Once you’ve made your friends at school, choosing a roommate can be as daunting as embarking on a serious relationship. You need to find someone you like, trust and know you will get along with. But this person doesn’t necessarily need to be, and in certain cases should not be, the person you call your “best friend.” Living with your friend may not be the best idea, and it can be troubling when he or she does not see eye-to-eye with you on this matter.
So what is proper etiquette for telling your friend that you two simply will not be “livin’ on a prayer” in the fall?
1. Honesty is the best policy
Though telling the truth can be risky, it is a useful approach to test the strength of your friendship. Bring your friend to a quiet place when you are both sober and tell him or her that living in such close quarters would be a bad idea. Just try not to sound like Gretchen in “Mean Girls” when she screams at Regina, “You can’t sit with us!”
This can generate a few different reactions. Your friend may be shocked by your suggestion, find the nearest object and throw it at you. She may hold back the tears and acquiesce because she is sensitive, but mature enough to realize how important it is to preserve your relationship. Or he can end up being totally nonchalant about it like any good frat boy and say, “Yeah man, whatever, it’s totally cool with me.”
James Kirdahy, a sophomore majoring in English, feels that telling the truth may be the best option, but not always the easiest.
“I think it’s important to maintain integrity in a friendship, but some people just aren’t as understanding as you want them to be,” Kirdahy said. “Of course it makes sense to be straight up with your friend about living with them, but even if you say it in the nicest way possible, he may still hold it against you.”
2. The little white lie
You start looking for an apartment with some people and purposely neglect to tell your one friend whom you would prefer not to live with. Instead of being the bigger person, you wait for your friend to approach you about housing. When he or she asks about your housing plans for next semester, pull a Shaggy and say, “It wasn’t me.”
In other words, you were blinded by a housing plan that transpired so hastily you did not realize what was flying. Be sure to say this in a rapid and baffling manner to reflect the way the events “occurred” to leave your friend speechless and defenseless.
EJ Brotons, a junior double-majoring in French and Chinese, believes that white lies are sometimes the necessary route.
“If the person is unstable and they are one of those friends you have to baby, then tell the white lie and save yourself the headache,” Brotons said.
3. The Post-it/whiteboard note
The “Sex and the City” episode where Carrie’s boyfriend, Jack Berger, breaks up with her on a Post-it note is a model for all who fear confrontation. “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.” are the infamously curt words that Carrie mulls over for the entire episode. This may scar your friend for life, especially if you write it on a whiteboard mounted on the door to his or her room. Leaving this impersonal message is to the point and no hassle for you. But be aware that your friendship might not make it to next semester.
Telling a friend you do not want to live together can evoke feelings similar to telling your significant other you need space. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to be around him or her anymore. It just means you have a great thing going and coming in closer proximity may be hazardous. You never know how they will bear the news, but delivering it cordially can lead to a positive reaction.