I woke up and there was a stranger in my room
January 15, 2013 11:23 PM   Subscribe

I'm a female. An unknown female came into my room very late at night. I woke up but thought it was my guy roommate's friend needing to sleep on the other bed in my room (which has happened before), so I just kept sleeping. She slept on the other bed. She is probably in her 20's like myself. Later my roommate told me she was homeless trying to get herself back on her feet and wasn't anybody's friend; one of my roommate's friends just met her (I don't know how & where). Just from this info, if you were me, how would you feel about continuing to sleep in the same room with this person?
posted by MiuMiu to Human Relations (61 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Wait- your roommates volunteered your room as sleeping quarters for someone they don't know?


posted by rachaelfaith at 11:26 PM on January 15, 2013 [113 favorites]

No way, Jose. Totally uncool.
posted by facetious at 11:27 PM on January 15, 2013

Just from that info, I'd be pissed at my roommates and ask that she sleep somewhere else (I assume you have a couch?). Context: I have hosted many couchsurfers and random friends of friends of friends.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 11:28 PM on January 15, 2013

Hell no. Kick out the roommate (if you can)
posted by astapasta24 at 11:29 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Completely unacceptable and dangerous.

They sound incredibly immature.

If they had wanted to help her they could have offered their own bed.

Or really.... woken you to ask you how you felt.

I'd be moving out. And pretty fncking angry. To the point of incandescence.
posted by taff at 11:29 PM on January 15, 2013 [24 favorites]

Hell no. I'd be incredibly angry. Your roommates are idiots, btw.
posted by fshgrl at 11:30 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

To be fair to her, she may not have been aware that the person that gave her permission to sleep in your house was not a resident, and she may have been told you specifically had given her permission to sleep in your room. If she kinda just helped herself, that is EXTREMELY odd.

Your main issue is with the non-resident who apparently brought her into your house and did not escort her right back out when the visit was over. I'd call a house meeting and revoke that "friend's" visiting privileges. You room (and home) should always be a safe place for you.
posted by saucysault at 11:32 PM on January 15, 2013 [11 favorites]

What?? I would be livid beyond words with this roommate for casually risking my life like it was nothing in his la-di-da world. I have slept around strangers quite a few times, like in hostels or in train stations or on public transit, etc., so I am not some super conservative sleeper saying this.

But upon reflection, I think that is a separate issue from whether or not I would continue to sleep in the room with this girl. If you talk to her and feel fine about it, why not? If you have the tiniest feeling of discomfort in your gut, you are 1000% within your rights to say no fucking way.
posted by cairdeas at 11:33 PM on January 15, 2013 [7 favorites]

This is completely beyond acceptable. Whoa whoa no.
posted by (F)utility at 11:34 PM on January 15, 2013

I would not be cool with my roommate letting anyone sleep in my room without clearing it with me first, homeless or otherwise. You are 100% allowed to tell your roommate that you are not sharing your room with a total stranger, especially someone your roommate doesn't even know, and, in fact, someone NO ONE you know seems to know.

This is totally totally not okay. If your roommate's friend wants to help the homeless, that's admirable, but he can have her sleep at his house if he is so fired up to provide her with a bed. You are under NO OBLIGATION to allow a total stranger OR EVEN SOMEONE YOU KNOW share your room with you if you don't want to.

And I am someone who let a friend of a friend sleep on my sofa for a full year.

Now, if you talked to her and met her and liked her and trust her and think she needs a hand and blah blah blah, that's a whole other question, but as far as if this is appropriate behavior from your roommate and his friend? NO IT IS NOT.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 11:37 PM on January 15, 2013 [16 favorites]

Your bedroom is your sanctuary! No one enters without your invitation.
Make that perfectly clear to everyone.
posted by Cranberry at 11:38 PM on January 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

I used to live in a big crazy house with fifteen other people, and where there were constant house guests and visitors and people who weren't OK to drive home and "hey so I met this guy at this party and he has nowhere else to go", etc. For the most part, people were free to stay over and we'd always find somewhere for them to sleep, virtually no questions asked.

This still would NOT have been OK.

I don't know that I'd be all "move out! your life is in danger!" or anything like that (my guess is that by "homeless girl" we're talking about some friend of a friend who lost their apartment or got kicked out by their parents, not somebody randomly plucked off skid row and invited round for tea). But yeah, you need to have a very serious conversation with your roommates about this, probably also involving the non-resident who instigated it, and it needs to never ever happen again.

I would also get a lock for my door, if it were me.
posted by Sara C. at 11:42 PM on January 15, 2013 [15 favorites]

I'd be more worried about stuff being stolen than this woman being some kind of random psychopath btw. Theft is about a million times more likely. Oh and check all your house keys are accounted for.
posted by fshgrl at 11:42 PM on January 15, 2013 [6 favorites]

I also meant to add that you are well within your rights to be furious and demand restitution. Please do not feel bad about wanting privacy in your own space.
posted by Sara C. at 11:43 PM on January 15, 2013

Roommates are hard enough in general. A homeless roommate presumably with no income whom nobody actually knows? Are you kidding?
posted by Dansaman at 11:44 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

I would seriously suggest putting a lock on your door. It's very reasonable and generous for you to offer your extra bed to your roommate's friends once in a while, but you need to make clear that you have boundaries. Because apparently, your roommate thought you didn't have any.

Even if this woman turns out to be great, you cannot let her spend another night in your house, unless you are ok with the prospect of never being able to get rid of her.
posted by acidic at 11:48 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

just let her sleep on the couch. it's really dangerous for women to be homeless. your roommate was kind to let her stay but obviously should not have offered your room without your permission.
posted by wildflower at 11:48 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Umm, no - random people are not allowed in your room whilst you sleep (or at any time, really) without your express permission.
posted by heyjude at 11:51 PM on January 15, 2013

Lock on the door.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:05 AM on January 16, 2013 [12 favorites]

I'd be pretty freaked out. On the other hand, I wouldn't be ok with my 'guy roommate's friend needing to sleep on the other bed' without prior arrangement either.

If by 'continuing to sleep in the same room' you mean having her stay further nights in the future, then no, I would not be ok with it. Nobody gets to unilaterally add a roommate for you, especially not a literal in-the-same-room roommate. It sounds so weird to me that I'm wondering if there is some special circumstance, like you aren't paying rent? If you're paying rent, and there is not a standing arrangement to share your room made at the time of the agreement to pay rent, then it sounds like you should just cut off anyone from staying in your room, since it's confusing people about boundaries. If possible, I absolutely agree you should get a lock on your door to enforce this new rule. If you're ok with your roommate's specific friend continuing to crash on your spare bed, you could get her a key to the lock, and make it clear it's not for anyone else?
posted by jacalata at 12:19 AM on January 16, 2013

I would be furious and would say absolutely not.
posted by empath at 12:25 AM on January 16, 2013

oops, forgot to finish the thought. If by 'continuing to sleep there' you mean all this is happening now, it's 3am and she's asleep on your spare bed - I guess I would feel pretty terrible about kicking her out of the house right then.

If there is a couch in the house, AND IF you can lock your door, then I might wake her up and ask her to sleep on the couch. (Even better, wake the roommate that was involved, tell him to sleep on the couch, and she sleeps in his bed). But if you can't lock your door, then waking her up to sleep on the couch really just annoys her and doesn't protect your stuff much, so I'd probably just go wake up the roommate to make sure he knows you're not ok with this, and go back to sleep with my passport, phone and wallet in my pillowcase. (As someone else said, my big worry would really be having something stolen.)

In general, since it sounds like your roommates don't have much respect for your bedroom as private space, and may be letting dodgy people in, you might want to invest in a small safe to keep things like your passport and personal documents in.
posted by jacalata at 12:26 AM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't be mad at her, since she probably didn't realise/ was desperate, but i'd be right pissed at the roomate or the roomate's friend or whoever. Do you live in a party house? If so, you should move because this kind of shit will just keep happening. And no, you're not obliged to let this continue in the future, and yes, you should address it in the morning.
posted by windykites at 12:27 AM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

This is so spectacularly NOT OK that I can't put together the words to describe how not ok it is. NOT OK AT ALL.
posted by mollymayhem at 12:51 AM on January 16, 2013

So your room mate's friend decided to be a good Samaritan and help a total stranger out but instead of offering his bed, and risking his own safety and that of his possessions, he decided it was ok to put you at risk instead? Without your permission? While you were unconscious, for want of a better word, where anything could have hapened? And your roommate knew this and was ok with it? Yeah, I'd be incandescent with rage. Time to boot your roommate for being so cavalier with your safety and his choice of friends.

Failing that, new rule. No one over, ever, without being oked by everyone in the house. These people have already proven themselves to be untrustworthy and uncaring of you. And you still don't even know if this midnight sleeper took anything. Hopefully she's completely harmless but who knows? The point is, no one cared to look after you, they put her safety before yours. I would be having very harsh words if I were you. The fact that you're ok is just good luck. I feel for the homeless person but the way it was handled is not the solution.
posted by Jubey at 1:21 AM on January 16, 2013 [9 favorites]

Yeah, her being homeless is the least of my issues with this. Someone who doesn't live in the house gave a stranger permission to sleep in someone room without that person's permission? No. She has no right to continue staying in your room (unless as someone upthread said you are comfortable with it) and you should definitely try to kick your roommate out for allowing that if you can. (I assume your roommate is the one who let her into your room, right?)
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 1:59 AM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'd not be happy about having her in my room without permission although I'd be okay with her spending subsequent nights if you are okay with her from now on. I would definitely have a talk with your housemate though about what is cool with you and what isn't for the future.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 2:20 AM on January 16, 2013

No way. And I've made my home into a flophouse for homeless friends before. But it has always been my CHOICE. No, no, no, a thousand times no.
posted by corb at 2:25 AM on January 16, 2013

Yet another vote here for massively NOT OKAY. This is YOUR room, not public space; your roommates don't have the right to let stray people sleep in there, and that goes extra for someone who isn't even a resident of the house himself: he's not allowed to invite *himself*, so what in the world made him think he's allowed to invite *someone else*?!? Sheesh. The ONLY people EVER allowed in your room are:
1. You
2. People YOU specifically permit in there

I recommend installing a lock on your door --- both to lock other people out of your room when you're not there AND for security while you're asleep --- plus, perhaps, get rid of that other bed. Someone suggested getting a small safe; that's a good idea, but only if that safe is bolted down, so it'd be impossible to just walk off with the whole thing.
posted by easily confused at 3:22 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Fucking, fucking hell.

In your place I would be seriously considering keeping the homeless guest and kicking out the roommate. At least the guest thought she had permission to be there. What's the roommate's excuse?

So kind of him to volunteer you for the experience instead of vacating his own room and sleeping on the couch.
posted by tel3path at 3:36 AM on January 16, 2013 [5 favorites]

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how we feel about it. It's how you feel about it. If you're uncomfortable with it (and I would be, though I think that has nothing to do with how you should react), you need to talk to your roommate(s), and get this sorted out.
posted by segatakai at 3:38 AM on January 16, 2013

What the actual fuck? Nothing about this scenario is okay. Tell the idiot roommate to never pull that shit with you again. Get a lock for your door such that you can lock it when you go out and lock it when you are inside.
posted by elizardbits at 3:57 AM on January 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

you need a lock on your door and better boundaries with your roommates! sure everything went ok this time but what you described could very easily be an unsafe situation.
posted by zdravo at 5:19 AM on January 16, 2013

It sounds like a first step would be to actually meet her - or actually, your first first step would be to talk to the person who met her and find out why they invited her to stay and what they know about her. It's possible that this really is "the person who met her knows some reassuring detail about her, thought that this would all boil down to 'she can sleep on the couch tonight' and your housemate turned that into 'ah of course she can randomly sleep in your room'". Let's say this all pans out and she's a friend of a friend who has been kicked out by her boyfriend/lost her job/etc - it might be perfectly acceptable and kind to say "yes, you're welcome to sleep on our air mattress in the living room for a week until you can figure out what to do". In many areas, shelter space is very limited and shelters can be scary, violent and abusive.

It was absolutely not okay for your housemate to show this woman into your room without your consent or awareness - ask him what he thinks he was doing. It might have been something stupid but not malign, like "She seemed okay to me and I didn't want to wake you up, and I figured she'd feel safer in the room with a girl". If your housemate has never dealt with situations like this, he may just have made a really bad call due to competing senses of what he should do. What kind of person is he? Does he have a history of making bad, reckless decisions? Does he have a history of maybe making slightly foolish decisions out of kindness?

If you feel up to it, you could definitely find out what is going on with this girl and see if you feel like she could stay with you or your friends for a few days, or at least point her in the direction of some social services resources, let her use your phone/internet if she needs to. I say this as someone who has had homeless friends (I mean, people who were homeless before I met them, not people who were homed and had some couch-surfing) and friends-of-friends, some of whom have stayed with me. Sometimes things have gotten frustrating when people were struggling with mental illness or trauma, but nothing bad (no theft, violence, etc) ever happened. I'm not saying that you can safely invite absolutely anyone to stay in your house off the street, but homeless people are just like any people - there's a scattering of dangerous, evil and/or desperate ones, but mostly people are just people.

I want to emphasize, though, that I would freak the fuck out if a stranger walked into my room while I was sleeping, even if she later turned out to be the nicest cuddliest baa-lamb of a person in the history of ever.
posted by Frowner at 5:23 AM on January 16, 2013 [13 favorites]

If you want a way to push back on this without being incandescently livid (which you would be well within your rights to be) you could point at the clause in your lease about no guests longer than n nights (which is almost certainly in your lease; it's pretty standard).
posted by colin_l at 5:36 AM on January 16, 2013

This would not be okay with me at all.

I had a bad experience with a terrible roommate who, while not a stranger, would go into my room without permission whether I was there or not and mess with my stuff, all of which really freaked me out. My solution was a keypad door lock like this one that you can unlock with a number code (so you don't have to remember to take a key every time you leave for the bathroom) but also unlocks with a regular key (so you can let a friend open the door for you without giving your door code). The lock was a huge relief overall.
posted by nicebookrack at 5:40 AM on January 16, 2013 [7 favorites]

However you do feel about it, I promise, your feelings are legitimate.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:48 AM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Second nicebookrack's keypad bit. Installed six (yeah. Lots of entry doors) in my house and could kick myself for not doing it when they first came out.
posted by notreally at 6:04 AM on January 16, 2013

What would your Mom think about this? I mean, COME ON! There's being game, and then there's absolute stupidity.

I have met some of life's weirdos. I have even volunteered to drive one of life's weirdos to the drum circle on the beach, but FUCK NO! This world is too dangerous and cynical to allow life's weirdos into your home, let alone your bedroom.

Neither your roommate, nor his friend has the right to offer your space, for which you pay rent and utilities to a stranger. Not the living room and most certainly NOT YOUR BEDROOM!!!

The girl, she's got to go. G'bye.

As for you, why are you in a living situation as loosey-goosey as this? Are you comfortable with it? It may be one thing when you have a party and random revelers are too drunk to drive, but that line ends at your bedroom door.

Today, I would get a door-lock and start using it. Later today I'd be looking for a new living situation, or fidning out how to get my roommate to do so.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:06 AM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Get out of this living situation ASAP. You were lucky, in one sense, this time. It's really not safe to live with someone who pulls this kind of glow-in-the-dark bullshit. Put a lock on your door TODAY, so some other random person can't be invited into your room tonight while you're asleep.

Wait, this isn't even someone your room-mate met? This is someone your room-mate's friend met?? This is several kinds of wrong. Your room-mate's friend can have this woman sleep with them in their bedroom instead, if they care so much about her welfare.
posted by Solomon at 6:44 AM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

I would not blame this woman, as it is not her fault. Homelessness IS particularly dangerous for women, and you can't blame her for taking advantage of a temporary respite when one was offered to her. If you talk to her and she seems like a stable and non-dangerous person, perhaps you might consider showing some charity and letting her stay a bit longer.

However, the "friend" who was so cavalier about your resources, privacy, and safety - without your consent or knowledge - needs to be lit on fire. (Only metaphorically, unless he really fails to grasp your point.)
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:53 AM on January 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

thought it was my guy roommate's friend needing to sleep on the other bed in my room (which has happened before)

Just noting that the past behaviour of having someone that is a friend of a friend sleep in your room is a little on the unconventional side. I wonder if you have any trouble with boundaries; like knowing where yours are, or having trouble asserting the boundaries you do know you have? Because it could read your as your roommate's friend's escalation of pushing your boundaries, starting with "oh hey my friend needs a place to crash can they sleep in your room?", to no longer asking your permission to go into your bedroom, to then randomly opening up your bedroom door to a stranger woman while you are asleep(!?), then next time it is a homeless man snuggled up to you in your own bed (at which point you freak out and the other side acts like "oh hey, if I had known you were a precious delicate snowflake this wouldn't have happened but you never had a problem before" - making their inappropriate behaviour your fault somehow). It also says something about their maturity level that they don't recognise that women - due to a experiences and societal issues beyond their control - generally require a different level of personal security then men, especially when sleeping or in other vulnerable spaces. Just because someone needs (more accurately - WANTS) something you have does not obligate you to provide it even if your only reason is "I just don't want to".
posted by saucysault at 7:30 AM on January 16, 2013 [21 favorites]

Worked out OK. Chill.

Unacceptable policy. Fix it.

The difference between alive and dead is one hearbeat. While you are unconscious, you aren't in a position to intervene if someone decides to treat you improperly.

We don't let random people sleep with us because it's risky. Manage your risk. It's no one else's job. Don't be a poster child for Darwinian selection. Survive to breed.
posted by FauxScot at 7:47 AM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Get rid of the extra bed in your room and put a lock on it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:00 AM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Nthing totally not ok - the woman who slept in your room is probably an ok person, but your roommates are disrespectful and untrustworthy and you should A: get a lock for your bedroom door and B: get out of that living situation ASAP.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:01 AM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Even when I was a street kid and we were shoving 20 people into one room to crash for a night, if anyone else came into the room, everyone at least got an introduction. What they did was careless and beyond reason. Get far, far away from people who would do that to you.
posted by haplesschild at 8:17 AM on January 16, 2013 [9 favorites]

Absolutely fucking not.

She can sleep with the person who "volunteered" your room.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:56 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am so outraged on your behalf right now I can't even. Boundaries are good, and you are allowed to have them. It's unfortunate and sad that this other woman is homeless, but no one (other than you) is allowed to volunteer your bedroom to fix that problem.

I would have a house meeting clarifying the completely reasonable expectation that your bedroom is yours, and not available to randoms without your explicit permission. Next, put a lock on your door, move the extra bed to the living room and immediately start looking for another place to live. Your roommates are a mess and you can do better.

Good luck. What a nightmare.
posted by Space Kitty at 12:26 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just wanted to say that, while a few people have called your roommate kind, I think that's incorrect. Offering his own room (without him in it) or even the couch in the living room, would be kind. Offering your room, without your knowledge or consent, is thoughtless and inconsiderate, which is the opposite of kind.
posted by lunasol at 3:30 PM on January 16, 2013 [8 favorites]

There is no way I'd be comfortable sleeping in a room that other people felt they come also come into and sleep, without my knowledge or permission, regardless of their relationship to me, their socioeconomic status, their lifestyle, whatever the blue devil hell.

So, OP, any updates?
posted by sm1tten at 5:47 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Put a lock on your door. Why is there another bed in your room? Get rid of it. This roommate knobhead can have it in their room instead. And I'm not trying to be all old-fashioned or male privilege-y or whatever it is these days, but a guy who thinks it's cool for random people, or even friends of his, to just come in to a young woman's room? Dude's got shit-for-brains and you need to not even bother setting boundaries, just get the hell out of there.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 7:46 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is she homeless as in just moved out of an apartment homeless, or homeless as in chronically or long-term homeless?

I ask because mental illness is a very common cause of chronic homelessness. Also, some homeless people just because of their life experiences can have different attitudes towards personal property and personal space. Which is to say, yeah, I'd put a lock on your door -- even if she finds somewhere else in the place to sleep.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:22 AM on January 17, 2013

There are a lot of reasons why people are homeless. It can be attributable to bad luck in an uncaring world(country/town, etc), and it may include drug use/ addiction, mental illness, and/ or lots of other difficulties. To invite a random anyone home is a bad idea. A compassionate option is to call city hall (United Way), and find out what options are available for a homeless person. Most phone books have a section about resources; it will likely cover the social services available in your area. Idiot roommate who invited her to your extra bed should cough up some dough to help homeless woman with transportation and any other immediate need. If she's mentally ill, drug/ alcohol- addicted, or otherwise in a particularly difficult way, she may attach herself to you and/ or your home, and idiot roommate is in charge of dealing with this.

Roommate has behaved in a careless and dangerous manner, and I would have a discussion about boundaries.
posted by theora55 at 4:41 PM on January 19, 2013

Thank you very much for your comments, everyone!

This is what I got from my roommate:
"Sorry, did you get scared or something when she came in?"
"I would have never let anyone dangerous in this apartment."
"I didn't leave you a note because I thought the guest would come home before you."

Just great.
posted by MiuMiu at 8:37 PM on January 21, 2013

If you got that from him AFTER speaking up about this and trying to set some boundaries... wow.

If you have trouble asserting boundaries in light of the comments that he made, remember that you can always play his own game back on him. (The "I didn't know you were so SENSITIVE/SHELTERED" and "Don't you TRUST me??" game.) Basically you set the boundaries that you want and if he says anything you act surprised that he is so sensitive/sheltered and he just doesn't trust you. That is my way of negating manipulation when I am trapped in a situation with a manipulative person.

Really though, the best thing is obviously just to get out of there as soon as you can, if his attitude and behavior doesn't improve...
posted by cairdeas at 8:51 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yeah, get out. What a manipulative little dick.
posted by Sara C. at 9:12 PM on January 21, 2013

Thanks again for the replies :)
Oh and sorry forgot to add, I also found out the 'homeless' girl was "a friend of a friend of a friend" of my roommate lol, who didn't get along with her parents, just thought you guys might still want to know...
posted by MiuMiu at 9:23 PM on January 21, 2013

Still not OK.

She can sleep on your roommate's floor, but I know of a lot of living situations where that would even be pretty questionable to do without your knowledge or consent.
posted by schmod at 8:38 AM on January 22, 2013

Yep, still not okay.

Your room, your option as to who enters: not your roommate's, not your roommate's friend, nobody but YOU gets to invite someone in there. Get a good secure lock on your door stat, preferably something like a deadbolt or one of those push-button combination locks noted up-thread. These fools don't respect you or your property, and if they try to give you grief over that lock? Tough.
posted by easily confused at 6:47 PM on January 24, 2013

Thank you again, everyone.
I set up a DIY lock.
Roommate even jokingly defended himself (I think) by saying I was the most potentially dangerous person he ever let in the house because we didn't know each other at all when I moved in. I'm just like... "What does that have to do with anything?!"
Also, he knew the girl was on drugs when he offered her my room. So angry.
posted by MiuMiu at 2:50 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

What a douche. The manipulation -- er, scuse me... joking -- never ends with this one.
posted by cairdeas at 10:37 PM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

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