How you living?

I love people! Put me in the middle of a crowd and I’m one happy crowd surfing gal (as long as they don’t crowd me though cuz I hate that.) I’m also an avid people watcher and instead of going off to a local coffee shop or an outdoor patio, I’ve found the cheapest way to watch a bunch of people interact is to live with a bunch of people and to watch them interact. Plus you save on all sorts of coffee, muffin and pint money.  Family dynamics aside, there’s no greater compatibility test than the one you go through with a roommate.  Coexisting non-romantically in an effort to minimize bills while maximizing life is like having your very own party-ready ecosystem (have people, just add booze).

Over the past several years I have been in various living arrangements ranging from 2 person squalor (University dorms) to 8 person splendour (3-story spacious quarters).


  • Multiple listening ears (keep asking until someone agrees with you)
  • Various opinions on subjects
  • Learning to create systems/processes to make the majority happy
  • Exposure to various people, new experiences
  • Developing close friendships with great people
  • Practicing social skills in stressful situations (I can work with anyone now!)


  • There weren’t more rooms to add even more people to the mix, woo!
  • Spiders! Yuck!  (not roommate related but I felt I needed to add a little filler over on this side)

But is seems I’m the minority on the ‘More the Merrier” bandwagon. In Canada, 6 times as many people live alone as compared to those who live with one or more roommates*.

I even posed the completely biased question: Isn’t/wasn’t having a roommate great? and received a barrage of unsupportive feedback that completely undermines my ‘More is Merrier’ thesis (here’s a hint dumbasses – the answer was supposed to be yes!).

 In post secondary education institutions: 

My roommate was a dirty, food stealing moron who thought cleanliness was an option and not a requirement

We came in as friends and we left never wanting to see or speak to each other again

 Roommates in general:

It was so uncomfortable the whole time that in the end we simply coexisted until the lease was up and then moved into our own separate apartments

I had to label my stuff so [they] would stop ‘accidentally’ eating all my food

Having a roommate was the worst time in my life

The overall consensus: Roommates suck

Roommates from hell

Not referring to Beelzebub, or even el Diablo (though some might argue that the differences were slight), the Experience Project is a website where people can (and do) anonymously vent about roommates they’ve been forced to endure over the years.

I was disheartened to know that even my dear frenemy the internet was working against my thesis but laughed heartily at the last lines regarding a messy roommate:

While I do agree he probably needs to be shown [basic cleaning skills] because he’s been coddled [by his mother] I don’t feel that it’s my responsibility to teach a nearly thirty year old man how not to be an idiot.

What to do?

Like stop signs, body cavity searches at the airport and lost TV remotes, roommates are a necessary evil to test our patience and ability to handle stressful situations on the road of life. In any situation, you simply need a plan of attack to get through it (ignore the signs, enjoy the complimentary enema and have children handy to change channels for you).

The Nelleytimes’ Roommate Survival Guide

  1. Set up a cleaning schedule (this is probably the most important first step): If you like a spotless house and your new roommate gives you a blank stare when you mention foreign words like ‘windex’ or ‘vacuums’ then yes you should worry and then go 50/50 on a housekeeper. Can’t afford one? Then perhaps you should get used to the furry little friends you’re about to have. Consider this: rats are the new black.
  2. Noise Control (aka a message to my upstairs neighbours): although I appreciate your bongo and drum playing @ 4am on the weekends (it’s nice to have theme music to come home to), most roommates would probably not. Schedule your garage band practice time for a more reasonable hour and keep your rapping where it belongs you wanna-be MC – in your car or in the shower.
  3. Starvin Marvin: Is your roommate constantly stealing your tasty nibbles? Are the rats taking more than their fair share of your grains and potato chips (cheese flavoured, no less) and you just can’t take it anymore?  The solution is easy – stop buying food. Logic: They can’t steal it if you don’t have it to steal. You’ll be ahead with a slender figure and loose fitting clothing and hopefully the lack of food will encourage your roommate to try a more exotic, rat-based cuisine.
  4. Don’t get Carrie’d away:  If you’re already fantasizing about having your roommate locked up and burned alive in your rat infested apartment, it’s already too late. Once the murder trial is over and you’ve settled in with your new roomie  in your jail coloured digs, take the time to express your concerns upfront (please stop leaving your shiv shavings all over our cell) before its too late (Do you smell burning? Hey! Where are you going!?)

And finally, if you’ve tried all of my fail-proof tips above and you still have an inconsiderate roommate who is out of control, out of touch and out of their minds then my last piece of advice is simple:

Just get the heck out!

Save yourself!



*family homes are not considered roommate households. All calculations based on 2006 StatsCan data

cute rat pic source

Exit sign source

2 thoughts on “How you living?

  1. Hello,

    This post uses my image

    The image is made available under the Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic
    CC license. According to the license: “You must attribute the work in the
    manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests
    that they endorse you or your use of the work).”

    Please either provide a link to the flickr page above, mentioning the name
    “konstriktion”, or remove the image from your post.

    Thank you.


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