• 08.20.14

How Ikea Destroys Relationships

Don’t build furniture on a first date.

How Ikea Destroys Relationships
[Illustration: Harkoo]

Between the trials of its endless showcase labyrinth or fights spurred over that last Swedish meatball, Ikea has been the death of countless budding relationships. In fact, the plot of a special double episode of 30 Rock once explored at length Ikea’s romantic toxicity.


In a recent and admittedly informal experiment, BuzzFeed set out to prove that Ikea could be the death of unproven couples. They took two couples–one who had been together for 10 years, and another who had just met–and timed them as they put together a “Micke” desk. Spoiler: Things do not go well for the new couple.

Ikea’s flatpack furniture and hieroglyphic-filled instruction manuals seem almost pointedly designed as relationship litmus tests, showing exactly how well two people can solve problems and communicate with one another. No surprise, then, that the camaraderie between the new lovers almost instantly begins to fray.

Take this exchange between the two when they can’t agree on which way to hold the instruction manuals.

“You know what would be a good idea?” the woman in the new relationship says to her partner. “Having this face the same direction as in the instructions. Because I’m looking at it and having to flip my mind around.”

Flickr user Samantha Marx

Her partner looks at the camera, a defeated expression on his face that quickly gives way to exasperation, disgust, and then contempt. He rolls his eyes, which she does not see. “Yeah, do it,” he says, his tone all but appending the word “idiot” to the end of his sentence.

But it turns out people who have spent a decade together are better at building Ikea furniture than a couple who just started dating. At the end of the day, the 10-year-couple managed to put their desk together in a little under an hour-and-a-half, which frankly still seems pretty slow to me. Still, that was relatively fast compared to the couple who had just met, who took about 20% longer to put together their Micke.

“We created problems that weren’t there to begin with,” they said about their failure, clearly discouraged. Or maybe, just maybe, those problems were always there, and like a malevolent sorcerer, Ikea brought them all bubbling up to the surface.


[h/t Daily Dot]