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Did I handle this roommate conflict the wrong way? What to do in the future?

Sugarrrs290Sugarrrs290 4 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
To start off, sometimes I lack social skills and I struggle with panic attacks. From the beginning of the year, my college roommate and I would talk a little bit and stuff, but as the 1st semester went on, she was really quiet. I will say she was out of the room more than me (she had a job), but when she was in the room, she never talked to me first. (Though in the summer she did say she was an introvert before school started). I would sometimes try to be friendly like offering her cookies. She would say, "No, I'm good." She was coughing one day and I offered her some cough drops. She was like, "Oh, I'm good. I just have lots of phlegm sometimes." I responded, "You know, they have medicine for that." She didn't say anything after. I just got bad vibes from her. She didn't smile enough, and when she did, it looked fake. She was really guarded. I noticed when she did her makeup in the room, she would turn her back to me if I walked by her side of the room. She did the same at night. I would walk by her side of the room and she would turn her chair while she was wiping off her makeup...At night, she would purposely not face me if she hung something in her closet. She kept her back to me as she walked back to her desk. Then, mid-semester, she started doing things that bothered me, such as changing menstrual pads in the dorm room (our beds are lofted with desks and drawers underneath, so I never saw her do it, but I could hear the wrapper when she was at her desk and I know she threw them in the trash. She at least wrapped them, but still), leaving her desk light on way too late/early, not taking out the trash as much as me, using my plastic silverware too much (I said she could also use it, but I hid it because she used it too often) and leaving her laundry basket in the way. Eventually, we had bed bugs. I asked her if we were going to get reimbursed for this, and she looked uncomfortable and didn't say anything. Then I was like, "You don't know, do you?" She said, "Yeah, sorry Idk." She was super grumpy the day we bagged our stuff and slammed the door a few times. She also glared at me and seemed really irritated that whole week.

I told the RA that I didn't feel safe, it was an unfriendly environment, and I was scared she'd judge me if I confronted her about the tidiness. My roommate was irritated that I didn't talk to her first, and basically implied that I was being immature, and she said "Saying you don't feel safe is a very bold claim to make, and I don't believe you're scared of me..."
*During the RA meeting*
Roommate: "Issues should be discussed with the roommate first before going to the RA because that's what mature adults do."
Later- "I have a right to be upset. Why did you say I made you feel unsafe???"
Me: "Because you glare at me, and stomp around and slam the door. Wouldn't you be scared?"
Her: "....What? But it's not like I threatened you. Saying you don't feel safe is a very bold claim to make. I don't believe you're scared of me."
Me: "That's because I told my parents about this and they told me not to act scared so I don't give you power."
*Later in the meeting*
RA: "How would you like your relationship to look?"
Me: "professional"
Roommate: "Fine. Whatever."
Me: "Also, sanitary napkins should be changed in the bathroom- I looked this up. Body fluids spread disease and pests and that also makes me feel unsafe."

After we both signed the roommate agreement, my roommate burst out of the room in tears and slept somewhere else that night.
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Replies to: Did I handle this roommate conflict the wrong way? What to do in the future?

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22414 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Why is this coming up in the summer? Are you going to be roommates again?
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1557 replies25 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I gather you are brining this up now in an attempt to avoid a problem this year. You are wondering could I have handled this differently?

    Honestly, what you described was cringeworthy in more than one instance. I'm sure you learned a lot and don't need us to tell you that. IMO, your concerns and actions were valid. Just move forward and chalk this up to a life experience.
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  • CTScoutmomCTScoutmom 1940 replies9 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    No, you didn't handle it poorly. How were you going to talk with her about these issues if every time she was in the room she turned her back to you. She wasn't open to discussions. Yes, you felt unsafe - just because she didn't understand doesn't invalidate your feelings. You are now more aware, and will maybe speak up sooner if you see trouble brewing. Don't dwell on it - maybe you will be good friends with your roommate this year.
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  • Beenthere22Beenthere22 48 replies6 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Yes and no. My daughter went through a bad roommate situation where the roommate would not speak to her - except to respond if spoken to directly. This is unfortunate, but there really isn't much you can do about it, except try not to let it upset you. Similar situation witho her choosing to turn her a back on you. Otherwise, I agree with Happy1's comments. Some of your concerns are legitimate (especially regarding hygiene - that's just gross).
    Ideally, you would have spoken to her earlier on, and first asked her if there was anything you were doing that was bothering her, and then asked her to use bathroom trash, take out her own trash more often, and not use your utensils. If you guys couldn't get along after that, you should then go to RA. Use of term "not feeling safe" was a real escalation. Fear of being judged isn't really the same thing as fear for personal safety. There are a lot of better terms for feeling uncomfortable.
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  • Sugarrrs290Sugarrrs290 4 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    Well....there is even more to this situation.
    2nd semester, she apologized for making me feel uncomfortable and brought me oreos. Then everything was friendly. However, my guy friend started talking to her even after I told him the weird stuff she did. One day he invited her to go to the mall with us when it was just supposed to be us 2. I talked to him individually and didn't want him to be friends with her because I was scared she'd talk behind my back.
    Eventually, my college roommate sent me this long text at the end of the year, confronting me for everything I said to her. She basically said I had a condescending attitude, that I was judgmental, and didn't belong in the psychology field (my major).

    For example, one time (in person) she said, "I'm not trying to avoid the room or anything, I'm just not here most of the time because I've been working a lot." I said, "Oh, I don't have a job because my parents have good jobs, and I got lots of scholarships because I'm smart, or at least that's what people say."

    She also was talking casually about how she hoped her skin didn't look too oily. I was like, "let me see." She says, "uhh no...." I was like, don't worry I won't judge." I got up in her face and looked at her skin and said, "Oh, you just have large pores. I have small ones."

    There was also a time when she asked if the school internet was working for me. I said, "Yes, I have unlimited data on my phone." She also showed me her theatre headshots a different day, because she wanted her top 10 chosen for the photographer to edit. I said, "To edit this, I would take out the red part on your forehead, and then sculpt your cheekbones, but idk what the acting industry likes".

    She also said she was aware I talked behind her back to my guy friend. Those were just a few things she confronted me about in her text. Those were basically how the interactions happened. Did I sound that bad?
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  • Sugarrrs290Sugarrrs290 4 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    edited August 8
    No joke. I guess I was just surprised she was so upset with me. I didn't realize what I said sounded that rude. She was a couple years older, and I thought she believed she was better. When we first met, she asked me if I was working and she said, "Oh I didn't work freshman year either, but I like having a job because I don't have to worry about asking my grandma for money." Idk....sometimes I felt like she gloated about it and thought she was more mature than me. That's why I made the comment about the scholarships. I also noticed her parents never came over. I never met them, but mine would come every 2 weeks or so and bring packages. I felt like she always gave a disapproving look, like she thought I was a baby or something. She was very on edge around my parents and never said hi or anything.
    edited August 8
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33093 replies358 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'd be upset with you, too. Something turned her off and it seems your reaction was to get a bit huffy about it. She's busy and a bit introverted and that wasn't good enough for you. You collected a list of ways she offended *you.* Yes, I think you were off base.

    She doesn't owe you interaction. No rrommate does, although we all hope for pleasantries. And you decided she thought she was better than you?? So you responded with a little gamesmanship?

    Um, Nope.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 37814 replies2063 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Why does this even matter? You're not rooming with her this year, are you? I don't know why you're delving into so many details. Learn from the experience and move on. Be unfailingly kind and polite and don't take offense at every little action.
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  • happy1happy1 22649 replies2223 postsVerified Member Senior Member
    At this point I second @MaineLonghorn suggestion that you seek out counseling and work on your social skills. Understanding that your roommate wasn't perfect, there is nothing you have written which shows that you understand or take responsibility for anything you did wrong in this relationship. I hope you have a single next year.

    And FWIW I would absolutely not be thrilled if their roommate's parents showed up in my dorm room every other weekend. IMO it is time you start to become more independent.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8734 replies321 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You got "up in her face" when she told you not to and you're surprised she didn't want to be friends? It sounds like you overstepped a lot of boundaries. You don't get to tell people who they can choose as friends. Telling someone not to be friends with her because you're afraid she'll talk about you behind your back while you're busy trashing her behind hers isn't very mature.

    You might want to think about asking your parents to set up some counseling appointments for you. It wouldn't hurt to get some coaching on social skills. If you behave that way when you start working you won't keep your job very long.
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7939 replies158 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I hope so. Because I would hate to think of some poor unsuspecting girl being treated this rudely by anyone.

    To be honest, based on what you've said, I would have advised my daughter to file a request for a new roommate ages ago. I wouldn't want her to room with you.

    I agree with the suggestion for counseling.
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  • Sugarrrs290Sugarrrs290 4 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    I guess I'm just curious- when is it okay to tell an authority figure you don't feel safe? Because I was scared....
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