It was a few months before the fall semester of my freshman year and I sat huddled around a computer with one of my best friends, Rebecca*, on the phone waiting for our housing registration time. We had both been accepted to the University of Florida and immediately agreed to live together. It was a no-brainer; we had known each other since elementary school and had gone through the application process for our dream school together.
Finally, the time came. We eagerly entered our login information and started to look for rooms. Disappointment hit us right away: the dorm we’d decided on had no more doubles left. That would mean living in a triple with a random or finding somewhere else. The latter was out of the question; we loved the location and knew that’s where we wanted to plant the seeds for our first year of college.
Begrudgingly, we signed up for a triple and hoped our random roommate would be cool, figuring it’d be two against one if something went wrong. Turns out, the two-on-one prediction came true, just not in the way I thought.
We later found out who our third roommate was and looked forward the move-in date as we got to know her. When the day finally came, I was an unsettling mixture of nerves and sadness and excitement.
I had to get there first because I was doing band camp, which meant I didn’t really get to interact with our third roommate for about a month. Once I did, I realized I had found my friendship soulmate. We instantly clicked and bonded after a True Blood marathon that ended with both of us screaming about the finale. If you ask either of us when we realized we were best friends, we’ll both tell you it’s that exact moment. I couldn’t believe how lucky I had gotten and didn’t see how anything could go wrong.
Since Sam and I had gotten so close in such a short amount of time, Rebecca started to feel left out. She didn’t share a lot of our same interests and started getting involved with a sorority and focused on partying, which we weren’t really into. I realized we didn’t have a lot in common after all.
Now, there is definitely fault on my side. I should’ve handled the situation better and sat down and talked to her about it, but the tension broke when Rebecca completely exploded on Sam one night early spring semester while I was at a late class. She yelled vicious insults for almost ten minutes before storming out. Sam was understandingly upset and called me. I left class early to run back to our dorm and see what was happening.
We decided to call the emergency RA since we weren’t sure when she’d be getting back and we were both a little scared. We didn’t think she’d do anything, but we wanted to take some precautions to feel safe. Although she didn’t come back that night, the three of us had to schedule a meeting with a mediator to try and work out the differences.
The meeting, as you can probably guess, was absolutely horrendous. Rebecca had decided to freeze us out after the whole incident, which became really awkward two weeks later when we met with the mediator. It was a mess of cold statements and insults covered up by compliments until the mediator frustratingly told that if we didn’t get along, someone would have to move out. Being the one causing most of the problem, Rebecca realized what that meant and calmed down enough to finish the meeting.
The meeting didn’t do much other than make Rebecca more passive aggressive about her actions. Her way of dealing with the situation was now through angry stares, spiteful behavior and the silent treatment. Although it never escalated again, the situation was awkward and I didn’t feel comfortable in the space that was supposed to provide me peace.
When summer finally came, I had calmed down enough to reminisce the end of a friendship that had at one point meant so much to me. I’d been very close with Rebecca and couldn’t believe how everything turned out. The whole situation taught me that if a friendship isn’t working, it’s okay to let it go even if you’ve been friends for a long time. Nothing lasts forever and unhealthy relationships shouldn’t stay in your life.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything about my dorm experience and encourage people to try it. Even though I ended my first year of college with uncomfortable silence from an old best friend, the lessons I learned along the way and new friendships I gained made it worth it in the end.
*Names changed to protect privacy.