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Choose your roommates very carefully. Photo: Pexels/Stock
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Lock your doors

As someone who has lived at home for my whole undergraduate degree, I regard those who live in residence and with roommates with awe. I have heard it all from my friends with roommates: never live with your friends, living away from home will change your life, get a room with a separate bathroom — the list goes on.

Having roommates is a rite of passage many students must endure when moving away from home and going to university. Whether these roommates are friends, strangers, or even family members, living with another person is always going to result in compromise and (hopefully) mutual respect… or is it? 

We have compiled the top ten worst roommate stories, submitted by University of Ottawa students, to encourage never living with anyone again.

10. The chef

“My roommate thought it was a good idea to cook frozen hashbrowns in a toaster placed sideways. Once that shit defrosted, it almost electrocuted her.”

This story is not that bad. If I’m honest, I’ve done the same thing many times. Yes, once the toaster caught fire, but you live and you learn. I would still be roommates with this person. 

9. The anti-Cinderella

“I had a roommate in second year who made her mom drive 500km to do her dishes and laundry because she “didn’t feel like it.” She would leave dishes out for months, I never once saw her pick up a broom, and she would always spread her stuff out in the living room. Also, she would always be on the phone crying to her girlfriend or mom at every minor inconvenience.”

I just wonder why this roommate did not live at home. If her mom could drive that far to do the dishes, she could drive that far to catch an 8 a.m. class.

8. Birdhouse

“We sublet our apartment to a couple. What they neglected to tell us is that they had birds that they let fly around freely. These birds pooped all over the apartment — on our curtains, the windows, the walls, shelves etc.”

Confirmed: birds are worse pets than kids.

7. The hospitable one

“I was out of town with my boyfriend and some of my other roommates let me know that another roommate had invited my ex-boyfriend (with whom things ended badly) to spend the night at our place…in her bed!”

The only thing I can say is at least it was not a current boyfriend who was invited.

6. Safety first!

“A roommate made me go buy her Plan B at 11 p.m. the day before my final because she forgot to take her pill three days in a row before unprotected sex. She didn’t pay me back, and it costs $50 a pill. I had to be the one to tell her she should actually use it because she didn’t know.”

I can only commend the person who told this story because it can be very hard to be both the only person with common sense and a spare fifty dollars.

5. University of Ottawa prison break

“We were subletting from some people and they moved a… questionable student into the unit who stole our food and alcohol. He slept on the couch because his room was too small and stank up the whole apartment from sweating because we were in the top unit with bad AC. One day he got high and threatened me, flexing about how he’d been to prison.”

Sublets can be the worst…

4. Sharing is caring

“I had a roommate in first year and things were going well for the first two months, but one day I finished class early and went straight back to residence. I found out that when I wasn’t home my roommate would use my towel, toothbrush, hairbrush, and wear my clothes… I switched roommates right away.”

This is the sort of story that does not seem as bad as a rando sleeping on your couch, but if you let it sink in, it just might be.

3. Mistaken identity

“My floor neighbour, who I never talked to besides a greeting while waiting at the elevator, told our mutual friends that I was a pedophile. Make it make sense! I guess it is about balance, because my floor neighbour on the other side has been my girlfriend for three years now.”

I didn’t ask whether this person got said girlfriend before or after the floor neighbour spread that rumour, but I did wonder.

2. The silent treatment

“In first year, I was living in an on-campus residence and had a roommate move in who told me that we wouldn’t be talking much because she didn’t feel comfortable speaking English. I understood and didn’t want to make her uncomfortable so we lived mainly in silence. However, one day, 5 months into living together, as we were moving out, she turned around and told me she made that up and she just didn’t want to talk to me because she thought I was weird, but that in living with me decided I ‘wasn’t that bad.’”

This has to be among the worst ones. I have to respect the commitment though to hold out for five months and I wish that I could know how the ‘weirdness’ was perceived. 

1. GTA U of O

“I had to sublet my room. My roommate found a mature student that had a job in security and was taking a few classes, and seemed reliable. We let her know the ground rules of our building and apartment, like no smoking, no drugs, what she could and could not use. A few months in, I found out that she had been doing drugs in the unit and used four of our boxes of dryer sheets… She also had very loud friends coming around often and parking where they weren’t allowed. I didn’t feel comfortable with her staying in my room anymore so I kicked her out, telling her to leave her keys on the counter and leave as soon as possible, but she took my keys with her. A couple of days later, our apartment was broken into and my roommate’s laptop and purse/wallet were missing, along with her car keys and the car was stolen as well. In her purse were her car keys. The car was stolen as well.”

I think this sums up everyone’s worst fear in renting, subletting, or having an unknown roommate in general… at least my sister only steals my clothes, not my wallet.

It is not difficult to be a decent person and a normal roommate. Many people have become forever friends as roommates because they remembered to do their dishes and used separate towels. The moral of these weird stories is to choose your roommates very carefully… and to lock your door before you go out!