Bed Fellows...
January 21, 2011 7:13 PM   Subscribe

My friend is sharing my bed with me and I don't know how I should feel about it.

I (guy in early 20s) just graduated from college and moved to New York to look for work. I have a very good friend (girl in her 20s who graduated last year and hasn't found a job yet) who at my suggestion flew across the country to visit me for a week (she slept on an inflatable bed that I had). Since we had so much fun during the trip and I really don't know anyone else in the area I suggested that she stay at my place to look for work. I have a small studio apartment that my parents are paying for until I find work so rent isn't an issue.

I've always had a little bit of a crush on this girl but since we've never spent more than a day together (usually with at least another person) it hasn't been a problem. Now though we're hanging out everyday and getting along great; I can't help thinking about her in a more romantic light.

On top of this my inflatable bed died a week ago and since we both don't have much spending cash to buy a new one we sort of came to the decision that she should sleep in my bed with me. I have a king size bed and it seemed to me at the time to be a jerk move to make her sleep on the floor. We aren't cuddling or even touching (beyond the accidental rolling over bump when we're both asleep). She sleeps on one side in her set of blankets and I sleep on the other in mine.

I'm wondering how best to deal with these feelings, am I over thinking this whole situation? Should I ask her to sleep on the floor? I have a sleeping bag she can use and I'm even open to sleeping on the floor in it though I wouldn't prefer that. There's also really no prearranged end date to her stay, she asked me a few times in the beginning (five weeks ago) and I didn't give her a definitive answer. Also I'm thinking about when she finds a job and gets her own place....I'd be her only friend in the city. I'd like to tell her that I like her once that happens but I'm thinking that's still not fair to there any hope for me? My usual solution to an unavailable girl I like is to find another girl but I couldn't really bring someone over with my friend here.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (65 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If I didn't want a guy making a move on me, my response would have been "let's get another inflatable bed."

I think. Yeah, I'm trying to picture this situation occurring with my male best friend who I would not want to give the wrong idea to. I don't think I'd get in the bed, I'd try to find a way around it.
posted by GastrocNemesis at 7:16 PM on January 21, 2011 [11 favorites]

Yeah, GastrocNemesis has called it. Generally speaking, you don't functionally move in with a dude and start sleeping in his bed if you aren't interested in him making a move on you. GFI.
posted by Andrhia at 7:18 PM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

I agree with the above comments, but I have to add a "unless you think he's gay" to the end of that sentiment.
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:23 PM on January 21, 2011 [11 favorites]

I too think that she would be receptive to a move being made. I want to caution however--don't make the move in bed. I have been grabbed in my sleep by a male friend. It was weird-I thought...why didn't you just ask me out? Why make your first show of interest an attempt to grope me while I was half asleep? So if you are interested, tell her that. When she is vertical.
posted by supercapitalist at 7:25 PM on January 21, 2011 [88 favorites]

Supercapitalist nailed it.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:30 PM on January 21, 2011

Sharing a bed means just that: sharing a bed, nothing else. She's tired, it's a big bed. I have slept in a bed with many friends with no interest in anything more than sleep. I've also had a male friend make a move on me when I was crashing at his place, and it made me feel unsafe. I agreed to stay because it was late, not because I was interested.

If you are interested, ask her out for coffee. The bed should be a safe place
posted by jb at 7:37 PM on January 21, 2011 [47 favorites]

I dont really think its prudent to pursue it when you're the one who's holding the roof over her head while she's in town. If she has other places to go, like enough money to buy a ticket home or to stay somewhere other than you're place, then go for it cuz she'll have an out.

You want to make sure that she's into you without feeling some kind of obligation.

Good luck with your job hunt!
posted by p1nkdaisy at 7:38 PM on January 21, 2011 [11 favorites]

wow, I'm getting old

you're = your
posted by p1nkdaisy at 7:38 PM on January 21, 2011

Generally speaking, you don't functionally move in with a dude and start sleeping in his bed if you aren't interested in him making a move on you.

That may be true if you're sane, but there are some girls who get in pseudo-boyfriend relationships with guys they're not really into, dodge his advances, and just take the parts of the pseudo-boyfriend relationship that they want. There are also some girls who flirt with/lead on/toe the line with guys they're not that into out of desire for attention, or loneliness, or etc.

I'm not saying that's the case here, and I hope it's not, but just keep it in mind if you think it's a 100% sure thing that she wants to actually date.
posted by Ashley801 at 7:41 PM on January 21, 2011 [10 favorites]

Also, she may be so comfortable with you, and see you in such a brotherly way, that she would be okay with sharing the bed and doesn't think anything sexual of it at all. She may have shared the bed with siblings or cousins growing up and her friends as she got older. I've slept in beds with lots of my completely platonic friends, including males on occasion, and I didn't want to (and didn't) do anything non-platonic with them.
posted by Ashley801 at 7:43 PM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

Don't assume she wants you - I was once a dumb young woman who though platonic friendships like that were Totally Normal.

I guess it could work if - when you're not in bed - you tell her you have a crush on her, and that's making you uncomfortable with the close quarters. It might be uncomfortable, but then I guess it's on her to move out - or (best of all possible worlds) jump you.
posted by ldthomps at 7:44 PM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

Wellllll, at the risk of being a contrarian, has she given you any signs of being interested? I agree that it sounds like you're really good friends, and she's very trusting of you, but the fact that you've (literally) slept together without any cuddling, signs of physical affection that you've mentioned, etc. is almost a bad sign.

I'd take it slow, and I wouldn't make assumptions based on her willingness to share a king size bed with you. On those rare occasions when my wife and I have been in a king size bed together (our own bed is a queen) - it's really possible to be quite far apart in one, depending on your respective shapes and sizes.

Tagging onto supercapitalist's comment - why don't you ask her out? If you're both broke, it doesn't have to involve spending money. But ask her to go to a park, or to a museum, or one of those kinda things where there's opportunities to find out more about how you feel about each other.

Candidly, I also think that if your own diagnosis is a) you've got a crush on her and b) you see her as unavailable and you're sort of hoping for a situation where you'll be her only friend in town, you may be setting yourself up for a fall, and the physical proximity isn't helping. It might be good for your sanity if you figured out what she thought of you and resolved things one way or another, and unless you enjoy unresolved sexual tension, if the verdict is you're into her but she isn't into you the living together thing isn't going to end well.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:46 PM on January 21, 2011

I am guessing that if you slept in a bed with her for a week and nothing happened, you have been firmly moved into the "friend" zone. That's a tough one. I would have made a move while I had the chance.

You never know though. Still worth a try.
posted by TheBones at 7:50 PM on January 21, 2011

Add me to the list of people warning you to avoid those first five knee-jerk responses. You've provided a safe haven for this girl in a far-off part of the world, and she feels so comfortable with you and with this arrangement that she even feels safe in your bed.

I'm telling you: if you make even a single wrong move towards her in that bed you'll be pulling the rug out from under her in a most jarring and unfair way. She trusts you. Please bring this up with her at a café, in the daytime, if you need to at all. A best case scenario would be letting her know how you feel after she finds a job and after she finds her own place. If you sexualize your living situation in even the slightest she might suddenly feel captive, and very, very alone.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 7:54 PM on January 21, 2011 [38 favorites]

There's a definite chance she's into you, but it's also possible that she's oblivious. I think you're being principled and awesome that you want to wait to explore this until she's at least out of your apartment. I feel your pain, but if you can stick it out then you are a tenacious, ethical motherfucker and you should be proud of yourself.
posted by zeek321 at 7:54 PM on January 21, 2011 [15 favorites]

I think you should say (sometime before 6pm),

"Hey, I think you're funny/smart/cute [insert your feelings here] would you like to go on a date with me?"

If she's not interested, you should say

"Hey, I'm not comfortable sharing a bed with you anymore, because I find you really attractive, and it makes things emotionally difficult for me to share a bed with you... lets go buy a new air mattress."
posted by Hot buttered sockpuppets at 7:55 PM on January 21, 2011 [17 favorites]

I'm wondering how best to deal with these feelings

Acknowledge the ambiguity and even anxiety, rest in it, accept the not knowing, be gentle with yourself, and stick to what you believe is the right thing to do. (You can always reevaluate what "the right thing to do" is.)
posted by zeek321 at 7:59 PM on January 21, 2011

Four letter word meaning intercourse: Talk.
posted by Jode at 8:02 PM on January 21, 2011 [7 favorites]

Hot buttered sockpuppets--that sounds so crappy. You would ask her out and then ask her to move out instantly?!?!

I think OP was right on the money--keep things platonic, start bringing up potential departure plans (go ahead and bring it up!), and then when she's living in her own place, ask her out. OP sounds like a nice guy and that's the nice guy way of handling this.

Another way to instantly create more psychological space in bed is to find an excuse to put something in the middle of the bed (something more subtle than a wall of pillows) or claim that you're cold and start using the sleeping bag on the bed.
posted by parkerjackson at 8:02 PM on January 21, 2011

Oh, and Nthing that you should not touch/kiss/whatever her in bed.

If she is not into you, that

a) could be a very frightening/upsetting/unsafe experience for her and;

b) is assault.

While I think she is probably interested, it is also possible that she is not interested, and you don't want to be like the guy in the ani difranco song:

thank you
for letting me stay here
thank you for taking me in
thank you
for the beer and the food
thank you
for loaning me bus fare
thank you for showing me around
that was a very kind thing to do
thank you
for the use of the clean towel
thank you for half of your bed
we can sleep here like brother and sister,
you said

but you changed the rules
in an hour or two
and I don't know what you
and your sisters do
but please don't
please stop
this is not my obligation
what does my body have to do
with my gratitude?

look at you
little white lying
for the purpose of justifying
what you're trying to do
I know that you feel my resistance
I know that you heard what I said
otherwise you wouldn't need the excuse

posted by Hot buttered sockpuppets at 8:04 PM on January 21, 2011 [22 favorites]

I personally think that sharing a bed, especially a bed so big when there is no other bed available, is pretty normal and doesn't mean she is into you too. I've shared plenty of beds with guys I was not into in situations like this one. She might still be into you! But the bed thing doesn't mean much.

It's not unfair to her to tell her you like her - you can tell her how you feel if you want to! Or try just flirting more (not in bed!) or straight up asking her out when she moves out. If she says that she isn't into you that way, just tell her that it's no big deal and after a day or two resume hanging out or calling her as frequently as before and don't bring up the feelings thing again.
posted by at 8:04 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hot buttered sockpuppets--that sounds so crappy. You would ask her out and then ask her to move out instantly?!?!

No, no, no, no - not ask her to move out, just stop sharing a bed with her (buy an airmattress, put it on the floor.)

If the OP is interested, and the woman isn't, I think sharing a mattress is not going to be emotionally good for either of them.
posted by Hot buttered sockpuppets at 8:06 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also I'm thinking about when she finds a job and gets her own place....I'd be her only friend in the city. I'd like to tell her that I like her once that happens but I'm thinking that's still not fair to her.

It's not only fair to her, it's the best thing to do. If you confess to her now - unless she's already madly in love with you, which doesn't seem likely if she hasn't made the first move in bed - it's going to make her feel very awkward being in your apartment, let alone in your bed.

Wait until she's setup in her own place, then ask her out on a date but keep it casual. Don't tell her that you've been keen on her all this time, tell her that you've missed her since she moved out and would like to explore taking the relationship further. If she knocks you back, there are no hard feelings and you go back to friend zone with minimal drama. (Bonus: if she is interested, she'll respect you even more for not putting 'the hard word' on her while she was dependent on your good nature to provide a roof over her head.)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:08 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

just to clarify my above response. i pointed out that i wouldn't sleep in a bed with a guy who i was worried about making a move on me. but that doesn't mean i'm saying you should make a move on her IN the bed. i'm just saying there's a good chance she isn't falling in the "uninterested" category. but obviously, approach with care.
posted by GastrocNemesis at 8:09 PM on January 21, 2011

Sorry about being the dissonant voice here, but why don't *you* offer to sleep in the sleeping bag without offering any explanations. Don't offer them unless you are pressed too much. Even then, very reluctantly offer your feelings.

On preview, malibustacey9999's advice is good - after you are asked for explanations.
posted by theobserver at 8:20 PM on January 21, 2011

I, too, was one of those naive girls when I was younger. If a guy friend was the only person I knew in a new city, and one side of his large bed was the only affordable option, I'd have taken it if I trusted him. Now? No way. But in my early twenties I really was that oblivious. So, really, there's no way of knowing how she feels about you based on that.

If I were you, I'd do everything in your power to find an additional mattress of some kind for her. Check for discounted air mattresses or futon mattresses - is there an IKEA in your area? There's got to be something. And if there really, really isn't, then you're gonna have to either sleep on the floor or tough it out. Don't make her sleep on the floor. I know it's your place, but if you like her, and you want her to like you too, be a gentleman.

When she's found a job and a place of her own, then you can tell her how you've felt all this time. If it goes badly, well, she's got her own space, and you won't have to face it anymore. But it has a better chance of going well than it would if you make your move while she's there. If you wait, she'll see you were respectful and that you weren't the type to take advantage of her situation just for sex. If she's been harboring a mutual crush on you all this time, then... aw. It's just that much more romantic.

So! 1) Find the girl a mattress! 2) Be a good friend to her but wait until she's out of your place to make your move. Good luck.
posted by katillathehun at 8:28 PM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

Do not make any moves. If she is interested in you then let her be in control and make the move, not you. You can still share a Bed if you like the exquisiteness of romantic/physical tension otherwise, sleep in a sleeping bag. You do not want any misinterpretation to occur.
posted by jadepearl at 8:33 PM on January 21, 2011

I have a king size bed-- they're biiiig. It's sensible for you both to use it-- why should anyone sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor indefinitely?-- and it is not a romantic invitation.

The only problem with waiting to ask her out till she has her own place is that it may take awhile... there's a recesssion on and she has a place to stay already. I'd say go ahead and ask her out. If she's not into it and starts to feel awkward, she can go back wherever she was before; she's basically on an extended visit anyway.
posted by zompist at 8:35 PM on January 21, 2011

Adding my voice to those who say that you cannot determine the mindset of someone simply based on the fact that they are sleeping in a bed (as a last resort) with you without fucking/touching. She may be into to you, she may be not into you. She may just think that regardless of who is into whom, it's idiotic for one person to have to sleep on the floor.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:36 PM on January 21, 2011

Spend the money on an inflatable, then you go sleep in it. There's no reason for you to be in an uncomfortable situation like this.

Likewise, rebuff any passes made at you while you're dozing, too. She, too, can express interest while she's vertical and everyone's awake.

Oh, and if she is aware of your crush and you find she's looking for all of the emotional comfort and validation of a pseudo-boyfriend without actually dating you, run away. "I don't like you that way" is not a good excuse for getting all of the perks without all of the effort of a romantic relationship.
posted by adipocere at 8:55 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

If I was in her position and I was into you, I would hope you would bring it up. But I wouldn't bring it up myself because do so because if you weren't into me or if you were and it didn't work out, I'd end up rejected/heart-broken and, worst case, homeless and friendless in a new city.

I think it's incredibly considerate that you're instinct to not take action for fear of her feelings of safety is a HUGE ASS point in your column. And, at risk of sounding like a chauvinist rather than a promoter of gentlemanly behavior, even if she's interested, I think you should make the wiser decision for you both and hold off on making the move until she's more settled.

That said, while I think you're being a really, really great guy for being so cautious for her feelings even after she gets settled (in regards to her being friendless in the new city), at that time, all bets are off in my opinion. Ask her at that point. In a way she will undoubtedly feel like she still "owes you" at that point - but instead I hope she'd see it as I would -- this great guy who was a great friend has waited until it wasn't awkward for both of us to ask me out and now I'm able to make my decision clearly.

Good luck!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:57 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

You will never know if you don't make a move.

And that would suck for the rest of your life.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:59 PM on January 21, 2011

Don't do anything or say anything until you have separate beds. Or, for that matter, separate apartments.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:05 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

I just want to add that I think it would be totally okay for you to express interest in her while she's still living there. Given that this started out as a vacation, and as long as she has somewhere to go back to and the ability to do so if she no longer felt comfortable living with you, I don't think there's much of a risk that she will feel coerced into anything. Also, you sound aware/upstanding enough that it seems you would take care not to make her feel that way.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:08 PM on January 21, 2011

Do not assume she is doing anything other than sleeping in the same bed with a good friend. You do not know what's going on in her head. When I was much younger, my best friend was a female who was about my age. I could see her doing this same thing - and if I made a move on her, that would have been the end of our friendship. Now... here's the thing - my friend and I had a good enough relationship where I could have just told her, and she would have told me whether or not it would have been possible... and that would have been just fine. But never, ever assume.
posted by brownrd at 9:08 PM on January 21, 2011

(I mean, you can have normal conversations, just don't be all "I'd like to put my penis in you" until she is able to say No without having to worry that saying No might mean she's homeless the next day.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:11 PM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]

On the subject of people-sharing-beds:

I moved to a new city a while back. My friend had a small, two room (not two bedroom, two room) apartment that she shared with another girl. They had a mattress in the bedroom that they shared anyway (platonically, because having someone sleep in the kitchen sucks). I slept on a mattress in the kitchen.

During that time, another dude needed a place to crash for a week. He and I shared the mattress in the kitchen area. Later, he found a place (I was still sans-place). Friend's room mate had a boyfriend - naturally, when he stayed over, my friend moved out of the bedroom, so we ended up sharing a mattress in the kitchen.

Long and short of it is, if you're homeless you're grateful to have a place to stay. There is nothing worse than the stress of having to find somewhere to live in a new city, especially if the housing market is terrible. Having somewhere safe, secure, where you can crash is a huge weight off your mind - you don't have to take the first scummy place that comes up so that you can move out, because your friend has said it's cool to crash as long as you need.

Guys and guys, guys and girls, and girls and girls can all share mattresses and beds platonically.

Don't make a move on this person. And don't say anything until they've left the apartment. Seriously. I know the whole romantic-comedy, love blossoms for knight in shining armour vibe is pretty strong. But better that you find out later that she was into you than you force her into an uncomfortable position by saying that you like her, and her not reciprocating, and then having to take a shitty place because she's really uncomfortable sharing a bed and an apartment with you now.
posted by djgh at 9:35 PM on January 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Take the girl out to a nice place (dinner, lazer tag, movie, anything where you can connect).
Do it late at night.
Come back to the house, with that feeling of " this going anywhere".
Your sleeping arrangement THAT night will determine if there is any romantic basis for this relationship.

Good luck (to you both).
posted by hal_c_on at 10:40 PM on January 21, 2011

I second the idea of not making any kind of moves until she's moved out. You're both new and uneasy in the big city, and she's totally dependent on you right now. Even if she were interested, that would be a lot to deal with and in a relationship it would be power-skewed. For example, it encourages the kind of thinking 'Can I disagree at all with someone who is offering me such hospitality?' Even if you know that's not true. Worse, she might feel like she can't/shouldn't say no, and that would make for a terrible relationship starter.

Also FWIW, I don't think there is any such thing as being 'friend zoned'. People get into relationships because they want to.
posted by everyday_naturalist at 10:55 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

I haven't read this whole thread, but maybe you can just wait until you guys are doing something fun and you're laughing and say something like "hey, maybe we should go on an actual date when you finally get your own place." That gives her plenty of room to manoeuver the situation.

If she's cool and she wants to reject you she can just say "yeah, maybe, but we should wait until I have my own place." Super simple; ambiguous, but keeps the peace.

If she gets really uncomfortable at the suggestion, then you might consider sleeping head-to-toe.

If you get the impression that she's interested, then you probably have to make another move because you've already said the plan is to wait, which is a total waste of time.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 11:34 PM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

Also FWIW, I don't think there is any such thing as being 'friend zoned'. People get into relationships because they want to.

Yes, but people lose respect for men that don't have the courage to act on their feelings. Sweet coward = friend.

Act, but act carefully.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 11:45 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Some anecdata for you: my two relationships both started when the guy made a move on me when I was sleeping in his bed. The first relationship was 4 years long and we're still very good friends, and I have been with my current boyfriend for over 5 years. Personally, I would never sleep in the bed of a guy I wasn't interested in. I would rather sleep on the floor than risk giving the guy the wrong impression.
posted by kookaburra at 12:03 AM on January 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and Nthing that you should not touch/kiss/whatever her in bed.

If she is not into you, that

a) could be a very frightening/upsetting/unsafe experience for her and;

b) is assault.

Dude. Are you kidding me? Assault???

People are making this so much more complicated than it should be: When someone of the opposite sex sleeps in your bed, there are a few things that can happen - 1) They snuggle close to you/cuddle/spoon/touch you in some way, maybe they sleep really close to you facing you 2) They reserve themselves to the other side of the bed or they face the other way, and do not make any contact with you whatsoever, as if there is an invisible line going down the middle of the mattress. If you have ever wondered whether you should make a move or not, just read the body language as you would in any other situation.

Someone sleeping in your bed is NOT an invitation to make a move, but by all means if the body language is there then go for it. And for fucksake, it won't be assault if you get turned down.
posted by windbox at 12:05 AM on January 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

Yes, but people lose respect for men that don't have the courage to act on their feelings. Sweet coward = friend.

Count me as one woman who doesn't think this way.

In my opinion, the only harm in waiting for her to move out is that you may be waiting a long time. I definitely agree with everyone who says at the very least to express your feelings in some non-bed context.
posted by naoko at 12:45 AM on January 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

I once shared a bed with a guy platonically, after he swore up and down that it was just platonic and so nobody had to sleep on the floor and etc etc etc.

When I woke up at 3 AM with him persistently trying to grope me no matter how I squirmed away, I finally got up and walked back to my apartment. At three in the morning. In the rain.

However you proceed, don't put the moves on her in bed.
posted by KathrynT at 1:25 AM on January 22, 2011 [6 favorites]

Two words: pillow fort

Three words: sleeping bag, you

One word: talk

"but people lose respect for men that don't have the courage to act on their feelings." And gain respect for men who do have the discretion not to act on their feelings.
posted by tel3path at 2:56 AM on January 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

More words: Muji floor mattress, so comfy! Cheap too.
posted by tel3path at 2:58 AM on January 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can't you hit your parents up for a bit of extra cash for another mattress? Call it a mental health thing - you're pretty damn close to someone who you have romantic feelings for, but unable to express it. That's going to drive you insane over the long term.

If you aren't going to make a move towards forming a relationship with her, at the very least get her out of your bed and preferably out of your apartment. If you don't, you're going to get more and more wound up by spending a significant portion of your time with this woman.

I might be way off base here, but I get the impression that you don't actually want her to go. You've let her into your apartment and even bed without any kind of end point. Thing is, though, this woman isn't your girlfriend. No matter how it looks to you or the rest of the world, you're just friends. Start acting like it. If you didn't have any feelings for her, this would all be quite different. Is she aware that you have feelings for her.

You can't make a move on her because you're going to put her in an invidious position. Position 1] She's not interested in you, and doesn't respond the way you want. You both feel awkward, and she feels obligated to move out. Position 2] She's not interested, but feels perhaps like she has to respond in the way you want because you have all of the power in this situation (house, job, food, etc), so responds out of obligation. Position 3] She is interested and does respond how you want - that's great, but unlikely.

For your own state of mind, start discussing her getting her feet under her. Is she looking for jobs and somewhere to live? It will probably do her good too to have some extra cash and somewhere to call her own.
posted by Solomon at 5:07 AM on January 22, 2011

Should I ask her to sleep on the floor?

posted by freakazoid at 5:44 AM on January 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Buy another mattress. Don't ask her out until after she moves out or at least finds a job. = The safest plan.

I can't really give different advice without knowing you and the girl. My boyfriend has always been the sort to have lots of female friends and they would sleep over in his bed. They still do. (We're in our early twenties now). He's going to visit a female friend this weekend and I have no idea where he'll be sleeping but if it ends up being her bed, I won't be surprised or worried. That is just his social circle culture.

But you know your friend and we don't. I would say try to judge her behavior minus the sharing a bed, because people differ wildly about how much sharing a bed means to them.

If you really want to make a move on her now, at least buy the second mattress first so there isn't a really awkward "Oh. I guess. Maybe we should get a new air mattress now?"if she rejects you.
posted by quirks at 7:33 AM on January 22, 2011

You should sleep on the air mattress/floor if you decide to stop sleeping in the bed together. That's the classy thing to do and she will really like you for it.

She's really comfortable with you. It's unlikely you will upset her so much that it ruins anything if you make a polite, daytime advance with a reasonable "out" for her. I agree with the idea of asking her out on a date in daylight hours when you are not in bed, possibly not even in your apt, and tell her you realize it might be awkward for her and it's totally ok to say no. I'd frame it something like:

"You're so cool and fun, and it's been great spending time with you! I'm realizing you're someone I'd be interested in dating if you're into it? If not, I'm so happy we are friends and I don't want you to be uncomfortable." (That was poorly written, but the idea is that you want to make sure she is super aware you just like her a lot as a person, and not just as a warm body)

It will be easier to handle any possible rejection gracefully the sooner you do it (because you have spent less time being sexually frustrated sleeping in bed with her) so I lean towards doing it quickly. If she rejects the advance, sleep on the floor until she moves.
posted by rainydayfilms at 10:10 AM on January 22, 2011

When I was in NYC visiting my daughters, we bought a twin size air mattress at KMart (there are several locations in Manhattan). I see in their online store that they are selling for 14.99. You can afford that.
posted by CathyG at 10:11 AM on January 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you guys haven't woken in a tangle of limbs, with your faces in kissing distance, then your/her body isn't leading towards a romantic relationship. I agree that one person should use the sleeping bag, on the bed is OK. And I agree with head to toe sleeping.

Also, open-ended dependent relationship isn't particularly honorable at this point. Are your parents willing to support both of you? You guys need to talk about food and utilities and coffee-movies-books-drinks-cigarettes. Who's paying? Will she ever pay you back? Are you both really trying to find a job?
posted by ohshenandoah at 10:23 AM on January 22, 2011

Don't do it! Wait until she moves out. And let her know, fwiw, that she will need to move out eventually. Make sure she's really looking for work, because honestly, that sounds like an awesome set-up for her- mooching off your parents- and you want to make sure there is an end date there. And her existence is stifling your romantic possibilities- you can't even be getting to know other girls (though I bet other girls have apartments too) so you really should ask her to hurry up and move somewhere else. Make sure you aren't just picking her because you are bored and lonely and in an unfamiliar city, and she reminds you how fun college was! Not saying that is the case here, but it would be easy to fall into that trap.

I recently had a crush, and asked the hive if he liked me too, and they were divided-but-leaning-to-no, and they were right. And we weren't living together! And we were/are great friends, so we have bounced back to friends (there are some other details that also helped, if you want to check out my recent question...). You don't sound like you have that great friendship (it's easy to get along for five weeks on vacation, essentially, but will you be friends if/when you are both employed?), and you are living together, so proceed carefully. I will also say the hive was divided about alcohol- as- truth- serum and I didn't do that and do not recommend overindulging with her. Be careful with drinking together, especially if you never have.
posted by jenlovesponies at 10:51 AM on January 22, 2011

Wow. I am amazed and depressed at the number of mefites who think that sexually assaulting a houseguest is a good idea.

This is a quintessential Ask Culture / Guess Culture question. There is a grid to be made here: Either she wants something to eventuate (situation A) or she does not (situation B), and you either refrain from making the first move in bed (action 1) or you act (2).

A/1: she wants you, you do nothing. leads to her thinking you some flavour of shy/polite/cowardly/over-respectful. At the very worst, she thinks of you as a bit lily-livered; at best, she thinks you're a gentleman.

A/2: she wants you and you act. This is wonderful, with fireworks and shooting stars huzzah huzzah.

B/1: she does not want anything to happen and you do nothing. maintains the status quo. She is comfortable and feels safe and glad to have a friend who is trustworthy, and you go to bed with a hard-on. Not ideal, but not the worst thing.

B/2 is the worst thing: she just wants a bed to sleep in, you grope her. At best you have shattered an ancient code of hospitality and your friendship is history. At worse you are now an attempted rapist.

You cannot control A vs B. You can control 1 vs 2.

Look, maybe it is my diffidence speaking, but unless a woman gave me clear signs (which would not include sleeping three feet away from me) I would never just shag someone because I had the hots for her and she was foolish enough to go to sleep in my presence.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:55 AM on January 22, 2011 [7 favorites]

She's been there for five weeks already? If you become involved with her, be prepared for her to never move out. This may be something you're OK with, but I'd be running for the hills about now. (Mostly because I keep imaging future questions about how to break up with someone when they live with you, have no job, etc.)
posted by anaelith at 12:18 PM on January 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Maybe I'm just an old fashioned geezer, but I would try talking to her about how you feel before you do anything.
posted by freakazoid at 1:12 PM on January 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

This question pains me. Five weeks is a long time, and there's no defined end-point. And the collective advice seems to be "just say nothing at all." It can take years to find a job in this economy, people!

I don't know what your endgame should be here, but I think there should be one. Do you have a female friend making so much money that she'd take on a housemate rent-free if they were the house cook? Are there live-in nanny positions? What about some hipster freegan squat?

I just don't think "pretend you have no feelings and live in discomfort forever or else you're a horrible person" is actually good advice. I'm presuming that you're posting this because the discomfort and sexual tension (at least on your side) is growing, and while you sound like a person with a high degree of self control, emotions have a reality that should be taken into account. The attraction could turn into resentment, to give one example. Without jeapordizing your relationship with her, I'd help her move out as soon as possible. Then ask her out on a date.
posted by salvia at 1:41 PM on January 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oops, "jeopardizing" is the spelling.
posted by salvia at 1:42 PM on January 22, 2011

I (a heterosexual male) shared beds platonically with female friends throughout college.

At some point in my mid twenties I realized that regularly placing myself naked in intimate situations with friendly women was a somewhat emasculating form of self abuse. It's one thing to be off at the nude beach together, but alone in bed for eight hours a night? Good grief.

Unless you are enjoying some sort masochistic self discipline thing, quit doing this to yourself.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:20 PM on January 22, 2011

All of this is irrelevant. Just ask her to move out, or start dropping hints that you need to make a timeline. Why doesn't matter. Because you want to have a girl over, because you're uncomfortable, because your parents don't like it, because you want to date her starting from square one, whatever. The reason doesn't matter. If you need an excuse, blame your parents. You're being generous already, it's not unreasonable to ask her to hurry and try to make plans to move.

And yes, don't ask her to sleep on the floor. Next time, don't ask the girl to sleep in your bed to begin with. Build a fortress of pillows or whatever but not in an obvious sulky way.

Think hard about whether it's her, or her proximity and general femaleness that's got you a flutter. If on further reflection you have a come to Jesus talk with yourself and realize this is sort of just a lazy booty call thing, let it go. It's not worth the potential fallout. On the other hand, if you're really DEEPLY, MADLY IN UNREQUITED LOVE with her and it's unbearable, I feel for you. But I don't get that feeling from your question, to be honest. More like mild discomfort and the ethical dilemma of whether or not it's okay to make a pass while she's there and it's easy. It's pretty much not. Unless she brings it up first, and even then, it's worth taking a moment to consider the potential complications.
posted by Nixy at 5:37 PM on January 22, 2011

You've gotten a lot of good, canny advice in the responses to your question, but a lot of it has been expressed in a puzzlingly dire, apocalyptic tone. It seems unnecessary to imbue this situation with all kinds of drama. If you go forward with a lighthearted, whimsical attitude, than this should be a fun experience no matter how things turn out for the two of you. I mean, you're a young guy just starting out life in the greatest city in the world, you've got a friend with whom you have a ton of fun as a houseguest, with a good possibility of it turn into something more. Try to enjoy some of it!

So, yeah. Like everybody else has said, don't try anything when you're already in bed. You're obviously a good dude for being intuitively considerate of her situation and the potential awkwardness for her having the guy she's staying with make a move on her. So as long as you stay considerate, it shouldn't be too hard for you to see if you can't steer things in a more romantic direction without putting either of you guys in a tough spot.

The next time you guys go out, start, for lack of a better word, flirting. You know... make more eye contact, stand/sit a little closer, lean in toward her and see if she reciprocates, let incidental physical contact linger a bit longer than normal, etc. Don't be subtle. If you're overt with the signs you send out, she'll respond in kind. If you're still not sure, get your friends to help out. Bring her out and introduce her to some friends. When you're buying the next round, have one of your female friends ask if there's anything more than just friends between the two of you. Sure, it feels kind of middle-school-ish, but it makes sense in this scenario.
posted by patnasty at 7:47 PM on January 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hospitality is an ancient tradition. I think you might do yourself a favor by respecting it and keeping yoru hands off her until she's got her own place. Then -- with the credit for having been a class act counting in your favor -- you can speak your peace with honor intact *and* no coercion. And I do think you ought to go for it if this is a real connection and she's not just A Bird In The Hand Bed. (Of course, if she meets some other guy you are free to kick her onto the floor.)

That said, five weeks is a lot of free rent. Maybe she needs a bit of encouragement to find her feet in this new environment.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:29 AM on January 24, 2011

Don't ask her out while she's staying with you. If she's not into you, that puts her in a really awkward position. If she is into you, it pretty much means you've moved in together already.

I'm of the mind that the classy thing to do is for you to sleep somewhere besides the bed. I would have done that, in this situation.

Help her find a job and her own place, or a place with someone else. Then go for it.
posted by hootenatty at 8:03 PM on January 24, 2011

One thing to consider: if you started a romantic relationship with this friend, right now, would you want to be living with her? Moving in with a significant other (as opposed to crashing at a friend's place) is usually a pretty big step. It almost certainly implies monogamy, for instance. It means nowhere to go to get away from the relationship.

Friends-with-benefits could be different, of course, but the "always had a crush on" thing implies that that's not what you're after.
posted by gurple at 3:59 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

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