and security? Cut corners if you can. Share the duties of furnishing your place.
7. If they have a pet, it’s like you’re renting a furry friend. Is it a nice thing to do to walk the dog if your roommate’s stuck at work? Yes. Don’t be mean and make Spike hold his business. But all other pet expenses and responsibilities fall to your roommate, and in a best-case scenario, this is like training wheels if you’re thinking about getting a pet of your own.
9. Having cable TV becomes a little less painful on your wallet when you’re splitting it. To the point where it’s an almost justifiable expense! (As an alternative, you can also share Netflix, Spotify, and Aereo accounts to be one little happy WiFamily for mere dollars a month.)
10. There is no greater joy than sitting your roommate down after they’ve been on a date and dissecting every last minor detail. Even if you don’t usually get a long, everyone can bond over the agonizing nuances of “Do they like me, don’t they like me, will they call, what did this mean, oh-my-God-I-totally-screwed-this-up.”
11. Work perks. Sometimes, your roommate will have a really cool job. Sometimes you’ll be jealous that they landed such a sweet gig, but sometimes they also invite you to all the awesome things they’re doing.
12. They can wake you up if you’ve slept in and they know you’re running late. No one is so self-absorbed and clueless as to notice that the person who lives in their house and usually leaves at 7:30 every morning hasn’t left yet. At the very least, they’ll be curious and want to investigate.
13. They can vet the person you’ve just started seeing. Chances are your roommate knows things about you that no one else knows. (After all, they’ll probably wind up seeing you walking around without pants at some point.) If you’re ever questioning if your new paramour is a good catch, bring them around your apartment and let your roommate meet them. They won’t hesitate to tell you exactly what they think of that person the minute they leave.
14. There will always be someone to bitch at when you need to vent. Don’t take your rage out on them — no one needs that kind of passive aggressive living situation in their life — but sometimes it’s just good to talk AT someone even if they’ve never met your boss, your significant other, your friends, and are by all intents and purposes, a completely objective third party observer with absolutely no personal interest in the matter.
15. They’re a good mirror for your life. Feeling down that they hit the gym every day when you don’t? Ask them if you can tag along one morning. Noticing that they’re still wandering around in a bathrobe with three-day stubble? Just the motivation you need to get your butt out the door to go to work.
16. If you’re really nice and kind, they will be nice in return. Especially when there’s a quarter bottle of wine left that they don’t want to finish but maybe you’d like.
17. Somebody will always have milk in the fridge. Just. You know. If you borrow some for your morning Wheaties, be sure to leave some and replace it later.