Roommate Agreement

On The Big Bang Theory, an American television show about a group of physicists and the girl next door, two of the main characters share an apartment together. In order to ensure that things run smoothly from the beginning one of the roommates drafts a roommate agreement that outlines all of the rules by which the two characters will abide.

Additionally, anytime there is a change in the characters’ status (for example, if one of them starts dating), this roommate will write a modified version of the agreement to accommodate the new arrangement.

However, the second roommate hates having a fixed list of rules, and rather than being a way to solve disputes, the roommate agreement actually becomes the source of many arguments.


In American culture, waiting until you have all of the information is considered so negative that there are many popular phrases and quotes that warn against this behavior. Some of the best known follow:

“He who hesitates is lost” – a person who spends too much time deliberating before acting will lose the chance to act at all. The first use of this phrase in the United States was in 1858 in The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes, although the phrase was first used in England in 1712 in Cato by Joseph Addison.

Liars always hesitate – a person who hesitates before speaking is probably not telling the truth.

“Check in regularly”

On her blog The Fast Track, Alison Green posted the topic “How to Succeed When Deadlines and Priorities Constantly Change.” Green writes:

“Additionally, check in with your manager regularly about your priorities. It’s frustrating to focus on Project A all week, only to find out on Thursday that your manager knew on Tuesday that Project B was going to take priority.

So if you’re finding that you’re not getting updates about changes as quickly as you should, put the onus on yourself to touch base frequently to share what you’re working on and how you’re prioritizing and find out if anything should change.”

Information Overload

Much more than Germans, Americans suffer from a condition they call information overload. If Americans receive all of the information about a project right from the beginning, they’ll try to reduce the information by ignoring anything that doesn’t seem immediately important. Ultimately they will typically only remember the pieces that seem most pertinent to them.

When information is important, Americans tend to give it away in small pieces, stressing each item individually. This way, no matter how much the other person suffers from information overload he/she is certain to remember the material.

Information overload: an excess of incoming information, as might confront a pedestrian on a crowded city street, that forces one to be selective in the information received and retained; an overwhelming feeling upon the receipt or collection of an indigestible or incomprehensible amount of information, the feeling of being faced with an amount of data that one has no hope of completely processing.

This phrase was popularized by Alvin Toffler in 1970.