Living with someone who isn't family or your sweetheart is not for the faint of heart — in fact, I believe there's a very special place in heaven reserved for those of us who can successfully pull off living with roommates for an extended period of time. Seriously, people who can co-exist peacefully with roommates deserve some kind of prize. Because, as many of us know, roommate relationships are often beyond complicated.
And these days, it's not just college students who are dealing with roommates. Since many of us are barely scraping by due to our hefty student loans and not-so-great paying jobs, there's no way we can afford a cute studio apartment all by ourselves. So we find ourselves divvying up storage space and splitting cleaning chores with a brand-new roomie. It always feels promising at the start. After all, what could go wrong with a couple BFFs living together?
The answer: a lot. Sure, sometimes becoming roommates strengthens a friendship, and sometimes random roommates end up becoming close friends. But other times, platonic cohabitation doesn't go quite so smoothly. While we've got to give a little grace to our roommates when they forget to take out the garbage — I mean, we're not exactly perfect, either — there are some things you should never have to put up with when living with someone else. If you feel like your roommate has revealed a difficult-to-deal-with side of their personality after moving in, either make a plan to sit down and discuss which of their habits are keeping you from living a normal life, or run for the hills while you've still got the chance (and your name on the lease).
Not sure if you need to call an emergency meeting? Then check out these nine signs that you've got a toxic roommate.
1. They Don't Clean Up After Themselves
This is the classic sign of an inconsiderate roommate: They don't wash their dishes, they leave powdered foundation all over the bathroom sink, or they forget to vacuum after trimming their bangs in the living room. I'm not a clean freak, but none of these things are cool things to do in my book — and if they keep happening, you should have a chat with your roomie about either creating a new cleaning schedule or looking for a new place to call home.
2. They Eat Your Food
A cardinal sin, in my book — particularly if I've asked them multiple times to not touch my private stash of Cape Cod salt and vinegar chips. If you're living with someone who can't comprehend boundaries in the kitchen and you find yourself hiding bags of food in your closet next to your rain-boots, don't hesitate to address the situation. You may have to set clearer parameters of whose cabinet space is whose.
3. They Leave You Written Notes Instead Of Talking To You
This is a real thing, and it's a painfully passive-aggressive way to live. During my first year of college, I used to find these perfectly folded, hand-written notes on my desk from my roomie, who was apparently devastated that I had left my curling iron plugged in one day (not on, just plugged in, thank you very much...). If your roommate doesn't have the decency to speak with you face-to-face about something that is bothering them, you've got no chance at solving problems like two grown-ass women.
4. They Bring People Over Without Telling You
The space you live in is a shared one, which means there needs to be mutual respect when it comes to inviting guests over. So speak up if you constantly come home from a grueling day of work to find a group of unknown guests in your kitchen. At the very least, your housemate should shoot you a polite notification text beforehand — particularly if they're bringing back people late on a Friday night and you're still on the couch, halfway through a tub of Ben & Jerry's and an episode of OITNB.
5. They Don't Pay Rent (But They Bring Home New Clothes All The Time)
Never ever put up with a roomie who doesn't pay their share of rent on time. You'll be the only one who ends up suffering, because it'll either be you who has to fork over extra cash or you who has to unceremoniously move out because you got kicked out for being behind on rent. Also, if they're supposedly struggling with money and can't cover rent, yet they're constantly showing off new pairs of ankle boots that they just picked up from the mall, consider it a huge red flag.
6. They Damage Your Things And Don't Replace Them
Sharing furniture and kitchenware can be tricky — even more so when somebody in the apartment breaks an item that they didn't buy. Accidents happen, and you're a pretty forgiving person, but you can only take so much. If she cracked a family heirloom vase in half when she came home drunk last month and still hasn't offered to replace it, you've got an ungracious roommate on your hands.
7. Their Partner Pretty Much Lives With You
It probably all started with your roomie asking, "Hey, is it cool if my SO stays over for, like, a night or two?" Their sweetheart then gave you a lovely bottle of wine and engaged you in a pleasant chat about 21st century feminism. Cut to four days later, and they're still planted on your couch. Remember, there is a very distinct line between a partner who stays over every now and again, and a partner who sleeps over so much that they have their own cabinet in the bathroom. The latter isn't acceptable.
8. You Bring Out The Worst In Each Other
You guys don't have to be angels, but if you find that your behavior together is shady more often than not — and that your relationship centers around negative behavior like gossiping or drinking too much — you should ruminate on finding a roommate who is a more positive influence.
9. You Feel Like You Don't Have Enough Personal Space
Does your roomie bust into your rooms at odd hours and ask if they can borrow your pleather jacket? Do they spread their stuff all over the common areas, leaving you with no room to sit or place your laptop? All bad omens indicating that they don't care very much about your comfort in your own home. Don't feel bad if you're the kind of person who is bothered by these things (most of us are). You deserve to feel happy and comfortable in your home, and you have earned your right to personal space. Go claim it, my friend!
Images: Fox; Giphy (9)