The Ten Best Effects of Living Alone

You have never known how very casual nudity can be.

by Rachel Krantz

There's been a lot of buzz lately about people choosing to live alone. Apparently, one in four Americans does it, not to mention nearly one in two New Yorkers. Being alone isn't just for cat-ladies-found-in-their-apartments-with-decomposing-bodies anymore! But apparently, it will still make you miserable. A new study out this week says people who live alone are eighty-percent more likely to be depressed. This is confusing, since just last month The New York Times told us living alone would probably make us happier, quirkier people. Who do we believe?

Well, it just so happens that as this topic was trending, I shacked up with myself for the first time. I mean, after twenty-four years, things were getting pretty serious, and I wanted to take this relationship to the next level. 

What I've noticed about living alone is clearly the last word on the issue. So I'm here to tell you what I've come to believe are the ten best effects of living alone. These findings will be published next month in the reputable Journal of Anecdotal Evidence.

1. You will start singing to yourself. A lot. 

Actual songs? No, probably not. This is what's known as the classic narrative artform Sing-Splainin'. See the classic swing hit "I'm Sautéing Onions, Sizzle Sizzle," or the more somber ballad "Laundry Time, Fancy Machine Takes Cards Not Dimes."

2. You will cook more.

Did you catch that part where you're sautéing onions? Like a Real Grown-Up might, in their Real Grown-Up Apartment? Yup, living alone, you will probably find you cook more. Because finally, no smart-ass gourmet roommates are watching and judging your amateur chopping skills. Also, they're not there to cook you dinner.

3. You will spend a lot more time naked. 

Because really, why bother? Sleeping naked leads to refrigerator-snacking naked, checking email naked... and it's a liberated slippery slope from there.

4. You will very likely masturbate more.

This may have to do with the fact that you're naked all the time. It could also be because there aren't any roommates to hear your loud-ass vibrator, or to wonder why you're taking so long in the shower. 

5. You will find you have more time and space to be creative. 

Without those weed-smoking, guitar-playing, TV-watching roommates to distract you, you have to make your own fun. While this will usually mean watching TV alone, occasionally it will mean more motivation to write, paint, think, or whatever it is we creative types do.

6. You will laugh out loud all the time. 

Sometimes it won't even be that funny, and usually, the joke will be in your head. But hey, it's amazing how happy you can be when no one's watching. 

7. You will actually be less of a slob.

When you know it's all on you to keep your space clean, you actually take ownership of it. Without that roommate who always takes the trash out (you know who you are), you might actually learn how to clean up after yourself. That said, it's nice to know you can leave the dishes in the sink overnight without worrying your roommates will take it as a passive-aggressive statement about that Scrabble game gone awry. 

8. You will feel broke.

Because, well, you are broke. That's what you get for paying all this money to live alone. But at least now you don't have to buy toilet paper as often. 

9. You will generally feel less lonely. 

Counterintuitively, having more alone time can lead to less loneliness. Knowing you have all the space you need means less of a need to shut the metaphorical door to your heart. (You will also find this realization adorable.) Living solo means you're more likely to schedule time with friends and go out, since you know you'll be alone otherwise. 

10. Yes, you will occasionally feel more lonely. 

You are living alone, after all. And you have been talking to yourself a lot lately. But what if that's actually a good thing? Loneliness gets a bad rap in our society, mostly because with all our electronic pacifiers, we're not used to spending time fully alone with ourselves. But as long as it's not leading to major depression, it's important to remember that being alone with yourself is important, even productive. If it makes you feel occasionally lonely, maybe that's not actually a bad thing. Maybe that's part of actually being human.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make a smoothie while dancing naked to the music in my head.

Want to make someone a smoothie? Head for Nerve Dating.

Commentarium (50 Comments)

Mar 28 12 - 12:19am

You guys are living the dream. I wish desperately that I could afford to live alone.

Mar 28 12 - 2:38pm

"can relate."

Mar 28 12 - 1:24am

Great article and can totally relate!

Mar 28 12 - 1:46am

I live alone and I am #3 as we speak. And of yeah, #4, that happens

May 15 12 - 1:47pm

Ditto! lol

#9 is a problem for me. As an extrovert, living alone can be very, very lonely. That can lead to depression, which in turn means I isolate myself even more. But the freedom is still better than flatmates. I'm highly territorial, so unless I'm living with a SO, then I'm not a fun person to live with.

Mar 28 12 - 6:09am

All of the above - spent a 2.5 years living on my own and multiple years with flatmates. The only thing better than living alone is living w/ a SO who really gets you - cause then you do all the alone things...together.

Mar 28 12 - 8:03am

Seconded. I would ALWAYS choose living alone over having flatmates, with one exception - living with one of the rare people whose company is like being alone, but better. I've only had that happen twice - once with a very dear friend (we lived together for years and people often assumed we were a lesbian couple because we did EVERYTHING together) and now with my husband. But that's a rare sort of person, and other than that alone is better.

Mar 28 12 - 2:09pm

Totally agree w/ you - my boyfriend and I have a flatmate and it's AMAZING when we have the flat to ourselves. Not because we do anything radically different when the flatmate is away, but because we're both rather solitary people and enjoy being solitary together - the flatmate always acts pouty when we just sit quietly together or don't want to go out in a big group of acquaintances. Also, #7 - I keep the flat so much more tidy when it's just the two of us - don't mind cleaning up after my rather tidy boyfriend, but get grumpy when it's the flatmate making a mess and leaving it.

Mar 28 12 - 6:33am

what is it with young women who love to trumpet that they walk around the house naked? this is like the third time it's come up in as many months, as opposed to hearing or reading about it apx. zero times from guys ever.

Mar 28 12 - 11:51am

I've had more guy friends that tell me of the naked times than girl friends that exclaim that...

Mar 28 12 - 4:07pm

As a guy currently finishing out his first year of living alone, let me assure you that it took me months to shut up about how awesome it is to constantly walk around naked.

Mar 28 12 - 8:26am

Hah, I WISH I could afford to live alone.

Mar 28 12 - 8:51am
Peter Pumpkin Eater

I prefer a good roommate to living alone, but nothing is worse than a bad roommate.

Mar 28 12 - 9:08am

Ha, I have a house-mate but still I
somehow manage to do all this! Maybe I'm just an asshole of a housemate or we time it well so we give each other time alone in the house but numbers 1, 2 3, 4 and 6 are things I do often. Depends on how many people you live with I guess.

Mar 28 12 - 10:18am

Next best thing to living alone: Have a housemate who is a flight attendant. "Here's my rent, see you next month!"

Mar 30 12 - 7:49am

Seconded! My housemate is never at home, and when she is, we actually enjoy hanging out.

Mar 28 12 - 10:21am

Good read! Gah I so want to live solo

Mar 28 12 - 10:38am

I LOVED living alone. I did it as much as possible. Now I've got a beautiful wife that loves #3 and, well, we don't have to do #4 as much 'cause we got each other. And I cook more because she cannot.

Still, I don't think things would be this good if we hadn't lived on our own for many years. Those are formative years.

Mar 28 12 - 11:17am

You don't get paid to type these lists, do you?

Mar 28 12 - 11:28am
Rachel Krantz

No Doug, you'll be glad to know I don't. Do you know of any paid commenter positions?

Mar 28 12 - 12:39pm


Mar 30 12 - 7:50am

Does Nerve really not pay their writers?

Mar 28 12 - 11:33am

I just laughed at #5 and then read #6...

Mar 28 12 - 11:42am

Except for the naked thing (ew, walking from room to room okay, but I don't even want to sit around on my own furniture naked), this list really does describe my experience of living alone. The only thing I wonder about is the stat that half of New Yorkers live alone. How is this possible? Their apartments must be smaller than my closet!

Mar 28 12 - 12:12pm

This article made me realize that in 40+ years of existence, I've never once lived alone. First parents, then college roommates and/or significant others, then marriage. Six months of a long distance relationship (while married; it was because of our jobs) is the closest I've come. I consider myself somewhat of a loner, so I have the bizarre experience of looking back and being surprised that I never lived alone.

Mar 28 12 - 12:36pm
No longer alone

I have been living alone for 5 years and I love it --so much less drama. So much private time I totally agree with this list. The only caution I would advise to aspiring live aloners is try not to spend too much time by yourself because although it is enjoyable it is easy to isolate yourself too much. My fiance is now moving in with me and I am glad he appreciates and welcomes my nudity and sing splainin'

Mar 28 12 - 1:10pm

I've never lived alone, yet always being around someone else I feel lonely.

Mar 28 12 - 1:30pm

After six years living alone, I now live with my girlfriend. It's nice - I never knew how lonely I was until there was someone sharing my space. It hasn't affected the degree to which I'm naked but it's true - you masturbate less when you live with someone.

Mar 28 12 - 1:37pm

After a very long marriage, I got single, moved into a place where I could live alone, and still think that was one of the smartest decisions I ever made. Seven years later, still living alone and loving it.

Mar 28 12 - 2:14pm

The best parts (that you did not mention) about living alone are:
1. If there are bills, they're my bills.
2. If there's a mess, you guessed's my mess.
3. If there are people over, they are MY people!
I live in a major city and although I'm essentially working to pay bills and eat, I cannot tell you how much peace of mind I get from knowing that I can come home and not have to deal with any roomy bs.

Jul 02 12 - 4:55am

Great by choice..

Mar 28 12 - 5:13pm
the fuck

guess we have to all ask our selves a very serious question;

what the fuck is wrong with us or other people that we prefer to live in solitude.

Mar 30 12 - 7:52am

Not sure if joking or serious..

Mar 28 12 - 6:35pm

I am living alone for the first time in my twenty-five years of existence. It has been the most wonderful experience - I couldn't imagine living with another soul, less the economy pushes me to do so or I get married. Living alone is a solid decision!

Mar 28 12 - 10:46pm

Huh. I cook less (what's the point without other people to enjoy it?), don't sing, and have no desire to walk around naked. And I'm more of a slob. Guess I'd rather hear data than anecdotes.

Mar 30 12 - 7:53am

Then don't read opinion articles.

Jun 19 12 - 12:01am

Ouch. Pwned. Lmao

Mar 30 12 - 4:42pm

Ive been without people mostly for 30 years but with up to 5 cats so I guess thats not alone. Nudity is not an issue

Mar 30 12 - 6:59pm

I am happy in my solitude, I need no distractions from myself. Living alone I can paint AND sing out loud.
I get stressed out around someone if they were around all the time.. O.k so maybe a roomie that was gone all the time... like a flight attendent or something..

Mar 30 12 - 7:22pm

#6 is so true

Mar 30 12 - 9:28pm

miss living alone!!! lived alone for 18 years..had room mate dumped on me..last 4 years with room mate..miserable..if you can live alone, do it! can't afford to anymore..

Mar 31 12 - 4:28am

I love living alone and I sing and dance naked all the time. And spend lots of time in the shower. No one is there to judge. Sometimes I cook, sometimes I have cereal. But again, no one's judging. Totally agree with all aspects of this article. As for NY Time Out... quirkier totally... happier? Who knows.

Jun 14 12 - 6:14am

Funny how the freedom to saunter around naked keeps cropping up in articles about singles living alone. Personally, I rarely roam naked around the house, and it never really occurred to me that I even want to. Also, I detect an implicit suggestion in many places, both online and offline, of the single life as being something that allows you to be as sloppy and slovenly as you wish. Of course it does. But I gotta wonder whether many singles think that is that necessarily something to aspire to. I know how despite being a never-married guy, and living alone for several years now, I've always loved to keep my place organised, and neat. I don't neglect my health either, just because there's not a woman around who I have to impress with my grooming or firm body, or who will mother and nurture me all the time. I think singlehood affords me an even greater incentive to be self-sufficient, and pay greater attention to my health, (or even my looks and clothing) for my own sake. It isn't about narcissism or self-centeredness at all, but just an intrinsic sense of self-worth and self-sufficiency that isn't reliant on another person's approval or presence. I don't need to be "quirky" to be a perfectly content, 'normal' single guy, that's all. :)

Mar 31 12 - 4:44pm

A neighbour of mine, who finally got enough of a promotion to afford to live alone, once told me that "having roommates is like living alone but without the privacy." She loved living alone.
A year later, she died alone in her house and wasn't discovered for three days. Upsides and downsides.

Jun 14 12 - 6:02am

You strike a chord there, CeCe. I'm 38, single, and have lived alone for years, by choice----and I'm almost completely content with it. That said, I've occasionally thought about and dreaded one major drawback of living alone, i.e. getting seriously ill, or injured, or eventually dying alone, and being 'discovered' dead, in my apartment, maybe days later. Other than that, I've always loved alone-ness (there's no such word, I know. Lol) and never feared it, like I've known plenty of people do. There are definitely a few downsides to going solo, but for me, I reckon the advantages have always far outweighed the negatives. Besides, I'm honestly very happy being single and living alone. I don't think I'd like to trade places with anybody who's married or living with another person.

Apr 02 12 - 11:55am

Oh I so miss being able to live alone.
You can thoroughly check out your prospective roommate and they'll even introduce you to their "best" (literally) friend, but after that, it's just a parade of carnival freaks and weirdos night after night/

Apr 02 12 - 3:58pm

You've made a schoolgirl error about cause and effect there - "people who live alone are eighty-percent more likely to be depressed." - this doesn't mean that their depression was caused by them living alone, it could easily be that depressed people tend to end up living by themselves, or any number of related causes.

Apr 02 12 - 10:44pm
Kimberlee Darling

"8. You will feel broke." Kimberlee says: You got that right... ;)

Apr 07 12 - 7:50am
to be picky

I would imagine that the statistic of one of every two New Yorkers come straight from the Times article mentioned, but what they really said is one out of every two households is someone living the single life (idem for the general American population stats). Bit of a difference, if still mind-boggling with New York rent.

Jul 10 12 - 3:07pm

It's like you were describing my life, ha! Glad to know I'm not alone.