Clash of the Alpha Males–Only One Gets out Alive

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When you hear the phrase, “This town ain’t big enough for the two of us,” do you picture rolling tumbleweeds and Clint Eastwood? Spongebob yelling at Patrick? Well I picture my dorm room at American University and my two roommates with the same suspenseful country music, and the same amount of fighting.

Living with two alpha males is stressful. Add four more alpha males, and it’s impossible. Mix it all together in a frat house, and you’ve reached another level of crazy.

My freshman year of college was great at times and stressful at others. I consider my situation unique. I lived in a triple with two other guys who were just like me: They liked going to parties and meeting new people. Our first few months together were great. We had classes together, we did work together, we partied together and ultimately we rushed the same frat together. We even visited each other during school breaks. Cue sappy music.

While we experienced an amazing first semester because of our similarities, our floor mates noticed that we differed a bit. When they came into our room there would be dirty laundry everywhere and trash cans completely full. Now I know most students have the same story of not keeping their room clean, but believe me when I say we made a garbage patch look clean. When people came into our room they were forced to walk over dirty laundry, candy wrappers and a few crushed beer cans. Usually we were nice and dug through our clothes to make a pathway where you could walk if you had small feet. People either hated us or loved us but either way you could probably find our names in a tweet with #collegeprobs at the end of it.

By the end of the first semester we still got along well. But something wasn’t right, and it was then that I began to realize that I was living with two of my carbon copies. Granted, this wasn’t the end of the world—it was the end of my peace of mind. We raged at each other for hooking up with the wrong girls, we fought over who got the last Pop Tart and we even argued about the temperature in the room. We were like an old married couple if that couple were made up of three angry men.

As we met more people, we began to dislike each other over the little things. I started to spend more time in the library, and they would wonder where I was. Then they got angry that I wasn’t hanging out with them. Before we knew it we were going into summer break. Realizing that there were much worse problems to worry about like finding summer jobs and internships, we made up with each other and forgot about the arguments.

It was after that summer when I found myself in the same predicament. Except now I was living with three other alpha males and the two from my freshman year. Fun, right? Things seemed to go smoothly until we began arguing about small things, just as we did during freshman year. We got mad at each other for taking long showers or for eating each other’s chicken tenders from the school cafeteria. Occasionally the arguments turned into wrestling matches, and I’m talking WWE Raw level. All six of us alpha males could never be wrong, and when we were, we acted like lions fighting over our pride.

Second semester of my sophomore year came around, and we were in the same frat. We took a new pledge class, and I hung around with the new guys and met tons of new friends. At this time I realized that preventing arguments between six alpha males is impossible. It’s like trying to feed six starving lions in the same cage. It just ain’t happening.

So, I turned my focus more towards school and finishing off the year well. I understood that we all had differences and when you live with someone for a long time, the smallest of things anger you. One of my housemates stayed up and studied longer than I did. Another was at his girlfriend’s more than he was home. It was the accumulation of all these little things that made me realize we didn’t necessarily hate each other–we just weren’t used to each other’s habits.

Sure, it hurts to lose an argument or get into a fight about something insignificant. But, we are roommates, brothers and, no matter what anyone says, best friends. We’ll probably get into more arguments in the future, but these guys ultimately made me who I am today, and I am a better person because of it. There are some people you love to kick it with but when you live with each other that’s a whole other story. So when SpongeBob says to Patrick, “This town ain’t big enough for the two of us,” sure, they were fighting, but in the end they remained best friends.

Niall is a junior Broadcast Journalism major at American University. He leads and active lifestyle and likes to go on adventures whether that’s walking through snow or running on a beach.

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