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When you live with a Home-Mate, you have someone to whom you can say hello and more. Conversations can be spontaneous and easy. You may talk about your day. You may choose to have a meal together. You may discover a common pleasure in playing cards or watching sports together. Or you may both prefer to have privacy and little interaction. What kind of Home-Mate you have, and to what extent you interact or have shared interests is up to you. People have very different needs for social connection. One person's solitude is another person's loneliness. Home-Mates provide human connection.

Being Able to Have Daily Exchanges

People who live with others may not notice the little bits of connectedness that give a lift to one's day. Simply having an exchange, talking about the day, relating with another person is an essential part of being human.

It's nice to have someone to say:

"Hello"

"Good Morning"

Good Night"

How was your day?"

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Personal Cheerleaders

Why is it that we all want the "You go girl!" or "Atta boy!" encouragement when we try something new? Why are support groups so successful? We need other people to cheer us on. When we take on a new challenge, be it cooking a soft-boiled egg, or deciding to shed 50 pounds, or learning to play an instrument, if there's nobody to tell us we did well, it is easy to lose one's enthusiasm.

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Have Someone with Whom to Have a Meal

It is universally true that humans gather around food. There is something about eating together that is soul nourishing and creates communion. Some households eat together by plan and share the work of shopping, cooking and cleaning up. Others are more spontaneous or occasional. However, Home-Mates decide to manage food and eating, it is a pleasure to eat together.

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Reduction of Loneliness

People who live alone tend to spend a lot of time alone and are often lonely. In The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-first Century, psychiatrists Jacqueline Olds and Richard Schwartz describe how hard it is for people to admit their loneliness. The myth of the self-reliant independent person is a pervasive American story. The authors devote a full chapter discussing the living arrangement of and with great concern note the growing trend toward living alone. They discuss how living alone can lead to feeling left out and even to paranoia if not checked. "Simply having a roommate to complain to can make all the difference in the world, restoring perspective and maybe even a sense of humor." They go on to say "Whatever our own individual sensitivity, our well-being suffers when our particular need for connection has not been met... Evolution fashioned us not only to feel good when connected, but to feel secure."

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Comfort

Margaret Mead said, "It is an almost universal need to have someone who wonders where you are when you don't come home at night." The anxiety of "what would happen...if I fall, if I have a heart attack in the middle of the night, if a stranger breaks in, if...if....." These are worries that some notice overtly, for others they are pushed away. Some research indicates that when there is another person sleeping under the same roof, everyone sleeps better.

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Helps You "Get Out of Yourself"

When you live alone it's easy to become preoccupied with your own thoughts and feelings. Your perspective is the only one you have and so any internal conversation is amplified. You think something so often that then it becomes true. Having another who can listen to an idea or review an incident can provide some perspective and reality. What was a big deal, diminishes into manageable proportions just for getting it out of internal dialogue into the clarity of reality.

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Sources: Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates
Contributors: Annamarie Pluhar
Recommended Books: Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates