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College problems

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?

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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.

Sincerely,

Your sister in Islam

“Fatima X”

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Salaam sister,

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.

Sincerely
Your sister and well-wisher in Islam,

“Fatima U”

5 thoughts on “College problems

  1. Asalamoalaikum Sister,

    I know that your room mate has a different personality than you. The way to solve this is that you should not try to change your room mates personality. You tried and it did not work. Surround yourself with good friends in College. You can continue living with your
    room mate but once you meet other good girls in your college you will be happy. You tried your best to be friendly with your roommate so that means that you did your part and you do not have to feel guilty about not trying to be friendly with her. Just treat your roommate the way she wants to be treated. If she does not want to talk to you then do not try to talk to her. Once you find some other girl to talk to in your College, you will feel better. If you do not find any other girl then just be patient. Life is a test. Maybe you can find another roommate but in the meantime you have to be patient. Allah will reward you for your patience, inshaAllah.

    Sincerely,

    The Olive Tree

  2. Asalamu alaikum,

    It sounds like you are doing a phenomenal job doing way you can to cultivate a working friendship with your roommate. However, like some of the other comments say, some people just aren’t as sociable as others. I’m sure your roommate appreciates your sentiment, however it may behoove you to step back a little and let her grow into her own space. While stepping back, try to focus on your own happiness and comfort. At the same time, don’t completely stop trying to invite her to do things with you. Example– if you have a movie night in your home with your friends, definitely invite her or bring some snacks into her room. However, maybe she just takes a longer time to adjust to new situations. Who knows. I really like Fatima X’s idea of writing a letter to her expressing your concerns if there are still high tensions after you both settle into the semester some more. If all else fails, I’m sure your RA or your housing deptartment will be able to provide some more insight if your living in a dorm. No struggle is ever for nothing. May Allah ease the tensions with your roommate, and may you feel more anxious. Further, may Allah bless your situation to ultimately leave you with new insights and all that is good. Best of luck, Sister!

  3. Hi Sweetheart,
    You know what? You’ll look back in a few years and thank God for this experience. Your roommate, is a prime example of how people are in the world. Through her, you are getting an opportunity to learn- so learn.
    Your roommate is one person on this planet with a personality, traits, feelings, and habits of her own. For you to expect anything from her, is to expect too much. Let her be and give your attention to the remaining hustling and bustling college life which is going to pass you by really fast. And if you stop focusing on roommate…it’ll actually turn out to be fun too. Look outside your dorm room- there will be ten others who you CAN connect with you. Just because you are rooming together, does not mean you are meant to be friends. The sooner you accept that, the better.
    I was a bit surprised to read how much you expect out of her. My sister lived in dorms for two years and she was always a stranger to her roommate. One of her roommates would drink, party, come back drunk, throw dirty clothes all over the room….my sister just didn’t like her habits but never let it affect how SHE felt or how college was going to be for her. The next roommate was completely quiet…they would just say polite hellos and that’s it.
    Moral of the story: living together doesn’t mean you must be friends. Give her space and find your own too…the best part of college is, it’s full of people who you can find to be your lifelong friends. Go out and have fun, focus on your education, call/text the people who do care for you (parents/family)….take it easy sweetie. A roommate who wont eat or talk to you is probably the best thing you’ll remember in life lessons…she’s teaching you to not focus on closed doors for so long that you miss the ones which opened up for you.

  4. Salaam! I wanted to just echo “SeeTheLight”‘s great comment! I think we have all been in a situation where we have met someone and though we usually do not have a problem getting along with others, with this person it appears as though we are doing something wrong. I hope you can take the stress off of yourself when it comes to managing this relationship to be as close as you’d expect it to be. She is your roommate and usually roommates are close to each other. But, it looks like your roommate is just someone who is more quiet and likes to be to herself. She may have a few other friends, but that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you.

    I think you should continue to be friendly and kind because that is the type of person you are. But I would definitely tone down the usual friendliness and openness that you have with her, and not worry about the outcome of this relationship. Your sense of anxiety means you are exerting way too much effort in this relationship and not getting what you expect back. You need to start exerting less. For example, you can say hey good morning how are you? still be polite, have a simple conversation, or maybe even very occasionally invite her out for lunch or dinner, but do not feel disappointed when she says “no”. Her saying “no” does not mean you are someone who is not fun to hang out with, or you are someone who is incapable of making friends, it just means she, this one individual, prefers to have a different level of closeness with you.

    Maybe with time she will want the relationship to be closer, or maybe she won’t, but either way this is something that is out of your control and does not need to bother you. Enjoy the rest of your relationships.

    Hope this helps! I hope you can find a better roommate next year! 😉

  5. Salaam sweet sister,

    It must be tough having a roommate who doesn’t appear to have a similar approach to befriending their own roommate. I’m sure it would be easier if you guys could have totally hit it off and been so similar.
    Funny thing is that I was in a similar situation several years ago with a roommate I had. I consider myself a pretty friendly and likable person so it also bothered me at first that mine also was pretty much to herself no matter how friendly I was or tried to engage.
    Over time, I realized a few things. First, I like what both of the Fatima’s have said, and even the tone of the image on this post, especially about creating your own happiness and not feeling the responsibility to make her happy or the need to feel close to, or accepted by her. Once I started to embrace that my happiness wasn’t dependent on my relationship with my roommate, I really enjoyed other aspects of my life and more so, learned to appreciate a little more of “me time” than I was used to. I started reading, reflecting, journaling, and mostly just started appreciating myself more and grew so much as an individual. I also got more engaged in other activities, social and otherwise, outside of my apartment, but most importantly, started feeling more comfortable with quiet time with myself in my apartment.
    Every so often, I would still offer to share a meal or just offer common courtesies like “hey, how’s it going” or “how was your day,” but never expecting much of a response so on the days she felt like responding or engaging, I would engage further, and if she didn’t engage, I’d carry on with whatever I wanted to do myself. This helped me feel I was still the same friendly person I always had been, without expecting others to have the same personality as me.
    Eventually, I got to know her better and found out she was a pretty quiet person, not too social, but a very nice person. However, when I say not too social, she did tell me of many instances when she went out with other friends, etc, but I just accepted that she was the type of person who was pretty content with the friends she had and didn’t like to make too many new friends and that it wasn’t personal. I also felt maybe it was because she knew a roommate might be gone after a year so what was the point of getting close to someone who might not be around too long. Either way, I concluded and felt comfortable that she handled the roommate situation in the way that was in her own comfort zone and suited her personality, and that implicitly led me to create my own comfort zone.
    Nonetheless, she and I never become too close and would only interact for more than a couple minutes once every few weeks, but I realized it was a great experience for me to become more comfortable with myself and felt less of a need to feel accepted or friends with everyone, and also motivated me to start exploring more things I enjoyed, alhamdulillah!
    I’m not sure if this is beneficial, but just wanted to share with hopes that it might ease some of your anxiety.
    Wishing you an awesome year ahead!