Breaking up a ‘friend family’

When your friend group falls apart, what’s left?

It’s close to 6 p.m. on a Tuesday and I can’t help but worry about how this is going to go. 

Sitting in the kitchen, I wonder what initially caused all of this. As I reread the text Kitty sent out earlier: “Hey ladies! Family meeting today at 6:00. Be there,” I shift my phone nervously from hand to hand, waiting for Crystal and Jenny to join Kitty and I at the table.

So, what was it that caused Kitty to call for a “family meeting”? Clearly, it must have something to do with the awkward tension between Crystal and Jenny. Was it because Jenny went to her friend’s apartment without inviting Crystal? No, it couldn’t be that, could it? That happened the second weekend at school. Surely, Crystal would be over it by now. I mean it’s halfway through the first semester for goodness’ sake. Plus, Jenny meant no hard feelings by her actions. Maybe it was because of the way Crystal confronted Jenny after Jenny chose to go to a frat party instead of joining Crystal and I downtown for First Friday in Old City. But, maybe that was simply Crystal’s way of trying to talk things out. She didn’t mean to have the discussion come across as an aggressive attack.

When one arrives at college, he or she is forced to create a “family,” in a sense. Moving away from home is challenging in itself, but finding a new group of friends to rely on can be tough as well. Whether it is freshman year or senior year, friendships play a major role in a student’s well-being and can either contribute to or even hinder one’s success. Locating that group of individuals that mesh well together enough to keep you going can often be the biggest roadblock in a college student’s social life.

The best way to describe  my current living arrangement would be to imagine throwing a tiger and a sheep in the same cage, along with two handlers. Crystal is a brave Bengal and Jenny is the meek sheep. And then there’s Kitty and I, who always seem to find ourselves in the middle.

The bickering between Crystal and Jenny was starting to take a toll on Kitty and I, but Kitty had had enough. She hated seeing two of her closest friends not speak to each other even as they lived in the same apartment.

“I’m f–king miserable,” Crystal said as she turned to face Jenny, who was sitting right next to her now. “And there’s no denying this meeting was called because of the two of us.”

Yet, Jenny sat there with her knees pulled to her chest with her arms wrapped around them and her eyes facing down.

“Jen, isn’t there anything you want to talk about or get off your chest? If so, now’s the time to do it,” I said, worrying that my roommate was going to miss out on the opportunity to say what I already knew she felt inside.

“Nope. I don’t have anything to say.” Jenny barely raised her eyes for more than a second.

That was months ago. The time between then and now has been filled with nothing but the slamming of doors, dirty looks, frequent arguments and the silent treatment at its best.

It really is amazing what a year can do to a friendship. When friends move in together it often puts a strain on the preexisting relationship, one that often doesn’t end well.

The final straw broke on a Wednesday in February. Jenny had her head down while walking to class and didn’t see Crystal say hello to her. Sure enough, Crystal took it to heart and too far when she later texted Jenny freaking out at her for not saying “hi” back. Well, that was it. Jenny had finally had enough, packed her bags and went to her friend’s apartment all while threatening to move out.

If all things had gone smoothly and the four of us had developed that familial bond, maybe we’d all be living together again next year. However, that oh so desired “family” connection never clicked for us. Plus, with Kitty and I getting an apartment together, Crystal going off to live in a house off-campus with some of her friends and Jenny doing the same with hers, I doubt that “family” connection will ever occur among the four of us. And after a year like this, who could blame us for going our separate ways?

Chelsea Rovnan can be reached at

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