Whether you’re eighteen or eighty, everyone should live alone at least once in their life. You can master independence, learn how to fix things around the house, and discover your true self. You don’t have to worry about a roommate’s messes, and you can binge-watch season after season of The Bachelor without judgment.
But with the excitement of living alone can come a fear of, well, living alone. It can be scary arriving home alone after dark or hearing a bump in the night. If you live alone but still want to feel confident and stay safe, follow these essential tips.
1. Make Your Home Look Lived In
Intruders are more likely to strike during standard work hours because they assume no one is home, so make sure your home appears occupied at all times. Consider using an automated lighting system that can turn your exterior and living room lights on when it gets dark outside. You can also leave a radio or television on a timer when you’re out of town.
2. Install a Home Security System
Whether you live in a populous apartment complex or in a house on five acres of land, a security system provides a second set of eyes watching over you and your home. There are plenty of sites out there to help you choose a security system, but at a minimum try to find a monitoring company or all-in-one device with an app so you can check on your home remotely and receive notifications if motion or noise is detected.
3. Don’t Overshare on Social Media
We’ve all heard the horror stories of private information leaking online. To mitigate those issues, keep your social media profiles private so only your friends can see your updates. And because we all know what hackers are capable of, be just as careful with the information you share with friends. Disable location tracking, and avoid posting photos of your getaway until you’re back at home.
4. Practice Safe Dating
When meeting up with a new person, be careful about what information you share. Be discreet when sharing where you live, and don’t publicize that you live alone. Instead of allowing a new date to pick you up at your place, for instance, agree to meet at a public location. And if you’re worried about someone following you home when the date is over, take an Uber to a friend’s house or a coffee shop.
5. Take a Self-Defense Class
One of the best ways to feel and be safer is to know how to defend yourself. Take up karate classes, join a one-time self-defense class, or enlist in a Krav Maga course. Along with feeling confident you can kick butt, you’ll also improve your street smarts and gain more self-confidence.
6. Become Friends with Your Neighbors
One-third of Americans don’t know their neighbor. But even if you aren’t looking to expand your network, being friendly with your neighbors has its benefits. A neighbor can check in on your apartment or collect your mail when you’re traveling. Make it a goal to get to know your neighbors and look out for one another.
7. Be Confident—And Trust Your Gut
Being street smart means looking and feeling confident. Keep your head up and shoulders back. Walk with self-assurance and stay aware of your surroundings. Another component of street smarts? Making smart decisions, which includes listening to your gut. If you’re in a situation that feels uncomfortable, remove yourself, whether that means leaving the house or calling a friend for help.
Living alone can be an exciting and liberating time in your life, but you want to make sure you feel safe and secure. Start implementing these tips to help you get the most out of your solo time.