When you have social anxiety, the thought of sharing a home with another person may fill you with dread. For many young adults, however, living with roommates is just a fact of life. Circumstances or financial constraints may force you to live with other people who may or may not have anything in common with you.
You may be the kind of person with social anxiety who prefers to be alone and doesn’t want to get close to roommates. Or you may be someone who craves friendship, but your anxiety holds you back from trying to get to know others and letting them get to know you. Either way, your home should be the place where you feel the most comfortable – where you can rest, recharge, and prepare to face tomorrow, so living with people you feel comfortable with is one of the most important factors for your mental and social health. If you do have any say in the matter, here are some steps you can take to try and find a roommate who will be easy to live with and may even become a great friend.
Room with a Friend
If you know someone you think you’d like to live with, it can be terrifying to ask if they want to room together. What if they don’t want to live with you? What if they don’t want to move? What if their boyfriend or girlfriend thinks you’re weird? The list goes on. They may say no, but you’ll never know unless you ask. It might be nerve-wracking to discuss living arrangements in person, and fortunately, this is a conversation that is totally fine to have via text or email. Tell your friend that you need somewhere to live (or someone to move into your place). Let them know you think the two of you would be compatible and ask what they think of the idea. You honestly don’t have to say any more than that. If they are interested, awesome! If not, you’re no worse off than you were before you asked.
Look in Your Tribe
Maybe you don’t know anyone personally you want to live with or who is looking for a place. What are the places you feel most comfortable? Do you go to any community events, participate in a church, or come from a small hometown? Ask people in those communities if they know of anyone who needs a roommate. It’s not always the case, but oftentimes, someone who knows you well can judge the kind of people who you might get along with. It’s always a good idea to ask people you know before taking the leap and looking online.
If none of your personal contacts has gotten you anywhere, the next best choice is to start looking online. There are Facebook groups dedicated to helping singles find housing, sites like Craigslist and Reddit where anyone can post their apartment, and other paid platforms that work like dating apps and sites, but for roommates. There are pros and cons to all of these, so look into a few and cast a wide net.
When creating your post or listing, it’s important to spell it right out that you have social anxiety and say what that will mean for a roommate. Will you stay home a lot? Will you want to hang out together? Make it clear what a roommate should expect from you and it’s more likely that people who are compatible will contact you for more information.
Social anxiety doesn’t have to mean you’ll be miserable living with roommates. With some thorough searching and a little bit of luck, you’ll find a roommate who will let you be yourself and help you feel comfortable when you come home every day.
We love to hear from you. What’s the hardest thing about social anxiety and having roommates? Let us know in the comments!