Feeling Safe When You Live Alone in Your Twenties

At the age of eighteen I transitioned from living with family to sharing a room with two strangers on a college campus. From there I moved off campus with a few friends in a house we all rented together. My first experience of being truly alone was Christmas 2011. For whatever reason I chose to not go home for the holidays. Okay, real talk, I didn't go home to avoid running into my newly ex boyfriend. It was stupid, I was stupid.

After having spent over three weeks alone, as in no human contact, I learned my level of comfort with keeping myself feeling safe in a home alone. I continued to live with roommates on and off for the next few years, until I made the ultimate decision to get my own apartment in Washington DC in 2015.

Getting my own apartment symbolized the beginning of the life I had always imagined myself having in the city. Once I was done celebrating I had to come to terms with the fact that I no longer had anyone to depend on, whether I needed a ride to the store or someone to blame a strange noise in the middle of the night. As a twenty something living alone in the city, here's what helped me feel more safe about living without roommates.

You might also like: 10 Lessons You Learn Living Alone in Your Twenties

Living alone in your twenties can feel scary, which is why it's so important to make sure you have a plan for those days you feel unsafe. Click to read the things I do to make sure I'm always safe in my apartment and neighborhood.

Research your neighborhood

If you are currently looking for a new place to live, I always advise my friends to research their neighborhood for the types of crimes that are more likely to occur in the area. Another way to learn what it's really like to live there is to visit the location at various times of day, with my recommendations being mid afternoon, evening and late at night. Those three times of day give you a good estimate of how crowded the streets are, the type of people that frequent the area, and the overall feeling of safety in the neighborhood.

Talk to your landlord

If you're lucky, your landlord will be honest with you about how safe the neighborhood and apartment complex is. Questions to ask include if there are any problems within the building or others surrounding it, how loud the street can be, and if there is a lot of loitering in the surrounding area. If your landlord is less than willing to give you this informaiton, you can easily search reviews of most apartment buildings online for current and past tenants reviews.

Don't talk to everyone

Maybe this is just a city thing, or an antisocial thing, but I feel so much secure by not talking to all of my neighbors. Here's my reason. I live alone in an apartment in a city where I have no nearby family. To someone with bad intentions, this means they could easily break in or come over invited knowing that no one will be showing up unexpectedly. The less your neighbors know about you the better, including who you live with and your average routine.

You might also like: 6 Things Every Twenty Something Should Do Before Signing a Lease

Have a plan

I didn't know what it was like to be scared of where I lived until I moved to a house near the woods in Maryland. Sure I had neighbors, but because the area was so residential I really couldn't tell who was home and who was not. After weeks of being too scared to walk around my home at night, I developed a plan of where to go in case of emergency, what room to run into in case of an intruder, and who to contact first. Which brings me to my next point...

Living alone in your twenties can feel scary, which is why it's so important to make sure you have a plan for those days you feel unsafe. Click to read the things I do to make sure I'm always safe in my apartment and neighborhood.

Pick a person

When choosing a person, I make sure it's someone who is typically available, knows to return my call or text quickly, and can calm me down in a stressful situation. In my life, I chose my good friend Victor. My friend Victor knows that if I ever text him a bunch of nonsense letters like this, "asghasghasg," that's the sign for him to call 911. My person has my address, emergency contact information, and the ability to help me feel safe when I suspect someone is trying to break into my house. True story.

Develop a routine

I was going to title this 'develop a nighttime routine,' but I believe we need to make safety a priority no matter what time of day it is. My routine includes locking both locks on the door as soon as I step in the door, never leaving my house without making sure the windows are closed and locked, and ensuring the bars on my windows are in good condition. Because I live in a studio, my routine is pretty simply. If you live in a larger space, checking your garage door, car or yard may be things you want to include too.

Do you currently live alone? What's one thing you do to feel safer about being on your own in your twenties??

PS You can now sign up for the weekly newsletter, where you'll get tips, resources and motivation to help you make each week of 2017 better than the last. Signing up takes seconds so make sure you're on the list!!

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


  1. Routines are so helpful when settling into a new place by yourself! And having an in case of emergency friend too!

    1. Yes! Everyone needs a friend they can call in the middle of the night during those first nights

  2. Thanks for these tips! I'll be moving to Mankato, Minnesota for grad school in a few months and not only do I not know anyone who lives there, but I'll also have my own off-campus apartment for the first time. Glad I'm not the only one who has worried about and wants to plan for safety!

    1. Oh my gosh, good luck!! I definitely recommend a taser. I've never used mine but knowing it's there just makes me feel better.

  3. The thing about texting someone random letters meaning your in trouble is so smart! I've been seeing a lot of tricks lately like that!

    1. Really? I made it up a few years ago when I realized in a real situation I would never be able to text "help or call 911." But I'm so glad people are doing so because it can really make the difference

  4. Love these tips! I'm planning on moving out soon and living alone freaks me out!

    Rachel / www.helloher.co