Would You Rather?

Would you rather have a roommate who’s never around or one who’s always home?

Each arrangement has its perks and its drawbacks.

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Living with people has its moments. Communal dinners can be a balm after a long day at work, and the occasional party can help blend friend groups and expose you to people you wouldn't have otherwise met. Then there are the uglier day-to-day realities: as in dirty dishes in the sink, your toothbrush on the ground in a puddle, or a line to take a shower before work.

But what of roommates who work weird hours or spend most nights at a significant other's? These RINOs—roommates in name only—still pay the rent, but for the New Yorker who gets plenty of face time during the day and just wants to come home in the evening, curl up in her PJs, and watch Law and Order reruns, they're a godsend.

So which would you prefer, if given the choice: A roommate who's never around, or a total homebody? We put the question to five New Yorkers. Here's what they had to say.

Cleanliness is next to aloneness

“I like my alone space, so I would definitely rather have a roommate who is never around. Also, the apartment will probably be a lot cleaner if your roommate is rarely there!”—Kaitlyn Coleman, Union Square

More (necessary) noise, less guilt

“I would rather have a roommate who is never around—you get all the benefits of a private apartment without the massive New York City rent! Plus, I wouldn’t feel guilty needing to keep my alarm app raised to the highest volume in the morning!”—Courtney Dodge, East Village

When the roommate's away...

“I like having time to myself to just blast music and have some time away from the business of school and the city. Plus, [with an absentee roommate,] I could be as messy as I want and not worry about what a stranger thinks.”—Natasha Roy, East Village

Sharing is caring

“I’d much rather have a roommate who’s always home. I lived with my best friend for seven years and we had the roommate thing down to a science! I recently moved in with my boyfriend and the same holds for him: I’d rather have him always home than never home, even if he won’t partake in my Bravo TV watching.”—Sarah Allen, Chelsea

Alexa, will you be my friend?

“In my 20s, I loved having roommates who were always around, but now, in my 30s, I’ve become much more of a crotchety lady and enjoy the peace and quiet. That’s probably why I live alone now. When I want to talk to someone, I just ask Alexa a bunch of questions. She fills the void. Is that just super sad or a sign of the times? I don’t know.”—Molly Ford Leibowitz, Soho

The verdict: For all but one of these five New Yorkers, emptiness is bliss.