This topic contains 20 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Lisa 2 months, 1 week ago.
- March 10, 2019 at 10:09 am #836309
Hello, me and my roommate are both 21 and are in college. Around two weeks ago my roommate/best friend (i know…living with a friend…bad idea) invited a group of people over for dinner on a wednesday night without telling me first and then requested she hold a party on the following friday. The sudden efflux of people going to be at our house gave me a panic attack and I promptly requested she give me more time so i could mentally prepare more. I am a high anxiety person, especially with social anxiety, and she has known this since day one. She agreed to give me more notice. The following sunday she has a few people over for dinner while having gave me a 15 minute heads-up. I again panic and ask for more time to know when people show up. She agrees. i assume everything is ok.
The following monday morning she texts me telling me she’s pissed at me, that what i’m asking is unacceptable, and that she won’t have my mental illness control the way she conducts her social life. We have a whole “conversation” where i explain i only want her to limit the amount of spontaneous events but she continuously says the house is a shared space, she can’t be held accountable for me (never asked for that ?), and that “everything is always her fault” (also never said this, never asked her to take care of me, and in fact have specifically requested to just be treated normally). I ask to talk to her in person about this and she refuses, saying she’ll give me 4 hours notice before anyone shows up and that i “have what i want” and she “doesn’t want to deal with this.” It’s now been a week since this happened, and i have not seen her in person. i spent a couple nights at friends houses when i didn’t feel safe/comfortable going home. I don’t know what to do. I feel incredibly hurt and attacked, like she stabbed me in the gut multiple times and doesn’t even care. she’s probably the friend i trusted the most, or at least i felt safe voicing my needs or concerns to her. i apparently went too far , however, and rather than discuss this with me she said deliberately mean and manipulative things.
another issue is that we share most of our friends. they all know of the situation and have told me they think she is being unfair and mean and that they’re sorry for me. they all still hang out with her, however, in groups, at occassions i was never made aware of. i know realistically i can’t make people choose sides or get involved but i feel like they are then approving of the way she’s treating me. that i have been ripped out my social life so my roommate could still go out and have fun and not care about her actions while i am left sleeping on couches, panicking that i deserve all this and i will be left friendless. people have told me that they understand the situation and still want to be my friend but i feel like there haven’t any substantial actions taken to talk to me or BE my friend when i’ve clearly voiced how hurt and alone i feel.
at this point i do not know if i am being reasonable or not. every urge is telling me to move out, never speak to these people again, and try to start from scratch. but i know this isn’t constructive, and i am incredibly afraid of being alone and friendless again.
i don’t know what to do and i don’t know how to feel better. i feel like i can’t turn to anyone and that nothing is going to improve because my roommate refuses to talk to me. i don’t think i want to forgive her for the things she’s said but i also don’t even know then how to move on from that or anything that’s been happening.
any words of advice would be greatly appreciated. i maintained being mature and level headed throughout this but everyday i resist the urge to yell and be rude back to my roommate. i am 100% willing to compromise and discuss this but at this point spontaneous visitors aren’t even my main worry. i just want friends who won’t hurt me lmaoMarch 10, 2019 at 11:45 am #836322
Ooo, this sucks, Ava, and I’m sorry you’re going through this. Roommate disputes are hard enough without the person also being your friend.
I think it’s time to face the fact that your lifestyles make you incompatible as roommates. Your friend wants to have more frequent, spontaneous gatherings, and you prefer less frequent, pre-planned events. Both of your preferences are normal and okay, and while people should be able to live the way they please, ideally, when living together, roommates should all be able to compromise a little bit so that their preferences don’t infringe on one another’s comfort levels. This gets tricky when one person isn’t really able to compromise, because of an issue such as your social anxiety. That’s the point at which it’s best to find a roommate that you’re more compatible with.
I don’t know when your lease is up, or if you have the option to sub-let, but you should look into it. Even if your lease isn’t up for awhile, you could talk to your landlord about breaking it – often they’re very understanding, especially if there’s high demand for your building. When looking for a new roommate, it would be best to interview them and have a discussion about your preferences. When agreeing to live together, set specific rules for how often people can come over, how many at a time, and how much notice you’ll provide each other. Depending on your finances, you might also want to consider living alone. I’m more of an introvert, and I really enjoyed the two years I spent living in a tiny bachelor apartment.
Think about the ways in which you’ve communicated with your friend so far. You have been sending her somewhat mixed signals. You say you “specifically requested to just be treated normally,” but you are also asking her to modify her lifestyle to suit your needs (again, understandable given your anxiety).
Once you’ve cooled down, I’d try having a calm, civil conversation with her. Tell her that you understand her frustration, you’re sorry that it seems you two are incompatible as roommates, and that you regret the way this has affected your friendship and that hope you two can work on restoring that friendship once you’re no longer roommates. Then it might be best to step back from this friendship for awhile and focus on yourself and on other friendships.
I also think you should cut your other friends some slack. You say there haven’t been any substantial actions taken to talk to you or be your friend, but they’re letting you sleep on their couches! Opening their homes to you is a kind and supportive gesture and tells me that these are true friends who care about you. If you’d like to spend time with them or talk to them, don’t wait for them to initiate it – ask them to hang out and have a suggestion ready for what you can do together.
If you’re not already seeing a doctor and a therapist about your anxiety, you may find that very beneficial. A therapist could also help you address your fear of being friendless and your frustrations with your roommate, as well as process the loss of this friendship, if that is what ends up being the outcome.March 10, 2019 at 11:53 am #836323
“and in fact have specifically requested to just be treated normally”
You don’t actually want to be treated normally. Your complaint is that she is treating you like a normal roommate and you don’t like it. Your complaint is that you don’t want her to be allowed to be spontaneous. You don’t want her to show up with friends. It’s been a long time since I had roommates so my opinion is based on old experience. I never asked friends for permission to invite friends over and never gave a heads up that someone would come over and the same for them. People would drop by. Friends and boyfriends came around. One roommate liked to cook dinner for friends. It was all okay. That’s pretty normal. The one exception I can see to her inviting friends over is that if she is inviting people for dinner she should make sure you aren’t also inviting people for dinner at the same time where you would both need the kitchen at the same time.March 10, 2019 at 11:58 am #836324
“we share most of our friends. they all know of the situation and have told me they think she is being unfair and mean and that they’re sorry for me. they all still hang out with her, however, in groups, at occassions i was never made aware of.”
They are probably telling both of you what you want to hear. They probably tell her that you are being unfair and mean and that they feel sorry for her. In reality they aren’t taking sides and you wish they would. They are remaining friends with both of you which is pretty good of them because the two of you are putting them in an uncomfortable situation.March 10, 2019 at 12:01 pm #836325
If you can afford it you would probably do best with a place of your own, no roommate. Then you have complete control of the social situation.
There is nothing wrong with the way each of you wants to live but it does make you incompatible.March 10, 2019 at 12:09 pm #836326
I don’t think it’s fair to ask her to give you much advance notice so that you can prepare yourself for a few of her (and your?) friends to come over for dinner. You say you want to be treated normally, but you also want unrealistic special treatment.
There are multiple things you could do to deal with her doing the very normal thing of having friends over occasionally. You could stay in your room. You could go out to a coffee shop or the library and do school work. You could call up a friend you feel safe around and do something with them.
You could move out and live in your own apartment. This is probably the best solution.
She was correct that she shouldn’t have to let your mental illness dictate how she conducts her social life. That’s what you are asking her to do. Could she have voiced her displeasure better? Definitely. But often when people feel they are being treated unfairly, tempers flare.
I think you need to check your emotions and probably apologize to her if you want to keep this friendship. Admit you’re asking too much. She didn’t betray you, she voiced her POV about your unrealistic expectations for her.
Your friends still are friends with her. Is that really such a betrayal? Would you really rather burn all these bridges rather than admit your own missteps?
Do you see a doctor regularly? Or the counselors likely available for no cost to you at your school?March 10, 2019 at 12:10 pm #836327
Living with a friend isn’t inherently bad! You just need to live with friends (or strangers) with whom you are compatible.
I think it’s courteous to give a roommate a heads up about guests notwithstanding anxiety issues. It’s a shared space, which goes both ways and requires compromise on both sides. She should be giving you fair notice of anyone who may be in your space (and I think it’s up to the two of you to agree what that looks like), but I think you need to meet her halfway sometimes. For example, can you make plans outside the house if there are people coming over for dinner? Can you put a limit on how often she throws party or has guests? My freshman year of college, I remember my roommate and her boyfriend hung out in our shared room for hours on end every single day. I liked him, but sometimes hated feeling like he was our third roommate or I was third wheeling in my own room! Setting ground rules like this if you haven’t already may help, but it may be too late for this. If you really need more than nine days to “mentally prepare” for a party she wants to have, that does sound a bit unreasonable and I don’t blame her for feeling frustrated. It sounds like you’d be better off living apart.
All of this said, I think she’s handling this poorly. Bringing her concerns to you via text and refusing to discuss in person are really immature. I think you should stop avoiding going home so you can have a face-to-face since you say that’s what you want. By now you’ve both hopefully calmed down. And if you don’t want to be friendless, don’t drag your other friends into this!
ETA: Whatever you do, don’t yell at your roommate or name call. My sophomore year roommate of college, my roommate did something with the guy I was seeing that really upset me. We yelled, our hall heard. Once everything blew over I was really embarrassed at how we’d handled everything.
March 10, 2019 at 12:20 pm #836330
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Copa.
If you — really, sincerely — want to work on this, and not just have a sounding board for your “side,” then I suggest you look at the hyberbolic language you use.
On two occasions (she gave you notice about the Friday night one), she had friends over without notifying you hours beforehand, which you took here:
“I feel incredibly hurt and attacked, like she stabbed me in the gut multiple times…”
“i have been ripped out my social life so my roommate could still go out and have fun and not care about her actions while i am left sleeping on couches, panicking that i deserve all this and i will be left friendless.”
She did not leave you sleeping on couches. That was your choice. She voiced irritation with you. That’s all. Friends and roommates sometimes get irritated with each other. You are blowing this up into a huge self-pity party, which is probably what she’s really annoyed about. If people come over, and you don’t want to hang, then go into your room and close the door.March 10, 2019 at 12:30 pm #836332
I don’t understand how you manage to sleep on other people’s couches without days of warning? How do you do that if having someone come over without days of warning causes so much anxiety. How can you flee into a different social situation where there are people around when you surely couldn’t have prepared for that and don’t even have the privacy of your own room?
I’m not saying you don’t have social anxiety. I’m trying to understand how one situation would cause so much stress while the second situation relieves that stress. I’m left not understanding at all and probably neither does your roommate or your friends. It probably gives the appearance of not really having social anxiety even though you do.March 10, 2019 at 12:40 pm #836336
The not safe thing. Come on. You feel anxious. You are perfectly safe to sleep in your bed. Lower the drama level. Also as said above wih betrayed and stabbed. She had people to dinner she didn’t run over your puppy. I get you feel anxious, I have anxiety too, but no one is making you unsafe by having flipping dinner.
My guess is, that if you use those words with her, she is beyond over it.
March 10, 2019 at 1:31 pm #836342
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by JD.
“another issue is that we share most of our friends. they all know of the situation and have told me they think she is being unfair and mean and that they’re sorry for me. they all still hang out with her, however, in groups, at occassions i was never made aware of. i know realistically i can’t make people choose sides or get involved but i feel like they are then approving of the way she’s treating me. that i have been ripped out my social life so my roommate could still go out and have fun and not care about her actions while i am left sleeping on couches, panicking that i deserve all this and i will be left friendless.”
You’re complaining about two opposite things here. You complain that she doesn’t give you enough time before inviting people over although even over a weeks warning wasn’t enough time. Then you complain when she goes out with friends as if that is also a betrayal. Are you expecting that she must take you with her everywhere she goes or she can’t go out at all? That’s what it sounds like. You don’t like her having friends over, even with a lot of notice, and you don’t like her going out without you. That makes you sound terribly controlling. It sounds like you want to be in charge of her social life. It sounds like you want to be involved in every aspect of her social life. You feel betrayed if she has people over and you feel betrayed if she goes out without you. You are expecting her social life to revolve around you. Life will never work that way.
You will only be friendless if you try to tell your friends who they can see and that they are betraying you if you aren’t always included. No friend must include you always. No friend will be joined at the hip. If you are so stressed by being around people why aren’t you relieved when they sometimes go out without you? They aren’t having a social life at you. They are having a social life. They are living their lives in a social way that you don’t like and want to make change. That’s you being controlling and it won’t work.
It’s sad that you actually want your friends to take sides and choose you and exclude her to punish her for your social anxiety. If you push for that you will have no friends. No one will put up with that.
You also use wildly exaggerated language. Comparing her having a few friends over to your apartment is not even slightly equivalent to her stabbing you repeatedly in the stomach. It isn’t even a betrayal. If she was inviting people to come over and use your room it would be a betrayal. If she invited someone to move in without asking you and getting your consent it would be a betrayal. If she quit paying rent or utilities it would be a betrayal. A few friends over for a visit is just a normal part of life.
It’s fine if you can’t deal with it. You now know you probably shouldn’t have a roommate but that doesn’t make her a terrible person. Keep working on this in therapy and try to be as understanding of your friends as you want them to be of you. I actually hear nothing in what you write that says you have any understanding of any of your friends. It’s all very self-absorbed and me, me, me.March 10, 2019 at 2:09 pm #836344
It really sounds like you are in need of serious therapy and edging toward a breakdown. Feeling forced to abandon friends sounds crazy (you seem like a person who doesn’t make friends easily) as does feeling driven out to sleep on friend’s couches. He are currently cloistered in the protective environment of your college. The real world isn’t quite as obliging and you are going to need to learn to deal with/avoid your panic attacks and function around groups of people who start out as strangers. It sounds like a large fraction of the dinner guests invited by your roommate are also your friends. Try to be happy to see them. How do you manage attending class? Also, you say that you and your friend share a house. A house should provide a lot of space for you to hide out from the guests? Why is couch-crashing more comfortable?