CASE STUDY: Our Best Friends May be Monsters in Hiding

By: Isabelle Resnick

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There is an old saying that says, “Good roommates make best friends, but best friends do not make good roommates.”

When you are going to be living with a stranger, it is expected that you might butt heads. The possibilities for who might end up sharing your living space are endless, so who knows what combination of a stranger’s personality traits will become a toxic recipe for disaster? In choosing to live with your best friend, you expect this familiarity to be a safe alternative to the former.

Hannah Rose’s take on living with a longtime friend at Humboldt State University is a strong case against that theory:

When I first moved here, I was so excited to move in to my dorm and to be sharing it with my on-again-off-again best friend. About a month before we moved to Humboldt, we got this handy map of what our apartment looked like, and we were assigned sides of the room. Each side had a number that you were specifically given, and all of the furniture on that side would have that number engraved on it.

My roommate/best friend was lucky enough to get there an hour before me, and, when I arrived, she had moved in on my side. I was furious, but my parents calmed me down and told me I would not want to start my college experience off with an argument.

Fast forward to a few months later, when we got into a HUGE argument about how I go out of my way for her, she walks all over me, and how she doesn’t respect me at all. I bring up the fact that she moved in on my side (thinking that at this point she may decide to apologize), but she almost proudly acknowledges that she did that on purpose because that side had more space and windows.

Later on in the year, I came home from an eight-and-a-half-hour shift at Taco Bell to find her and majority of the close friends I had made freshman year drinking in the room. Some were on my bed, one was in my chair, and I really wanted each and every one of them gone. I just wanted to be alone and relax. So I said hello, grabbed my PJs and books, and went to the living room to study.

Immediately after I left, they started gossiping about me. She went on and on about how awful I was to live with and that I was “such a toxic person to be around.” All of my “friends” were agreeing, and after hearing them talk nonstop about me for five minutes, I walked back in there. She immediately started crying, realizing I had heard, and the other people started asking her if she was okay. I grabbed some of my stuff, and they begged me to stay. I told her not to touch any of my belongings, and I’d move out as soon as possible.

Many things had been leading up to our friendship breaking up, but that was the last straw. In the days following, one of her friends repeatedly texted me asking me to return and talk things out with my roommate. I said no way! Turns out, that woman ended up moving in with my old roommate, and I ran into her last year. She told me that I was right, and that she was completely awful. She apparently been dying her hair a lot in their apartment and got a stain on the carpet. Her new roommate came home to find her painting the carpet brown to try to cover the stains!

At this point, these stories just make me laugh, but oh my, am I glad I just live with my boyfriend and dog now.

If you’d like to learn more about living in close quarters with others, check out our book: The Young Adult’s Guide to Surviving Dorm Life.

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