Why You Shouldn’t Date Your Neighbor

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He’s the boy next door. Literally. So why can’t you have him? Because, my friend, you have made the sad mistake of taking your hallmate’s friendly instincts for flirtatious gestures. It can’t hurt, right? Wrong. He’s so close–it would be too convenient.

We all know the story. It starts with a drunken night of flirting with your neighbor, who, before this incident, you had only regarded as some quiet guy down the hall. After that night, you realize the damage you have done. You opened the door, and now you’re suddenly interested in interacting with your neighbor at any and all times possible. Clearly, you’re moving beyond the occasional “I barely know you” wave when you pass each other in the common room, so things must be getting serious. I’m not just talking interacting–you look forward to flirting with him now. Don’t you have his number, too? Oh yeah, you got it that one time he gave you and your friends a ride and now the rest is history. You find an excuse to text him, and from that day forward, the two of you are in what you deem to be a “flirtationship.” You are friends who flirt, but nothing more. You hang out in your mutual friend group, “play fight” in the common room, ask him to help you do boyish things, like build shelves for your closet, adjust your bed, and hang flags. You casually hang out in his room with him, and you have him hold your phone on your drunken nights out together.

You are buddies, and he has become your designated “boy to turn to,” which is exactly where you want him. Even though he thinks nothing but friendly thoughts of you, your mind whirls through the fantasies of what you two could be. Instead of someone slapping you out of your delusional whims, your friends and hallmates gossip about this boy with you. You come up with extremely rational reasons for why he likes you, and you plan how to make it happen.

“I know it’s going to happen. You guys just need to, like, get drunk together and something will happen, I know it,” says one of your friends.

Um, WRONG. Remember how he holds your phone for you while you’re drunk? Yeah, you’ve already been drunk together and NOTHING has happened. So, get that one out of your head. You think that he’s being all “boyfriend-ish” by doing you favors? WRONG. He’s being a friend and THAT’S IT. The sooner someone tells you this, the better off you’ll be.

Coming to terms with something that never really happened is probably the hardest thing to do. You didn’t really date (or even kiss for that matter) so technically you have no reason to binge watch Netflix on Friday nights while eating brownies. But you do have feelings, and that’s perfectly human and normal. Your rationale about your relationship with your neighbor, however, is not. He has no idea you even have all these thoughts.

Well, until it becomes so blatantly obvious that you like him and you quickly become the talk among all the boys on your floor. They tease him about you and your feelings, and this only makes your neighbor feel even more uncomfortable around you. Now, you’re the blissfully ignorant, lovesick girl who everyone looks at with mournful disdain. Aside from the fact you have created this “relationship” entirely in your head, now your whole floor knows how you feel about your neighbor and you have no idea that he even knows.

We all know that feelings are the worst creatures that inhabit your heart and consume your time (as well as your soul). It’s how you deal with them that will determine you and your neighbor’s fate.

Step 1
Now that you have faced the humiliation of the boys on your floor, it’s time to build up the courage to discuss your feelings with your neighbor. Choose a drunken night, corner him in his room, and talk it out. Tell him how you feel, ask him where he stands, and clear up every whirring thought you’ve ever had about him–just try not to freak him out.

Step 2
Give him (and yourself) some space. Even though you two were never really anything, you do deserve some healing time. Don’t mistake this step for pouting and being reclusive. It’s all about balancing between giving space and regaining your regular social standing within your friend group.

Step 3
Once you’ve given yourself some space–which will be difficult considering you live down the hall from each other (a week is good enough)–try to wade back into the once regular activity of hanging out in the common room together. If you act nonchalant within his presence, no one else will give a shit, either.

Step 4
Develop a sassy, comeback attitude. Chances are, your floormates won’t let up too easily. You’ve probably said some drunken things or done something to embarrass yourself, so be prepared to retort when a hallmate chooses to tease you.

Step 5
Move on. I know this is the hardest step, but you are the only person holding yourself back. Once you fully let go, you can feel free to move on to a life free of obsessing over a single person. Seriously, don’t do it. It’s not healthy.

You’ll be so much happier once you move past this, and you will show everyone what your neighbor is missing out on in the process.

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@katesland is a recent journalism grad from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo looking to connect people through her writing. She believes storytelling strings strangers together and can't wait to share her mind with the world.

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