Hello! This is the third post in my series on Tips for the College Freshman. To see more like it, click here!
Spoiler Alert: You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate(s)…nor do you have to hate them.
For some reason, I feel like every college freshman going into college believes they have to be on either side of the spectrum. Heck, I even thought that going into my first year, but I am here to tell you that is not the case.
I went into my freshman year determined to become best friends my roommate, at whatever cost (I had this weird obsession with being liked by people I liked, which transferred over to my roommate hard core) and, in my defense, we did hang out a lot for the first few weeks.
Then, surprise surprise, we grew apart. My roommate found friends in her Biology (at the time) major and I found ones in my English and Business majors. We joined clubs of interest to us, which happened to be completely different.
Instead of seeing it as us just adjusting to the college life, I saw it as the girl, who I had bonded with over tea, books, and introvertedness, tipping over to the other side of the spectrum. Obviously, the only logical thing was that she secretly hated and was annoyed with me, not that we had different hobbies and friends.
And–I’m sure you know how it goes–I started seeing what I believed. Every time she didn’t talk to me right when I walked in the room, I saw it as her not wanting to talk to me. Every time she asked me to turn off the lights or something simple as that, I heard it in an annoyed tone as if she had asked me to do so a thousand times before and I hadn’t picked up.
I started focusing on how she reacted to me, or rather how I thought she reacted, instead of why I was thinking these things.
My roommate never hated me (overall–there are always conflicts in any situation like the college roommate one). She never was annoyed at my very existence. She never was bidding her time in the room for the right time to go outside so that she could get away from me. She never was not striking up conversation because she found my voice horrible. She was just behaving normally.
And I was the one overreacting.
So, you can trust me from experience. You do not have to be best friends with your roommate(s), nor do you have to hate their guts. Just like with any friendship, it is a spectrum. Just because you are living with them, doesn’t mean they have to teeter on one side.