1. The passive aggressive roommate. They seemed cool when you decided to move in together. They always do. They do well in social situations, share some interests with you, and seem to be tolerable all-around. But after a couple weeks, they’re marking lines on their beverage containers in the fridge, putting padlocks on their doors, and texting you to ask accusatory questions when you’re literally in the room next to them. No, you did not unlock their windows, but they will forever remind you to please not go into their room to unlock them. Their weapon of choice? The note signed with a fun heart. “Can you wipe this off the counter? Thanks! <3” reads the note you’ll find stuck under a single splotch of makeup on an otherwise pristine counter. Is this real? Did they really take the six steps necessary to leave that note instead of the one step it would have taken to wipe off the spot? Yes, they did. They always will.
2. The raised by over-privileged wolves roommate. They walk among us like normals, but they are the inept unicorns of the roommate world. Their parents tried to give them the world, but in doing so gave them a very, very limited understanding of the workings of that world. They can’t cook, clean, or live in general without assistance. They will lose their house key weekly, until it becomes apparent that they’ve just been leaving it in their room and expecting everyone else to let them in, as the world has always been their very cozy, centrally heated and air-conditioned oyster. Their lack of awareness will slowly become clear, perhaps as things start to disappear. Where are all the hand towels? “I threw them out. They were dirty.” And the frying pan? “I put it under the sink. It was dirty.” But what of the raw pasta sitting in a pot on the stove with no water in it? “That’s how you cook noodles, right?” No. Oh, no. Your nanny never even taught you that pasta needs water to boil? Child.
3. The two-for-one roommate. Congratulations! Your new roommate comes with a fun, built-in significant other who will never pay for rent, or anything, for that matter. It would be fine if they ever bought groceries, furnished the apartment, cleaned, or did a single thing to act like someone who sleeps at your place every night rent-free. I’ve had live-in roommate boyfriends who practically mothered me. But this kind of two-for-one asshole will never do that. In fact, they make most of the messes, eat all the food, and manage to always be occupying the space you need at any given time. Bonus points if they think it’s cool to use your towels.
4. The ‘what’s yours is mine’ roommate. Far from passive aggressive, this roommate was real with you from the jump: “what’s mine is yours!” Awesome, right? Only if you’re cool with the reverse of that phrase, which is that everything you own just became theirs. Even your expensive moisturizer, your favorite dress, and that piece of heirloom jewelry that even you wouldn’t so much as touch. She’ll wear that shit to a highlighter frat party. This person doesn’t get boundaries. They’re likely from a world where they always had to share, and they’ll never quite get another person’s impulse not to do the same. Your key move here is to set boundaries from day one. Tell them exactly what is off limits: no, you cannot use my deodorant, strapless bras, or gold ring given to me by my dead grandfather. If they don’t respect that, put all of the dirty dishes in their bed. That clears things up.
5. The couch-living roommate. Unfortunately, I have been this person. When I studied abroad, I was going through a time of uncertainty in which the only sure thing I had was sleep. I’d pass out on the couch whenever possible, and considered it a favor to my roommate, as I wouldn’t interrupt her studying at her bedroom desk, or sleeping if I was crawling into bed drunk late at night. Wrong. I basically interrupted any other thing that took place outside of our bedroom, like cooking, cleaning, TV watching, company-having, etc. I was a couch girl. Couch girls and boys love to live life from one home base. They use their bedrooms as closets and sex dens only. Sometimes, couch people with roommates will be as bold as to invite a dude or a lady back to the couch. You’ll be stumbling into the kitchen on a late-night microwaveable pizza journey when you see said dude or lady’s bare ass decorating the couch, where you maybe study or enjoy your favorite Netflix original series. Your roommate will apologize, but you know that it doesn’t mean that anything will change. We couch people can be shameless and stubborn, and I want to personally apologize to everyone on our behalf. It does get better, but only after one couch person has to move in with another, thereby making for a couch-dweller rehab moment for one lucky individual. It happened to me. I am changed.
6. The roommate with the fun new substance abuse problem. This roommate is a regular riot, and all-around nonstop good time, if by good time we’re talking about someone who gets super wasted and tries to murder their boyfriend by pushing him out of a window. They will always laugh it off. It’ll be the fun inside joke of your group for a while, until one night a friend turns to you and says, “do you think ____ is maybe an alcoholic/violent abuser?” And you practically scream “YES!” at the top of your lungs with the same amount of enthusiasm as if someone just asked you if you, too, love pizza. A fun cautionary tale: I once came home from a night out to find our subletter passed out on our front porch, choking as she snored her way through a blackout-induced coma. This turned out to be a regular thing. I’d later walk her out of a possible blackout drunk hookup scenario. She couldn’t open her eyes, let alone consent to a sloppy drunk sexual encounter. This roommate is terrifying. Whether it’s a friend or a new subletter thrust upon you by circumstance—let the first red flad be their last. Call their mom, slip a pamphlet about substance abuse under their door, whatever, I don’t care. Once a pattern of constant inebriation is established, doing anything at all is better than coming home to find this person throwing up in your bed with alcohol poisoning. If you’re sitting there thinking, “this bitch just doesn’t know how to have fun,” then you are probably this person. Drink a glass of water and go to sleep. Your roommates will thank me for it. Trust.