There are a few commonly-cited benefits of having roommates: your space-to-money-paid ratio is good, you spend time outside of work with new people or old friends, and you pitch in on shared expenses like utilities and laundry soap. But keep in mind that anyone you cohabitate with will probably have their flaws and moods, just like you do. And you probably shouldn’t expect to have a perfect roommate unless you were born under a really and truly lucky star.
Likewise, there are also a few frequently mentioned traits of awful roommates to look out for. Being alert can help you increase your odds of having a happy home life …so best pay attention!
Trait 1) Passive aggressive roommate. This person will say he or she “dislikes confrontation.” But in an ironic twist, this person often will be the cause of confrontation, ticking you off by affixing snide Post-It notes on surfaces near to scenes where they perceive that roommate injustice has occurred. Rather than telling you they’re mad you haven’t taken out the trash in a while, for example, they will just stop doing it completely, then keep getting madder and madder at you each day while you continue on, innocent and oblivious to the building tension. (By the way, usually the passive aggressive roommate is the cleaner, more obsessive-compulsive, or less-busy roommate who has time to stress out over little stuff.) Alternatively, the Passive Aggressive Roommate will have an angelic smile for you at breakfast but then leave a grouchy note in black marker and ALL CAPS taped to the overflowing trash bin, telling you they’ve “noticed” your delinquency. A staggering 9 percent of those polled in MyNewPlace’s Roommate Type Survey are passive aggressive. Beware.
Trait 2) Cave dweller roommate. This type is ALWAYS HOME. Could be a workaholic freelancer, a Netflix-addicted agorophobe, or a video game junkie. Usually they’re nice, when you see them, but cave dwellers can be awful because they freaking NEVER LEAVE. You wanted a roommate to chat with occasionally and maybe share a meal with sometimes. But the cave dweller usually just grunts a hello on the way to his once-or-twice-weekly shower. Plus, you never feel comfortable about bringing the boyfriend over for a relaxing candlelit dinner, because you never know when the cave dweller will pop out to whip up a weird meal of tuna-something-and-olives. Also, whenever you have to go in to the cave because the can opener or the big spatula went missing again you have to hold your breath to avoid an unpleasant but strong dirty-laundry-smell.
Trait 3) Partier roommate. This person has a chill job and mostly lives to party. He agrees with the statement, “Any time is a good time to PARTAYYY!!!” and answers any requests for the time with the response, “What time is it?? It’s HAPPY HOUR!!!” He or she assumes you’ll be down to party too, even if you have a work project due or a final exam to study for. He’ll feel he’s doing you a service by bringing merriment in your life, and will be miffed when you nix his party plans for a legit reason. His specialties are midweek parties, midweek parties that go past midnight, and parties where the invitees treat you like you’re a guest (“hey bro, could you grab me a beer from the fridge quick?”), as are parties featuring loudness (sports events at max volume, beer pong) and poor taste in music.
Trait 4): The monitor roommate. Much like her distant relative the monitor lizard, the monitor roommate lurks, watching you with great stealth. She’ll watch for you put the milk on the wrong shelf in the fridge, or to leave your dish in the sink night, and then the monitor will pipe up, letting you know exactly what you’ve done wrong. “I thought we agreed we’d always wash dishes,” she’ll begin, licking her lips. And then she’ll walk you through the logic of her plan and the lack thereof of yours, hoping to convince you by using the Socratic Method of the error of your ways and the absolute importance of Always Washing Dishes. Warning: the Monitor roommate may be camouflaged at first, seeming to be a perfect roommate because she loves organizing anything and everything. Trouble is, the Monitor can’t handle little lapses in orderliness or stystematicness, and will be offended by any of such lapses on your part. Engineers and others with more of a quantitative bent tend to be more likely than others to have Monitor tendencies.
Trait 5: The slob roommate. This person either was never taught how to be neat, or she or he just never bothered to care. The second variation is, obviously, more problematic than the first, as the first with a little capacity-building and rules can be whipped into shape. But the first will drive you crazy with unswept floors, a dirty bathroom, and worse, and unless you can afford a daily cleaning service or you have a few extra hours in your day to clean for two, you’ll want to avoid the slob like the buzzkill he or she is. You can be friends with a messy person, but living with him will be the pits.
Trait 6: The absentee roommate. Also known as The Phantom, this roommie is one practically in name only, as his or her busy and mysterious social and professional life keeps great distance between him or her and your apartment. Why’s this bad? Three words: paying the bills. Getting the rent and utilities paid on time when coordinating with someone who you sometimes don’t know still exists can be like pulling teeth.
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