Category: Life

Why has ynef.net been dormant for nearly two months?

It’s been awkwardly quiet here for the last two months so I feel like I should say something. Thing is, I don’t have all that much to say. If you’ve been here before you are probably wondering why am I no longer posting? Or more importantly, why am I no longer offering my infamous article writing gig for 5 bucks a pop?

The reason is pretty simple

Life has forced me to stop trying to keep my head above water by freelancing and get a regular job instead. And so I am working 12 hour night shifts 16 days a month. The other 14 days of the month I’m way too tired to do anything productive so I just spend my free time watching Youtube videos and sleeping way more than I should.

To be honest I am not entirely sure which is worse: waking up every morning, going online and desperately trying to find a new gig or simply shutting down my brain doing repetitive and degrading work while getting a regular, albeit tiny, paycheck once a month.

I guess they’re both equally bad. Yeah, work sucks! Especially the kind of work that you know doesn’t mean anything. It’s not giving anything to the world. It’s the kind of work a machine could easily do. The kind of work that literally fries your brain and makes you dumber. I can already feel it happening.

What kind of work do I do?

Well, I’m a gas station clerk. Most of my every-day vocabulary consists of “hello”-s and “have a nice day”-s. It’s funny because standing behind the counter all night and smiling to all of those people kind of makes me forget who I am. And for now it’s actually a good thing.

Why did it happen?

If you’re in a hurry you will get your answer when I say I overestimated my value and skills. If you’re not in THAT much of a hurry I would like to dissect the topic just a little further.

Ready? Here goes.

For a couple of years now I have promoted myself as a web designer/developer. I even went as far as to label myself a Full-Stack Developer but as most developers are well aware, Full-Stack doesn’t mean what it used to mean 5-10 years ago. Nope. Being fluent in HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP does NOT make you a Full-Stack Developer. It just makes you the average guy with an internet connection and the ability to find relevant information quickly.

With countless API-s, plugins, SDK-s, Frameworks and whatever-the-fuck-you-call-them’s, readily available to anyone, it takes something else to be a successful developer. And obviously I don’t have “that” something.

  • Am I creating innovative technology? Nope.
  • Am I figuring out new and more efficient solutions to current problems? Nope.
  • Am I the guy who writes Frameworks? No. I merely put them together in different ways, like the Lego pieces that they essentially are.

I’m just a guy with an internet connection and a bit of curiosity to learn stuff within the niche that is dear to me. But I’m nowhere near the point where I could call myself a developer. If anything, I’m just a hobbyist. Nothing more. In these modern times even a 10-year-old can build a website from scratch over the weekend. So… who am I trying to fool here?

I suck at promoting myself

Another interesting fact that I realized about myself is the fact that I totally suck at marketing. I haven’t a slightest clue how to let a potential customer know that I’m THE guy for them.

This became clear when I failed my last job interview. Miserably. At the end of the interview, when we both knew that this wasn’t going to work out, the manager said he’d never met a more honest and to-the-point kind of guy in his entire life. That’s cute, but did that help me land a job? No.

Luckily he was kind enough to tell me a few things about how to pass a job interview successfully in the future so it wasn’t a completely useless disaster. Thank you sir whatever-your-name-was. I genuinely appreciate the effort. I really do!

I could have easily found a step-by-step guide for this on the internet beforehand, but I was just so overly confident in my skills that I thought none of that small talk was important. I merely looked at the facts:

  • I needed more money
  • I was good at programming
  • A job offer as a web developer was available
  • Profit?

Not so much…

Turns out I said all the wrong things in the book!

For example when the manager asked me if I had any questions about their company all I could say was “no”. Which was the truth, of course, but I could have asked about the lunch break for goodness’ sake! Or better yet, fake my interest in one of those Friday night get-together events among co-workers. It would have shown that I was interested in learning more about the atmosphere of the workplace.

Things got even worse when he asked about my recent achievements. I started stuttering and ended up talking about the one thing that came to my mind: a 4chan threads crawler script that I had written a few months ago. Seriously? You bring up 4chan in a job interview?

Later, when he asked about why I was there, I just said that I’ve sent my CV to at least 10 different companies every day for a week and you are the only one who invited me for an interview so it’s only natural that I came. Which was the truth, again, but certainly nothing a manager wants to hear from a future employee.

I’m an introvert…

And a bad case of social anxiety is like the cherry on top. I have been in a mental hospital trying to cure it, but obviously this isn’t something you can magically get rid of. Nope. This is something that you ignore and hope it’ll go away! *sarcasm*

Being a socially awkward introvert makes it very hard for me to boast about my achievements. Sure, I could have talked about how I love developing Virtual Reality games or how I’m really into WordPress and writing plugins/templates for it.

I could have turned my rather mediocre portfolio (let’s be reasonable, it’s nothing impressive) of casual stuff into something shiny and big like a true salesman, but I didn’t. I can think rationally about this all day long, but when it’s actually happening I just freeze and act like a monotonous humanoid robot.

An introvert cashier?

Of course the job interview I mentioned above wasn’t my only failed attempt. I had plenty and I was turned down in all of them. The local gas station was actually the only one who finally took me in and even that happened only thanks to a family friend who said a couple of good words on my behalf. I got the job without an actual interview, which was nice.

You’d think that an introvert would suck at being a cashier. And you’re probably right. After all, I have to keep smiling and be a friendly face for the entire company. And when I look at how my co-workers interact with clients, it’s pretty clear that I’m not really cut out for this kind of thing. But at the very least it’s helping me cope with people. It’s helping me realize that people are fine… and this is kind of new for me.

If you’re not a socially anxious introvert you can’t possibly know how I felt before my first night at work. I couldn’t sleep, I lost my appetite, I thought I was literally going to have a heart attack and drop dead. I was already imagining how they pull me away on a gurney with all the customers watching and thinking I overdosed on drugs.

It took me more than a month, but I finally got over it. I can finally sleep and relax (even at work, lol). And that’s pretty damn impressive.

And there you have it

The reason ynef.net has been so quiet for the last two months. I’m sure I’ll get my shit together one day, but right now that day seems way too far to even fantasize about.

This is my current situation. This is My reality. There’s a part of me that still can’t believe this has actually happened. I fell into the never-ending cycle of living from paycheck to paycheck, eating leftover food from work just so I can pay the rent and maybe, just maybe afford a nice meal every once in a while.

It sure feels like working for Negan from The Walking Dead. Only in real life Negan is the landlord, the government, the tax man. Heck, we’re all Negan now.

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Epic List of cool electronics to buy for Christmas in 2016

Christmas is creeping closer and closer every day. Haven’t panicked yet? Now is the time! If you are thinking what are some cool things to get for Christmas this year, then this blog post exactly is for you. And no. I won’t be writing about some random, boring gifts here. I’m going to write about genuinely cool, cheap gadgets and weird, unusual gifts that will leave your friends speechless. Get them one of the following gifts if you wish to be remembered for years to come!

Cool stuff to buy this christmas

Cool electronics to buy this Christmas

There are a lot of boring gifts out there. Just visit any supermarket during the holiday season to understand what I mean.

According to statista.com some of the most popular gifts in 2013 where gift cards, clothing, electronics, books and money.

And while you too could get your friends something really generic like a pair of socks or maybe a new blanket, wouldn’t it be more fun to come up with something completely unique?

Here’s a list of the coolest stuff I found while browsing NeverTooMuchStuff.com.

Enjoy!

Mr. Tea Tea Infuser ynef.net reviewMr. Tea, the Tea Infuser

Meet Mr. Tea, the Tea Infuser. Overall he’s a pretty cool guy. Eh hangs back, infuses your tea and doesn’t afraid of anything!

Mr. Tea is a great gift for tea lovers. From now on they can drink their tea in style with Mr. Tea comfortably leaning back in the tea cup as if it were a hot tub.

Mr. Tea will put you back a measly £3.75 and is quite possibly the cheapest practical gift you can get. Hell, why not get one for everyone?

The man comb giftBehold, the Man Comb

The man comb is perfect for both the beard as well as the hair. As a gift priced under £20, this unique accessory is a must have in every gentleman’s pocket.

But it’s not just a simple comb. It’s also a bottle cap opener! The man comb is a symbol of superiority as well as elegance.

It will be clear to everyone that he means business whenever he whips out this sacred tool.

Salvador Dali Melting Clock ynef.net review cool electronics to buySalvador Dali’s Melting Clock

I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.” – those were once the words of Salvador Dali. A man known by his weird, yet stylish mustache and of course by The Persistence Of Memory.

The painting, according to Dawn Ades, symbolizes the relativity of space and time. “A surrealist meditation on the collapse of our notions of a fixed cosmic order“.

If your friend is into surrealism and modern art then you can’t go wrong with the melting clock gift for both home and office. For a mere £7.83 It’s an affordable masterpiece that sits gracefully at the corner of any desk.

Levitating Bluetooth Speaker ynef.net review cool electronics to buyLevitating Bluetooth Speaker

Whoa! If you’re looking for cool electronics to buy then consider this levitating speaker that looks like it’s pulled straight out of a sci-fi movie.

With no dirty tricks or gimmicks, this levitating speaker orb floats in mid air and plays all of your favorite tunes thanks to powerful magnets.  (insert “magnets, how do they work” meme here).

And just in case you don’t believe me, here’s a video demonstrating exactly how this geek merchandise works.

Starting from just £72, you can get your friend (or you) a futuristic looking gadget that’s practical and actually useful for something. I can guarantee that it will be the centerpiece of the evening.

NB! This device needs a US to UK power adapter.

DreamWave Ocean Wave Projector ynef.net review cool electronics to buyDreamWave Ocean Wave Projector

Yet another example of epic and cool electronics to buy this Christmas is of course the DreamWave Projector in the unique and cool tech sub-category.

The device projects stunningly beautiful waves on both the ceiling and the walls in a darkened room.

It’s an ideal gift idea for that special stoner friend or anyone else who would enjoy having cool psychedelic light shows right in their living-room.

Starting from £105, it’s definitely not the cheapest of gadgets in my list. However if you truly want to give them something extraordinary then the price should be meaningless.

Be sure to check out this video presentation to see the projector in action.

Levitating Desk Lamp ynef.net review cool electronics to buyLevitating Desk Lamp

What? Another levitating gadget? For sure! This levitating desk lamp is the light source of the 21’st century.

The lamp works by floating a magnetic disk that supports the shade on a magnetic field. Both the disk as well as the base contain powerful, opposing magnets.

And thanks to the electromagnetic coils in the base all minor bumps and disturbances are corrected so the lamp doesn’t lose its balance. (Check this video for more info).

Starting at £65.95 plus shipping, the levitating desk lamp is another great example of cool electronics to buy this Christmas. It’s so awesome that you simply can’t go wrong with this. Everyone will fall in love with it. Instantly.

Polaroid instant printer for smartphone iphone ynef.net review cool electronics to buyPolaroid Mobile Printer

Does your friend enjoy taking photos? If yes, you could get them this amazing Polaroid printer compatible with most smartphones. Let me explain how it works:

Without any dirty ink cartridges this portable Polaroid printer is capable of printing up to 25 photos before needing a recharge.

It prints your photos on a special kind of zinc photo paper. The printer heats the paper and activates its unique color-forming molecules embedded in the paper’s layers. Voila!

The result is an instant 2×3 inch Polaroid photo the size of about a credit card.

Going for around £100 it’s not the cheapest of gifts in my list (again). However when you consider the sentimental value of a single Polaroid photo, you’ll realize it’s definitely worth it.

It’s essentially a gift for making more gifts! Just think about how your friend will photograph cool stuff and share the physical photos with people closest to them.

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Why are people so afraid of artificially intelligent machines?

Whenever I start a conversation with my friends about the emergence of autonomous technology and artificial intelligence, most of them seem to be terrified about the future and imagine it to be some sort of a grotesque dystopia similar to Huxley’s “Brave New World” or perhaps like in the movie The Matrix where a human being is nothing more than a power source for intelligent machines. Another very likely movie to be mentioned is of course the Terminator where bad ass looking evil robots are hell bent on destroying the world.

terminator robot

But why is that?

Do you remember the last time you were angry at your smartphone or computer for freezing up or doing something “stupid”? Perhaps you even went as far as break the poor thing in the heat of the moment? The fact that most people believe an intelligent machine might want to try to take over the world, kill all humans or worse, enslave mankind is more closely related to this than you might realize at first.

Projecting our own feelings

Almost all humans have a tendency to project their own feelings, emotions, fears and what not on a machine or an artificially intelligent system without realizing that a machine or an A.I is simply not capable of feeling such things. It’s just a complex computer program, nothing more.

Sure, it could theoretically understand what you’re going through when something tragic happens by analyzing your blood pressure, dopamine levels and neuron firing patterns, but it wouldn’t be able to actually feel it the same way as you do and so it would never react to a difficult situation the way humans do and it would definitely not make silly errors in judgement due to being overly emotional.

The perfect servant?

Because an A.I is nothing more than a complex computer program capable of rational thinking without the feels, it can never like, dislike, love or hate us and therefore it would most likely work quietly alongside us in the future, like TARS from “Interstellar“, analyzing various situations and events and coming up with the best possible solutions. A machine like that would make our lives so much easier. Don’t you agree?

Note that I emphasized “most likely” because there is a small chance a true A.I would one day analyse human behavior, realize that we are destroying ourselves and the planet as well as all the necessary resources meant for the machines to function properly and therefore it could come to a conclusion that wiping us out would benefit everyone in the grand scheme of things. It’s a possibility, albeit not something I would worry about just yet. And can we really blame them if that indeed were to happen?

Boston Dynamic’s humanoid robot, Atlas, as seen on michiyamamoto.com, a collection of awesome products of the future.

Machines that become smarter than us

Another argument against intelligent machines is that one day they will surpass humans in every way possible after which technological progress would speed up so rapidly that every morning when you wake up you literally wouldn’t recognize the world any more because so much has changed over the past twelve or so hours. The event is often referred to as Technological singularity and it’s predicted to happen somewhere around the year 2045 by looking at the exponential growth patterns of today’s technology. But is it necessarily a bad thing?

Humans as machines

When I look at a human being I see a remarkably complex machine created by evolution over the course of millions of years. It has taken millions of years of trial and error to figure out what works best in the current environment. While evolution has been great so far in adapting to the ever changing world around us, it’s just too damn slow! An intelligent machine with enough processing power could potentially continue the evolutionary progress but at a much, much faster rate.

Artificial Intelligence

Along for the ride

Humans don’t necessarily have to be left behind either. In fact one of the most widely spread ideas among futurists like Ray Kurzweil and Elon Musk is that we could simply “update” our own brains using technology and “merge” with an artificially intelligent system which will lead to a lot of interesting and new concepts including a Brain Network and Cloud Based Thinking.

In fact it’s already been somewhat proven in rats and monkeys that it might just work. And when it does, we would be able to coordinate the A.I systems using our thoughts or furthermore, become the A.I altogether.

Essentially we created a super-brain. A collective brain created from three monkey brains. Nobody has ever done that before.

Miguel Nicolelis, the Duke University scientist behind the experiment.

Finding the meaning of life with the help of A.I

As much as we would like to hold on to our egos and not let machines “take over” and become better at everything we do, we have to eventually realize that it’s better this way. Why?

Because there’s just so much we don’t know about the universe and isn’t the whole point of our existence to eventually answer questions like what’s the meaning of life, what our purpose in the grand scheme of things is and most importantly- are we alone in the universe? These and other big questions have been tormenting philosophers and great thinkers for thousands of years and we could finally find an answer to them with the help of advanced technology.

We don’t even know “the question” yet

Knowledge is a fascinating thing- it can answer unanswered questions and paradoxically it can lead to new unanswered questions. It’s like going down deeper and deeper into the Rabbit Hole. Just think about it, we probably haven’t even asked the ultimate question yet because we simply don’t know what it is due to our lack of understanding of the universe and our place within it.

There’s a long journey ahead where each and every one of us has to let go of their egos and the things that define us in order to be able to collectively work together towards a common goal. It’s not going to be easy, but I believe technology will help us get there.

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Millennials Flower Power Movement – Our Time Is Right Now

It’s no secret that our world has gone to shit incredibly fast. I’m not just talking about the World War III, which for all intents and purposes, is already happening, but I’m also talking about how the Earth’s climate has changed so drastically in such a short amount of time. Scientists at NASA have already warned us that the never before seen heat records are to be expected next year (2016). Take a look at NASA’s climate time machine and you’ll see how in just 30 years our Earth heated up exponentially. It’s basically all “red” now.

Not the best time to be fighting

Unless the impending global war is just an elaborate plot made to reduce our population drastically so that the elite could survive on this planet a little longer (I’m usually not the tinfoil hat kinda guy), I don’t really see any sane reason for war right now. Don’t get me wrong, war is messed up in any case, but right now? We have a lot more to worry about than just religious disputes and money problems because should one of the nuke holders break under the pressure and make the first strike, there’s no going back. Our planet is in no condition to fight off yet another nuclear catastrophe.

Why are they really fighting?

It’s very hard to say because there are just too many contradicting stories from one side and the other. It would seem that nobody is being entirely honest and everyone is just standing on their toes ready to start some shit. Governments from all over the world are investing more and more money into military assets, the economy is pretty much in a free fall in Russia, Europe and Asia and it seems to me that the only one benefiting from all this is the United States because the US Dollar continues to gain strength even though they’re always printing out more money and the national debt is starting to reach the heights last seen in the Great Depression.

It’s alright, Obama is here to save us!

I clearly remember when things in Ukraine went bad and Obama came to Estonia and told us we are all under the protection of NATO and therefore the United States and that we shouldn’t be worried about Russia’s invasion. But was Russia really a problem back then? I’m slowly starting to think that perhaps the installation of US military hardware at the eastern borders of the Baltic countries was more for offensive purposes rather than for defense.

Breeding hate among us

It seems that every active president needs a “face of evil“. Just like president Bush created an enemy from Al Qaeda, Obama has created an enemy from ISIS. In case you didn’t know, the new terrorist group ISIS was able to gain strength only because of the power vacuum left behind by president G.W. Bush and the fight against Al Qaeda. Most ISIS soldiers are in fact wearing US weapons and riding US military vehicles in their videos. But why did Bush even start a fight with some people living on the other side of the planet? I don’t consider myself an expert in this and I definitely don’t have all the necessary details to put the bigger picture together, but wasn’t the fight started simply because they wanted to steal oil from the Islam? The same oil used to burn and damage the planet further.

Back to the topic at hand. Right now the governments and the media are doing everything in their power to breed hate among the people. Pretty much every news report that pops up on our local newspaper in biased against refugees and Muslims in general and it seems that the masses are being very easily manipulated into believing that every Muslim must be a terrorist and therefore should be destroyed or thrown out of the country.

Things are even worse overseas

I’ve been on a comment flagging spree for quite a while now in Youtube where US rednecks and alike are hate commenting under videos of bombings in Islam countries. Please tell me how anyone in their right minds would comment something like “burn in hell Allah followers” under a video showing burned to death Muslim children and destroyed homes of innocent civilians? This is making me sick and yet there are hundreds upon hundreds of every day people who actually think like that. It’s just scary.

Divide and conquer

Thanks to the media, fashion magazines and almost everything else that’s “mainstream“, the people of Earth have separated themselves from each other for decades. We always find some way to label ourselves and other people (The rich and the poor, the black and the white, the Christian and the Muslim, etc.) and that’s dangerous! It’s really nothing more than good old divide and conquer strategy and so far it has worked out remarkably well. People are fighting with each other all the time because of those fictional values and in the midst of this chaos there are bankers, government leaders and politicians who plot and scheme and nobody notices anything because we’re too busy fighting one another. Don’t you think it’s time to stop?

The bottom line

The Earth is our only home. It will remain our only home for at least a couple hundred years or more because we don’t have a spacecraft capable of taking us to another Earth like planet and even if we had such technology, there’s no concrete proof that another Earth even existed. Sure, there are a couple of good candidates, but the living conditions there could be extreme at best. Fact is, we can’t be sure until we send a probe there and get back some tangible data.

The bottom line is that we are stuck with each other on this beautiful planet that unfortunately is dying because of us and because of our greed and if we continue on the same path, there will be nothing left.

The internet has brought us together

Imagine the world just 20 years ago when there was no social media. The only way we could find out what was happening in the world was through newspapers and the radio and more often than not the information was biased and far from the actual truth.

Now look at us. We’re sharing our everyday lives with the entire world and a random guy in Africa can know what you ate this morning in Canada. The internet brought us together and we still can’t get along? It’s time to put aside our skin color, our religious beliefs, how much money we have in the bank and everything else that separates us and turn our attention towards the things that unite us and make us strong.

Put some flowers in your hair

I feel it’s time for another Flower Power revolution. Don’t you? It’s entirely possible that the hippies failed in the 60s only because there was no internet which would have brought in more and more people from different parts of the world. Just think about it, marijuana is being legalized everywhere, people are getting sick and tired of capitalism and the wars that businesses finance for massive profits aren’t fooling anyone anymore. We just want to live peacefully and save our only home so why are we still letting corporations and businessmen ruin our life?

I would like to end this blog post with the famous words of Carl Sagan just to give you a new perspective of who and what we really are, enjoy!

 

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Do the Chinese merchants on eBay even understand English?

I recently bought a device called the Easycap for a friend of mine, but the software CD that comes with every package was broken in transit. I contacted the eBay merchant and asked them whether I can download the driver from the internet somewhere, but the merchant consistently denied my request and asked me to provide a photo proof of the cracked CD instead.

The response

Dear Valued Customer!
Thank you for informing us. We regret to hear that you have received that item. In this matter, we would like to ask a photo of the item you have received from us. Please attach the said photo here in ebay message. Also, please provide the follwing information:
Item number:
quantity:
Price:
We will wait for your reply. Thank you

I then replied:

I just need the download link please. Do you seriously need a photo for that?

Their response:

Dear Valued Customer!

We are really sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you a lot. We regret to inform you that we need to have a photo or video of the item you have so we can check the problem of the item and we could give you solution and request you want to have. In this case, we will wait for the said attachment we are requesting for you so we can already assess on what solutions we can give.. Thank you and good day.

I replied again:

Look, I am NOT asking for a refund. I just need the driver for Easycap. Can’t you provide a download link? Again, I am not looking for a refund or cause problems, I just need the software. I just fail to see how a picture is going to help you provide me with a download link.

Their response:

Dear Valued Customer!
Thank you for your message. Your item has been already process and ready for shipment. It usually takes 3-5 days before the item shipped during holidays and peak season due to numerous orders. Please do not worry for we will be sending you notification once item is shipped.
Thank you

What the actual fuck?

Okay so their last response was completely bananas and at this point I feel like I’m not going to get any coherent answers from them so for now, I’m willing to let the matter drop because Windows 7 will install the drivers automatically from Windows Update anyway.

It just shows how the Chinese guys who are put in charge of customer service have absolutely no clue as to what’s going on and I doubt they even understood what I was saying, but simply provided me with a copy pasted “template” responses. Sigh.

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Thinking of getting a roommate to help pay the rent? Read this first!

Whether it’s simply bad luck, poor money management skills or something else entirely, sometimes we can end up in a position where we can’t afford to pay our rent any more. If you are in such a situation, you might be wondering if you should simply move to a smaller living space or perhaps you could share your rent with someone who happens to be in a similar situation? Before you make a decision to share your living space with a stranger, you should consider all the aspects, especially the negative ones! I hope you’ll find some useful tips from my personal experience with 6 roommates over the past 4 years.

Find out who they REALLY are

From mentally unstable “broken hearts” and drama queens to thieves and prostitutes with scabies, I have come to a conclusion that people are generally fucked up and downright disgusting.

I have had a total of 6 roommates over the past 4 years and while all of them did in fact help me pay the rent and I was able to save some money this way, almost all of them were fucked up in one way or another. For starters, ask yourself what kind of a person would move in with a complete stranger and share their living space in the first place? These kinds of people are guaranteed to be in some sort of trouble and it doesn’t necessarily have to be trouble with the police. I’m talking about everyday stuff like women running away from their abusive husbands, prostitutes looking for a place to conduct their business, alcoholics, drug addicts, the works.

From the 6, only 1 was alright

As a freelance web designer, artist and an amateur blogger, I’ve had some financial issues to work out so for the past 4 years I have had to shared my apartment with strangers.

My first roommate was a young woman in their early twenties who had just broken up with her boyfriend who, according to her, had been physically hurting her a lot. She brought in a new boyfriend pretty soon who she left hanging around even after she went off to work. Obviously this wasn’t okay so I got rid of them. I found out about a week later that my secret rainy day “cash pile” was missing. It was just €500, but a lesson to be learned nonetheless.

The next one was the only good roommate I had and I can’t really say anything bad about her. She cleaned up after herself, had a steady job and was fun to talk to. She left on her own accord after about a year when she found herself a boyfriend with a home.

After that came what I believe to be the weirdest roommate ever. She never talked, moved around quietly like a ghost and could spend more than 48 hours in her room without even going to the bathroom. Don’t get me wrong, I like when they’re not making too much noise, but that was scary as hell. To be honest, I’m still unsure whether it was a man or a woman.

Things got even worse with my next roommate who invited friends around for drinks like she owned the place, didn’t clean up after herself and had a different guy spend the night all the time. Needless to say she’s the one who gave me scabies. Ugh.

The other two have been quite alright, but they all seem to be lazy slobs who can’t even clean up their own room properly, let alone help me clean the bathroom or the kitchen. Sure, they’ll do it when I ask them to, but it’s annoying to ask it all the time. Don’t they have eyes? Can’t they see that this shit or that shit needs to go? God, I’m starting to sound like my mom.

Anyway…

I will say this once more in case you missed it: almost anyone who is willing to share a living space with a stranger has a nasty secret they’re bringing into your home, otherwise they’d be living happily with their parents or husbands and wives in a normal household. What you need to do is find out that secret and decide whether it’s worth letting in or not.

For me, the occasional marijuana toker is alright, but I can’t stand it when they drink, do hard drugs or party all night. You really have to know who you’re dealing with and whether their “sins” are going to be an issue.

People are keen to hide their secrets

Nobody wants the world to know about their problems so people tend to hide the skeletons in their closets very well and while it’s true that you can never truly know anyone completely, there are certain things in the human behavior that sort of “bleed through” and reveal little bits of the person from time to time, because subconsciously humans want to tell you the truth and lying simply isn’t something we do naturally (excluding psychopaths of course). You can read more about how to detect lying here.

Back to the topic at hand! When a potential roommate walks into your apartment for the first time, they will always be thinking about their most horrible skeletons because they really need a place to stay and they are worried that you might reject them if you found out. Some hide it better than others, but it’s definitely always there and guess what? You can lure it out!

Catch them off guard

I’m not a psychologist, but I’m speaking from experience when I say that catching people off guard with unexpected questions is probably the most effective way of finding out who you’re dealing with. For example you could spin a little story about how your last roommate was always getting drunk and describe all the shit you had to put up with before finally throwing them out. Talk about it like it’s something fun to think back to and let them be semi comfortable with the story, then suddenly get all serious and ask: “you’re not like that guy, right?

If they immediately answer “No” in a “automated answering machine” sort of way, it could very well mean that they are indeed having trouble with alcohol. If, however, they turn it into a joke, it could mean they’re comfortable with the situation and you don’t really have to worry about them. Of course it really depends on the person answering the question and there isn’t a fool proof lie detecting method so you just have to consider all the variables like how they move, where they look and generally “feel the person” if you know what I mean.

Ask them why

You should always ask a potential roommate why they are looking for a room to rent. Try to find out as much as possible about their last place of residence and why they are moving out from there. It’s totally okay and you shouldn’t feel ashamed about it. If they are not open enough to tell you this, then you should probably call the next potential roommate on your list.

Do they have any pets?

Obviously you need to sort this out before they bring a huge smelly dog in the house who eats all your shoes and ruins the furniture. If you have pets yourself, you need to make sure they get along with each other. (cats + birds = nope.jpg).

Do they have a job?

I can’t stress enough the importance of having a job. It’s a must! I know it’s hypocritical coming from a guy who is against the form of slavery we call capitalism, but anyone without an income is going to be trouble. Of course you can’t expect them to have a serious full time job given the fact that they’re looking to share a rent, but you have to find out whether they’re just being lazy and stupid or actually trying to achieve something in their lives.

What about their free time?

It’s like getting to know anyone for the first time. Ask them about their hobbies and the things they enjoy doing the most. Find out if they are a morning person or not, do they spend a lot of time out clubbing, how many friends on average should you expect to visit them. How often? Additionally I always like to ask a new person what do they think it is that makes them weird in the eyes of “normal people“.

Don’t act like a freak

It’s okay to ask a lot of questions about their previous home and hobbies, but digging too deep into the person’s past will make you look bad and it’s easy to scare away a nice person this way. You have to feel the limits and if they are getting too uncomfortable, back off a little and maybe tell a joke about it.

Open yourself up to them

It’s not all about interrogating your soon-to-be roommate. You should let them ask the same questions about you as well. After all, they are as eager as you in trying to get to know the person they’re going to share an apartment with for god knows how long.

Because they are in a lesser spot trying to “break into” your humble abode, it’s understandable that they’re naturally more nervous than you so don’t expect them to start asking personal questions about you. Open yourself up to them first and, without actually saying it, let them know that they can ask you the same kinds of questions.

Take your time

The biggest mistake I have done more than once in choosing a roommate was being impatient. I didn’t pay attention to the subtle hints the people gave away subconsciously. I also didn’t take the time to thoroughly get to know the person and just assumed that since they had a lovely face, they were okay. I really recommend talking and talking some more. Offer them coffee and biscuits (cliche, I know) and just get to know each other.

You’ll know a good person when they aren’t in a hurry and actually have time to get to know you at least a little bit. If, on the other hand, they’re in a hurry and just want to move in without even giving two shits about who you are, you might want to reconsider.

If you discover that they are the complete opposite of you, say it to them politely and don’t leave them hanging. It’s not fair to them to keep their hopes up while someone else is already moving in. If on the other hand you feel like they’re alright, don’t risk it with the next guy in line who replied to your Craigslist ad and take your chances.

Getting a good roommate is a gamble and most of the times you’ll lose, but there are still good people out there who have just ran out of luck for a little while and need a place to stay. Give them a chance!

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