Everyone always talks about their nightmare roommates, but what about roommates with a few shitty qualities; they’re not so intolerable that you want to move out, but are still uncomfortable and unpleasant to live with.

I wanted a roommate. The experience of living with someone other than my four family members for the last 18 years of my life seemed enthralling. I’d be less isolated, able to meet new people through them, expand my perspective of the world, and, if nothing else, I’d have someone to keep me from being a recluse. By no means did I expect to be buddy-buddy with them, and boy am I glad I kept my expectations at an appropriate level.

We met on move-in day after having talked a bit before and they seemed like a really cool person! And then NSOP started, and their shitty qualities were exposed. I’m not talking about things like how they snore, talk in their sleep, or unironically use the “😂” emoji—those are above my paygrade—but shitty qualities you can help to change. If your roommate, like mine, exhibits any of the qualities below, here’s what you can do:

Did you and your roommate talk about sexiling when writing your roommate agreement? Maybe you were fine with it, but, given that you’d never had a roommate, you’d never had the joy of being sexiled and didn’t really know what it was? Is it happening on a nightly basis and you have to do a little walk of shame to the lounge while their partner is right there in the hallway watching you, blanket and pillow in hand, trudge out of the room with the posture of a shrimp? And of course, because they’re a STEM kid and already have a midterm to study for even though it’s still technically the shopping period, they didn’t even end up having sex, so you were kicked out for nothing?

  • Give them a tour of the Stacks. Show them the best places to get nasty while surrounded by a massive wealth of knowledge. If you catch some people in the act while on your expedition, maybe they can get some Monty Python-style live demonstration to learn from.

Does your roommate spend all day obsessing over women in a borderline misogynistic way? Do they assign the women they hang out with and have (supposedly) hooked up with number ratings, despite not being able to walk the walk?

  • Get a whiteboard for the outside of your door and ask people to come by and give your roommate an arbitrary number rating. See how they like it.

Does your roommate stare at themselves in the mirror, deadly silent, all day long? Did you help pay for the mirror to split dorm costs but are now feeling immense internal guilt for enabling their narcissism? Do they make no effort to lower the volume of their grunts as they do sit-ups and push-ups when Dodge is packed? Do they take frequent breaks from their work to wheel over in their swivel chair to the mirror and flex, admiring themselves like an interactive exhibit at the Met?

  • Leave the mirror on the sundial to warp it, or replace it with one of those mirrors you can find at the circus that distorts their reflection; make it extremely inconvenient for them to look at their “totally shredded abs” in full detail.

Are they an elitist finance bro that doesn’t think Barnard students deserve to use the title of Columbia because of “scarcity”? Did they give you a full economics lecture on how it translates to value loss of the Columbia diploma? Are they, at the same time, enrolled in one of the most exclusive scholar programs on campus, and don’t need to worry about exclusivity anyway?

  • Ask a CS student to help hack into their SSOL and register them for classes at Barnard. If Barnard’s core is so easy, and their students don’t work as hard as Columbia students, it should be a piece of cake.
  • At this point, they’re almost guaranteed to be one of the Columbia people that hooks up with Barnard students and wears Barnard merch to be trendy. Steal their apparel and write their true opinions about Barnard on it.

Does your roommate care more about sneaking into parties than their own health? Did they tell you “don’t tell people we’re sick” while you were both congested in your close-quartered double with guests over? Was the only mask they brought for their Squid Game Halloween costume? Are they single-handedly responsible for the current college cough?

  • Get maker-space certified and make them a plaque that says “#1 Super-Spreader.” 
  • Name the next Columbia disease in their honor. After all, they worked so hard to make sure it’s the dominant bug on campus. Why not recognize them for their achievement?

Jokes aside, part of your duty as a roommate is to help them become a better person. Sure, Columbia has a bounty of resources, but not one for how to be a less-shitty roommate, so become that resource for them. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, and it can go a long way.

Stock roommates via Bwarchives