It’s impossible to live in close proximity with another person and never get sick and/or angry every once in awhile. To think otherwise would be a lie. The key thing to remember about the first fight is that it’s inevitable. No friendship can endure the test of time without having moments of tension.
The problem with the majority of roommates is that they think they will be the pair to avoid it. They think that, if they just ignore the problems, eventually it will go away. This is a rookie mistake and can be extremely costly if a roommate pair isn’t careful.
I still remember our first, and probably only, fight. We had made it through the majority of our first year at Calvin. Then a conflict arose and became the elephant in the room. I made the mistake of trying to avoid it. I stayed away from the room at all costs, and suddenly started getting ‘extremely busy.’ The last thing I wanted to do was confront her and talk it through. I figured I could just avoid it and it would either go away or our friendship would fizzle out (I was also being pretty dramatic at this point).
It’s by the grace of God that we eventually confronted the issue. Tensions were still pretty high the night before I was flying home to New York for the summer. We went out to Applebees with friends and stayed up late. We stayed up late enough that, when I went to set my alarm for 4 a.m., I accidentally set it to 4 p.m. in the afternoon. It’s not hard to figure out what happened next.
6 a.m. rolled around and we drove frantically to the airport. I prayed furiously, promising God I would talk to Grace if only I could somehow get another flight for free. When I ran into the airport and found a transfer flight for free, I looked up to God and rolled my eyes. I walked back to the car, and we had our first serious conversation. We talked about our problems, anxieties and issues. Through this difficult process we became closer than ever.
Our first fight taught us how to communicate with each other. We learned to stop letting our irritations fester, and instead deal with all problems directly and honestly. Though it was stressful at the time, I’m so grateful I missed that airplane so we could talk it out.
I hope no one else reaches the point I was at: where God literally needed to intervene to force me to talk to my roommate. I promise you that talking rather than letting problems go is a much healthier approach to all roomie-ships. This was an important lesson I am still grateful for learning. The only downside was the timing. Right after we made up, we moved directly into the hardest stage: our first separation.