Agony Aunt: Love, Hate and the Dreaded Housemate

Image description: newspaper clippings with the words ‘agony aunt’ written in block letters. 

This week, the Agony Aunts take on a very complicated flatmate love story and a heinous crime against the college puffa. One perhaps merits more serious attention than the other.

The people in my house who also live here are actually living here. They keep moving my books around and stealing my coat. One of them went out in my College Puffa without any clothes on underneath. Short of changing the locks and paying their rent, I don’t know what to do! – Anonymous

E: In cases such as these, a simple inversion of perspective makes all the difference. You loathe them, but, have you ever considered making yourself equally loathsome in return, in such a way that will force them to move out and leave you in peace?

To bring this plan into completion, you will need all your Kevin McAllister-level cunning. 

Below are few of my own suggestions for the creatively bankrupt. They may appear “extreme”, but Crimes Against the College Puffa are taken very seriously here at Agony Aunt HQ. I hope your housemate has their lawyer ready because if you don’t come for them, Sonia and I just might. 

Without further ado, here is the List of Petty and Vindictive Ways to Expel Troublesome Housemates:

  1. Stealing their milk but leaving the dregs at the bottom so they can never outright accuse you of doing so. This small yet satisfying insurrection is very effective in the long run, as they are slowly ground down by endless trips to Tesco and unfulfilling mugs of milk-less tea.
  2. Using up all the hot water in the shower. This works especially well if your housemates enjoy muddy runs around Port Meadow or sing through Taylor Swift’s complete discography (singles and bonus tracks included) every time they wash. 
  3. Regularly eat Hassan’s chips with garlic mayo. No shade to Hassan’s, they are delicious, but the smell has what I can only describe as an instant and dramatic effect. 
  4. Leave their things in unexpected places, e.g. the towels in the freezer, some Dairy Milk by the sink or their favourite mug in the toilet cistern. 
  5. Get revenge on their puffa by cutting it up and transforming it into a fun toy for the college cat/tortoise/pidgeon. (Note: Arts and Crafts Skills of a competent nine year old required; keep this in mind before trying.)
  6. Walk into their rooms at 6am to vacuum, loudly. Bonus points for humming Michael Bublé at the same time. 

I am (legally) required to add that you could simply talk it out with your housemates in a mature and dignified manner instead, but where’s the fun in ‘maturity’ or ‘dignity’? Good luck in your quest, comrade — you’re going to need it. 



I think I have fallen in love with my housemate, and not seeing them much through lockdown has been so painful. Not only do they have no clue but they have a girlfriend already at another uni. Over the last term we grew very close as friends, often doing coupley things like going for lunch, coffee dates… together platonically, but often I’ve thought they were sending out a certain vibe and there seems to be a chemistry between us. If they weren’t with their girlfriend I can’t help but feel they would very likely be with me by now, they both make for such a random couple together and she is definitely punching with them. If I tell them, I’m scared it’ll jeopardise our friendship- but I can’t cope much longer with the uncertainty.

What should I do?

S: Falling in love with a housemate? Really? What made you go and do such a  silly thing? Valentine’s Day is over and this romantic comedy plot just seems like it could’ve been avoided. Accept this virtual slap on the wrist. 

Based on your wording, it seems like you’re either in denial about the platonic-ness of your activities or that there is definitely some chemistry between you two. Either way, you’re allowing yourself to be led into the foreboding cloud of romantic uncertainty. My advice: dispel this cloud before you waste too much time brooding over what could be. 

Luckily, lockdown allows for the kind of avoidance perfect for you and yours! Inquiring about the feelings of others is certainly daunting, but now you have, what, 2 months to let it sit with you? Send this person a disgustingly casual “Miss you!!” to launch your attack. Follow up with an “I have a stupid question” jab. Joke around a bit — ask who Boris Johnson is. Let them stew in their (possible) desire. Then remember that they have a girlfriend and be respectful of that. Boring, I know. We can’t be all fun and games.

Finally,  just go ahead. Ask your stupid question. Remind them that you know they’re dating someone but are just curious as to whether they’ve always thought of you platonically.  Also, accept that it won’t really be a source of relief to know the answer and that’s okay. Uncertainty is worse than any bad or irrelevant news. Either way, this person is already with someone, and the ~hottest~ thing you can do is brush the answer off and move on with your sweet sweet perpetual friendship like it never happened. When we all reunite in Oxford, they’ll likely forget you ever asked. Or they’ll greet you with a dozen roses and cry, “It’s always been you!” in front of the Rad Cam. Indulge me. 

If that does happen, please tell the Agony Aunts via the question form. We know all our advice is both effective and sagacious but we do so appreciate proof to show our editors.

Got a problem that you think merits the attention of the Agony Aunts? Submit it to us HERE! Good advice not guaranteed.

Yours in agony,

Elsie and Sonia


Art by Iona Shen