about what you have to say?
This past week I had some very interesting issues with my roommate. Not only did I learn that there truly are people in the world who are so self-involved that they’re unwilling to look past their own needs and wants, but I also learned that I have succeeded in building meaningful relationships with others.
While these two discoveries seem irrelevant to one another, they are connected.
This past Thursday, I tried speaking to my roommate about next semester’s room situation and told her that I wanted a forum among all four of us to speak out my thoughts. Just a little background info, this roommate has had very interesting complaints and has seemingly been unwilling to do her part of the bargain and take steps to make herself more comfortable (ie. she wants me and everyone else around to fix whatever is bothering her). Because of this, I have had to take extra steps this semester, change my routines, and do things I’m not necessarily comfortable doing for her to sleep comfortably.
However, her only rebuttal to what I wanted to have a conversation about was that I had a conversation earlier in the semester with my two other roommates (she wasn’t included but heard later from them – not me) and that she was happy with what I had told them. Thus, she said that I had no chance to change my mind about what I had told them.
Of course, I was angry and annoyed given everything. I tried telling her that I just needed a place to voice my thoughts and opinions (like grown adults) and she agreed. About half an hour later she came into our room and told me that she had changed her mind, and she didn’t want me talking to my other two roommates about what was bothering me. To top it all off she said “if you want to complain, complain to someone else. I don’t care to hear it anymore.”
And of course, this is all going to sound like stupid roommate problems to some of you, but it was quite a shock to have someone tell me for the first time in my life that my thoughts, my wants, my needs, are not important to them. For my entire life, I have tried to surround myself with people that I truly care about and who care about me.
So I feel like this has been a good life lesson and has allowed me to grow. The steps that I am now taking are:
- While I do have to live with her for the rest of the school year, I know for a fact that this is someone with whom I won’t be building a life-long relationship with.
- Return the favor. If to her what is important to me doesn’t matter, then what’s important to her doesn’t matter to me. (Of course, I still will be courteous as with any other stranger. However, it won’t ever go past that.)
- Finally, move on with my life. Someone like her isn’t worth my time nor is she worth my energy. I have found that I have a network of people who care about and support me. These are the people I will continue surrounding myself with and keeping close. These are the people who make me happy and who I want to make happy and help however I can as well.
A few weeks ago we were talking about a famous trolley problem in our legal studies class. The dilemma was, you are a trolley conductor and the brakes were gone, but there was an added lever that allowed you to switch lanes. However, in one lane you were to kill five people (tied to the tracks) and in the other just one (tied to the track). What would you do in that case? I asked a very close friend what he would do, and his answer was sweet though a bit gruesome. He said “I’m the type of person who would be willing to kill five people in order to save one who matters to me.”
Of course, that isn’t exactly the point of the trolley thought exercise, but it did remind me of something:
Surround yourself with people you’d be willing to give up everything for and who would be willing to give up everything for you. Even if that may only be a handful of people, those are the only ones you need to make you happy.
That’s not to say that you should entirely disregard others or the needs of others, but it is to say that if someone doesn’t care for you or what matters to you, then they simply don’t matter. Just do what you have to do, and forget them.
PS: I hope Thanksgiving was great for everyone out there!