10 of Life's Questions Answered with Flowcharts

Young adults face difficult decisions every day that they must negotiate without the help of parents or the wisdom that comes from experience. But there is help in the form of flowcharts on the internet! Many of these were designed by young adults without the wisdom of experience or help from their parents, so you might want to take them with a grain of salt.

1. What Kind of Roommate Are You?

This is the end point of a flowchart by Caldwell Tanner at College Humor. See the entire chart to determine which category you fall into. You may laugh and say you don't fit into any of these categories, but you recall meeting of lot of people who do, don't you? Or you may have lived with a few of them!

2. Should I Get the Hot New Gadget?

A new phone, computer, game system, etc. is coming out and the internet is all abuzz. Do you take the plunge and become an early adopter, or will you regret that financial sacrifice? Scordit helps you decide with a flowchart that doesn't take into account what the new gadget actually is, but uses experience of previous product releases to give you some wisdom about your decision. Only the beginning of the chart is shown here.

3. What Football Team Should I Root For?

If you are a student, you would, of course, root for your school's team. But school doesn't last forever, and neither does the college football season. Your chosen professional football team should reflect who you are and your lifestyle choices. Paul Caputo and Shea Lewis laid it all out at Interpretation by Design. There are even options here for people who hate football! Click to enlarge the full size version to get a really good look.

4. What Board Game Should We Play?

This flowchart is actually an advertising "infographic," but it speaks the truth about board games. It takes into account who you are playing with and how badly you want to defeat them (among other variables), so if you hate your younger cousins, treat them to a game of Monopoly. See the whole thing here.

5. Can I Go to Work Without Getting Sick?

A winter post from The Awl contains several charts and graphs about catching a cold at work. Can you avoid the illness? This flowchart pretty much sums up the answer as "no." But there's some decent advice amidst the humor about protecting yourself from everyone else's germs.

6. How Can I Lead a Creative Life?

Fast Company presented a flowchart to help you get your creative juices flowing that accompanies their special issue on how to live a creative life. I would add the advice to make the enlarged version of your flowcharts scrollable, but you can download the whole thing and enlarge it from your files if you desire. Only a small portion is shown here, but it should give you the gist of the entire chart.

7. Should I Wear Sweatpants Today?

I looked all over and cannot find the original creator of The College Girl's Guide To Wearing Sweatpants. We can assume the artist is a female who is in or has been to college. I found this informative graphic, however, which relates to the subject well.

8. How Should I Pay the Rent?

Literary inspiration may help here. Brenna Clarke Gray at Book Riot graphed how heroines from young adult literature would approach the task of paying rent. Shown is the flowchart of The Hunger Games' heroine Katniss Everdeen. You'll also find rent payment procedures from Anne of Green Gables, Hermione from the Harry Potter books, and Bella from Twilight.

9. Do I Have to Wake Up Yet?

The very first decision you make every day can be a difficult one! Susanna Wolff at College Humor helps with a flowchart balancing your need for sleep against the reasons you might actually have to get out of bed.

10. Do I Want to Do This?

Nerve published a collection of funny flowcharts, many of which we have posted here over the years, but this one pretty much sums up every other question in life. Like the old adage tells us, good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.

See more funny flowcharts in our previous posts.

9 Flowcharts to Help You Navigate the Christmas Season

Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, and all the other winter holidays are times of tradition, when we continue to celebrate in the manner of years past. But some modern situations call for decisions that tradition doesn’t cover. That’s why we have flowcharts! Here are some that pertain to the unique conundrums that arise this time of year.


Will you be spending Christmas with your parents or your in-laws? This is a decision you should make with your significant other, but it doesn't have to turn into a tug-of-war. Just produce this flowchart from She Knows to bolster your reasons for visiting the family with the least drama.


The holidays would certainly be less stressful if we were to do away with the tradition of buying gifts for adults (other than maybe homemade food or a nice box of candy). But social obligations live on. Still, you don’t have to buy everyone a gift, especially when you're on a limited budget. Read the rest of this flowchart from College Humor, which will help you make your decision.   


That may be a simple question, but the answer might be quite complicated. A flowchart from The Date Report can help you to consider how far along the relationship is and whether a Christmas gift would be proper at this time or not.  


When a close family member asks you what you want for Christmas, it’s OK to be honest. Just keep in mind that you're more likely to get your wish fulfilled if you keep it within the giver’s budget. This flowchart from 1500 Days to Freedom illustrates that well. (A second flowchart in the same post explains the recurring nightmare of intergenerational conflict in his/her family—something we're all likely familiar with.)  


Major retailers often release flowcharts to help you decide what to give people for Christmas, which all end in gifts they sell. This one, targeted to men, is from the Milwaukee Brewers. The entire chart is huge. The flowchart is complicated, but no matter who you're shopping for, the perfect gift is a Holiday 4-Pack. I would have at least suggested splurging on a whole 6-pack.


Most of the time, your phone is attached to your hand—but when you're with the family for holiday togetherness, you're sure to get a few snarky comments from relatives if you're using it all the time. Still, there are some situations that make phone use appropriate, so Shane Snow created a flowchart to help you navigate each possible scenario.  


You should have your Christmas lights up by now. Why don’t you? Are they not working? Are you putting off the annual testing regimen? Terry Ritter put up an entire website to help you troubleshoot Christmas lights 10 years ago. His flowcharts will take you through the process of testing your lights before you hang them. Or you can simplify things by simply plugging them in and throwing away the strings that don’t work.


There are an awful lot of classic Christmas movies—some you may have even forgotten about. There’s one to fit your interests for every situation and every mood. You can determine which movie fits yours with this handy chart from College Humor. See the rest of the chart to select your movie.


Let's wrap up Christmas with a flowchart that’s been around forever, but is still enjoyable. After all, who wants to miss a step that may lead to seeing a jolly old elf, so you can laugh when you see him in spite of yourself? If you have trouble reading it, see a larger version here.

9 Flowcharts for Maximum Non-Productivity

Flowcharts long ago escaped the world of engineering and have run rampant across all topics. The best ones are either useful or funny, and sometimes they can be both. Here’s a roundup of flowcharts that may help you out or at least entertain you for a while. But the first, and most important question is:

1. Do You Like Flowcharts?

Randall Munroe at xkcd presents us with a flowchart to determine what kind of chart or graph you prefer. And he then attempts to give you what you want, in one way or another. But as you and I know, there’s no pleasing some people. The arrow at the bottom points to the “random” button at the website. Which ought to please anyone.

2. Should You Buy an Apple Watch?

No, this isn’t an ad from Apple, because if it were, all decision paths would flow toward “yes,” except the one about having no money. This is from Funny or Die, where you can see the full chart.

3. Is It Paleo?

The Paleo Diet Flowchart will help you recognize foods you can eat on the Paleo Diet. I’ve probably learned more about that diet from this flowchart than from any other source, since I’m not all that interested in diets outside of what my kids eat. It was drawn by Cole Bradburn, based on an earlier flowchart by Nicole Voelzke that you can see at the same link.

4. Should You Put Coffee In Your Face Right Now?

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal made a flowchart for the website I Love Coffee. It makes the simple decision of whether to have a cup of coffee into a convoluted quiz involving tigers, bran muffins, and revolution. See the rest of it here. Me? Unless it’s bedtime, I just skip to “Yes.” Tea is for bedtime.

5. How to Talk About the Economy

Zach Weiner at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal created a flowchart about how to address the subject of the economy, if you are a politician, in which case it matters, or a media personality, in which case it only matters how you spin it.  

6. How to Not Be a Bullying Mob

Internet shaming is a hot topic these days. In the quest for justice over those who do are exposed on the internet as doing something offensive or mean, the backlash can be exponentially worse. By joining in on the pile-on, you may find yourself being part of the bullying experience yourself. A flowchart by Andrea Phillips can help you to stop and think before you comment or take some other action against a person you don’t know. This illustration is only a portion of the full chart, which you can enlarge at the link.

7. Should You Do the Dishes?

If you were to ask me, that’s an easy question to answer. I’m a mom. The answer is “Yes!” But this flowchart is from College Humor, so it is not aimed at me, but at young adults who moved away from their families in order to avoid doing dishes. Or attend college, but that’s splitting hairs. If there’s any chance in hell you can avoid the dishes for a while longer, you will. The rest of this tall flowchart is at the highlighted link.  

8. Hey Jude

Sarah Emerson used a flowchart not to make a decision, but to explore the structure of the song “Hey Jude.” It works elegantly well, especially with the infinite loop at the end, and is also available as an art print

9. Putting It Off Until Later

The Procrastination Flowchart is at least seven years old, and the original is impossible to find, as various cited sources no longer exist. Yet we still procrastinate. What you see here is just the starting point, which is in the middle of the chart, because there are so many paths to procrastination that they wander all around the chart. By the time you finish with the entire chart, the deadline you are avoiding will be passed.

Make the rest of the decisions in your life with the help of other flowcharts we've posted. And see more graph humor of all kinds. 


More from mental floss studios