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How do I make him stop?
September 10, 2007 1:14 PM   Subscribe

My housemate is in love with me and I am going bonkers.

About four months ago, I met a really cool group of kids. The seven of them all live collectively in a house together, and we have a ton in common (We are all vegetarian/vegan, active in local politics).

I started spending a ton of time at the house, and became friends with everyone who lived there. One of the boys who lived there, John, asked me out but I politely declined because I was not very attracted physically to him. It was awkward for a bit, but once that passed he seemed fine and we were just platonic friends, like me and all the other boys and girls who live there. I dated other people and even brought a boy I was dating over several times. John was totally cool.

As luck would have it, my old lease ended a month ago and one of the kids who currently lived there left to move in with his long distance boyfriend. I moved in and took his spot and was super excited to live there. I share the basement with John, though we each have our own room.

Contrary to what I thought when I moved in, it seems John still has a pretty big crush on me. There are three common areas where everyone spends most of our time, John follows me and is physically near me at almost all times unless I go in my bedroom and shut the door. The look in his eyes when we make eye contact makes me so claustrophobic. If I am reading at the computer, he will pull up a chair beside me and just sit. I no longer mention things I want or am thinking about aloud around him. For example, when I mentioned I loved strawberries in a casual conversation with the group, he went to the market and bought me a basket of strawberries that night. I can see how this might seem sweet, but it is driving me crazy.

I am absolutely not letting him on, I have been very clear without being mean that I am not interested in a romantic relationship (casually mentioning girls I could set him up with, talking to him as I would a girlfriend about other guys, etc.)

But he seems resigned to just follow me around like a puppydog. How do I cope with this? My other housemates aren't really close enough to him to tell him to knock it off, and I don't want to embarrass him by discussing it with them.

We do have a lot in common in terms of politics, goals, and lifestyle, and I'd love to be friends with him but I find myself avoiding my own house because I don't want to be around him.

Please help me understand what I could do to make this better. I love the house and all my other roomates so much, I really really really dont want to move out but I am beginning to see few alternatives.
posted by skjønn to Human Relations (46 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you told him directly, instead of hinting around about it that there is absolutely no chance of you guys having a relationship and that he is making you very uncomfortable and any further behavior like this would likely result in you not having any contact with him at all?

The time has come to be mean. The guy won't leave you alone, you need to sit him down and tell him, straight up, that he doesn't have a shot in hell, you don't like him in that way, and that he's giving you the megacreeps and it needs to stop immediately.

If it doesn't stop, move out or address it with all your roommates. You clearly both can't stay there like this, so if he doesn't knock it off after you tell him, completely directly, then it's going to be a case of either him or you.
posted by mckenney at 1:19 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


What happens if you tell him to leave you alone? Like, he sits down next to you at the computer.

You: "Can I help you?"
Him: "Ummm..."
You: "I'm trying to (do something), and you're kinda breaking my concentration sitting right next to me. Could you go somewhere else, please?"
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:19 PM on September 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


I am absolutely not letting him on, I have been very clear without being mean that I am not interested in a romantic relationship

You need to be very clear and direct that he is upsetting you by his behavior. As TPS said above, you need to tell him to leave you alone.
posted by NationalKato at 1:25 PM on September 10, 2007


If you definitely don't want to confront him about it head-on, even in a joking way ("Hey, Guy, I'm going to need a little more breathing room here!"), then you could try talking to him about how this new communal living thing is a hard adjustment for you in terms of personal space and time.
You could say something to make it seem like your problem, or a problem with everyone and not just him An example "When you moved in, did you miss having alone time? I really do and I don't know how to get it!" or "I'm having a hard time transitioning to living with this many people; even though I like them all, I feel like I want to be alone a little more."
That way, he can feel like he's doing something nice for you (which he wants to do) by leaving you alone or advising you to spend more time alone. You might want to tell the other roommates your plan though, in case he tells them to lay off you as well.
posted by rmless at 1:25 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Explain to him that you need a lot of space, and due to the cozy situation of all those cool people living in one house, you really treasure your personal space and quiet time.

I had a housemate who was the exact same way, except he wasn't 'in love' with me - he was just a puppydog kinda guy who tended towards being lonely and liked the attention he got from me (treating him like a valuable human being) versus his buddies who were mostly a bunch of knobs. I am not the most patient person in the world, but eventually I realized I had to lay it all out for him to understand. As in, "hey buddy, I think you're great, but right now I need quiet time to relax from my day. Let's talk in a couple hours or grab lunch tomorrow." He got the point and backed off, and eventually learned how to respect my space better (although he still was prone towards being up in my grill too much, no one's perfect).

As far as the romantic efforts are concerned, you need to make it abundantly clear that you are not interested and that you will not change your mind on this. If you explicitly say this and he persists in other ways, tell him that you don't feel comfortable having someone who you live with pursuing you in a romantic/sexual way and that it's not acceptable. If you give him even a shard of hope he is not going to stop, but continue to believe he can charm you into something. It's really good that you aren't bringing it up with the other roommates, that's very respectful and thoughtful of you. I can't say I would be able to restrain myself from doing that.
posted by SassHat at 1:30 PM on September 10, 2007


Sometimes, people don't take hints. Sometimes, otherwise smart and great people and act very, very stupid. Sometimes, we all like to have our delusions.

John cannot take hints. John probably doesn't realize that there are hints. Telling John flat-out how you feel will not be mean; it'll be the kindest thing you can do. It will let John see what the real situation is, and it will lead to you two having a healthier friendship.

I'm offering the same advice most others are, but I think you need to stop interpreting what you have to do as "being mean."
posted by Ms. Saint at 1:34 PM on September 10, 2007 [5 favorites]


i think you will have to embarrass him by discussing it with him. he obviously hasn't gotten the hint. tell him you are flattered by his attention, but that you can't reciprocate his feelings.

i wouldn't give him a laundry list of faults, because i don't see how you can do it without seeming petty. besides, if he's so dogged about pleasing you, you can use that to your advantage. if he pulls up close to the computer, say, "i'm sorry, would you mind giving me a little privacy? i would really appreciate it." to make you happy, he'll leave. if he sits down in a room where you are, get up and go into another room. if he follows you, call him on it. if he inappropriately tries to fulfill a wish of yours, refuse to accept it.

if it's possible, you might enlist one of the other housemates to talk to him. that depends a lot on the dynamic of the people, but he might pay more attention to a third party. also, it's worth letting the other housemates know, because that level of devotion is not far from outright creepiness.
posted by thinkingwoman at 1:34 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


His behavior is appalling and you should treat it as such. He's not even treating you like a person, he's treating you like a thing with no feelings or personal space or a normal human desire to not be stared at.

And, very likely, he's getting off on the power he currently holds over you. (Literally, probably, as well as figuratively.) Demand to be shown respect, because he's not, which is not what you do to people you like. You respect their boundaries and you accept that you don't get your way in the world all the time, and sometimes you like girls who don't like you back and no amount of stalking will force them to like you. Time for him to visit Grownup Land and give up the creepster business.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:39 PM on September 10, 2007


I am absolutely not letting him on, I have been very clear without being mean that I am not interested in a romantic relationship (casually mentioning girls I could set him up with, talking to him as I would a girlfriend about other guys, etc.)


Okay, this is not "clear without being mean", this is "unclear without being mean". You're not coming out and saying that his behavior bothers you. Until you do that, he's going to keep not taking the hints.

I don't think you need to tell him to leave you alone (right away), I think you need to say something obvious, like "John, I get the feeling that you still have a crush on me. The way you look at me, the way you follow me around and how you're always doing things for me. John, I'd like to be friends with you, but we can't if you're going to be all schmoopy around me. It makes me uncomfortable." If he agrees to that and then doesn't stop, then up the ante and tell him to straight up leave you alone.

But give the guy a chance to not be a creep. Not everyone is good at picking up hints.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:44 PM on September 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


I think that telling John that you you really treasure your personal space and quiet time might come across as insincere. If you are willing to live in a house with six other people, you can't treasure quiet time that much.

I vote for the direct approach. Tell John that HE is making you uncomfortable, and that he needs to quit following you around. Then, when he does it again, say "John, remember, we talked about this. You're crowding me."
posted by clh at 1:48 PM on September 10, 2007


OK, let me chime in as the guy who has in the past obsessed excessively over a girl.

Look, a crush is a crush. The poor dude can't help himself, and while he may be completely idealizing you way out of proportion, it's not because he doesn't "see you as a person" or attempting to disrespect you.

You can try one simple thing: send him an email that's polite, sweet even, but definitely firm, explaining to him that "you and him" simply isn't going to happen. You could also be totally rude and cold and abrupt, but hey, you can try that next if the letter doesn't work, right? I mean, karma's a bitch, ain't it?

In any case, if his feelings aren't responded in kind, he'll eventually get over it (unless, of course, there's something seriously wrong in his head, but you or the other housemates would have noticed that before, I hope).

Oh, and the friends thing? Better forget about it if you're not interested in him, at least for the time being. He'll be heartbroken for a while, but eventually he'll find someone and then maybe you guys can be pals. One truism might really be true, though: guys can't really be "just friends" with girls.. particularly if there's desire involved.
posted by papafrita at 1:51 PM on September 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


"John, I get the feeling that you still have a crush on me. The way you look at me, the way you follow me around and how you're always doing things for me. John, I'd like to be friends with you, but we can't if you're going to be all schmoopy around me. It makes me uncomfortable."

23skidoo totally has it, except don't use his name so much (or at all). It lends a weirdly intimate vibe to the conversation, and you definitely don't want that. "Dude," or "Hey," or "So..." would be fine ways to start that paragraph, and drop the second "John" too. Using people's names when you address them can somehow imply that you're interested, in my experience.
posted by vytae at 1:57 PM on September 10, 2007


If you're looking to be nice while still firm, I'd leave the crush out of it and just address the behavior.

It's possible to have a crush on someone and not be creepy. It's possible to be creepy while not having a crush on someone. He may be telling himself that this isn't crush behavior, that he's just trying to be nice and be friends with you. You don't want to get into that argument, it can't be resolved and it's immaterial to the matter at hand. In the end the guy's going to feel how he feels, whether or not he "has a chance."

So just outline the behaviors you want stopped, and ask him to stop.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 1:59 PM on September 10, 2007 [5 favorites]


I'm going to second papafrita - you can't be friends with him as long as he has a crush on you. No girl can be friends with a guy who has a crush on them. All the guy is doing is waiting for you to break down, truly admit your feelings, and fall in love with him. If you pay attention to him, if you talk to him, if you share space with him, he is going to hope or think that you are into him - you just don't realize it yet.

You need to be firm. Do what TPS said. You need to be blunt. And you need to hurt his feelings. You can do it gently but he's gotta feel some hurt or else he's never going to leave you alone.

Do Not Hint. Guys don't understand hints when it comes to girls we have a crush on. You've gotta be blunt. We're dumb that way.
posted by Stynxno at 2:00 PM on September 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Honest" and "mean" are not synonyms.
posted by eritain at 2:05 PM on September 10, 2007


Okay, this is not "clear without being mean", this is "unclear without being mean". You're not coming out and saying that his behavior bothers you. Until you do that, he's going to keep not taking the hints.

Seconding this. You must be both direct and kind. (And if he still pesters you after that, you will need to move to direct and less-kind.) Up till now, however, you have only been kind.
posted by scody at 2:08 PM on September 10, 2007


If you're looking to be nice while still firm, I'd leave the crush out of it and just address the behavior. It's possible to have a crush on someone and not be creepy. It's possible to be creepy while not having a crush on someone. He may be telling himself that this isn't crush behavior, that he's just trying to be nice and be friends with you. You don't want to get into that argument, it can't be resolved and it's immaterial to the matter at hand.

L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg has it exactly right. Whether or not he has a crush on you is irrelevant. He's behaving in specific ways that you don't like, so ask him to stop those behaviors. You cannot ask someone to "stop having romantic feelings for me", for a number of reasons: if he does have romantic feelings for you, he can't control them, and if he is not interested in you romantically, you're gonna come off like a big dick when you inform him that he does.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:19 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


You use the word "kids", "boys", so it makes it very difficult to work out if there's an age dynamic at work. I don't know if that might have a bearing.

First, he's not in love with you. That takes two people, and you're obviously not interested. So he's infatuated, obsessed. Obviously.

Second, although I agree with the advice that you should tell him to leave you alone, this won't work. Men who are at that level of the weird spiral just won't get that. Don't send him a stern/prissy/angry email. It's just a form of communication that he will interpret as a sign you want to talk. If he replies and you don't, he will ask why.

I suggest, if he's bothering you ask "Why are you bothering me?" Flat. Straight out. This follows from TPS, but you don't want to involve him in a conversation. You want to explain in very simple terms that his presence is a problem. "Why are you bothering me?"

If his answer is "I didnt know I was bothering you" tell him "You are."

The outcome of this is either him accepting this and finding someone else (or no-one), moving out because his feelings for you are too much to stand and finding someone else (and no-one), or staying and making your life a misery, which is sounds he already is, and then making you move out through a power-struggle).

BUT get closer to your other housemates. They probably aren't oblivious. Unless you're close to someone in the house already I wouldn't disclose to them what you say the conversation you have with him, but do be aware of that aftermath that your conversation could have and talk to them about it if he start acting like an idiot. If he starts freaking, I'm guessing your housemates can help force his eviction.

But do be prepared to leave if the behaviour continues and the housemates don't back you up.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 2:23 PM on September 10, 2007


One truism might really be true, though: guys can't really be "just friends" with girls.. particularly if there's desire involved.

Nah. Guys can be "just friends" with girls, but I do agree that it's impossible when there's unrequited desire.

So, OP: you're going to have to let him down hard and then to not be his friend for an indefinite period of time -- which may be forever.
posted by solid-one-love at 2:31 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Seconding all those who say guys can be dense about these things. Anything short of being very direct doesn't work once some of us are in the crush zone. We quite thinking with the head on our shoulders.
posted by Carbolic at 2:36 PM on September 10, 2007


A girlfriend of mine had exactly the same problem with a roommate of mine who was lacking in social skills and picking up on subtle hints. One evening, the household (me and my three roommates) and our two girlfriends had settled down to watch a movie. In walked the roommate with the crush on my girlfriend, and he handed my girlfriend a Coke she'd neither asked for or wanted. She paused the movie and stood up in front of everyone, and loudly said:

"Jack, stop hitting on me. I'm sick of it. We all are. Leave me alone. Do you understand? I do not want to fuck you. I will never want to fuck you. I will never, ever fuck you. Every time you pester me, or approach me, or give me stuff, I want to kick your ass. You're gross and creepy and I don't like you. Leave me alone and get out of my sight before I do something you'll regret but I'll enjoy."

A long pause, then Jack said, "I just thought you might like a Co-"

Before he could finish the sentence, she loudly said, "Why didn't you bring Cokes for everyone? You selfish asshole."

At this point we all exploded in laughter, and she violently shook up the Coke and aimed it at Jack, chasing him down the hall, screaming "Leave me alone! Leave me alone! Go away!"

In the weeks and months that followed, Jack never heard the end of it. We referred to the incident as, "The Public Shaming of Jack" or "Jack & Coke" and various other forms of humiliation. Jack gave her a wide berth after that.

The solution to your problem is vocal, funny, and public humiliation. I highly recommend it.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:40 PM on September 10, 2007 [7 favorites]


I'm gonna call slight b.s. on the folks who say this is just a crush thing. This guy is pulling up chairs and sitting next to her while she's reading at the computer, uninvited.

Just. Sitting. There.

Sorry, but that's fucking bizarre behavior. He has problems beyond any "crush."

You've got all the advice you need, skjonn. Be direct and clear about the behaviors he needs to stop. Until you are, his serious socialization problems are not going anywhere.
posted by mediareport at 2:44 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I would *definitely* tell the other housemates what's going on. You're living in serious discomfort here; you don't need to be dealing with this alone when you have friends nearby.
posted by mediareport at 2:46 PM on September 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


This guy has no social skills. People with social skills who cannot pick up on hints still do not do things like follow someone around the house and sit next to someone when they're at the computer. The only time I've encountered behavior like John's is when a kid with Down's Syndrome in my middle school periodically got crushes on girls and acted in the same way.

You need to tell him to stop following you around. Ask him to give you some privacy. Say very bluntly you are not interested him in any way but a friend. Then bring men home and be publicly affectionate with them in front of John. A bit cruel, yes, but his behavior is quite beyond the pale.
posted by schroedinger at 2:51 PM on September 10, 2007


In the past week I've been in both your shoes, OP, and John's.

Being your friend John: My crush had let me down gently before but it didn't stick. He finally made it clear that the answer would always be "no, no, no, no, and no." Considering how strong the crush was, I needed a damn strong rejection. His first rejection had been nice and we'd tried being friends but it was only fuel for the crushing.

That friendship is over but you know what, it happens sometimes. There's lots of reasons not to be friends with someone and a one-sided crush is one of the good ones. Don't forget you've tried.

Shortly after the crushing/rejection another friend revealed his feelings to me. I wanted to keep him as a friend. I told him that. And I explained why it wasn't going to happen. In detail. There might have been hand-puppets. We spent several hours talking -- we exhausted his arguments for trying and mine for not. I could have said no, making the conversation 5 minutes or less but this was about witnessing his feelings. At the end of the evening, there was no room left for hope or any of those things that keep crushes alive.

Are you sure you want to be friends or is it something you feel you should do as a good person? You can be friendly without being friends. I'd argue that being friendly is far more compassionate.
posted by whitneykitty at 3:09 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Clear, firm, collective, nonjudgemental.
As someone who has done the whole political collective living thing, I hear you on the weirdness thing. I'd do a few things:
1) You need to explicitly tell him that not only are you not interested in a romantic relationship, but that his behavior is beginning to make you feel uncomfortable. Give specific examples and try to withhold judgement, but be very clear about what your relationship is and what that means in terms of space, etc.
2) You are in a collective living situation with, I'm just guessing here, other lefty types. You should talk to people you trust about the situation in an open and nonjudgemental way and see if there is a way for them to speak with the housemate either alone or with you. There is a difference between gossiping and having a collective response to misbehavior. If someone was going to not do their dishes or get drunk and be a jerk with someone, yall would probably have a meeting and deal with it as a group. This shouldn't be that much different. If there are other guys in the group that you are comfortable with, talk to them about it. It isn't just the role of women to deal with this sort of behavior, men have a responsibility to in checking creepy guy syndrome. It may feel uncomfortable, but it doesn't have to be about shame or embarassment. If your housemates try to give you something about not being close enough to him to feel comfortable dealing with this, explain to them that you're in a similar boat except that he's forcing you to deal with it.
3) Rock some feminism. If you are all, as I suspect, lefty types, leave a copy of the "are you a manarchist?" quiz next to his door. While I don't agree with everything in the quiz, it's good for getting guys, especially who identify as activist types, to check their own sexism. Leave some feminism lit in the bathroom for people to read and digest.


The secret key is to do it without demonizing or ostracizing. If your roommates refuse to back you up and your explicit response doesn't change his behavior, you should move, but my guess is tha, with a little work, he'll realize that a) he's being a bit deluded and doesn't live in a early nineties romantic comedy, and b) that the community values itself and that his sort of behavior is hurting your little community.
Again: Clear, firm, collective, nonjudgemental.
posted by history is a weapon at 3:13 PM on September 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Just to add weight to what was said above... tell him outright. Guys are notoriously bad at picking up on "subtle" hints at anything at the best of times (I say this as a guy myself). What you think may be completely obvious to you is clouded under layers and layers of his own fantasy, beliefs and opinions. Hell, sometimes my girl can even believe she's told me something straight and I'll have no idea what the hell she's talking about, but that's a side issue ;)

So... tell him in small words that cannot be misinterpreted exactly how you feel. Yes, he might get a little upset, but it's better than you not being able to call your home your home.
posted by jon4009 at 3:14 PM on September 10, 2007


The solution to your problem is vocal, funny, and public humiliation. I highly recommend it.

When I was in college, I lived in a big house with a bunch of people, and there was this guy who was unattractive, loud, nerdy, lacking in social skills, and from another country (with different ideas about personal space and staring and whatnot). He had a crush on a girl, and he did shit like John is doing, the following around and staring and other types of creepy behavior. She never really made it a point to do anything about it until one time where she loudly freaked out on him, in front of other people.

Lots of people thought that's what she should have done, but lots of people thought she was psycho for exploding on him in this way instead of politely and directly telling him to cut it out.

If John lived there before you, lots of people may side with him if you decide to humiliate him (especially if he is in all other aspects a decent guy).
posted by 23skidoo at 3:16 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


This happened to me once. Agreed, it's creepy as hell, and very uncomfortable. The only way to shut it down is brutal and complete honesty, and be prepared to reiterate your position as many times as you have to, to get it through his head.

Also - get as much distance as you can, for a while. Stay busy with the other people in the house or other friends until he can either latch on to someone/thing else or work on his issues. People like that need to latch on to something. I think he may have tagged you as "it".
posted by routergirl at 3:23 PM on September 10, 2007


Ask your housemates for advice. It serves as way of letting them know what's going on, so they understand when you tell him to fuck off and they might actually have a better insight into him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:35 PM on September 10, 2007


I don't think he's a creep. If you liked him in return (which you don't), this sort of behavior would be charming instead of creepy.

The quickest solution is to leave. The slightly messier, no-leaving solution is to tell him that you appreciate his attention and the strawberries, but really, it'll just never work out between the two of you.

You may feel a little embarrassed about starting the conversation - after all, you're probably worried about telling him you're not interested, only for him to be baffled and reply, "What are you talking about? We're just friends!" Reply to this, "Oh! Okay! Sorry ... just making sure."

Please, please, please do not publicly crush or shame the guy. It is possible to gracefully turn down a guy. Public shaming - these things often come back to bite one in the ass. You may need a favor from him one of these days, and you don't want to be in a position where you're unable to ask.
posted by Xere at 5:07 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


The girls that are the ones most likely to "Jack & Coke" a guy are the ones that have tried being nice for so long but.just.can't.take.it.one.moment.longer.

In the end it is better to be a bit honest upfront than cruel later, crush or not.
posted by Monday at 5:43 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


If I am reading at the computer, he will pull up a chair beside me and just sit.
The next time this happens have this thread ready to open.
posted by tellurian at 5:51 PM on September 10, 2007


posted by Xere It is possible to gracefully turn down a guy.

The OP has already tried that:

posted by skjønn I am absolutely not letting him on, I have been very clear without being mean that I am not interested in a romantic relationship (casually mentioning girls I could set him up with, talking to him as I would a girlfriend about other guys, etc.)


posted by Xere Public shaming - these things often come back to bite one in the ass. You may need a favor from him one of these days, and you don't want to be in a position where you're unable to ask.

The favor the OP needs right now is for John to stop hitting on her, and asking John for any other favors will be interpreted as romantic interest.
posted by fandango_matt at 6:06 PM on September 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Not much to add here, I think the advice above is strong and clear, but I thought I would suggest that when you bring this up in a group setting (which others have discussed the necessity of- and I'm sure your roommates know at least something about this already), see if somebody empathetic would be willing to switch rooms with you. If you're sharing the basement its a lot easier for him to get get all creepy if he knows when you're coming and going out of your room just by sitting in his and all that. I don't mean to make you feel uncomfortable, but really it's going to help if you're not living quite so close to him. With 7 people in the house I imagine its a good size, and there's probably a room that would be much more conducive to avoiding him than the one you currently inhabit.
posted by baphomet at 6:15 PM on September 10, 2007


Explain to him why you aren't attracted to him.
posted by trevyn at 6:19 PM on September 10, 2007


posted by trevyn Explain to him why you aren't attracted to him.

Actually, don't. Explaining why opens the door to "Well, if I was thinner/richer/less creepy, then you'd be attracted to me! I can change."

Don't give reasons, don't explain why. Keep it blunt, and short.

Step 1: Approach your roommates one at a time and explain the situation to them; tell them John is driving you crazy by not getting the hint that you're never ever going to sleep with him. You want them to be sympathetic to your situation.

Step 2: Explain to your roommates that the situation has gotten to the point where you will need to tell him bluntly, and publically, that you're never ever going to sleep with him, so please don't be surprised if I tell him so in front of [your rommates]. Again, you want their support.

Step 3: The next time John hits on you, say, "Please stop hitting on me. I do not want to sleep with you." Then move rooms. If he hits on you again in public, repeat the phrase, forcefully. It should get the message across.
posted by fandango_matt at 6:35 PM on September 10, 2007


Actually, trevyn's got a good point. Nothing is quite as gut-punching as telling someone crushing on you they're butt-ugly.
posted by schroedinger at 6:35 PM on September 10, 2007


In the end, if nothing works, tell him he needs to see a psychologist. It seems pretty mean to me but it was the only thing that worked once in a similar situation.
Oh, and if you get him to back off, don't then try to be nice to him to show him that you have no ill feelings, or that he shouldn't feel too bad, or that you can 'still be friends.' It'll just start all over again.
posted by lullabyofbirdland at 6:36 PM on September 10, 2007


Hardly the PC answer, and perhaps not at all what you're looking for, but in the early 70's, I lived in a communal house in KCMO, a block or so from the Nelson. A big old 3 story mansion, we needed 12 rent payers in the winter just to keep the coal burning furnace on all the time. The most we had under the roof at any time while I lived there was 19 paying renters.

There was an inordinate amount of young person mooning around after one another, and the wisdom of the house when such problems became blatant, as frequently expressed by various people, including most of the women residents (always about 45% of the rental population), in the huge communal kitchen, through which various people, residents and non-residents, floated 24X7X365, without end, was "F**k." As in, "If in doubt, get it on." Of course, this was in the pre-AIDs halcyon 70's...

A surprising amount of puerile puppy love foundered immediately, and forever, when faced with the messy reality of real sex. You'd think not, but it did. In fact, time and again, the fastest way to cure that stuff was often a bottle of wine, and a bit of courage, and 5 minutes climbing the 3 story central staircase, to the resident rooms.

As I say, not the PC approach in modern times, or perhaps what you're looking to hear. But it was real, and highly effective, in 1973...
posted by paulsc at 9:14 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


When he follows you: "Stop following me."

When he gets physically too close to you: "Stop crowding me. Back off."

An unwanted gift: "Sorry, I can't accept this."...I guess perishables could be left on the common shelf in the fridge.
posted by brujita at 10:08 PM on September 10, 2007


The solution to your problem is vocal, funny, and public humiliation. I highly recommend it.

Am I the only one that thinks that this is unbelievably cruel? This is the sort of humiliation some people don't walk away from. I'm sure this guy is annoying and she needs to be as firm as necessary but why does she have to do this in front of everybody?
posted by Bonzai at 12:48 AM on September 11, 2007


The only way to handle this is with grace. You have to take his heart and hand it back to him, with a smile. Only reason I know is because of a girl I fell in love with (3 years my senior, and I was only 15! Funny caveat: She turned out to be a lesbian, and I was already gay at 15, but being gay has never prevented my falling in love with females) did just that.

The behavior you describe is not what I would call age-appropriate for any youth old enough to be living independently. So, you handle him as a delicate adolescent (contrary to the myths, males are the more delicate of the species. Heinlein got that right). You have to explain, with patience and caring, how you are simply not a match. Complement him, thank him for his flattering attention. If you can get him to be rational, point out how his puppydog act is demeaning himself while being rather stalker-like. Play the big sister.

He sounds like a sweet boy, most ways, and lord knows, you don't want to discourage that, do you?

Epilogue: A few years ago I saw a gay news article with the name of my teenage sweetheart. She was a minister for an MCC (gay) church. I managed to get contact details and we spent over an hour on the phone, catching up (hadn't seen her since about 1972).

posted by Goofyy at 7:15 AM on September 11, 2007


The solution to your problem is vocal, funny, and public humiliation. I highly recommend it.

Am I the only one that thinks that this is unbelievably cruel? This is the sort of humiliation some people don't walk away from.


I agree. It's also cruel to tell him he's butt-ugly, etc. For someone with no social skills, you could seriously shatter his ego so much that you are condemning him to years of isolation, romance-wise.

Don't give any reasons. Just, "I know you have been interested in me and you may be hoping that we will develop a closer relationship. That's not going to happen. You are not my type. I do not want to date you. You deserve to be with someone who appreciates you in a way that I can't. Please give me some privacy and do not follow me around the house."
posted by underwater at 8:53 AM on September 11, 2007


Well, if I was thinner/richer/less creepy, then you'd be attracted to me!

You know, the funny thing is, she probably would be. Granted, she probably wouldn't want to be party to the (probably lengthy) process of him making himself more attractive, but it's amazing how much people can change when they want to.

I honestly think that she owes it to him, as a person and a roommate. A lot of people don't know what causes them to be unattractive or creepy. And a lot of people don't want to help them at all. That makes me sad.

It's like when a kid in junior high took me aside and said "You should really try deodorant. Old Spice works well." Or when a friend of mine tells me that girls do not really enjoy my facial hair. It's nice to help clueless people, and many of them can actually end up with a clue when given a push.
posted by trevyn at 8:04 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, well, some guys WILL NOT LISTEN, WILL NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER (as this guy is clearly doing), unless you really put him down.

And really, how well is someone who's already creepy, or not so swift with social skills, and attaches like Superglue, going to take the news of what's wrong with him? Hell, one of the guys who was after me once was going on about how he couldn't figure out why he couldn't get a girlfriend, and I was afraid to tell him why. Things would have gotten ugly if I'd been honest about it. (That one I only got rid of after completely vacating myself from our mutual social circle.)

I've been the nice girl. I loathe having to be mean to some poor bastard. It. Doesn't. Work. The guy will not go away. The guy will be "LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU I KNOW YOU LOVE ME." I hate to say it, but I think fandango_matt is right.

Though I do think the OP is going to have to move out of the house entirely. It sucks that that this guy has completely ruined it for you, but he sure as fuck won't get over you until (a) you've kicked him in the balls, and (b) aren't in his eyesight and basement on a daily basis.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:38 PM on September 11, 2007


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