in Life

Top five ways to annoy your roommates (and how to score bonus points)

I’ve had my fair share of roommates in the past—ten if not more. With that sort of experience comes years of being annoyed (and, to be fair, being annoying). If you’re looking to deal some serious mental anguish to your house-partners, here are five things to get you started.

  1. Play Stack-The-Trash: At college and in life, you’re sometimes paired with a roommate from another country, which is why Stack-The-Trash is such an important annoyance to learn. Often, with international roommates, certain annoying behaviors simply don’t translate. Fortunately, Stack-The-Trash is part of the universal roommate language. The rules are simple: never take the trash out. Instead, keep stacking your trash on top of the garbage can until the other roommate is unable to stack and is forced to remove the trash themselves. Bonus points: Once they fold and take the trash out (it’s only a matter of time), quickly fill the bottom of the trash can with “filler,” i.e., lots of paper, other trash bags, etc., and throw some food on top to make it look like the trash is already full within twenty minutes of them taking it out.
  2. Never wash dishes: This is definitely the number one annoyance with roommates, even with the inevitable BFR.1 Keep in mind that the key to this is to constantly keep the sink full of dishes. A spoon here or a plate there just won’t cut it. Bonus points: Nothing will annoy and confuse a roommate more than using and not washing their dishes while yours go unused in the cabinets.
  3. Use a dry erase board “because it’s convenient”: Everyone knows that dry erase boards are all about saying what you want to say and avoiding the person you’re saying it to—it’s the Holy Grail of roommate passive-aggressiveness. It doesn’t matter what you write or how many smilie faces you put after it, everything comes off as rude and uncalled for on a dry erase board. It’s the perfect weapon to escalate tension and create an overall unease. Bonus points: Don’t write complete sentences. Instead, write words like “DISHES” in capital letters. Circle the word in various colored dry erase markers every few days.
  4. Have a crazy gimmick: One of my old roommates laughed absurdly loud whenever she was in another room. If I was sitting in the living room, I’d hear the laughter from her bedroom. If I was in my bedroom, I’d hear it from the kitchen. It was so loud and unnatural, I always suspected that she was just trying to drive me insane. And it worked. What’s your crazy gimmick? Turning all the lights on and leaving a room? Putting your roommates things in slightly different locations? Spraying fart spray in the refrigerator? The crazier, the better. Keep it frequent, but inconsistent. Bonus points: Your roommate will most certainly tell all their friends about your crazy gimmick and bring them over to “watch it happen.” Never do it while your roommate has friends over. By keeping your crazy alive only when you’re alone with your roommate, it’s them who will look crazy.
  5. Complain that the air conditioner needs to be set to 85 degrees because you “need to save money” and then buy a kayak: The air conditioner is an age-old source of roommate frustrations. Constantly changing it to the opposite of what your roommate prefers is easily one way to quickly cause frustration. But make sure you have a vague, unverifiable reason to back you up. The “I need to save money” excuse is great because no one is going to ask to see your bank account. Bonus points: If you’re going to be be awkwardly frugal when it comes to getting your way, make sure you purchase extravagant and idiotic items, like kayaks. Be sure to leave signs of your wastefulness in plain sight. Example: store the kayak in the living room and never use it.

What have your roommates done to annoy you? What have you done to retaliate? Let me know in the comments!

  1. A Best Friend Roommate (BFR) is an inevitable part of the roommate seeking process. Whether your first roommate is your best friend from high school “because you can’t live without them” or after three horrible roommates you decide to live with your best friend “because living with strangers doesn’t work,” having your best friend live with you is something we’ve all tried. And now we don’t talk to those friends anymore. Lesson learned. []