The frustrations that come with escape rooms

Why these recreational games could spell out social disaster for you and your friends

(Unsplash/ Dima Pechurin)

(Unsplash/ Dima Pechurin)

Escape rooms trouble me deeply. They’re stressful and hellish spaces designed to bring your stress and anxiety levels to new heights. These so-called “team-building exercises” can exhaust you in ways thought to be impossible. 

Think about it: you enter a room that’s admittedly a cool set but is actually your first step into a nervous breakdown-inducing nightmare. You’re isolated with a team of friends who don’t want to be there. The clock starts, and time is against you. I don’t know how much I can emphasize the villainy of this pastime. 

There’s no plan. Your friends act like they’re at a dysfunctional family reunion. You have those two members always debating over a riddle, contributing nothing to the game, and another person who just wants to take selfies with the props.

The rest of your pals are scrambling in the meantime. They find some items for a puzzle they don’t bother finishing because an entirely different one grabs their attention. Whatever happened to doing things one at a time? Don’t tell me it’s because multi-tasking is the new fun trend. That only applies to jobs, not escape rooms.

It’s a lose-lose situation. If your group fails, everyone argues with each other until they can’t speak anymore. Relationships end, and people unfriend each other on Facebook like the escape room social media apocalypse is coming.

If you and your team do manage to get out of their escape room before time runs out, it must feel cathartic, right? Sure, you’ll cheer in victory until that one member says, “Wait, guys, don’t we have work tomorrow?” Cue the collective groaning. Escape rooms are meant to frustrate you. You partake in one and say bye-bye to your inner zen. 

However, I know that some will brave this world of torment anyway. My advice: if you must do an escape room, please don’t do it with your roommate. Odds are you’ll both come out of it worse off than you were before doing this activity. 

It starts with giving each other the cold shoulder. Your roommate gets fed up with your opinions about puzzles and moves out. He rents the DeLorean from Back to the Future to warn his past self never to meet you. At this point, no one is covering half the rent, you lose your apartment, and now you live with another friend. In order to break the ice, you decide to try out the new escape room that recently opened up nearby, and repeat the whole process. What could go wrong? 

Everything. Escape rooms might seem fun, but they’ll just add more absurdity to your life, which is already ultra weird in many ways. We don’t need more silliness, not from those places at least.