A Non-Exhaustive List Of Roommates You Might Endure In Your 20s

The Invisible Man — The Invisible Man is dating someone who lives alone or has a job that requires a lot of travel. You’re pretty sure his name begins with the letter “J,” but it could also be “Andrew,” because occasionally mail will come for a guy named “Andrew.” The mail sits unmoved at the foot of the steps for months at a time. You tried to enter his room once to figure out if you were actually sharing an apartment with another living person, but the door was locked.

The Kleptomaniac — The Kleptomaniac steals any and everything from you, even items that have zero monetary value. A framed photograph of you and your grandfather or a towel is as likely to go missing as a discontinued Louis Vuitton handbag. The Kleptomaniac wears your dead mother’s engraved engagement ring around the house and, when confronted about it, fires back: “Your mom’s name is Estelle Francis Mirouette, too? So weird, that’s my aunt’s name! Maybe we’re related. Sorry you lost your ring, though.”

The Best Friend — You can wordlessly bring a bottle of wine and LOST Seasons 1-6 into The Best Friend’s bed at 10 AM on a Saturday, and the only question asked is if there’s enough cheese in the fridge to make several servings of DIY nachos.

The Impressive Mess — The Impressive Mess has a respectable job and a burgeoning addiction to pretty much every substance and vice known to man. They hold it together in the public eye, but since you have a front row seat to their E! True Hollywood Story you’re aware that their private life is essentially a montage of wanton drug use and casual sex with married strangers. Also, pregnancy scares. So many pregnancy scares. The Impressive Mess will go straight to work after snorting lines in the living room all night and somehow come home with a promotion. Half of you is jealous of how chic their instability is, but the other half knows that their diet consists of only kale and cigarettes and this somehow makes you feel better.

The Nightmare — The Nightmare spends six hours in the bathroom every morning, eats all of your leftovers, screams at their mom on the phone, scares your friends, let the cat run away that one time, leaves passive aggressive notes on the refrigerator, gave a drug dealer the key to your apartment for when he needs a place to crash, sobs at an obscene volume, lies about paying the rent, and had sex with your brother when he came to visit.

The Live-in Girlfriend/Boyfriend — This is the roommate you share everything with: groceries, toilet paper, fluids. The Live-in Girlfriend/Boyfriend is usually a blend of other roommate archetypes, typically a combination of the Best Friend and the Nightmare. Live-in Girlfriend/Boyfriend roommates are at risk of becoming “Excessive Sweatpants And One-Too-Many Nights Ordering In Mexican Food From Don Pancho’s Transformed Us From People Who Used To Have Sex Into Roommates” roommates. A month-to-month lease is advisable.

The Compulsive Liar — The Compulsive Liar has a mother who lives in Boise, a mother who lives in New Delhi, and a mother who lives in San Francisco. He had sex with a Victoria’s Secret model last week whose “name he forgets,” and no, he didn’t use your toothbrush this morning, why would he do something like that? His childhood pet had the same name as your childhood pet and he wasn’t home last night because his high school girlfriend (who’s engaged now, did he mention that?) called him up and had to sleep with him one last time before getting hitched. He was born on the English countryside, except for that one time he was born in Texas. Oh, and he definitely walked your dog like you asked him to. Definitely.

The Couple — The Couple will take the biggest bedroom, and the mathematical equation they use to justify the seemingly unfair rent split confuses you into submission. You will never win a home-related argument that the Couple has not allowed you to win. Always remember that.

The Cardigan — The Cardigan is… nice, albeit not always necessary. Like sometimes you’ll pass them on your way to the bathroom and stop to have a polite conversation, but if you’re in the middle of watching a particularly riveting rerun of Saved by the Bell you can abstain from acknowledging them without feeling too badly about it. TC mark

image – Three’s Company


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  • jess

    The shawl cardigan

    • Renee

      So… an over 60 cardigan?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hannah-Moire/100002582319456 Hannah Moire

    Definitely a cardigan

  • Sophia

    this was great! i’ve got a cardigan-nightmare mix right now. we’ll see how this goes.

    • Jennifer

      I’m in the same position. I’ve been wanting to kick her out for 6 months and we’re both finally moving in 2.

  • mb

    well i was so lucky to have a roommate that was a combination of the impressive mess, the kleptomaniac, the nightmare, and the best friend (yep) all rolled into one… 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    damn this is tough to read

  • Bmore

    the complicated roommate?  the one you casually hook up with but then he/she also hooks up with your friends?

    Dealing with that right now.  Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • Franklin

    I’m about to move out for the first time. This does not make the prospect look real good. Crap.

    • Asdf

      Here’s a tip: Avoid a roommate like a plague. If it requires taking an extra job or three, it’s well worth it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507159106 Nikki McGillicuddy

    Great on so many levels! Really got the gamut of possible roommates. 

  • Anonymous

    I’m such a cardigan but my flatmate is the same so it’s ok.

  • Johnna

    Definitely living with a cardigan right now.

    Also, did you mean causal sex or casual sex? They’re different, but not mutually exclusive… especially for “The Impressive Mess.”

    • Johnna

      Ah, yes- casual indeed. :)


    I have a former best friend that’s now more of a Cardigan/Nightmare combination right now with lazy hippie tendencies (the combination should definitely be included on this list). Kitchen is constantly a mess, but is so pathetic/bizarre that I avoid any and all conflict. Sometimes he talks, other times he responds to me with one word answers or a grunt. 

  • http://twitter.com/myc0rrhizae hanna k. stoehr

    how come the “control freak” didn’t make the list?

    • punny

      My former roommate that was a control freak fit in with the Nightmare bill perfectly.

  • Hmsmomma4

    just remember…. if you don’t HAVE a crazy roommate that means you ARE the crazy roommate…. advise from your mother

    • C Mist

      you can’t be more true than that. 

  • AJ

    I have been uber lucky in the past few years to have two different sets of three roomates who are all awesome, kind and self aware. I feel like I won the lottery. Twice.

  • Guest

    Impressive Mess with total disregard for her Factor V blood clotting disorder,  and a Nightmare that, God help us all, was recently impregnated.  If I didn’t love my apartment space so much, I’d be The Invisible Man.

  • Anonymous

    Really insightful! I’ve experienced all of these roommate types, and these quippy little descriptions makes me reflect on (almost) all of them in an endearing way. The only other possibility I could think of is the roommate that never leaves or showers.  But I suppose that fits somewhere between the Nightmare and the Impressive Mess, sans impressiveness.

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