So I guess we're not friends huh?
July 1, 2009 3:04 AM   Subscribe

I met a new 'friend' (acquaintance) on a course I took recently. He sort-of invited himself to come and stay with me for a week in Paris. I figured that he was mostly coming to see Paris but also to hang out with me, but he's made himself completely scarce since arriving and I'm not sure how to deal.

I have this houseguest here for a week and it seems like I'm not going to see him at all, and I'm starting to feel a bit rejected. Should I address it with him?

There's so much to see and do in Paris, and I've lived here for years and love to show people around. But this guy has sidestepped all my invitations (I've barely seen him since he arrived). Should I address it with him? Or just let it go and not mention it?

It's really doing a number on my self esteem, as it's not that nice to have someone staying with you who doesn't seem to even want to eat together, but I wonder if I should just let it go for the week and not say anything? If I do say anything, how should I bring it up?
posted by ask me please to Human Relations (39 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tell him to find a hotel if he wants a hotel.
posted by NekulturnY at 3:15 AM on July 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


I have a fair few houseguests and almost always some time is spent organising the things we would do together and in some cases especially when I know someone well it is obvious from the begining that they are just 'looking for a place to crash' and not coming for a 'visit'. Almost always the visitor sets out an evening when they take us out to say formal 'thank you'. This is bare minimim, others also bring a small gift or leave behind a bottle of wine or something.

It is particularly relevant in this case to notice that he is someone who has just met you and has 'invited himself' to stay at your place. I think this puts him way out of line.

Depending on how long he will be staying I would probably only go as far as saying somthing like 'What a shame that you didnt find much time during your visit for us to hang out." and if this leads to a discussion handle it appropriately but what I would definitely do is to not stay being 'friends' and limit contact to bare essential purely because I dont think bad manners should be rewarded. It only encourages repeat offence.
posted by london302 at 3:21 AM on July 1, 2009


Wow, if an acquaintance-level friend of a few months' duration had unilaterally invited himself to stay with me for a whole week, then his making himself scarce during the visit would be pretty much the nicest thing he could do for me, under the circumstances. Are you sure you can't try to look at the silver lining here? There are many worse ways this could have gone.
posted by Bardolph at 3:23 AM on July 1, 2009


Yeah, you're being used. This guy is getting to stay for free in Paris and doesn't even have the decency to be friendly with his host. Kick him out, or if that's too hard wait for him to leave and forget about him.
posted by zompist at 3:27 AM on July 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Having him scarce is a good thing because he is a jerk. How nice to invite himself to your home and not be a good guest by at least taking you out to dinner.

Do not let this person have power over you. Do not give this person an opportunity to come back again. Seriously, check to see if all your possessions are intact. Tell your doorman that this person is persona non grata after the stay. Really, bad hosts, bad guests, bad manners are aggravating.
posted by jadepearl at 3:29 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hate to sound like my parents of 20 years ago, but if he's using your place as a hotel, maybe he ought to pay you for room & board.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:59 AM on July 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Change your locks.
posted by Solomon at 4:20 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The problem is when you said "I figured..." . You made some assumptions, you were incorrect.

Let him stay the rest of the week (which has to be almost over at this point), and next time someone is coming to town, define the intention in advance.
posted by HuronBob at 4:34 AM on July 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Put his things outside your door and change your locks. This guy is an *ss!
posted by semacd at 4:40 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not a huge fan of freeloaders, so I'd probably get the keys from him the next time I saw him and tell him to either pay me for the week's lodging or hit the road. If he balked at paying me and I were still in a good mood, I'd point him in the direction of a hostel or a cheap bed and breakfast, give him a few minutes to gather his things together, and perhaps even open the door for him and wish him happy travels as he GTFO of my house.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 4:44 AM on July 1, 2009


It seems there was just a misunderstanding here, and a mitigating factor in his defense is that at least he's not being an overly burdensome guest (which is a far worse offense than making oneself scarce).

But I agree that the net result is that you are being used. Whether it merits locking him out or putting his stuff on the stoop is debatable.
posted by jayder at 4:47 AM on July 1, 2009


Sounds possibly sketchy, but he might be thinking like a couchsurfer. ie. "This person is really nice for letting me stay, but I don't have any right to impose upon them to show me around, etc, so I'll take care of that myself." I say make one more obvious "HEY LETS GO TO DINNER AND HANG OUT" gesture, then if he doesn't pick up on it, get on with your life and wait for him to leave. Don't invite him back.
posted by beerbajay at 4:47 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The problem is when you said "I figured..." . You made some assumptions, you were incorrect.

Let him stay the rest of the week (which has to be almost over at this point), and next time someone is coming to town, define the intention in advance.


2nded

Is it really worth the drama? Some people are jerks and totally oblivious to the fact. Don't change locks or put his bags in the hall, don't make any demands.
posted by mattoxic at 5:09 AM on July 1, 2009


at the end of the week, present him with a bill for his lodgings. of course you won't expect payment, but he should get the message.

unless of course, you really want to remain "acquaintances."
posted by killy willy at 5:22 AM on July 1, 2009


At the least, let him know that you got the impression that you guys were friends and that he came to visit you. If he shrugs it off, let him know that everyone would be better off if he were in a hostel. You won't feel as uncomfortable with a stranger staying in your place, and he'll get a place that's designed to be used exactly as he's using your place.

This isn't all that mean, as he'll get everything he's getting out of staying at your place from the hostel.
posted by ignignokt at 5:26 AM on July 1, 2009


When friends of mine come to stay with me in London, I usually have the opposite problem in terms of making them scarce so I can make my other commitments!

In this case, yeah, he sounds like he's using you. If he isn't even willing to take you out for a meal, I'd kick him out. You are doing HIM a favour, not the other way around, and it's entirely in your power to revoke that.
posted by almostwitty at 5:43 AM on July 1, 2009


Thanks everyone for all these responses.

I agree that there was a misunderstanding and that he is probably in the 'couchsurfing' mindset, and that I made an assumption that was not shared.

I do feel a bit rejected though as I have made *three* clear invitations (eg last night it was really warm weather and I said hey, let's go for a walk in the park and get an ice cream, but he said that he preferred to stay in and plan the next leg of his trip and I should have fun in the park.) So I went to the park by myself, all the while thinking, gee, am I really that horrible to hang out with that you can't even make a token effort?

I don't really dare invite him to anything else as I'm beginning to feel like a real loser (in my own home).

If I did raise it with him in conversation, what would be the best way to do it, do you think? I would want to clear up assumptions rather than accuse him of being a jerk, but I feel a bit pathetic even mentioning it.
posted by ask me please at 5:44 AM on July 1, 2009


One other thing: I loaned him my spare cellphone so that we could keep in touch during the day (ie he could do things on his own but we could meet up when we felt like it). On the first day, he managed to block the phone by putting in the wrong pin code three times, so it doesn't work now. I was thinking it was an unfortunate accident, but now I begin to wonder. Am I just paranoid?
posted by ask me please at 5:46 AM on July 1, 2009


Just hope that he leaves.

I've lived in London for over twelve years, and when I first moved here from New York there was no end of acquaintances who wanted to crash on my couch.

The first time was the last. A couple I barely knew from The East Village had misconstrued a drunken "let me know" when I was in New York for the weekend as an invitation. I didn't hear ANYTHING from them at all until one fine morning when they called from Heathrow to excitedly announce "we're here!".

Complete tossers, they kept pushing back their departure date "so we can hang out", staying out late six, seven nights a week, bringing back to my flat all sorts of low lifes from the pubs every night (in London's East End, low can get pretty darned low, and I'm a very tolerant person until said low lifes are getting down in my lounge), sleeping until 3PM, bickering with each other (and SHE'D crawl into my bed with me while I was sleeping to get back at HIM!), eating my food and generally crowding my space.

I had to schedule their departure. THEY certainly weren't gonna do it.

And then, after almost a month of crashing, generally imposing on me and acting all low class and rude I get a lot of static from them as they left about "negative energy". FTS. Yeh, they "forgot" and took a spare phone PAYG phone with them as well. I bet it did them a bloody lot of good in New York.

No matter. I considered the phone a cheap price to get rid of them.

So miscommunication or genuine low class behaviour, don't get down on yourself. And don't hold a grudge. Crap like this happens.

Just hope that he leaves.
posted by Mutant at 6:06 AM on July 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't bother conversing with him about his rudeness; it's unlikely you'll leave the conversation satisfied. Make sure there's a very clear, very quickly upcoming end date to his stay, though - that's a conversation I'd have right away, and if he's planning on staying longer than another 2 days, you should say "No, I'm afraid that won't be possible." No explanation needed, just "I'm sorry, but I have plans and you need to be out by Friday."

And good lord, don't let his jerky behavior get to you; from what you describe, he's a total ass and you've been nothing but kind.

He needs to do something about the phone, though. I don't think it's out of bounds for you to ask him to make good on the phone, unless it's easily fixed in which case I wouldn't bother.
posted by mediareport at 6:25 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


he's a total ass

Or, I suppose, socially dysfunctional. Either way, try hard not to take it personally.
posted by mediareport at 6:26 AM on July 1, 2009


Considering youre using terms like 'assume' and 'thought' and 'paranoid' I would just let it be. Perhaps you should be working on your communication and assertiveness skills before taking everyone's advice in this thread and becoming a drama queen. He assumed one thing and you another. Yelling at him, demanding money, or taking his keys seems like the real jerk response here.

Frankly, your position is more enviable than having to entertain someone for 7 days. A scarce houseguest is a good houseguest. Im sure you guys will find time to hang out, perhaps he doesnt travel much and doesnt have a good idea on this kind of etiquette or you two just have differing opinions of what visiting means.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:43 AM on July 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Reading between the lines here, is it possible that you had some romantic interest in this guy? If so, now you know for sure that it's not mutual. It's also possible that you had absolutely no romantic interest in him but he somehow thinks you did and wants no part of it. or maybe he had a romantic interest and realized you did not have it too and is so crestfallen that he can't stand to be with you.
posted by mareli at 6:56 AM on July 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


He probably has no idea how rude he's being, but either way -- you are not a hotel. Consider locking him out or at least confronting him about it.
posted by heather-b at 7:08 AM on July 1, 2009


It's extraordinarily rude that he hasn't done a single nice thing for you in exchange for crashing at your place. As you know, lodging in Paris can be really expensive, so he should have the common decency to roll with at least one of your invitations. I've crashed at many a friend or acquaintance's place all over the world, and I at least buy them dinner and make sure to wash every damn dish in the sink when I'm there. It's just common courtesy, and I'm sorry you inadvertently welcomed a complete loser into your home.

Damn dirty ape's advice is off the mark. You're not a drama queen to feel miffed about this guy's exploitative behavior. I'm not necessarily suggesting you should kick him out in advance, but I wouldn't begrudge you the satisfaction of doing so either.
posted by zoomorphic at 7:17 AM on July 1, 2009


My first thought was along mareli's, wondering if you felt spurned romantically. Not that that excuses him for completely ignoring you but I do get the sense that there is an imbalance here.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 7:22 AM on July 1, 2009


Change the locks the minute he leaves. Also, because you barely know this guy, keep an eye on all your expensive personal belongings and any of your documentation that would make ID theft an option to him.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:03 AM on July 1, 2009


Wow, he's using your house as a hotel and you gave him your cell phone to use and he locked it up, and you are still waffling about what to do?

Either this guy is supernaturally attractive and you're helplessly caught in his spell, or you have no assertiveness whatsoever. At this point, I'd have already had it out with him and invited him to the curb. You are seriously being taken advantage of here.

I've already said what I would do--you can choose to wait out the week or ask him to leave now, and it sounds like you would feel more comfortable without the confrontation. So, it's only a few more days, wait it out.

I'd be worried about this guy having a key, though--the advice to change the locks should be considered if you don't want to come home one day to find the place cleared out.
posted by misha at 8:04 AM on July 1, 2009


I'm sure you have lots of other friends. Why should you care what a freeloader thinks of you? The main thing I'd be concerned about is simply making sure he doesn't come back to stay again.
posted by fantasticninety at 8:08 AM on July 1, 2009


If he's declined a simple invitation to the park for icecream, it sounds like he's a flake and he's using you. Don't feel embarrassed because everybody gets into this from time to time.

First look around and check your valuables to see that nothing is missing.

Then tell him you've had a change of heart and want your space and your phone back. Don't buckle if he windges that he can't afford a hotel room for the few nights that are left. Don't be afraid to be a bitch. Anyone traveling across the globe is silly to be relying on free accommodation. If he can afford to be out to all hours he can afford a room. Don't buckle. Also, it's summer so he won't freeze to death.

Again, if he has any plans to rip you off materially, (and living so far away, you're the perfect victim) he'll probably plan to do it closer to the time he's going to leave and then he'll suddenly invite into a flurry of social activity that will keep you too busy and distracted to notice that anything is missing until he's on a plane. Keep his departure on your terms .
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:08 AM on July 1, 2009


Full disclosure: I did have a crush on him while we were on our course. However, I have a long-term, serious boyfriend and the crush evaporated after leaving the hothouse course environment. Perhaps I've unwittingly given him the idea that I would be interested in cheating on my boyfriend or something, and he's freaked out by that.

Thanks again everyone for the responses. I'm still considering asking the guest (politely) to leave, as we are meant to be going camping soon (with my boyfriend and some other friends) and I really don't want him to come along now. However, I'll think it over. I'd like to avoid any confrontation and just chalk it up to experience.
posted by ask me please at 8:37 AM on July 1, 2009


Maybe he didn't want to bother your normal routine and just wanted you to pretend he wasn't there. That's what I try to do.
posted by anniecat at 8:42 AM on July 1, 2009


On second thought, never mind.
posted by anniecat at 8:43 AM on July 1, 2009


When did he find out about your boyfriend?
posted by miles1972 at 8:55 AM on July 1, 2009


He's always known that I had a boyfriend.
posted by ask me please at 8:56 AM on July 1, 2009


Well, the main reason why you feel rejected is because you had a crush on him. It's bruised your ego. He probably thinks that you're still into him and he doesn't want to give off that vibe in any way.
posted by fantasticninety at 9:08 AM on July 1, 2009


Okay, since you're such a wilting violet, do nothing. Get the phone back if you haven't already and also get the key -- if he's out and about all day then he doesn't need it, presuming you'll be there when he gets "home." Tell him you need the key for another friend. Let him know that you are needing him out by the day you'll be leaving camping and then just go about your business and let him go about his. I mean, what's to do? You don't want confrontation. He's not into you. He's a bit rude but, as others have said, perhaps he is trying to trade freeloading for the favor of being scarce. He's weird. You'll be okay and he'll move on and don't let anyone stay at your place if you can't stand up for yourself.
posted by amanda at 9:13 AM on July 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sounds like you're using his lack of social graces as an opportunity to run a bunch of negative self-stories about yourself. That's what's making you so miserable -- not what he does, but the assumptions you're making, and what you're deciding it means about you.

The truth is, you don't know what's going on for him. Maybe he's misanthropic. Maybe he's busy picking up sailors. Or maybe he really doesn't dig hanging out with you. But that only affects how you feel about yourself if you choose to let it.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:14 AM on July 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


The sad thing is that people who invite themselves rarely make good guests, and the people who would make good guests may be much more circumspect about getting themselves invited.

Generally I like people and guests and host my friends and couchsurfers. I have a general two-three night policy on couchsurfers and anyone whom I don't know well enough to be able to tell them clearly, 'I really want... you to leave me alone for a while... to go out without you... to go out with you..." and trust to be able to respect that and keep our friendship.

Every time I've loosened this policy, one way or another, I've regretted it (albeit sometimes only in minor ways). The exception is a couchsurfer/acquaintance who turns out to be really great, and whom I invite (not on the first day of the visit!) to come back or stay longer.

I don't know why I have to relearn this lesson so often!
posted by Salamandrous at 10:44 AM on July 4, 2009


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