Q: Dear chereen,
I have a question. I’m finding it hard to live with my housemate at university. She is an emotionally draining person and I feel exhausted all the time. She makes little snide comments here and there, has a fake niceness, is only occasionally genuine. I feel like she doesn’t really care for my well-being and has subtly expressed happiness when things are hard for me/if things don’t go right. It’s okay to distance myself from her but still be civil, right?
A: Dear Roommate,
There is no rule that states that you have to be best friends with your roommate. In fact, you don’t even have to be friends at all. However, you have to be acquaintances if you want to prevent yourself from being absolutely miserable. My biggest concern is that you have given her that much power over your emotions. Why is she so in control? And tell me, why do you care so much? I take it that you would have liked to have a relationship with her but she let you down.
Keep your distance, be discreet, and only speak to her when you have to. She’s clearly draining your energy and that’s going to affect your university performance. Be nice. It’s definitely important to be civil because drama is unnecessary.
I do recommend considering finding another roommate for your own benefit. As an academic coach, I noticed that grades didn’t drop out of a lack of intelligence, but as a result of outside factors such as yours. There are also students who don’t know what priorities are, so they eventually lead themselves to their own downfall, but that’s a separate case.
Don’t give her this much control over you. Limit what you tell her, and focus on everything else but her. She’s simply your roommate and nothing more.