For the uninitiated, it can take some getting used to but living alone can be one of the most liberating experiences life has to offer. From developing a stronger sense of independence to living a life completely on your own terms, solo life has something to offer everyone. If you’re living alone for the first time or seasoned in living solo and in need of a confidence boost; or even if you’re living alone, loving it and like to be reminded (well, why not?!), here are 10 reasons why living alone can be good for you.
1 You can please yourself!
Often, what’s described here is listed separately, but we have banded them together as one. Things like having control of the remote, walking around naked, eating cereal whenever you want and doing the hoovering at 10 pm – all fall under this broad category of the solo living experience.
Of course, this isn’t an exclusive list, but you get the gist, which is – you can pretty much please yourself. There is nothing wrong in doing so, and underestimating the joy to be gained from simple pleasures is a no, no!
With the ability to please yourself comes the opportunity to prioritise your own self-care. It is often the case that many people who live solo feel a little guilty about being able to do so, at a time when often someone’s self-worth is dictated by how many plates they’re spinning and indeed their lack of time.
It’s easy to see why those of us with the power to do what we want when we want (to a degree) don’t shout about the fact we can put ourselves at the top of the list. We’re here to remind you, self-care is not selfish, and together, hopefully, we can shift the perspective that being able to use time as you wish is positive and not something that you should hide away.
2 You are in control
Broadly similar to the first point, we’re talking here about more profound things rather than choosing whether or not you eat pasta in your pants or drink milk from the carton. Being in control when living alone means you get to make all the big decisions that directly affect your destiny.
When it comes to what you do, who you socialise with and when you choose to do the things you are passionate about – all of this and more is under your control, for you to make decisions upon without judgement, compromise, or justification.
There is a view living alone means you’re automatically missing out on something – a connection with another person or being able to share difficult decisions with someone else. We’ve explored this in a previous article asking whether or not a single life is a phase or a lifestyle choice for you.
This does not necessarily mean that those who chose to live with another person are in any less control than us solo livers. Still, there is something rather empowering about making decisions about your lifestyle and choosing the direction you want your life to go in without too much influence from others.
3 Embrace life with your whole mind
Sometimes, discussing the benefits of solo living can be lighthearted – the reason for the list of small joys mentioned in point 1 of our list. But, those of us living alone by choice or who have grown to enjoy living alone are likely to recognise this reason more readily. Thinking, feeling and truly living alone is much more about embracing this life and being fully immersed in it, allowing you to be completely present in mind and body.
Living alone gives you the opportunity to explore your true self and develop a sense of being comfortable in your own skin. This might be the simple act of being comfortable in your own company. Or being able to spot what triggers negative feelings and (most importantly) what you can do to counteract them. Knowing who we really are, being content with that person, and having confidence in our own values and boundaries ultimately improves our wellbeing, but also the way we also present ourselves to people around us.
4 Home is where the heart is
When it comes to living alone, you can really grow to appreciate your living space – your home and, thus, your personal space. With busy lives, it can be hard to appreciate our surroundings. Living alone and working towards it successfully can help you become more attuned to your space. You’re able to mould it precisely the way you imagine. Even if your home is a work in progress right now, it is your own, and you are totally in charge of it.
If you’re sitting reading this thinking you’ve already decorated recently, you might find some more inspiration for keeping busy around the house in our ‘home is where the heart is’ article.
Working from home has started to become more popular. This can be great as it reduces commuting time, and for many people, the lack of office distraction increases their productivity.
However, there is a downside for every upside, and working from home can make the boundaries of work/life balance blurry. This can be more of an issue for solos working from home because without another person wanting their attention, they might easily work past their usual hours.
When the office is your sofa, it can become challenging to know when it’s time to switch on and off from work mode. If you don’t have a home office, some minor changes can go a long way to making it feel less like you’re working and living from the same spot every day. Try the simple trick of creating an area of your home set up purely to work from, a defined space where you work and where the rest of your home is for you to relax and switch off from the laptop.
5 Find fulfilment
Fulfilment comes from working hard towards something you need. For some people, living alone is what they need, and so when it happens, they feel at peace with their situation and themselves. This doesn’t mean it comes easily or naturally to people to start with.
Some people regard living on your own as somehow less of a lifestyle choice than living with someone else. You could be in a miserable and unfulfilling relationship…but at least you’re not alone, eh?
The steps to be comfortable living solo can take time for those who need time to quieten the critical voices about being happy, safe or lonely if you choose to live by yourself. Often, the conversations around finding empowerment through living alone comes from the female perspective.
Perhaps because women are seen as more vulnerable than men, there is an added layer of risk attached to living alone. This doesn’t mean that men don’t go through the same experiences finding fulfilment living alone. Solo Living writer Michelle Newbold explored the experience of men in her article ‘Do men find it harder to live alone?’
6 Share your home on your terms
Living alone doesn’t mean always being alone and so it stands to reason that you will want to share your home with friends and loved ones but on your terms. Hand-picking guests and inviting people when you choose are all freedoms you can control at your own pace. Be sure, though, not to leave yourself with an open door policy (unless that’s what you want).
For our coupled-up friends and family members, they can easily be mistaken thinking that anyone living on their own is happy for any company at any time. This can lead to people assuming it’s okay to just turn up unannounced because why wouldn’t you want the company? This isn’t necessarily something that people do on purpose, but be sure to nip it in the bud if you notice it happening otherwise it will get more difficult to address.
7 Financial independence
Not everyone will take this one fully on board! Basically, it means that you are financially free as well as in control. What you bring home is yours with no need to share or distribute anywhere else other than your own choosing. Financial independence is something many people crave, and yet with living alone, it is kind of a given which is a reason to be thankful – honest!
Admittedly, living on your own doesn’t always come with the same perks that couples are given, Ciara Mcardle found this when looking at the question: is the cost of living higher when you live alone?. It could be said the decision to live alone is not one driven by money. However, being completely in control of how your hard-earned cash is spent with no arguments about how much to turn the heating up or who left the light on in the bathroom again is definitely inviting.
8 Active independence
You’d be forgiven for thinking we’ve already touched on this but actually, what we mean here isn’t about doing things on your own. Living alone gives you that freedom of course, but it also brings with it the ability to be actively independent. Anyone can be independent (even when living as a couple) but living alone brings with it authentic independence and self-discipline like nothing else.
These elements go some way to helping find your authentic self. Discovering the version of you that you are most happy and comfortable with is a journey like no other. Regardless of how you choose to live your life, coming out the other side will bring with it a greater level of contentment and independence. Once you’ve found what you need to be happy with yourself, it will naturally open you up for more meaningful connections with other people.
9 Pursue what you are passionate about
When living with other people, there tends to be ‘stuff’ that gets in the way. Living alone not only gives you an unparalleled level of freedom, but it also gives you the time to focus on what you really want to do.
What’s great about living alone is that it gives you confidence that you can do it. It starts small – hanging your first picture without help or getting through a month with a few pounds left in the bank but knowing you covered everything you needed. Then, it begins to grow. You become braver. The voice in your head starts to change from you can’t do that to I bet you could do that.
This development of self-confidence doesn’t mean you master passions any faster or better than anyone else. What it does mean, though, is you feel more confident about taking the first step, braving the uncertainty and being okay with some vulnerability. Micky explored this in more depth when writing about her first solo travel experience in her piece, ‘Travelling Solo Isn’t Lonely’.
10 Great social life
Living alone doesn’t mean being a recluse. Many solos report having a better social life and a great network to draw upon because of living solo, not despite living alone. Having a fulfilling social life doesn’t always depend on the amount of friendship you have, but on the quality of the time spent with friends.
Many of the points we’ve already covered set out why living alone can be good and feed into explaining why solos may have a better social life. If you’re content and happy in who you are as a person and can be alone, then seeing friends isn’t about filling in some time. It’s about spending meaningful time with people you care about and who care about you. As a result, you’ll be more present and engaged in what you do with your friends, from actively listening to really enjoying the moment.
As well and thoroughly enjoying a social life, exploring your passions or taking on new hobbies opens up new possibilities to your social life. Being in charge of your own time and how you spend it means you can sign up for classes or groups that allow you to spend time doing something you love and meet like-minded people at the same time.