Do they want me or not?
January 30, 2012 3:38 PM   Subscribe

What's going on with this would-be roommate situation? Are there social cues I'm totally misreading here?

I'm group-house hunting in a new city, where I don't live yet but am ready to move ASAP. Last week I went to visit a house that's so far the front-runner in my search; I felt pretty comfortable with the people and the space. However, I'm a pretty anxious, shy, and fidgety person in general, even when I'm not being judged by would-be roommates. I shake my foot, I twirl my hair, sometime don't speak a lot until spoken to. The shyness wears off as I get comfortable with people, but the fidgeting is pretty constant. (Though I can often channel it into knitting, which is at least more socially acceptable.) I've lived with large numbers of roommates before with no major issues.

Later that week I ran into two of the people from that house in a bar, and had what I thought was a pretty good conversation with them. They said that, while they couldn't make any guarantees, that they personally liked me a lot and things were looking likely.

Today--the day I was supposed to hear for sure re the room, I got the following e-mail from one of the guys I met at the bar:

Hey ActionPopulated,
It was great to see you the other night. An unexpected pleasure!
I couldn't help but notice that you seemed particularly fidgetty/nervous in your demeanor and i wanted to check in and see if there was anything specifically that made you uncomfortable. I DEFINITELY understand that meeting new folks, knowing that you're being summed up by them, can be super nerve-racking. so if it's just the circumstance, then i imagine that would change as you grew more comfortable...but if it's something else, id' wanna make sure we address it so things could be as comfortable and easy as possible.
hope to hear back from you soon.
peace
-Housemate
ps. tonight might be our last interview, so we should be deciding stat!

On one level I'm glad that he's checking in; I like when people ask me things like that bluntly rather than assuming I get all the cues. On another level though...is "No really, it's okay, I often look anxious" an acceptable answer? Will that get interpreted as "ActionPopulated will never be fully comfortable in this house?" Are they weirded out?

I'm also not sure about the "tonight might be our last interview," since I was told before that tonight was the last interview for sure.

I still think they're fundamentally good people, I need to move ASAP, and the rental market sucks in my city this time of year, so I'd hate to have to keep the search up. But do they even really want me there?
posted by ActionPopulated to Human Relations (45 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's fine to be like "No, I'm just weird around new people, but thanks for asking!". They'll see it wear off. If he was looking for an out, he would have offered one. I think he's just being nice, doing his due diligence and demonstrating that he's open to problem solving and being communicative.
posted by GilloD at 3:42 PM on January 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think he's trying to politely ask if you have a drug problem, or if you had some other kind of weird situation going on that was making you nervous (on the run from the cops or a crazy ex or whatever). I could be way off but that's what it seems he's getting at -- if you're nervous that's totally okay, just let us know if there's something else weird.

I would probably reply and say "You guessed it, I am kind of fidgety and shy. The shyness wears off as I get to know people, but I'm always kinda fidgety. That's about it." And then write a few lines reciprocating how you enjoyed running into them and the conversation you had.

To be honest, as little as you can really glean about someone from an email, this potential roommate comes off really well to me. He comes off as really nice yet forthright and honest.
posted by cairdeas at 3:43 PM on January 30, 2012 [52 favorites]


It's a guy? He's possibly worried that you have a crush on him and doesn't want to get into that with a roommate.
posted by fshgrl at 3:43 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think you should take his email at face value--they like you, they noticed that you seemed nervous/uncomfortable, and they want to find out whether your nervousness was a reaction to something specific about the house/roommates.

Write him back and reassure them that you do indeed like the house and are excited about possibly living there. Maybe something like: "Thanks for checking in, and for being so upfront about your concerns. Yes, I was feeling nervous--I'm not too suave when I'm meeting a bunch of new people at once. But I really liked the house and all of you; there aren't any issues on my end that need to be addressed. I'm hoping I'll get the chance to move in! Thanks for keeping me updated on the process, and let me know if you guys have any questions or anything you'd like to clarify with me in the meantime. Cheers, talk to you soon!"
posted by aka burlap at 3:45 PM on January 30, 2012 [9 favorites]


Also-- for someone who has problems reading social cues, this sounds like a great sort of person to live with. He sounds like the sort who will just be straightforward about these things and won't just like silently simmer while you have to guess what his problem is.
posted by cairdeas at 3:47 PM on January 30, 2012 [9 favorites]


Maybe that was harsh- he could just be an overly sensitive person who feels the need to over-discuss little social things like this. So use your judgement I guess. But don't feel you need to respond beyond, "yeah it's no problem."

Just be ready to have a lot of painfully earnest discussions about imaginary issues I guess.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:49 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The reason I maybe overreacted in my first answer is that calling out someone who is nervous or shy cannot have any possible effect but making them more nervous or shy in the future, and I have serious doubts about anyone who feels the need to do it. Because really, who are you hurting by being nervous in a situation where any normal person might be nervous?

At best it's socially tone-deaf, at worst it's bullying.

posted by drjimmy11 at 3:53 PM on January 30, 2012 [11 favorites]


Well, they could be weirded out, but it doesn't really matter, does it? The reality of the situation is that you're sometimes uncomfortable with new people. That isn't a crime. It's pretty common, really. So if they're weirded out by that, it isn't your thing to feel bad about. Answer honestly and nicely, and if they "don't want you," you're really better off living with some people that you get along with. I wouldn't quit searching, either, until you know for sure. That will lessen the disappointment if you don't get this place and you also won't be stuck.
posted by amodelcitizen at 3:56 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I totally disagree with DrJimmy11 on this one, because when it comes down to it, this is a business transaction and it is damn difficult to think you have a new roommate squared away only to have that person bail on you after some slight on your part. To me it sounds like he was trying to make sure you were still in the game and that your visible nervousness wasn't a sign of "oh god all of these people are freaks I cannot room with them ever!". I mean, shoot, I accompanied one of my friends to a roommate interview thing once and one of the potential housemates said something that was probably just a dumb joke but came off kind of racist and my friend got super freaked out and it was really noticeable. Stuff happens.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 3:57 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because really, who are you hurting by being nervous in a situation where any normal person might be nervous?

Just want to add, OP, I totally understand what drjimmy11 is getting at, and why having one's harmless nervous tics discussed could be really embarrassing. And in some cases people do do it to bully others. But I just want to share a different perspective. The prospective roommate doesn't know you, so he doesn't know these are just harmless nervous tics. They just so happen to align with the behaviors of people on meth or coke. He doesn't know if that's the case or not -- so he's asking. I don't see any criticism there, just asking. So he doesn't personally strike me as an overly sensitive freak or bully or whatever. Just someone who is trying to figure out what's going on. It would be different if he already knew you were just nervous, and then kept harping on you about the behaviors. But that's not the case here.
posted by cairdeas at 4:00 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought the roommate sounded fine until I read drjimmy's take on him.

Are you bizarrely fidgety? That's the only way this might be ok to ask, otherwise, yeah... It was rude of him to point out.
posted by jbenben at 4:06 PM on January 30, 2012


Hmm, I personally don't like the tone of the email, but I imagine that they did get a good impression of you.. otherwise you wouldn't of received an email that required a response. The problem here isn't you, it's the potential roommate. It's totally normal to be nervous while meeting new people. If I was in his position, and you were visibly nervous, my first thought would not be "What's wrong with her? Oh, let me send an email to ask her!" This is probably a red flag.

I'd tread carefully here, but you really don't have anything to lose by sending a brief email back explaining the situation.
posted by oxfordcomma at 4:12 PM on January 30, 2012


It's rude and a little weird. Anyway, my take is fidgeting with the hair could be construed as flirting and that's what he's worried about.

Especially considering "but if it's something else, id' wanna make sure we address it so things could be as comfortable and easy as possible."

Which is honestly kind of presumptuous. Is he a really attractive dude? Like so attractive that he would assume everyone was attracted to him?
posted by nathancaswell at 4:20 PM on January 30, 2012


Run.

I don't know why no one else is catching it, but to me that "harmless, polite" email stunk of passive-aggressive veiled threat. Read it again and imagine yourself writing it to someone. The first half is okay. (Aside from that snotty, pseudo-formal "an unepected pleasure!!) But the second half veers into contemptuous bullying and is sorority girl class-A underhandedness. Trust me, these people DO NOT have your best interests at heart. He might as well be the cool kid in the clique asking "hey, are we going to have a problem with you being uncool?"
posted by stockpuppet at 4:20 PM on January 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow, real range of responses here. Some interesting, and potentially very valid, takes on the situation that I would not have thought of myself.

Based on what you said about being very anxious and fidgety, my own reaction was, You got lucky: someone who actually bothered to take the time to ask why, instead of making a snap judgement against you without saying anything. I, personally, kind of like the idea of having a roommate who will actually voice their thoughts instead of making assumptions and reacting based on them.

On the other hand, reading some of the other responses - depending on nuances you haven't mentioned, the situation may be very different. Still, that's my two cents.
posted by mie at 4:25 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm puzzled by the people seeing meanness in this email, but I do think the fact that you are fidgety is might be an issue -- because while your shyness goes away, the fidgeting will not, and they will probably notice and possibly be uncomfortable about it. What they're trying to figure out is whether you are going to stop being nervous/uncomfortable/fidgeting and the answer to that is "not really/takes a while." It's up to you how honest you are going to be about that and up to them on how to take it. I would definitely emphasize that you've lived with roommates before without any issue, though.
posted by sm1tten at 4:31 PM on January 30, 2012


I thought the email was polite and boded well for the future if you do choose to live with them. Having lived with passive-aggressive people who let things simmer until it blew up into a huge mess--and been friends with people like this to boot--this doesn't sound like that kind of person. Also, the PS to me sounded just like an FYI to let you know that they would be deciding soon, not a threat. It's possible also that they had someone else who was lined up previously for an interview and had to reschedule for tonight, etc. Wouldn't jump to conclusions there.

I have written emails like this, but I'm also a pretty direct person. YMMV.

It seems like we are all projecting a bit here, so it will be your call. It won't hurt you to write that you are a naturally nervous person (implied there is that you are not a drug addict) and give it your best chances.

In general, agree with cairdeas and mie.
posted by so much modern time at 4:34 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would reply "
Hey Whatsisname,
Good to hear from you. I do get really nervous with the whole group evaluation dynamic, but I'm not always like that! I am a pretty fidgety person in general though, I'm the kind of person who's always knitting or stuff like that. I did like you guys and hope to hear good news from you soon :)
cheers,
me"

I sort of read it more like "are we going to have a problem where you move in and then reveal that you actually can't stand being around our cat/smoking/gay roommate?" But if the problem is that they don't want you to move in if you're always going to be fidgety, then saying this straight out lets them decide if they want you or not before they offer you the place. Since your question is 'do they really want me there?' then this seems like the most straightforward way to find out.
posted by jacalata at 4:35 PM on January 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


If I had written that email, the subtext would be:

"Oh my god, that woman is really great and all the other people we interviewed so far sucked. But it seemed like she didn't like US. What can we do? Let's write and ask her in case she was wondering something about us or had some reservations that we can address so that she'll definitely take up our offer." I.e. basically exactly what he said.

And the only reason they aren't making you an offer now is that they still do have another interview (or more) to go, because who knows if someone even more awesome is out there, or they promised this other guy an interview, or whatever. They are just trying to do what they can to hold on to you even though they are running a bit behind on their planned schedule. (And that totally happens. When you are interviewing for new roommates, people always reschedule or end up being flaky.)
posted by lollusc at 4:37 PM on January 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think they liked you but got a little weirded out by your nervousness. I got the feeling they want you to live there, so I'd just send a quick email back saying it was nice meeting them again at the bar, and reassure them that you're just the nervous type at first. Let them know that it wears off once you get to know them.

Best of luck!
posted by 2oh1 at 4:40 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm with cairdeas and lollusc - sounds like they liked you but thought that you might not like them, and were possibly a bit awkward about running into them.

My take on this - they wouldn't have emailed you after meeting you in a bar if they weren't planning to offer you the room. And the "I DEFINITELY get that meeting new folks..." part shows that actually they "get" you. I think that's quite reassuring.

If you want the room, I'd take cairdeas' advice on the response. Hope it all works out for you!
posted by finding.perdita at 4:43 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm of two minds about this.

On the one hand, it's good that he's the kind of person to be upfront about his concerns and wanted to figure out what was behind your nervousness. His email was polite and kind in tone.

On the other hand, he sounds annoyingly clueless not to be able to tell that you're just a bit anxious and shy by nature; that it has nothing to do with him, per se. I often find that people who are naturally confident and extroverted just don't get it about anxiety and shyness -- they think there's something wrong, when it's just your personality. And they aren't always very understanding and compassionate about shy people who they deem to be "socially awkward."

Personally, I would not reply to the email and look for housemates elsewhere who are more understanding and patient, and who don't demand explanations for my affect.
posted by yarly at 4:44 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are your nervous habits so pronounced that people sometimes think you have some type of medical condition or mental illness? If so, I could see this email being intended (clumsily) to get an explanation for unusual behavior coming from a potential roommate. In that case, it would seem that they like you so much that they're hoping for a reasonable explanation so that they can invite you to live with them. A quick, "Yeah, I get nervous around new people, but it wears off once I get to know them. I really like you guys, so I think I was extra nervous the other night," would be perfect.

If not, however, I'd avoid living with them. If your fidgeting isn't pronounced enough to need explanation (i.e., if this is the first time someone has asked you about it, or if you have confirmation from reliable people--friends, bosses--that your fidgeting isn't outside of normal behavior), then I would suggest that this roommate situation has the potential for major drama. I'm reminded of my neighbors, who said they, "just wanted to keep the lines of communication open," but really wanted to point out every single thing I did in the apartment that they did not like (e.g. I dropped a pot on the floor by accident and they came up to complain--"We just want to communicate about this kind of thing"). It was very stressful. The good thing about that situation was that I could lock my door with them on the other side, I'd have gone insane if I had to share an apartment with them.
posted by Meg_Murry at 4:45 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think he was trying to be mean, or bully you -- why not take him at face value and assume he is strongly considering renting to you, wants to get the room rented so they can get the money coming in, and is concerned that his best prospect isn't going to go for it, and wants to make sure he didn't do anything to totally wig you out? They said they like you a lot. Why not....believe them?

(It's also possible that he's worried you're all coked up, to be honest, but to expect someone to email back and say, "oh, yeah, it's just that I'm a coke fiend" is, you know, pretty optimistic.)
posted by Countess Sandwich at 4:52 PM on January 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


I really don't get the people saying this is weird of mean. Unless there was a negative vibe from them you haven't mentioned here, I would just assume the best; they just want to make sure you actually WANT to move in. Just answer them (right now! seriously! get on it!) honestly and simply. Either there's something else bothering them, and they'll decide against you no matter what you say, or they genuinely like you best but want to make sure you like them too/aren't on drugs/don't have something else bad you're nervous about telling them.

Just reply right now, if you haven't already. If they're deciding tonight, waiting til tomorrow morning to answer will almost certainly get you disqualified, if only for seeming flakey.
posted by JuliaIglesias at 4:53 PM on January 30, 2012


Wow, quite the diversity of responses here.

I ended up sending the following e-mail:

Hello Housemate!

Thanks for taking the time to respond and being up front about your concerns. You guessed right-I'm generally kinda fidgety and shy when I meet new people. The shyness wears off as I get settled in and get to know people, and the fidgetiness can be channeled into knitting and cooking : )

It was great running into you the other night, and I want to reiterate that I like the house and all of you. Let me know when you decide.

Thanks!
ActionPopulated

That said, I share some of yarly's concerns about his understanding of shyness, though I think judging from his e-mail that he'd be open to listening and understanding. My biggest concern. though, is that their ad went back up on craiglist tonight...

Guess I'll hope for the best and keep watching the craigslist postings.
posted by ActionPopulated at 4:55 PM on January 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


The more I reflect on this the more I think UGH. You don't need to live around people who are going to be patrolling how you express yourself and demanding explanations of your character after having just met you! No matter how well-meaning, it's simply rude for somebody to tell you that you seem fidgety and nervous after just meeting them once. It's one thing for somebody really close to you to observe how you're acting and say, "hey ActionPopulated, I noticed you're fidgeting today -- can I help with anything?" It's another thing for a stranger to do it.

My guess would be that this is a typical early-20s group house situation. They have an inflated self-view of their "community" and can chose from many more applicants than spots. So they've got a little sorority-like mean girl thing going on because they see themselves as a special institution they can only let a select few into. (stockpuppet is right on about that.)
posted by yarly at 4:55 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't like the tone of that email; it seems a little overbearing to me, and shows no awareness that you are judging them just as much as they are judging you. That you were a little nervous is a sign that you will be easier to get along with, in my opinion.

Did they offer to let you get in touch with their last housemate to find out why he or she is leaving and get another perspective on how they are to live with? No? In that case, you are taking them on faith, too.

My reply would be brief:

'Sounds like you have reservations.

If you have reservations, I have reservations.

Good luck in your search for a compatible housemate.

Sincerely,
ActionPopulated'
posted by jamjam at 5:01 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, clearly I didn't do the best job explaining my take on this. I'll try to break down what made me so uncomfortable with that email.

Hey ActionPopulated,
It was great to see you the other night.

Normal so far.

An unexpected pleasure!
Super business-speaky Newsanchor-man smooth.

I couldn't help but notice that you seemed particularly fidgetty/nervous
Normal, possibly even nice

in your demeanor
"in your deameanor?" wtf? Not normal. Fakey and business-speaky.

and i wanted to check in and see if there was anything specifically that made you uncomfortable.
Normal, possibly nice.

I DEFINITELY understand that meeting new folks,
Oh man, that overbearing "DEFINITELY" in all caps, I can just picture that valley-girl,
big nod, big smile over-exaggerated condescension dripping from that word.

knowing that you're being summed up by them,
WTF? "knowing that you're being summed up by them?" does this not strike anyone else as being kind of something that you just don't say out loud? "I was summing you up?" WTF. And just being okay with that? “I was judging you, get over it?” Just poor wording?

can be super nerve-racking.
Again, that baby-talk. SUPER nerve-wracking. DEFINITELY understand. Ugh.

so if it's just the circumstance, then i imagine that would change as you grew more comfortable...
"I imagine that would change..." Read: That must change. And the ellipsis, man.

but
BUT

if it's something else, id' wanna make sure we address it
Oh geez, that "we address it" just kills me. That's just so business-speaky. "WE address it" yeah right. Do you seriously think he's concerned about your comfort when he hasn't even agreed to take you on yet? "We address it" means "you promise to not be uncool before we seal the deal."

so things could be as comfortable and easy as possible.
"Things" - not "you" or more accurately, "us" (meaning the roommates already there)

hope to hear back from you soon.
peace
-Housemate
ps. tonight might be our last interview, so we should be deciding stat!

Oh hey, by the way, NO PRESSURE but we need your answer!

It's completely possible that I'm really grouchy. It's possible that this guy honestly believes he's being Such A Nice Guy. Most jerks do. But I see entitlement and peer pressure all over this, I really do. It's the kind of thing that seems intimate and kind, but can only be intimate and kind if you've established true friendship or partnership already, and I definitely don't get that here. I get a guy who’s not above using that fake-intimacy with a shy, awkward person for his own outcome, though.
posted by stockpuppet at 5:36 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's completely possible that I'm really grouchy.

I'm really hoping that's the case, because I send emails with this kind of tone every single day at work. Usually I am communicating with people I do not know at all or have met for ten seconds in passing, so when I have to email them I try not to be too dry, or brusque, and I end up using words like "super" or phrases like "make sure we address it". And now I'm worried that all of my coworkers have the opinion of me that you have of this individual, and holy shit I'm going to have to quit my job and go die in a cave for being such a horrible mean shitty person that would use such awful words to force someone else to bend to my overbearing will oh my god the shame it burrrrrrrrns

OP: There's this idea called "most respectful interpretation", where you assume that people communicating with you have the best of intentions. That way you can get on with the business of actually COMMUNICATING with each other for whatever purpose, instead of picking apart every. single. word., looking for where they were trying to be a jerk to you. If you set out in every situation looking for evidence that someone is being mean to you, you'll definitely find it, even if it's not there. Get my meaning?
posted by palomar at 6:13 PM on January 30, 2012 [37 favorites]


Yeah, stockpuppet, I don't read it that way at all. It's possible, no doubt, but if he had such concerns, why not just pick someone else for the house? He's under no obligation to get in touch like this. If he was being a dick, he wouldn't bother writing. I read this as 'Hey, we all think you'd be a good match, but before we go ahead I just want to see if you were uneasy about anything in the house - you are, it's probably better to chat about it now. If not and it's just nervousness, that's totally fine!'

And... people are judging each other at housemate interviews. That's what they're for. Trying to dodge that fact is just going to seem juvenile.
posted by twirlypen at 6:18 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the email is a bit weird, but I'm not sure what would be better, coming from your average knucklehead, who seemed like he was trying to couch his concerns in "polite talk" anyway. I like to imagine the room mates had a conversation like, "Wow, I really liked AP, but I really hope her/his fidgeting is because of nerves, and not some kind of drug problem...ugh, I better ask, how embarrassing, omg, how do I ask without sounding like a jerk..." But only you, OP, can tell for sure. Good luck!
posted by thylacinthine at 6:20 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it would help to know how old these people are. All the youngish people I know are all super concerned with compatability issues and and are always "confronting" eachother in passive-aggressive ways.

If they are late 20s early 30s and they think it is a good idea to put people on the spot like this it seems kinda odd.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:25 PM on January 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Great response to a perfectly reasonable question OP. You're fine. They're fine. Hopefully you can live together and be fine.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:27 PM on January 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


You guys will be fine. If they didn't want you they'd have let you down by now. If they were "weirded out" by your being fidgety or whatever, they wouldn't want you. Inviting a stranger into your home, maybe indefinitely, is a scary, risky thing, and it's harsh to suggest that this guy should have done the "polite" thing and ignored some intuition he had. Trust your gut on this, you guys met each other and none of us have.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 6:31 PM on January 30, 2012


I'm wondering if the extreme range of responses here has something to do with how we're interpreting the what the OP's anxiety looks like - there's a difference between "nervous because I'm in this situation" and "nervous because I'm a high-strung person" and I think that the degree of the OP's fidgeting and nervousness is probably key to understanding whether the email was inappropriate, mean, insensitive, or clueless.

OP, I wouldn't necessarily take it any particular way that the ad is back up. Could be that they hadn't heard from you yet, could be that they still haven't found their perfect match (which may have nothing to do with your fidgeting/response to their email), could be whatever. Give it a couple of days and keep looking.
posted by sm1tten at 6:40 PM on January 30, 2012


I actually take it as a good sign that he sent that email -- they like you and want you to like them. And as someone who is pretty straightforward with people (sometimes to a fault) as well as intuitive when it comes to others' emotions, I'd usually rather just ask what's going on than wonder.

I understand that not everyone is like that, but I think the honesty here and that they were concerned are all good things. I think your response was perfect, but I'd also keep in mind it's not just if they decide you're compatible with them -- you also need to decide if you're compatible with them. If you're not comfortable in a house were people want to talk about things all the time, then that's your choice.
posted by darksong at 6:50 PM on January 30, 2012


Nah, if you were truly intuitive about emotions, you would understand that people act nervous in interview situations because they are shy and anxious, and interrogating them about it doesn't help.

What this is really about is wanting to control other people's expression of emotions because it makes them uncomfortable to be in the presence of anxiety. They want the reassurance that "everything is cool, peace man." They don't want the social awkwardness reflected back on them.
posted by yarly at 7:04 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your response was perfectly pitched. Please let us know what happens! Good luck.

This thread is fascinating because the responses to the OP say a lot more about ourselves than about the OP's potential housemate. We actually have no idea what exactly the potential housemate was thinking about when he wrote that email.
posted by so much modern time at 7:49 PM on January 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


At this point, I'm not sure our opinions matter anyway. If a new ad went up on Craigslist, they didn't find their housemate and are still looking. I'm trying to find a more positive way to read that, but let's face it, you don't advertise just for fun so that kinda sucks for the OP.
posted by Jubey at 8:27 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Agreed that this thread is fascinating. Also agreed that I would totally write that email, and any awkwardness or weirdness in it would be coming entirely from me not being comfortable with a mutual-judging situation like that. Plus, I tend to enjoy words and use weird turns of phrase a lot, and would want to use 'cute' words like super and definitely to try and defuse a potentially tense or awkward conversation ("I thought you might not like me, but I could be wrong, and normally I would never say something but I just am wondering if it's something I can address..."). It's how I talk. It's how a lot of my friends talk - well-educated, young, playful, highly literate people.

I suspect people who are thinking 'they're worried you're on meth!' are assuming a certain power balance or environment, and people who are thinking 'they're worried you don't like them!' are assuming a different one. But, I would never expect someone with a drug problem to SAY SO, so why would you ever email them? What a ridiculous thing to guess. If they think you have a drug problem they would never contact you again.

I think your response was great, though. I might have left out the bit about being fidgety, but if you're worried about a bad fit then it's good to make sure you're as upfront as possible.
posted by Lady Li at 8:35 PM on January 30, 2012


ActionPopulated, your response was perfect. I read roommate's email as a friendly, slightly tone-deaf check-in to alleviate concerns over whether you were uncomfortable for some weird reason. Your totally normal response likely made any doubts melt away and they're all probably kicking themselves for possibly offending you.
posted by desuetude at 9:17 PM on January 30, 2012


This thread is fascinating because the responses to the OP say a lot more about ourselves than about the OP's potential housemate.

This this this this this. As someone who's always fairly clueless about social cues, this has been a highly enlightening thread. And it's exactly the sort of multidimensional viewpoint that drew me here in the first place. =)
posted by mie at 10:12 PM on January 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'd be all kinds of weirded out if I got that email. I'm a shy person too, and get fidgety/quiet around new people (and channel it into knitting... hey, are we secret twins?) and being called out on it just makes me more self-conscious and nervous.
posted by sarcasticah at 11:25 PM on January 30, 2012


Don´t know if anyone´s reading or following this anymore, but thanks for all the feedback everyone! After sending the e-mail copied above, I was offered a place at the house and decided to take it. So far so good--moving out of my old city was the best choice I´ve made in a long time.

Thank y´all so much for the reassurance.
posted by ActionPopulated at 6:24 PM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


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