Short Stories: It's not you, it's me: how to tell your friends you can't be roommates

Updated: Jul 16, 2019

Freshman year was a whirlwind year. One minute I was at orientation with my mother and all of a sudden I was in a new city, in a new state, in a prison-cell sized room, living just a few feet from a girl I didn't know, who happened to be from a whole other country. Luckily, I met a ton of people, some through class and some through random hang outs in the lounge areas. One girl I met was a few doors down from me. Let's call her Victoria. Victoria and I were the same major and were taking a lot of the same classes together so we hung out all the time to work on our projects and homework assignments together. Come spring semester, it was time for all of the college students to figure out where we were living for the following academic year. Victoria asked me to live with her and two of her other friends. Now here's what you don't know about Victoria. Victoria was easily one of the messiest people I've ever interacted with. Whenever she opened her door, it smelled like there was a rotting corpse in her room. A fine layer of soot coated the tiny corner window and the wall around it because our dorm was just off of one of the busiest streets in the city. Dirty laundry was all over the floor, half eaten fruit and sandwiches were left in open containers on her desk, her bed, and the floor. One time when I was in there briefly, I accidentally slipped on an apple core. Yes, it was that bad. Meanwhile I was raised to keep my living space immaculate. I mean, I dusted daily, sanitized weekly, and never ate in my room out of fear of attracting mice and roaches. So you can imagine my response to her question was a hard no. But how did I get out of it without losing a friend? I told her I was actually in the process of moving in with someone else. Who was that someone else? I had no idea at the time, but despite the brief disappointment at getting to me too late, Victoria was cool with it and we carried on for the next three years as friends through graduation. Victoria lived with many different people who all had their tales of Victoria's lair and I went on to meet my best friends and lived with them for the remainder of my college experience. I lucked out in meeting my best friends and one of them being just as clean and organized as me, but that isn't everyone's experience so maybe spare a lost friendship by saying no in the nicest way possible or just go along with a little white lie as I did. Whatever you do, just remember that the last thing you want to do is come home from a long day of monotonous classes led by a tenured professor to a place where you don't feel comfortable.

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