• Mon, Oct 3 2011

Space Relations: The 10 Best Passive-Aggressive Roommate Notes

One thing that digital technology has not replaced is the passive-aggressive roommate note. Why? Well, if you’ve ever left a passive-aggressive note to a roommate before, you know that the whole purpose of the note is for it to be read when you’re not around. Whether you’re sleeping, out of town, or simply running a few errands, the beauty of passive-aggressive notes in shared homes is that the note leaver can strategically decide when to leave her note based on knowing her roommate’s schedule, but can often avoid having to interact with her roommate once the note has been received. Even if your roommate texts you after reading that you accidentally knocked one of her fancy wine glasses off the counter, you don’t technically have to respond.

Sure, most people nowadays would rather use email to send a passive-aggressive message to their roommate, but I like to think the original, hand-written-on-a-chalkboard-or-piece-of-paper-left-on-the-fridge passive-aggressive note will continue to live on for generations to come. Everyone should experience the joy of leaving such a note, and everyone should experience the frustration of receiving one. It’s a rite of passage.

When I was in college, my roommates and I left notes to each other all the time. Sometimes it was bill related: Hey ladies, the gas bill is due and I needed your checks like four days ago. Can you leave them on the kitchen table? Thanks. Other times it was maintenance-related: Ladies, the toilet is totally clogged and I swear it’s not my fault. I called the landlord but he said it might take up to a week to get fixed. Holla! And then other times, shit got personal. Hey, can you please try to be less insanely loud tonight if you have people over? I know it’s summer and you’re chilling but I have to be at work at 8:30 a.m. every day this week and now I’m fucking SLEEPY. Thanks.

The funny thing is, no matter what the context was, the notes always annoyed everyone in the house unless they just said, “YAY!” with a big smiley face. Any note, be it about bills, maintenance or noise pollution, was eye-roll inducing because you couldn’t help but think, “Seriously? She couldn’t have just told me in person?” And yet we were all guilty of leaving them. Sometimes it was out of convenience or efficiency, but mostly it was out of laziness or passive-aggression.

One time, it came back to bite me in the ass. I left a note before bed about something dumb and accidentally wrote “ya’ll” instead of “y’all.” When I woke up the next day, my roommate had written a response: Blair, I will leave the gas bill money on the table, and yes I owed you $13 from last month but you owed me $15 that I think you forgot about so really you owe me $2. Also, it’s “y’all” and not “ya’ll.” You + all = y’all. It’s a contraction. YIKES.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a little gallery of some of my favorite passive-aggressive notes from one of my favorite blogs, Passive-Aggressive Notes, to celebrate the wonderful absurdity of roommate passive-aggression. (This column was inspired by this awesome note, pictured above, that went viral over the weekend.) Enjoy!

[All images from Passive-Aggressive Notes]

Email me at roommates AT crushable DOT com to suggest column topics, ask personal advice, or share whatever is on your mind. But don’t be shy in the comments below. Nothing is more entertaining than reading and sharing your own roommate experiences, and we’ve all got a few. Or a thousand.

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  • m

    I lived in a sorority with 5 other girls and a house mom. Generally, the HM was in charge of keeping things in shape, clean, etc. One week, she went away and our house literally started going to pot. Nobody washed their dishes, people started undressing in our dining room and leaving their clothes there (???), leaving lights on, etc. It was driving me nuts. So yeah, I papered every wall in the house with post it notes. Every single wall in every single room. Examples:

    Is that toothpaste I see in the sink?
    Don’t forget to turn me off before you leave! (Above a light switch)
    Have you washed your dishes?

    And so on. I left tons of them. Maybe notes are passive aggressive? I found them effective. Every time I would ask one of my roommates to please just dump their clothes in their room, they’d say, “oh yeah, of course,” and then they just wouldn’t do it. When I started leaving notes on their doors, shit started getting done!