Dear Breakfast Brito,
My friend really wants to live with me, but I don’t want to. I love her, but I just don’t think we would get along if we lived together. How do I tell her I value her friendship too much to be roommates?
Props for realizing that this scenario won’t go well. This is a tricky situation. First things first: Do you have other rooming plans? If you’d already told someone else you’d live with them, or if you’re really hoping for a single, those are responses any reasonable friend would accept. You would only need to get into the fact that you don’t want to live with her specifically if you’re looking for another roommate.
If that’s the case, you could go one of two ways. You could always avoid confrontation by making yourself an entirely unappealing roommate. Drop subtle hints that lead your friend to believe that no one would ever possibly want to live with you. Talk about your frequent bouts of loud and disruptive sleep talking, or how you think showering regularly is a bourgeois convention. Make a lot of fake phone calls that lead her to believe you are running some sort of mysterious criminal enterprise out of your dorm room. Or get a significant other. If she still wants to live with you, not only is she a great friend, you’ll have to up your game.
I suggest calling in your current roommate for reinforcements. Have someone ask your roommate about you in the presence of your wannabe-roommate, and tell them to let off a stream of creative insults the likes of which cannot be printed in the Forum. Better yet, have them go completely silent, as if living with you is an ordeal too terrible to speak of.
If you prefer being “direct” and “open,” you’re going to have to have an uncomfortable conversation. This is one of the situations where honesty is the best policy but not…actual honesty.
For example, instead of saying “I think you’re disgustingly messy and an obnoxiously loud typer and I judge you for sleeping past nine on weekdays,” you could try, “’I’m not sure our habits align, and it could make us both frustrated. I would really rather not strain our relationship over something so silly.” If they’re really your friend, they’ll understand. If not, you didn’t really want to be friends with a slovenly, loud-typing, degenerate anyway, did you?
Also make sure your friend knows that there are tons of perks to not living with your close friends. Even if you love your roommate (and I love my roommate), you’re going to get frustrated with each other, and it’s nice to have separate social circles. Which is to say, sometimes you want to go to Dollaritas and not have to look at the person who kept you up all night because their long distance boyfriend was in town and they “thought you were asleep.” Assure her that this arrangement is better for everyone.
Don’t forget: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.