How To Deal With Your Roommates Becoming Friends With Your Friends, According To Experts
When people from different parts of your life meet and form their own relationships with one another, it can feel a bit weird, even if it seems like that should be a good thing. Be it tinges of jealousy for their newfound friendships, or the sometimes arduous process of navigating new boundaries, these circumstances tend to make you feel all the feels. And yes, this can even happen in your very own living situation, when your new roommates and your pals meet and really hit it off. But learning how to deal with your roommates becoming friends with your friends is not impossible. It just takes a little bit of understanding on your part, and some good ol', healthy communication skills from everyone involved.
Above all, it's important to not be too hard on yourself for feeling weird about these newfound friendships. Trust me, I've experienced this in a variety of ways: I've dealt with having a crush on a roommate who seemed more interested in pursuing my friends than me. I've been low-key annoyed to come home and find my bestie hanging out in my living room when I wasn't the one who invited her there. And yes, I've been on the other side of this struggle, too, where I'm the one who gets close with one of my roommate's friends, and they get a little salty over it.
In the end, though, I got through all of these situations — admittedly, with varying degrees of emotional messiness. But hey, if I can do it, you can too, especially with the advice of some experts. Here's how you can handle those weird feels when worlds collide, and your roommates start becoming friends with your friends.
1. Think About Why It Bothers You In The First Place
Texas-based counselor Heidi McBain suggests asking yourself some questions about what, precisely, seems to bug you so much about the idea of your friends getting chummy with your roommates.
"Are you scared they might like each other more than they like you?" she tells Elite Daily. "Are you sad that the dynamics in the group are now changing? Are you mad that you don’t have as much say now in what you all do together?"
Being clear about this with yourself might help clarify how to deal with the situation in a way that best suits everyone, McBain explains.
2. Get Some Outside Input
If you're really struggling with this, and it's bothering you all the time, try to get a little outside perspective on the situation. The fear of being left out in the midst of these newfound friendships is totally normal, but if it becomes something that you just can't shake, McBain says you should find someone totally neutral to give you some advice on the matter.
"Counseling can help you pinpoint what is going on for you in this situation, so that you can come from a more positive, healthy place when you’re dealing with any changes in your life," she tells Elite Daily.
3. Participate In Activities All Together
Try to participate in some fun with both of them, even if you feel like totally ditching.
"If your roommates and friends invite you along to a BBQ, movie, or hangout night, try to join in the fun," says Doctor Fran Walfish, a family and relationship therapist in Beverly Hills. "It's a perfect way to bond and get closer with everyone [as a group]."
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?
4. Remember That Boundaries Are Always A Good Idea
Ohio-based counselor David Bennett says it's important to be clear about your needs in your living space and within your friendships.
"Discuss what boundaries feel right to you, and get the feedback of everyone else," he tells Elite Daily. "If you want some time without your roommates involved, then say so. If you feel hurt because your friendship is suffering, then be honest about that, too."
5. Talk It Out
Remember, these people care about you, and they are still your friends, which means you can, and should, talk to them about what's going on with you, says McBain.
"If you’re feeling left out, have an open and honest conversation with your roommate and your friends about how you’re feeling," she tells Elite Daily.
Bennett agrees: "If the jealousy is impacting your relationship with them, explain your concerns. Many people don't intentionally try to 'steal' friends. They might even think expanding the circle of friendship is a good thing."
Sure, it might be a bit difficult to be that honest with everyone, Bennett explains, but "uncomfortable honesty is, by far, better than weeks and months of silence and awkwardness, while bad feelings build up."
A few minutes of your time, he says, could save a friendship and keep your living situation intact. That's worth it, wouldn't you say?
6. Remind Yourself That Your Feelings Are Valid
This doesn't mean your friends and roommates should not be friends at all, if that's what they really want. But even so, remind yourself that a) it's OK to feel a little jealous in this situation, and b) it's something you are totally capable of dealing with in a healthy way.
"You've likely put a lot of time and effort in the friendship, and it can feel like your roommates are taking advantage of that, or that your friends like your roommates better," Bennett tells Elite Daily. "Have a little empathy with yourself."
7. But Watch That Passive-Aggression
According to Paul Burke, CEO and co-founder of RentHoop, it's super important to be upfront, rather than passive-aggressive, about the bond developing between your pals and roomies.
"It's not uncommon for roommates to be possessive of their food, clothes, things, and especially friends," Burke tells Elite Daily. "We recommend not acting passive-aggressive, as hard as that can be, if you're resentful [of] a relationship."
If you can't rise above the jealousy, Burke explains, "you'll likely end up losing the relationship with your roommate and your friends."
Hopefully, if you're ever in a situation where your friends and roommates seem to be getting a little too close for comfort, these strategies can help you find a way to handle it that keeps all of these different, important relationships as healthy as possible.