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Mailbag: I Hit My Roommate…How Do I Fix This?

Mailbag: I Hit My Roommate...How Do I Fix This?

My freshman year of college, my pledge sister slapped me. Hard — and in front of a LOT of people. We were at a fraternity house and were busy drinking and having a good time when seemingly out of nowhere, a girl in our sorority passed out on one of the guys’ beds. She was super wasted and looking back on it now, she probably should’ve been taken to a hospital. When I saw her pass out, I immediately turned to the guys and told them that they needed to help me take her home. While I trusted the guys immensely and knew that no one would take advantage of her, I still was not about to leave my good friend passed out at a frat house. Sorry. Not gonna happen.

The guys were all very nice and helpful and agreed that she should go home with me so that I could take care of her. But for whatever reason, my pledge sister (let’s call her Sam) did not want me to take her. She wanted me to leave the passed out girl, saying that we knew the guys and I was making a big deal out of nothing. Obviously, I got pissed. I’m fairly positive that in her drunk state of mind, she viewed me taking the girl home as the end of the party — and she didn’t want the party to end. Flawed (drunken) logic told her that as long as the girl stayed at the house, everyone could continue partying and having fun and so she wanted her to stay. When I said that under no circumstance was I leaving her and that only a selfish, shitty friend would be fine with leaving someone in that state, she got pissed and we proceeded to get into an all-out screaming match.

Our yelling attracted people from all over the house (including girls in other sororities) who proceeded to gather in the bedroom to watch these two drunken idiots argue over whether or not they should help their friend. After a few minutes of screaming and multiple failed attempts from the boys to get us to calm down, she said that if I didn’t wipe the smug look off my face, she’d do it for me. Entertained, I said “what are you going to do, hit me? You don’t have the balls. You want to hit me? Then hit me.” And then she did. It was the first and only time I’ve been slapped in my life — and it hurt. Drunk, embarrassed, and shocked, I immediately began to cry. Everyone rushed over to me and one of the guys kicked Sam out of the party. About thirty minutes later, one of the boys took a cab home with the girl who had passed out and me, helped me put her to bed, and then went back home to surely discuss the girl fight that had just occurred at the house.

The next morning, I woke up to twenty one text messages, six missed calls, and thirteen emails. We were in trouble. Big, big trouble. It didn’t matter that I had technically been trying to do the right thing, because in the eyes of standards, I had contributed to the embarrassment of our chapter. The campus was abuzz with stories from the previous night and the only thing anyone could talk about for weeks was the two Kappas who “beat the shit out of each other.” It was embarrassing and awful and while I got off with only a warning, Sam was banned from ever living in the house again and lost social privileges for a year. How she didn’t lose her membership is to this day still baffling to me. She never apologized and our friendship never recovered.

***

Unsurprisingly, that’s not an incident that I speak of frequently because, quite honestly, it’s embarrassing. I got slapped in front of about thirty people and by the next day, hundreds of people knew about it. It sucked and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was one of the worst experiences ever. Physical fighting is something that boys do, it is not something that girls do. But it happens. They happen. And so when I got the following email this morning, I felt compelled to respond.

Catie,

So I fucked up a little. Last night I hit my roommate and it was so so so bad. In my defense she totally deserved it but like violence isn’t the answer and all that. She got so fucked up and I was sober and angry and totally lost my shit. She starts screaming at me about how I’m a shitty friend and then she brought my boyfriend into it and I threw a punch. Now I’m faced with the problem of living with her after all this went down and I don’t know how… Also I’m gonna have to tell her at some point that I’m not living with her next year and I’m not sure how to approach that. Please for the love of God help me.

Thank you so so so much

You’re right. You fucked up. Violence is never the answer and while I know from personal experience that things happen, hitting her was still completely unacceptable. I get that drunk people are annoying and she sounds like she was being a real bitch, but her yelling at you is different from you laying a hand on her. Had the police been called, it would’ve been you who was put into cuffs, not your roommate. I’m not saying that to scare you, but I’m just trying to put things into perspective. It could’ve been a LOT worse — you could’ve spent the night in jail.

I’m guessing that after last night, the two of you have probably avoided each other all day and that is good. First you need to cool off and then you need to apologize. Yes, you. You need to apologize — and you need to do it soon. If you’ve yet to speak to her today, then you need to talk to her tonight and let her know how embarrassed you are of your actions. Be honest with her and tell her that you felt like you were being attacked and that she gets really aggressive when she drinks, but even still, it was you who ultimately crossed the line and you need to own up to it.

As far as chatting about living with her next year goes, don’t bring it up tonight. You’re both probably still very angry about what happened yesterday, and so now is not the time to chat about your living arrangements next year. It’s probably best to wait a few weeks, let tensions go down, and then let her know how you’re feeling. Tell her that given what’s happened, you think it would be best if the two of you didn’t live together next year and I think she will probably be relieved. No offense to you, girlfriend, but it’s likely that after last night, she probably doesn’t want to live with you either. Your friendship can definitely be repaired, as sometimes people can be great friends but just bad roommates. The important thing right now is to simply suck up your pride, apologize, and try to move on as best you can.

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Catie Warren

From Rush To Rehab (@catie__warren) is a semi-fuctioning adult who has been celebrating her 21st birthday for the past three years. She attended college in the nation’s capital and to this day is angry that Pit Bull lied to her, as you cannot, in fact, party on The White House lawn. Prior to her success with TSM, Rehab was most famous for being featured in her hometown newspaper regarding her 5th grade Science Fair Project for which she did not place. In her spare time, she enjoys attributing famous historical quotes to Marilyn Monroe and getting in fights with thirteen year olds on twitter. Email: catie@grandex.co

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