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Opinion

Ask Colleen: Getting rid of a clingy roommate

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November 2, 2016

Dear Colleen,

How do you deal with the stress of trying to make major life decisions? How do you know you have made the right choice?

-Major Decision

Dear Major Decision,

In all honesty, I wish I had the answer to this question because it would help me out a lot, too. The pressure of making the “right” decision can be overwhelming and there is always that idea that you may make the “wrong” one. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just look into a crystal ball and see the future? Just to get a glimpse, to know that everything turns out all right. That isn’t possible, so we’re all going to have to live with an unknown future. But on the bright side, it makes life just that much more interesting.

I could tell you to make a pros and cons list, but I think that response is rather boring. Also, I think making a pros and cons list sometimes makes you make things up just to fill the list, either good or bad. My best advice to you would be to not dwell on the decision but to look forward to the outcome. No matter what you choose there will be a new future awaiting you, which is exciting! This sounds cliché, but go with your gut. If something is pulling you toward decision A over decision B, choose A. I truly believe in trusting your own intuition.

The great thing about these decisions is that they can be changed. If for some reason whatever you chose doesn’t work out as planned, then you move onto something else. Recently, I’ve had to make some major choices regarding my last semester in college and my future career. It’s scary to think if I’ll graduate on time or if I will get a job. But I don’t worry too much about it, because everything always seems to work itself out.

Just remember that you have the power to make choices and no matter what you choose, it will be a learning experience. The best advice I’ve gotten about making decisions is to think half with your heart and half with your brain. Throughout your life you will be faced with some tough choices. Obviously, think it through, but don’t let it keep you up at night. Once you make a choice, embrace it and run with whatever comes your way.

Best,

Colleen

Dear Colleen,

I am a senior who is still trapped with a clingy roommate! I have a circle of friends that exists outside of our suite, but she does not. Whenever an event comes up that she’s interested in, she automatically assumes “we” are going. I have lost count of the amount of times I wanted to do something with my own friends but got stuck with her because I couldn’t come up with a way to tell her I had other plans. A big issue here is that my primary group of friends absolutely cannot stand her, so I can’t even invite her to join us without ruining it for everyone else. I don’t know what to do, because if I tell her I don’t want to hang out with her, I still have to live with her. But if I keep spending time with her when I want to be elsewhere, I’ll go insane. This is the third year of this, and I just want to have fun because it’s my last year here! Colleen, what should I do?

Best,
Independent Woman

Dear Independent Woman,

Oh boy, this is definitely a tricky situation. Obviously, it seems like this has been going on for a while and it’s clearly bothering you. The worst thing to do would be to suppress these feelings and then you’ll actually combust. What has to happen is a conversation and it’s probably not going to be the most pleasant one.

It seems like a couple of things are going on. 1. Your roommate has become too clingy. 2. Your other friends aren’t her biggest fans. Let’s tackle the first issue to start. Living in the same suite as someone, going to the same school and hanging out with the same people can become suffocating. It is only natural that you feel like she is clingy. With you guys spending so much time together, it has probably become her normal. She may not even know that she has become this way. That’s why a conversation needs to happen. If you don’t talk to her, you’ll end up trying to avoid her, which will only add to the tension. I’ve learned that running away from your problems actually doesn’t work. Surprising, right? Anyway, the truth always surfaces at the end of the day.

College is the time to be independent and meet new people; you don’t want anyone to hold you back from that. Talking to your roommate honestly about this is important. Explain to her that you want to explore and do various things on your own. I’ve totally been on both sides of the spectrum, the person who clings and the person who has a clinger. When I was honest and told them I needed space, that person respected that. I think your roommate will understand this and could possibly relate to as well. The conversation will allow her to give you space and to know why you need it. This is so cliché, but distant really does make the heart grow fonder.

Now lets talk about your friends that don’t like your roommate. Here’s the deal: This situation sucks. There is no way around it. Not all of your friends have to like each other, but they can be mature and handle themselves like adults. Once you have this conversation with your roommate, you will already be spending less time with each other and therefore so will your other friends. However, if they really don’t like her and can’t seem to get past that, then this is where you will have to make some choices. You might have to separate the two and hang out with each at different times. But I would hope that everyone could get along and handle this with maturity.

Overall, being honest is the best way to handle a clingy roommate. This way you can bring up the issue and have them become aware of what they are doing. Nothing will change if you don’t say anything. I would also reflect on your frustration towards your roommate. Could those friends who don’t like her influence this frustration? We all know how easy it is to fall into peer pressure. The build up to talking to your roommate will be worse than the actual conversation. Once the talk is over, you’ll feel so much better. Just be honest and tell her how you feel.

Best of luck,

Colleen

Colleen Brown is a student at UW-River Falls.