6 Emotional Stages We All Go Through While Dealing With Terrible Roommates

by Gigi Engle

We all face various trials and tribulations in our 20s: college, finding jobs, meeting new friends, learning to be on our own. The challenges of life that plague young adults are nearly innumerable.

None may be so exquisitely frustrating and so thoroughly relatable, however, as that of the Bad Roommate.

We’ve all had one: that girl with the crazy family who likes to "pop by," the uptight terror who says wildly inappropriate things and the one who destroys the kitchen.

There are endless degrees of poor roommates, from mildly unlikeable to utterly despicable.

Having a bad roommate is a sort of coming-of-age tale for the maturing 20-something. It's a miserable feat that each of us must take in stride.

The important thing to remember, though, is that no matter how emotionally vexing they can be, roommates only last as long as a lease does. Therefore, the situation is only temporary.

Here are six emotional stages that one goes through when living with a horrible roommate:

Stage 1: Aggression

After seeing your sink fill up with dishes (that you didn’t dirty) for the third time, something inside of you begins to bubble up. It’s something dark and deep inside of you. Okay, fine, so you don’t have a dishwasher, but clean your sh*t, people. I’m your housemate, not your servant.

When your roommate first starts to piss you off, it’s easy to jump into a straight-up scream-fest, calling him or her a lazy c-u-next-Tuesday while crying on your roof with a bottle of Jack Daniels.

More often than not, however, you steer clear of this unceremonious outrage and progress to Stage 2.

Stage 2: Passive Aggression

You don’t want to completely alienate yourself from the people with whom you live! Especially when they have access to all of your personal belongings. (God, save the laptop!)

So, instead of violently cursing him or her out as you’d like to do, you resort to more passive measures. By more passive, I, of course, mean very passive.

I once had a roommate who would leave poop in the toilet to marinate all day, in the blistering heat of summer, inside of our stifling apartment. Why? I sh*t you not, I don’t know.

When I politely confronted him, I came home a few days later only to find more poop awaiting my return from the old nine-t0-five. (Full disclosure: I’m chalking this one up to some kind of psychological defect or drug addiction, but imagine being me.)

Did I confront him again? No, of course not. Instead, I resorted to the strongest extent of passive aggression that I could muster. I simply left a note at eye level across from the toilet that read, “Did you flush, *insert name*?”

Was that the best way to handle that? Probably not. But, how far can you actually go when you live with someone who insists on being a vile troll? This brings us to Stage 3.

Stage 3: More Passive Aggression, Or Passive Aggression 2.0

After too many nights of blasting music until 2 am on a Wednesday, too many dishes in the sink and too many inexplicable dust piles in random corners because your roommate “swept,” the real claws come out.

This is when dishes end up in your roommate’s bed and the stuff he or she chose to leave around the apartment begins to disappear.

Yet, with a truly terrible, rotten, no-good roommate, none of this will matter nor make a difference in your general quality of living. However, it may accomplish getting your roommate's attention (but, your roommate yelling in your face kind of ruined your "Masters of Sex" viewing experience.)

Stage 4: Sadness

You are too worn out to be angry any longer. You’re too weak to fight any longer. This horrid, inconsiderate person is a semi-permanent figure in your day-to-day life and there is nothing you can do about it. So, raise that glass of cheap wine, honey, and cry it out.

Don’t worry; you’re almost there.

Stage 5: Acceptance

After too many drunken nights out and too many days of wearing sandals around your apartment because you refuse to be the only one who mops any longer, you’ll come to accept the situation for what it is.

Face it: You only have two more months on that lease. You signed your name and you are stuck. Just accept that this is temporary and try to enjoy your life as best as you can.

I understand if you avoid going home as much as possible. I get that you’re couch surfing at your friends' places because you feel both uncomfortable in your home and embarrassed to bring anyone there. I get it.

Stage 6: Freedom

It’s finally here! The day has come! Your roommate is moving out. You’re finally going to live with people who shower, clean and who don’t leave ratchet dumps in your toilet.

Remember, this was a learning experience. You’ve become stronger for having gone through this and I’ll bet you feel a lot more self-aware after having dealt with this for so long. Count your blessings, contemplate all of the hilarious material you now have for your stories and move the f*ck on.

Photo Courtesy: Screen Gems/The Roomate