Dear Fatima, im a 20 year old girl in my third year of college and I’m going through a lot of problems with my roommate. She does not want to get to know me during these first few days since we moved in. Yes, sitting on your phone and messaging all day is fine and a normal part of hanging out when you already know someone really well or they are your Best friend but if you haven’t gotten to know that person so well yet I believe this really hurts the relationship.
Every time she doesn’t have class and she is at home the same time as me, my roommate doesn’t talk to me. I’m making all the effort to get to know her and even that is subtle in the end.
Furthermore, if I ask her to eat with me she says she isn’t hungry. She doesn’t give hugs. She is super personal about everything and has a huge fear of germs so she doesn’t share anything. She is really good at drawing but she doesn’t even show me her drawings because she says those are personal and private too. i just don’t know how I’m going to survive a whole school year with her. She has been giving me so much mental anxiety that I just don’t know what do.
please help me Fatima, she is the complete opposite of me, how can I make things better with my roommate without losing myself?
As Salaam Alaikum
I am so sorry you are going through such a hard time and especially since the semester just started. I can understand how difficult it can be with someone when you are putting forth all the energy. However, I think it’s important to remember that people adapt to new situations in different ways. You cannot control how she might adjust to the new situation, but you can control yourself. Give her some time and space and allow her to find comfort in the room. Hopefully eventually she will come around on her own terms. You can offer yourself and your friendship and leave it at that. Perhaps you can focus on yourself and your third year of school. Go about your business in a mature, respectful, confident manner. It’s likely this has nothing to do with you and that she might be going through something and just wants some quiet time alone. Be patient. She could also just be introverted – sometimes introverts have their own way to deal with new situations. They tend to like to analyze the situation around them, and then gradually start accommodating to the environment. It can be very challenging it is for her to talk to new people, being an introvert myself, I can tell you its very challenging. It’s not that I don’t want to know the opposite person, or talk to them, but it is more about “What should I say?”, “Is talking about this topic okay?” There are all possible kinds of questions wandering around in my head when I see someone new, and when someone tries to get me to talk or “open up”, it just becomes more awkward. Give her some time. Talk to her, if she doesn’t talk to you. Ask her questions on topics she’s comfortable talking about – if she has a hobby, ask her questions regarding that. Don’t go into the personal life stuff, she might not be ready just yet. Make her feel comfortable first. If it continues over the next month perhaps write her a note or email and explain to her that you are open to talk any time. She may be receptive to you taking initiative in a written form and you might be able to put this behind the two of you quickly.
Good luck, inshaAllah it’ll get resolved soon.
Your sister in Islam
You definitely are experiencing burnout as you’re trying your best to form a relationship with your roommate and she is not being open. It must cause you anxiety (as you mentioned) so my questions are; how are you taking care of yourself to handle this burnout? Other than trying to talk to her, what else have you tried?
It sounds like being a Junior at college is causing you stress as well on top of this roommate issues. I would recommend going to the college counseling center and seeing a therapist/counselor to help you manage the stress effectively. When you talk to someone who is trained in mental health care, you will be able to process and explore your own anxieties of wanting a connection with your rooomate as well as learn useful coping skills to manage expectations as well.
It sounds like your roommate might be having some problems of her own which could include trust issues. I would suggest that you try doodling/drawing in front of her and see if she reacts to that in any way. She might not be a talker but might open up on a different level. I also understand your frustration as you seem like a person who talks things out and expresses themselves verbally. You have to be mindful of this difference in personalities and figure out what will work with your roommate. It is definitely easier said than done. However like I stated above, you need a counselor to talk things through.
I hope this helps.
Your sister and well-wisher in Islam,