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Houseguest overstaying her welcome
August 19, 2010 8:04 AM   Subscribe

A friend who was there for me when I needed her is now completely taking advantage of my kindness. Is it fair of me to want her out? (Apologies for a long story inside).

Background: A couple years ago, I left my husband and moved out with nowhere to go. This friend took me in, and I stayed with her for a month rent-free, after which we both moved into an apartment of her choice that was outrageously expensive (she's big into image and social status). I paid whatever I said I could afford (she knew this going into the agreement), and only stayed for six months (which she also knew). That situation ended dramatically, with her accusing me of not paying more rent (again, something not initially agreed upon and a result of her superficiality) and rancor was only avoided because I took the high road and didn't ask her for my share of the (expensive) deposit. Despite this, a few months later, we buried the hatchet. She also, notably, would always remark that I was an ideal roommate: quiet, clean, respectful and friendly.

Present: About a month ago, I received an email from her saying that she wanted to stay with me for a week until her apartment was ready. She had put her stuff in storage, given up her job/ lease, and visited her parents in Iran for three months. Warning bells went off in my head - from past experience, she's notoriously unreliable, never tells the whole story, and is terrible with money management because of her constant need for an expensive lifestyle. Still, because of what she did for me way back when - I would have been homeless if she hadn't helped - I said yes. Turns out, it was less than 24 hours notice.

Of course, when she got here, more and more of the story kept spilling out. Essentially, she has no job, is studying for a pharmacy licensing exam, is constantly waiting on relatives to send her money, and apparently got married while she was in Iran. What really irks me is that she refuses to ask her so-called husband for money, despite him apparently being rich.

All this would have been okay, except... it's been almost a month. She says her old pharmacy will immediately give her a job when she receives her license. She's looking at luxury condos to move into, and yet this woman has no money to eat, to do laundry, or to fix a flat on her leased Lexus. She's borrowed my credit card to the tune of $250, with no indication of when she is going to pay me back. She's inconsiderate - messy, wears my clothes, parks in my spot, is using my laptop, and is constantly complaining that my apartment is too old, too small, too hot, too cold, too blah, blah.

As I write this, I am aware that I sound like a doormat. It's cathartic to write this, but at the end of the day, this girl has nowhere to go. I guess she has a couple of other friends she could stay with, and also suspect that she pulled this one on me because no one else would put up with her crap. It took me two years to get back on my feet after my divorce, and now her being around only reminds me of how depressed and anxious I used to be when I lived with her. My boyfriend is a sweet, supportive person, and is fine with me staying with him, but is also losing patience with the whole situation. He and I will be getting married soon, but for now our lives are chaotic with work (I just started a new job, and he is at the tail-end of his doctorate).

I am not sure what to do. I've tried talking to her about being cleaner, and telling her that she needs to ask her "husband" for money so she can at least buy food and do laundry, but she doesn't want to "depend" on him. Wtf. My apartment is a tiny one-bedroom, and while it is cozy, it IS old... and within three days of living there she had already broken the stove and a closet doorknob.

I've come to the conclusion that I have to ask her to leave, but don't know how. When I do, knowing her, she's going to say "I helped you when you had nowhere to go", and guilt me into letting her stay longer. I know I have to be strong, and not a pansy, but I'm looking for advice on how to tell her she needs to go. Her exam is tomorrow (she pushed it back a week twice already) and when it's done I plan on talking to her. Is this unfair of me? Should I just be patient and keep talking to her about being a more considerate roommate? Is there a kind way to tell her to leave? As it is, she is basically living there, and I'm not. I'm not asking her for any money, except what she charged to my card.

Please help! Again, I am aware that I am being somewhat of a doormat, but she (says she) has nowhere to go, AND I am very grateful for her help in the past. Appreciate all advice, thoughts, and opinions.

Thank you so much, hive mind!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (28 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
This husband, he actually exists? (Or, if he exists, he actually has money?)

As you've already recognized, your friend is taking advantage of you, and there may not be any way to salvage the friendship and fix your situation. (Friends, however, don't normally whine about the apartment they're staying in for free, let alone break things there without paying for them.) I think you have to avoid negotiating at this point--make it clear that you need your apartment back, then give her a deadline to decamp and stick to it.
posted by thomas j wise at 8:16 AM on August 19, 2010


As I write this, I am aware that I sound like a doormat.

Yep.

...at the end of the day, this girl has nowhere to go.

Wrong. She has nowhere to go on her unrealistic, unsustainable terms. Her terms must change. The discomfort involved in that is not your problem.

Her exam is tomorrow (she pushed it back a week twice already) and when it's done I plan on talking to her. Is this unfair of me?

Not in the least.

Should I just be patient and keep talking to her about being a more considerate roommate?

No. She's not interested in your welfare.

Is there a kind way to tell her to leave?

Not from her perspective. After all, you're subsidizing her lifestyle, and there's no way that will continue when she leaves. Calm but firm is the best you can do here.

She's borrowed my credit card to the tune of $250, with no indication of when she is going to pay me back.

Write it off.
posted by jon1270 at 8:19 AM on August 19, 2010 [18 favorites]


First, it sounds like, if she were forced to, she has people she could ask for money. So I would try to stop feeling like if you put her out of your apartment, you are putting on on the street. You know her - do you honestly think that if, say, your apartment all of a sudden was infested with insects, she wouldn't call her husband or family or other friends?

A person that is conniving and "doesn't tell the whole story" and tricked you into letting her stay for a month when she said it would be a week doesn't get to stay with you forever just because she's helped you in the past. You can be grateful for that, but now that she's overstayed, don't feel bad about wanting her out.

Have the conversation. Be firm, but kind. Do not let her talk you into staying indefinitely. Get a solid move out date. If you feel that you can't stand your ground, hell, think of a lie. Your apartment is being bug-bombed. Your sister is coming to stay with you and it's been planned forever and there's not room for all of you. Your boyfriend was evicted and is moving in with you. I don't know, it's up to you what you are comfortable saying, but I think that there nothing morally wrong with fudging the truth to get rid of someone that has consistently been taking advantage of you.
posted by coupdefoudre at 8:20 AM on August 19, 2010


So...
you guys don't even sound like friends. She takes advantage of people - or at least is very disorganized and flighty. And you can't stand her.
Why are you friends with her?

I imagine this would be a different story if you actually enjoyed her company and she still had these same problems.

Because she is living with you, you really have to treat it like a break-up.
You can be honest and upfront. When the month is up - tell her that she needs to have a plan ASAP. She helped you out for a month and you helped her out for a month. Even.

If she REALLY has nowhere to go, well, I dunno. I might feel a little guilty kicking her out on the street.

I am afraid of confrontation - so I probably would end up lying and telling her that the apartment manager told me that I couldn't have anyone staying with me because they weren't on the lease.
posted by KogeLiz at 8:23 AM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


You stayed with her for a month and she stayed with you for a month. It seems to me you're even.

You should tell her some variation of, "Well, friend, it's been a month and I'm afraid I'm going to need the space back soon. You will need to find another space. How soon do you think you will be able to manage that? Hm, I'm afraid that's too long."
Then negotiate a time with her (one week? two weeks?) By which time you will need to have her bags on the curb. Decide beforehand what your limits are, if three weeks is too much, for instance, and stick to your guns. Make sure your agreement is clear to all, and remind her of it three days before the deadline.
On the day of the deadline, have someone else handy to give you support either in person or on the phone, in case there are scenes.

And do not argue with her. Stick to your guns and memorise the following lines: "I'm afraid it's necessary." "No, this won't be possible." Try not get into arguments about "why not". Tell her you need the space (don't explain why, just reiterate that you need it whenever she asks) and if she kicks up a storm tell her that her hostile stance is endangering your friendship.

But if you absolutely cannot do this, find an excuse. Tell her you need the space for another friend. Ask another friend to stay with you after that deadline, so you will actually need the space. I know it's a weaselly excuse, but as a fellow pansy it's sometimes better to do it that way than not do it at all.

What you need to do is work on your guilt. There is absolutely nothing wrong, and everything right, with you wanting your apartment back for yourself. One thing that works for me is that I make clear to myself that there is nothing I can do in this situation to be the good guy. Whatever you do, no matter how wonderfully you express it, she will see you as cruel and mean. This is actually pretty liberating because it frees you from pussyfooting about too much. If she tells you, as my friend once told me, "how can you be so cruel??" you can tell yourself, "yes, she feels cruelly treated. But that does not mean I am cruel. She is allowed to think I am cruel, if it makes her feel better."

If you want to do something for her, then do this for her: Allow her the luxury of thinking you are a bastard. This is what we pansies are bad at.
posted by Omnomnom at 8:24 AM on August 19, 2010 [15 favorites]


Bottom line: You're going to lose this friend. Either you say something, and she gets all mad, and flounces out; or you don't say anything, and she keeps sponging off you, and you resent her for it, and every time you see her you'll just be reminded of how much it sucked being her roommate both times.

So you have to ask yourself, Do I want this to keep going for another two months and end up the same way, or do I want it to end now? Rip off the band-aid.
posted by Etrigan at 8:27 AM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


You've been generous to reciprocate and help her find a short-term solution. She had ample opportunity to find something else.

I'm not being tit-for-tat here, but you've given enough. I would say that you're certainly justified in reclaiming your life without her as a roommate.

Find a new place for her to live (a hotel, even -- if she can spend $250 of your money on something else, it's not too much to pay to reserve two nights at a Holiday Inn) and tell her that you'll be changing the locks on your apartment the next day. You've given her notice, so she can't say that you're being unreasonably cruel.

IMMEDIATELY change your laptop's security settings and credit card number. She may not have done anything outright illegal yet, but this woman does not sound like someone who can be trusted around those things, particularly when she's in what she might consider a desperate situation.

Yes, some of these actions may take a little more effort and money on your part, but you're risking that money in damages and bills while she's still living with you. No judgment here; just encouraging you to get the ball rolling.
posted by Madamina at 8:28 AM on August 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Maybe she does as she says; she passes the exam, her old pharmacy gives her a job, she moves out and you get your $250 back. Or tell her to leave a few days after the exam.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:32 AM on August 19, 2010


You haven't mentioned why it is that this woman has a husband in Iran and she is not there in Iran living with him, nor is he coming over here to live with her. She does not ask him for money because, she says, she does not want to depend upon him - but isn't that part of marriage, that the spouses can depend upon each other? In any event, I fail to see how it could possibly be more appropriate for her to depend upon you rather than to depend upon her husband. And who knows, maybe she doesn't really even have a husband, and made the whole thing up. But in that case, it's just more dishonesty on her part. So in either case, it does not recommend her as a continued recipient of your generosity. I fully appreciate that you wanted to repay the favor that she has done you previously, but clearly you have, and now she is just abusing your generosity. Tell her that her time has run out and she has to move out. If she has nowhere to go, no doubt her wealthy husband will send her a plane ticket so she can join him in Iran. Failing that, it is still her problem, not yours. Let her go to a women's shelter, if all else fails. She can always claim that her Iranian husband abuses her.
posted by grizzled at 8:37 AM on August 19, 2010


Oy. This brings back not-so-fond memories of a FORMER friend of mine. Basically, she had been supportive and so on in the past, so I agreed to foster her cats for a few months while she went on some religious retreat. Then it turns out she hated the religious retreat (she didn't know HOW cold it would be in New England in the winter. Snow! Ice! You don't say!) so I let her stay with me until her subletter vacated her apartment.

Long story short, I found out she was trashing me to mutual friends all the while. This was the last straw. I demanded that she move out, and she did. I offered to keep the cats if I had to )because they were not to blame) but as it turns out she was able to find a place to stay with the cats until she could get her apartment back. I cut her off and we haven't spoken or been in touch since. She flunked Friend 101 big time. (And she calls herself a good, religious Christian - WWJD? Backstab his friends?)

Bottom line is, it's one thing to be a supportive friend and another to be a patsy. Don't be a patsy. It's OK to cut off the friendship gravy train to friends who are taking advantage of you, and this one is. Good friends, friends who are worth having and are able to have a mutual relationship, aren't social vampires.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:39 AM on August 19, 2010


First, just to throw this out there, it is a fact that Iranians, generally, are interested in conspicuous consumption (I know this because I study conspicuous consumption of technology in a geographically and culturally neighboring country.)

Some examples of consumption with the intent to show to others in your group:

- selling your house to pay for a funeral
- taking out 30% interest loans to pay for a holiday celebration meal
- not having enough food to eat, but buying an iPhone

It seems completely illogical to us (Americans), but it is completely logical to those doing the consuming.

Secondly, amongst family/friends money and possession flows. "My" laptop means something to Americans (don't touch it unless I say that you can) but means the opposite to many people within Iranians (granted, I'm stretching from my own neighboring experience, but...)

Third, the "truth" issue. I just read this article that explains it well. They "see “truth” as something plastic, connected more to emotions than to facts or logic. If it feels true, it is true. What’s more, feelings here tend to change very quickly—and with them, the truth." Read the article for the example of complete lying (in American eyes) about a household repair. It is illuminating.

In conclusion, I don't think that what your friend is doing is okay. Personally, I wouldn't put up with it. However, I think that there are some cultural things coming into play that I hope help you (and other commentors) understand where she is coming from a little more.
posted by k8t at 8:49 AM on August 19, 2010 [14 favorites]


You:"Roommate, I need you out. I can't help you any more. You have a week to find a new place."
Her: "How could you throw me out?! After all I've done for you! You would have been living on the streets if it weren't for me!"
You: "You were an amazing, wonderful, helpful friend and I was a considerate tenant. Now I'm being the helpful friend and you are just taking advantage of me. You have a week, and if I didn't care about our friendship I'd have only given you 24 hours."
Her: "You can't do that! I have no place to go!"
You: "You are a bright resourceful grown-up and I know you will be just fine."

Repeat the last line as needed and stand your ground. I suspect that she will end your friendship over this, but I think that might be for the best.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:52 AM on August 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


If you want to take a softer approach, and give her a week or two to get out (if you can stand that) you could insist that she sit down with you and plan out how she is going to get out and by when, so that she actually has A PLAN, and steps toward the completion of the plan, as opposed to just "yes, I'll be out by the 15th". Then once you have agreed on the date, you say you and your boyfriend will help her move out and in to her new space, wherever it is, that way you have another individual involved; your bf is coming on the 15th to help her move (I presume she can't have too much stuff in your apt, but maybe in storage of something). Then you check up with her occasionally on the road to d-day; you can even set up these check-points ahead of time. If she's not making progress, you can turn the screws.

Additionally, if feasible, you could make some excuse that your bf needs to be out of his apt for a week from the 15th (bugbomb, reno, whatever), and so he'll be staying with you from the 15th and you won't have room for her.

In any case, when she says it's too cold or too small, you can laugh and say "yeah, but it's better than being on the street, right?" If she doesn't get the hint, you can say "yeah, but one should never look a gift horse in the mouth". Third strike, you say "if you don't like it you can leave".

You don't have to put up with anything you don't want to. It's great that you are helping her out by letting her stay, but that doesn't mean you also have to let her have her way with you and the apt. You're doing her a solid by letting her stay; that's enough. Don't feel obligated to do any more than that, regardless of history.

Good luck!
posted by segatakai at 8:57 AM on August 19, 2010


Something I've learned when in serious discussions where you just can't compromise: if you give a reason, you prolong the discussion. The other person can whine, wheedle, try to talk you around, try to come up with "solutions" for the reasons given.

If you give no reasons, just say, "This is the way it is," they don't really have a foothold to argue. They certainly can try, of course, but it doesn't prolong the discussion nearly as long.

So, for example, if you tell her she's broken things and you don't want her staying because you're worried about more breakage, she can swear she'll get it fixed and she won't break anything else. You know it won't happen, but she can argue it. "Landlord says out!" "What if I can get the landlord to make an exception?" "You're using my stuff and you're sloppy!" "I'll do better!" And so on.

But if you just say, "Okay, time's up, find soemwhere else to go" there's not something there she can try to work around. She can certainly be upset, she can wail, she can claim you're not repaying her generosity, and so on...but if you don't *give* her anything to argue, she can't use it.
posted by galadriel at 9:42 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


As per Omnomnom: "If you want to do something for her, then do this for her: Allow her the luxury of thinking you are a bastard. This is what we pansies are bad at."

This. One Thousand Times!

K8t has some interesting insight, but ultimately, this person is not your friend and you probably should not have re-friended this person. (I only mention that for next time. You did OK here so far with the information you had going into this situation a month ago:)

Two weeks is toooo long. I agree with those that say to secure your personal information, credit cards, etc. Ditto on the lock change (even thought that step is maybe a bit overboard, but it will ease your mind when this is said and done.)

I suggest having your boyfriend there when you tell her. Don't worry about "ganging up" on her - she's already bullying you. If she delays the test again, she still must move out within one week. This test is not your problem. She can reschedule.

JohnnyGunn is right. She might just move out on her own. (probably not.)

One day after she takes test, I suggest you begin the convo by asking when she plans on leaving. Then inform her you must have your place back within the week and she will have to make other temporary arrangements while she waits for the test results etc. Do NOT be open to negotiation on the move out date.

It sounds like you are living with your BF while she enjoys your apartment. You are 100% correct that this is unacceptable.

Also. She doesn't think of you as a friend. She's a user, she sees you as an easy "mark."

Treat her accordingly.
posted by jbenben at 9:49 AM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


You don't sound like a doormat. You are frustrated, both at her and at your own lack of boundaries, and unwillingness to say No. This is unnecessarily complicated and dramatic. Your friend did you a huge favor. Then you agreed to move in w/ her, at an unbalanced rent, which she ended up resenting. Now she moved in with you, and is being annoying.

DO NOT let her use your credit card. Literally, you have to say NO to her. It's a useful life skill.

messy, wears my clothes, parks in my spot, is using my laptop.
- Friend, I need you to clean up your mess.
- Friend, I don't want you to wear my clothes.
- Friend, you must find a legal spot, or you will be towed.
- Friend, I need my laptop. You may use it for __ hours a day.
This is all part of saying NO. It doesn't have to be terrible. NO is a valid response.

Give her a deadline for leaving.
- Friend, it's time for you to find a new living situation. You have until Sept. 1, that's a good date for moving. I need my space back.

All of the judgmental stuff - she's too money-oriented, she maybe has a maybe rich husband, superficial, etc., is not part of this. You have repaid your moral debt. The 250 from the credit card is part of that. You're even.
posted by theora55 at 9:55 AM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


PS - prior to the test, DO NOT GIVE HER ANY HINT YOU WANT HER OUT.

I'm worried she'll sense your intent and delay the test again, or some other shenanigan/drama will "magically" come up in her life and she'll con you into staying longer. She's a manipulator. She probably has plans "B" and "C" on deck and waiting in the hopes of changing your mind should you start to agitate in the direction of her leaving.

Be clever. Keep your own counsel until it's time for you to tell her to go.

galadriel is giving you superlative advice. Don't explain your reasons (even if she asks you repeatedly "What did I do wrong?" or "How can you throw me out??") The less you say after telling her you are glad you could help but now she must make other arrangements, the better it will go.
posted by jbenben at 10:05 AM on August 19, 2010


I'd start the conversation like this: While I'm happy to be able to help you in an emergency, I feel like you're taking advantage of me.

That way, to even be able to argue to stay longer, she needs to justify and correct her poor "guest" behavior and start looking for an exit strategy.
posted by ctmf at 10:16 AM on August 19, 2010


Once you've decided that she has to go -- and she does -- delegate the job of getting her out ... to yourself. In your head you have a memorandum from your sanity-preserving-self who is telling you in no uncertain terms that this unwelcome freeloader needs to go. You can't argue with it, it's on paper, it's from the boss, you just have to see it done.

If she takes the test this week, you tell her that it is time for her to move out after the takes the test. If she does take the test this week, you tell her it is time for her to move out now. (She is delaying the test as an excuse to not move out; take it away.)

She will guilt you, she will yell, she will throw a tantrum, she will give you a colossal hard time. But what can you do? You got the memo, so she has to go. "It's final. I wish you the best of luck, but you need to be out of here in 48 hours."
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:29 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


All the comments above are really helpful...I just came in to something I once heard that helps me when I'm anxious about talking to someone (yes, I'm a pansy).

You can only control your actions, you cannot control others' reactions.

Just do what you think is best for YOU at this point and whether or not she takes the high road or low road is up to her.
posted by whitetigereyes at 11:08 AM on August 19, 2010


Why not bring in the "bad guy?" Tell her that your landlord has contacted you and gave you hell about having an unofficial roommate. Tell her that he has given you an ultimatum and that she has to leave within the week. (or 2 weeks if necessary). Tell her how sorry you are, but that you can't afford to make him angry.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:33 AM on August 19, 2010


I am a bitch, but I am also a wuss when it comes to asking people to move out. So know that it's not easy for a lot of us to not be a doormat to people who are living with us.

I don't believe that she's taking a test. Do you know this for sure? I think it's just a way to keep you from throwing her out. She's taking a test? So what. She can study for the test in a hotel room, too. One could argue that that would be better for her performance because she'd have more privacy.

Second of all, call the credit card company right now and cancel the card. Cancel it. Just do it. When she comes home, tell her that the credit card company called you because of potential fraud & that they were canceling your current card & sending you a new one. (That's something that can actually happen.) You don't have it yet, but she can't use the one you gave her.

Please get backup for yourself. Boyfriend, other friends, someone else there besides you. It's hard. What you need to do is hard. I had to do this to someone who I let move in with me and didn't put a limit on. I was also trying to be nice, I let them owe me for utilities and even for groceries because they had underestimated how much it was going to cost them to move to the big city. Every time I'd talk to them about moving out they'd start on me about how they'd be sleeping in their car if that happened, is that what I wanted? I never pointed out that they always said that but always had money to buy certain things.

I finally got the paper, started calling around to people who rented rooms, wrote down the details. When they got back, I handed them the paper and a list and told them that all of those places had rooms for rent available right now. It was Wednesday, I expected them to be out on Sunday, but if they weren't they should know I had asked the building manager to change the locks (that was a lie, but the building manager agreed to go along with it in case they asked). They freaked out. They stormed out of the house. When they came back and I asked, sweetly, if they had gone to look at places to live, they started grabbing shit and putting it into the car, waiting for me to stop them. I didn't. They started to rant that those places were "gross" and I suggested they try the Y until they found a roommate share, but they couldn't live here any more.

They left. They also never spoke to me again, and still owe me $177.82. But that was 12 years ago.
posted by micawber at 11:34 AM on August 19, 2010


I am not sure how you can describe this person as a friend - it sounds like you actual dislike her and she makes you upset. You shouldn't keep someone like that in your life - much less in your apartment - so ask her to leave, as you suggested, after her test.
posted by RajahKing at 11:35 AM on August 19, 2010


There's lots of good advice here, good luck with making a plan and following through.

If it comes down to it and you can't bring yourself to kick her out, then it is time to turn off the hotel services: Any of these would also work well in conjunction with a firm move-out date to provide extra motivation.

Also: she is not married, she doesn't have a job waiting for her and I'm fairly skeptical she is taking any sort of test.
posted by mikepop at 12:18 PM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have another suggestion for when she piles the terrible consequences of your actions on you to make you feel guilty.

My surefire method that has ALWAYS shut the other person up, no matter in what context is, is to express sympathy for the problems the other person has and hope that he will be able to find a solution. And that's it. No alternative suggestions, no explanations, no trying to get the other person to understand your position. Just sympathy.

It leaves them nothing to stand on.

Example:
"I'll have no place to live! I'll have to sleep under a bridge!"
"Oh, that sounds bad. I do hope you'll find a different solution."

The hope, while being so pleasantly expressed they can hardly quarrel with it, puts the ball back in their court, makes it their problem to solve instead of yours. That's the beauty of it.

Possibly, your friend might come back with:
"Well it won't be thanks to you!" or reiterate "and it will all be your fault!"
"Nevertheless, I hope you'll find something else except for a bridge."
posted by Omnomnom at 1:36 PM on August 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Tell her your landlord found out about her and says she needs to leave by the end of the month, and two people are not allowed to live in your space.
posted by anniecat at 3:57 PM on August 19, 2010


She sounds horrible and either you ask her to get out now (nicely), or you will get horribly frustrated and do it in a more firm way.

I once had an old family friend ask to stay with me for a week or two when he was moving to town until he found an apartment. That was fine, but he had a dog and I told him the dog could not stay here for various reasons*. But I arranged for my neighbor to keep the dog for a few weeks. Two days after he arrived, I went on a weekend trip. When I came back, the dog was in my house and was really misbehaved and driving us all crazy. I compromised and asked him to keep the dog in his room, but he broke that rule too. He was overall inconsiderate, but the topper was he decided to buy a house, not rent, which meant he would be staying much longer than anticipated==at least a month.

I told him he had to find another place for his dog and knew about a wonderful kennel with 10 acres for the pups to run around. I gave him the contact information to arrange it. 4 days passed. Nothing happened. Day 5, I called the kennel myself, they picked up the dog, and I left this family "friend" a voicemail at work telling him that I took care of it.

By the time I got home from work that day, the family "friend" was gone. I never heard from him again. Goody for me!! Seriously, people who are horrible houseguests don't care and manipulate those of us prone to guilt trips.But one day, something inside you will snap and that guilt will disappear and you will enforce your boundaries. It really is liberating and a shame we don't do it sooner because there is nothing worse than having your home sanctuary be a place of stress. Get rid of her now. She sounds like a terrible person.


*I love dogs but already had 3 older dogs and they weren't terribly rambunctious-dog-friendly. I was constantly on edge that my much bigger dogs would lose it on the crazy, new, young dog with no manners.
posted by murrey at 7:54 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember hearing (and reading) advice to someone who was able to list how She had helped someone and wondered why that person wouldn't/couldn't reciprocate: One does not help another to rack up points for receiving help later.

Reverse this in your situation. Yes, she helped you. But this does not morally obligate you to do the same. In addition, I'm reading here that you've already gone above and beyond with reciprocating. You're done now. Get out of this situation and let go of any feelings of obligation toward her.

I realize my communication is pretty poor above. It's hard for me to put it into better words because I'm a little emotionally hijacked by the topic. I was in your same situation in early 2004. I couldn't get her out until I lost the apartment and landed into the hospital for weeks (stress too much for my ill health). I'm STILL paying off the debts she triggered or created, though I'm on a disability income. I STILL have a black mark on my credit for that apartment loss and had trouble finding a place to live with that poor credit, landing me in the ghetto for now. Though I've encountered her several times since, including when I was homeless, she's not offered effort or money towards those debts (AND she wants me to be her friend again! Really?)

Don't let your generousity and altruism, plus your guilt, land you with similar results.
posted by _paegan_ at 10:44 AM on August 27, 2010


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