Auntie SparkNotes: My Best Friend Is the Worst Roommate
So, you probably get a bunch of letters stating they have a problem with either their roommate or their best friend, or both, like mine. You see, in high school my best friend, lets call her Meme, and I were joined at the hip. You didn't invite me somewhere without knowing she'll be there too and vice versa. So, naturally, when it came time to head off to college it wasn't a surprise that we not only picked the same one, but we also decided to room together.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love Meme, she's hilarious and really kind. We have our good days and bad days. My problem is that the more time I spend with Meme the more I realize how incredibly different we actually are. Meme likes to party, I really could care less about parties but I'll go to one with her if she asks. She likes being rebellious and having as much crazy fun as she possibly can. Again, I don't mind any of that, what I mind is when I say I don't want to go and she says I don't know how to have fun, and then she gets really offended when I say I don't consider the stuff she likes to do all that fun. She also makes me feel super self conscious. For example, I bought a pair of boots that aren't really my style but I wanted them to change it up a bit. She took one look and asked me why I'm trying to be something I'm not. She gets mad at me a lot. Once she yelled at me for the way I breathe. She also gets really easily offended, and really defensive about anything and everything you ask her about. I know she's really insecure about herself (which I hate because she's absolutely gorgeous).
I know I'm not the most amazing roommate ever but dealing with her everyday is starting to become emotionally draining. Anyway...I don't really know what I'm asking here, maybe how to handle her? How to make it so she doesn't end up hating me by the end of the year? I can't decide if I should confront her about the things that bother me or just pretend they don't exist. I'm just so tired of trying to make it so she doesn't get mad at me for things I don't even know I'm doing, I've already tried making new friends in our dorm so I can hang out with them but they're more like her than me. I go home a lot (college is pretty close to home) so I have time away from her, and I always dread going back because she's making it so I kind of hate this place. I just don't really know what to do.
Ooooh, but I do! And what you should do is this: move out.
Oh, no, wait. First, go find the shortsighted moron who told you that rooming with a high school friend would be a good idea, and dump a can of cat food over his head...and then, move out.
Because alas, Sparkler, your friendship with Meme just isn't built to withstand such constant contact or such close proximity as sharing a dorm room requires. You guys might make great friends, but you make seriously terrible roommates, and to be honest, that is the case with most people who attend college with a high school bestie. The venn diagram of People You Can Be Friends With and People You Can Happily Live With In a Space the Size of a Shoebox contains a lot less overlap than you might think, and that's especially true during the tumult and change and self-discovery of freshman year, which is why one of the cardinal rules of going to college is don't live with someone you already know.
But when you've already broken that rule, then the next cardinal rule is don't live with someone you already know when she's so insecure and controlling that she's started negging the way you BREATHE .
Which is what's happening here, as I'm sure you know. Your friend is clinging to your old relationship dynamic because it validates her idea of who she is, and as such, she doesn't like seeing you break tradition and do your own thing without consulting her—especially when your own thing involves new shoes, new style, and a totally different definition of fun than hers. But Meme is not the authority on who you are, and she's not the arbiter of how you express yourself. That's why it's so important for you both to get a little space from each other: you guys need room to grow, change, and try on identities, and you need to do it without being held back by a person who doesn't want you to do these things because it makes her insecure. Your friend, particularly, needs to learn how to deal with uncertainty without making one of her friends into a scapegoat for her fear of change.
What this means for you is that you should put in your application for a room reassignment immediately. And until it goes through, resolve to do your own thing whether or not it meets Meme's approval. Which it won't, of course; you can expect her to kick up a fuss every time you don't follow her lead, because if you're not playing your assigned role, then she no longer knows how to play hers. And since you know she'll only get defensive and angry if you confront her about what she's doing, your best bet is to remove yourself to a distance from which she can't be constantly watching and judging you. And when you tell her you're moving out, you can do it as follows: "I love you, and I value your friendship—and because I love you and value your friendship, I think it's best if we don't live together anymore."
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