O-Issue 2014: All suffering must pass: 21 tips for dealing with your roommate

By Emma Broder

The University of Chicago is a demanding school, and one of the most difficult challenges you may face will be getting along with your roommate. If living in harmony with an absolute stranger is proving more difficult than you feared, read on for The Chicago Shady Dealer’s tips on how to endure, or even enjoy, your next several months together.


  1. When in your room, make yourself as small as possible to show your roommate you are not a threat.
  2. Murmur; do not speak at full volume.
  3. Never warn your roommate about sexiling. They will probably love the surprise, and may even want to join in on the fun.
  4. Create your own copy of all of your roommate’s e-mails, text messages, Facebook chats, etc. for your own use when you need something from them. Don’t think they’re not doing the same!
  5. It is nice to make your room a pleasant place to return to. Cover it with a bed of pine needles and aromatic spices. Burn sage, and if you’d really like to go over the top, have a shaman come in to bless it!
  6. Never throw anything away, weave trash into a blanket to keep your roommate warm in the winter.
  7. Remember, housing prohibits keeping outside pets in your room. You can, however, catch your own little buddies that are already living in the house (cockroaches, mice, mold spores, etc.) by leaving food out for several weeks.
  8. If they ask, give a kidney. No questions, but you’re entitled to an organ of equal or lesser value at any future date.
  9. Anything that you lick is yours permanently.
  10. Have sex under their bed.
  11. Always use a condom.
  12. Hide under a pile of laundry and yell, “SURPRISE!” when they come home every day.
  13. If your roommate is called on a world-spanning quest of adventure, romance, and destiny, you have first dibs on being the comic-relief sidekick.
  14. Host parties with 30 of your closest friends and 30 of their closest friends the day before your roommate’s midterms. That way they can wind down a bit.
  15. Put the “mate” in “roommate.”
  16. Put the “vroom” in “roommate.”
  17. Put the “ate” in “roommate.”
  18. Deal an array of illicit substances from your room. Offer your roommate a discount to keep them quiet. Then, tell your RH of your roommate’s illegal activities. When you have a new roommate, repeat.
  19. Start tunneling now on your roommate’s side of the room. The dresser should be large enough to cover said tunnel so that the guards don’t notice until the time to run comes, and by then it’ll be too late. Do not tell your roommate you are doing this. It gives them plausible deniability.
  20. If you doubt their loyalty, get hitched in Vegas without a prenup.

—Chicago Shady Dealer staff