How to Deal with Relationship Drama in College

In high school, I never encountered any negative “gossip” about me or my peers. To me, life in high school was perfect.

I had my close group of friends, my wonderful family to come home to every day, and tennis practice, where I could have fun and release any tensions I felt during the school day.

Yes, life was perfect.

Now imagine surviving high school without any drama whatsoever, then coming to college with the notion that people are universally accepting and friendly. Reality was about to give me a giant slap in the face.

I planned to live with my doubles partner in a two-person dorm for the first year of college. I knew her months before arriving to campus, and I thought we had built a really strong, trusting relationship.

For the first couple months, things between us ran smoothly. We went to the dining commons together every day, along with some other teammates, and we set ground rules for keeping the room clean and notifying each other when we had friends over. We biked to tennis practice together and always talked about the hilarious things that happened to us during the day.

Then all of a sudden, on a cloudy November day, the talking stopped.

I had no clue what I said or did, but I was suddenly receiving the cold shoulder from my roommate, teammate, and friend in response to every sentence I uttered. When we were both in our dorm, there was nothing but silence. She no longer texted me to eat with her at the DC, but my other teammates (also freshmen) went with her instead. This continued for four days straight.

I was confused, angry, but most of all I was hurt. How could I fix something that was obviously problematic when I had no idea what I even did wrong?

It was not fair and it certainly was not considerate of her (ergo the anger and frustration) but I knew I had to solve this somehow, and if not, I at least had to know what I did to deserve such neglect. Because I had never experienced such animosity in years past, I was scared and uncertain of how to address the subject.

So I did the thing that scared young girls typically do in the situation…I bought her a Starbucks frappucino and wrote her a nicely worded letter saying I was sorry (again, for something I didn’t even know about). She received the drink and note while I was out of the room and proceeded to text me saying everything was fine and we can go back to being friends.

So I thought I was off the hook…

This is not how you handle this type of situation ladies and gentlemen.

In the months that followed, I was repeatedly talked badly-or rather horribly-behind my back by the same girl. When I found out about the things she said about me to not only her boyfriend and family but to my other teammates, I immediately broke down in tears.

How could someone who I treat nicely and respectively treat me like complete garbage? How long can she keep up this “friend” image that is clearly fictitious?

I never thought girls could be so hurtful and mean, especially to those who never intentionally cause them harm. Some girls may have seen it in high school, and think it’s over when they get to college. DO NOT underestimate the power of gossip at any age level. Drama can continue especially when you live with girls in the dorms or are on a women’s athletic team.

While it may be hard to accept the fact that people will talk about you, both positively and negatively, you can combat that “trash-talk” effectively if you know the proper strategies. I guarantee that at some point in your college career, you will experience relationship drama that puts you and your friends in uncomfortable situations.

Here is my strong advice on how to handle this college drama:

  • Always maintain open communication with your roommate. If one of you stops talking or starts acting strange, just discuss the situation before things get out control and feelings get hurt.
  • Let your roommate know when you are having a friend/group of friends over to the dorm. Typically, the amount of people you can have in your room is very limited, and crowded spaces can become frustrating. If your roommate is out of the room all day, just a quick text will suffice.
  • If a problem arises in which one roommate is unaware of his or her wrongdoing, just confront that person about the issue in question. The truth hurts, but trust me, it hurts more when you hear it from someone else.
  • If you are confused about why your roommate is suddenly giving you the silent treatment, just directly ask them if there is a problem. Hopefully you will get a response and then discuss a solution. DO NOT send an apologetic text when you don’t even know what you did wrong. This must be through face-to-face interaction.
  • Keep roommate issues between you and your roommate. Dragging third parties into the conflict is only going to make things worse (i.e. more gossip, more opportunities to bend the truth, feelings are hurt)

Above all, direct communication is key. Although texting and social media outlets are becoming more and more common in today’s society, it is verbal, face-to-face communication that is the most effective, as emotions and opinions can be accurately perceived by both parties.

It is also vital to avoiding the potential relationship drama you will face in college.

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Megan Heneghan

Megan Heneghan

Megan Heneghan is a junior at the University of California, Davis pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Communication, as well as a Spanish minor. She is originally from Orange County, where she grew up playing tennis. She is currently a member of the UC Davis Women’s Tennis Team. When she is not studying, she enjoys singing, reading, and cooking all different kinds of food. She also loves spending time with friends and family.
Megan Heneghan

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