Sorry, Not Sorry That You’re My Friend, Not Friend

, , , , , | Friendly | March 9, 2019

My college has a great program where, if you work full time so many hours during the summer, in addition to getting paid an hourly wage, you get free room and board on campus! The first summer I do it, it goes excellently. The second, they put us in a different dorm, the one that was just constructed and consists of suites — two rooms with two beds each, two bathrooms, and a small common area — so I have three “suitemates.”

By pure coincidence, my suitemates are all equine science majors who know each other; I’m an English Lit major who doesn’t know any of them. I don’t want to bother them, so I mostly keep to myself and leave them to hang out together, thinking I’d annoy them or be intruding if I tried to force myself into their circle for no reason. I’m an introvert, anyway, so I don’t mind being on my own. They never once invite me anywhere or ask me to do something with them, giving me no indication they want me to hang out with them. They also never once complain to me, never giving me any indication they have a problem with me at all.

I have hyper hearing — I have to sleep with earplugs — and one day, I hear a strange noise or vibration in the walls. I’m sure it is just something up with the AC or heat, but at the time, I’m really curious to know what it is. My roommate has no idea, so I go into the “hall” and knock on our suitemates’ door to ask if they know what it is. That’s when the director of whatever movie we’re in suddenly decides to change the tone and atmosphere of the scene without warning.

1) The two girls act horribly offended that I would ask them this, like I’m taking a great liberty. Think how a parent would respond to a child demanding they choose a certain company to refinance their house.

2) They say, “You know, we’ve had a lot of problems with you.”

3) They finish by informing me, “We’ve gone to the RA about you.”

I’m sincerely stunned and don’t try to hide it. They’re stunned that I don’t get why they’re so upset. At least they’re willing to explain. Their first complaint is my steps are too heavy when I walk, creating too much noise at night. No, they’ve never once mentioned or even hinted at this to me at all. The second is that I’ve been “unfriendly” because I haven’t tried to be their friend… again, with no indication whatsoever that they wanted me to… make an active effort to be their friend…?

Since they claim they’ve gone to the RA already about this, I go to her. She confirms that she was planning to meet with all of us to share their concerns with me and walks with me back to the room. We have a conversation that consists of them repeating that they find my lack of trying to become their best buddy “unfriendly,” also using the phrase, “afraid of you,” and me explaining that they’re all friends in the same classes and I didn’t want to bother them. How was I supposed to know they wanted me to make an effort to be their friend? And why would they want me to if they really found me so annoying? Nothing about their feelings or their way of handling it makes sense!

It’s the only conversation that ever takes place on the subject, which I assume means the RA found it ridiculous. Nothing changes except that I start tiptoeing if I walk around after dark. It is the result of two forces: the stereotypical-but-in-this-case-100%-true female practice to never confront someone directly when you have a problem with them but spread rumors about them behind their back, instead — in this case, to the RA, since there is no posse of high-schoolers available at the time — and the pervasive fear of all loners — remember, anyone who keeps to herself is obviously up to no good!

My family and I still laugh about their immature behavior. It’s hands-down the best roommate story any of us have. I look forward to sharing it with my niece if she goes to college in the far future.

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