Several years ago, while I was in college, I shared an apartment with my best friend. But during the year we lived together, I learned that sharing a place with your best bud is a horrible idea.
We fought over all sorts of things, and quite frankly, I saw a side of her that was, well, kind of nutty. During that time, I learned she was a compulsive liar who suffered from delusional thinking. She thought quite highly of herself and would screw anyone over that got in the way of whatever crazy scheme she had going at the time.
When our lease was up and we’d both graduated college, she moved to Oregon. I stayed here, hoping to never see her again. Years passed with no contact, and then just last week, I got a mysterious text message asking how I was.
I responded with “Who is this?” Five seconds later, my phone was ringing. Curiosity got the best of me, and I answered. To my surprise, my old roommate (whom we’ll call Jessica) screamed in my ear, “Oh my god! It’s Jessica! I’m moving back to Memphis next week!”
My world came crashing down. In days, Jessica will be back in my life. She doesn’t know where I live, but she has my phone number. She knows where some of our old mutual friends live, and she’ll track me down soon enough. How can I keep her out of my life? Should I move out of the city?
--Running From My Problem
Throughout college and beyond, I’ve had one cardinal rule about roommates — never, ever live with your best friend. Boyfriends are fine. Acquaintances will do. But if you room with your best pal, you’ll certainly be enemies before the lease is up.
Of course, you learned this the hard way. Sounds like your old college roommate had more than a few issues, and living with her brought out her true colors. But don’t dismiss the fact that she’s been away for several years. A lot can change in a person over time, and maybe Jessica is new gal these days. I certainly wouldn’t recommend moving in with her again or even trying to re-establish your old friendship, but if she finds you, be nice.
You might try warning your mutual friends to keep your location or personal information secret. That way, you might be able to stave her off long enough for her to make a new set of buds here, and maybe then, she’ll be less interested in you.
But don’t forget that Memphis is a big small town. Everybody knows everybody, and people aren’t that hard to track down. You might bump into her at a restaurant or bar, and if you do, be polite. But take the situation as an opportunity to let your desire to maintain some distance be known.
Explain to her that you’ve closed some doors on your past, and you’d rather not have old relationships re-kindled. The only way to keep her from following you around is to make your intentions clear — you don’t want to be friends anymore. Tell her if you see her in public or with a mutual friend, you’ll be cordial. But make certain she knows your spare bedroom (or couch) is not up for grabs.
>Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at firstname.lastname@example.org.