Drama with a potential roommate - time to cut and run?
August 16, 2013 1:53 AM   Subscribe

I've been planning to move to another city, and become roommates with a friend, but things got a bit weird this week and I don't know whether to fight the urge to run away fast or instead listen to it and head for higher ground.

1. I expressed to my friend an interest in moving to her city.
2. Friend mentions she's looking to move in with a roommate so as to help cover rent and bills, suggests I might be that roommate.
3. After some thought, I say "sure, that sounds cool," and start planning to move down. The plan is that I'll move into her box room for now and we'll hunt for a decent apartment together.
4. Mid-July, I get cold feet for various reasons, call my friend and tell her I don't think I can do it. She talks me round.
5. Last weekend: I'm supposed to be moving down to $city, driving some 300 miles with the first lot of my stuff. Instead, I catch norovirus and spend Sunday vomiting violently. I have enough energy to SMS my friend to day I'm not coming.
6. Whilst trying to sleep off the puking, my phone switched off, my friend sends me a series of increasingly frantic texts, emails and phone calls, culminating in "I've taken the day off work, I'm coming to you, I don't know what else to do." On Monday morning, which I see when I switch on my phone. At this point I'm still very sick, and don't want her or anyone else to come to me. I just want to get better. I phone her and ask her to not come; she angrily insists she will come whether I want it or not, and then finally agrees to turn around.
7. For the rest of the week I've been keeping in touch with my friend by email whilst I convalesce. I don't really want to phone her as I'm putting off having a conversation about what the hell happened earlier this week. It's raised red flags with me and I'm not sure I want to be roommates with this person.
8. My friend sends me emails late Thursday asking me to let her know when I'm coming down, and asking me politely but firmly to call her and talk plans over.

Honestly, right now I feel like moving down, at least if living with this person, would be an enormous mistake. I don't want the kind of drama in my life hat happened this week because I was sick.

On the other hand I feel like I may be shafting my friend horribly. Her current landlords, who are friends of hers, have had her apartment revalued since she told them she was going to look elsewhere, and she now can't afford the rent on that apartment on her own.

Is there a good way to navigate through this or should I just do what feels right for me - not move yet - and get sanguine about the fact that I'm probably going to lose a friend here?
posted by six sided sock to Human Relations (38 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Ignoring the urge to run away is pretty much always a recipe for disaster. I'd run.
posted by selfmedicating at 2:07 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

I know there are other elements but turning your phone off after sending her a text message changing big plans is rather unhelpful. You experienced a drama with your health, but being accessible via text would have been the mature thing to do. She sounds like she was worried about you.

I think you should get on the phone and have an adult conversation. eg I have been too unwell to get my stuff sorted out. I am a bit worried about the way you handled me being briefly out of contact. What's going on?
posted by honey-barbara at 2:11 AM on August 16, 2013 [82 favorites]

I agree with honey-Barbara.

Look at it from her point of view: you already changed your mind in July and had to be 'talked around', then on the weekend you're scheduled to move, you get conveniently* sick and turn off your phone. Looks like you've changed your mind again, and she's going to be left homeless.

She's behaving a bit nuts because she's freaking out, and I don't really blame her.

I know it's awkward, but you need to pick up the phone and be frank. Talk it through with her. Tell her that you're having misgivings, and why. By the end of the conversation, you'll be better informed to make a decision. FWIW, I think you'll decide that you don't want to live with her.

(*I believe you were sick, but she might not, given all the circumstances.)
posted by Salamander at 2:23 AM on August 16, 2013 [70 favorites]

I think you should separate this question into three things:

Obviously you should not live together: Based on what you described in your question, it is obvious to me that you should not live with this person. It could work out, but based on what you now know, why take the risk. The fact that the two of you are not able to communicate now is a clear sign that things probably won't get better if you live together.

Who knows if you can salvage the friendship: Maybe time and some effort on your side can help repair it? Maybe not? No one knows this now.

It sounds like you owe her some rent: I read that you have committed to move in with her. Even if she talked you into it, you still said yes. (Perhaps you might want to work on learning to say no to things?)I don't know how much you should owe her -one month could be reasonable.
posted by jazh at 2:41 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Sounds like you're both overreacting here, it also sounds like you really don't want to move in with her (or move at all) and you're using this "drama" as an excuse.

You texted her to say you were sick (we have no idea what you said to her) then went out of contact, your friend was worried and when you didn't respond for over a day, took the day off work to drive down to see you because she had no way to get in touch with you - whether or not that was an overreaction is hard to say, since we have no idea what you said to her in your initial text before your phone switched off. The degree to which she's creating drama really depends on what you said before you disappeared. eg. if you said "can't come over today, I'm dying", her reaction is a lot more reasonable than if you'd said eg. "can't come over today, picked up a nasty bug and can't go more than 2 feet from the bathroom. Going to try to get some rest, I'll call you next week to reschedule".

Now you're avoiding her and dicking her about over something pretty huge - her living arrangements. Because of you she's going to have to move now whether you move in with her or not and if you don't, she's got to start looking for a new place and a new roommate.

If you don't want to move in with her just tell her straight up and stop avoiding her so she can make arrangement and IMHO you should offer to pay your share of the rent until she can find a new roommate and a new place to live.
posted by missmagenta at 3:08 AM on August 16, 2013 [48 favorites]

You can't spread norovirus through text messaging. Please be frank with this person so that they can act accordingly.

It's not about you.

I would hate to be in the other person's shoes right now.

You aren't being helpful insofar as avoiding drama is concerned. Don't believe me? Print out this post, show it to her, and find out what she thinks.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:29 AM on August 16, 2013 [13 favorites]

On the one hand, yes you committed to moving in with your friend, and (because of your illness) called a halt to the move at the last second, with almost no explanation --- a single text message? Really? Like oceanjesse says, she couldn't have caught your novovirus from additional texts.

On the other hand: Run, do NOT move in with Friend, either temporarily or permanently. Halfway through your post, right about "increasingly frantic texts", my thought was that Friend doesn't have the money to pay her bills, and was counting on YOU to make ends meet.

Either way, don't move in with her: no matter what the underlying cause, you two can't even hold a polite series of text messages without these little dramas, so living together would quickly turn into MAJOR drama.
posted by easily confused at 3:47 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

There are kind of two different viewpoints here, and the same events look rather different depending on which one you take. From your point of view you were thinking about moving, but were sick on moving day and your friend got irrationally crazy about it. From her point of view, you were having second thoughts but finally committed, and then on moving day sent one text and dropped off the face of the earth, still not answering your phone after a week.

I mean, both viewpoints are interpretations of what actually happened, and the way to resolve them is to phone her, apologise for the short notice of not-moving, and organise another time to move in.

Personally, I would move in anyway -- it sounds like you have a perfect 'trial' roomates situation, since you're living in her box room for a little while while you look for a place. If you drive each other crazy after a month then you can just find your own apartment. But that's just an opinion.
posted by katrielalex at 3:49 AM on August 16, 2013 [10 favorites]

If my potential roommate sent me a single text and disappeared for a couple of days with basically no real contact, I would be pretty upset (and worried!) too. Have you dealt with roommates or more formal moving arrangements before? It is usually a pretty big deal in terms of time and effort and by taking the day off it sounds like she was trying to be helpful and get you sorted out in a limited amount of time. I'd be frantic too, though of course we don't know exactly what she was saying.

8. My friend sends me emails late Thursday asking me to let her know when I'm coming down, and asking me politely but firmly to call her and talk plans over.

I mean, it's been nearly a week (ie a fourth of whatever rent you were going to pay for a month) and you've been dancing around the very important issue of whether or not you're going to follow through. I am very sorry that you were sick and I'm sure she is too, but you are also obliged to work this out right now.

To be honest, assuming that conversation goes okay, it seems like there have been mistakes on both side but that the rest of the month might not be a bad thing. It's a way to test out the roommate waters and move to the city in a less expensive way than a full lease. If you can easily switch between the two cities, don't move all your stuff, just what you'll need for the beginning of fall.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:49 AM on August 16, 2013 [14 favorites]

Personally, I wouldn't want you to move in if I were her. You sound self-important, dismissive, indecisive and uncommunicative--all horrible traits to have as a roommate. This person obviously needs someone who can make commitments and can communicate, and you are not that person. Do her a favor and find somewhere else to live.
posted by greta simone at 4:51 AM on August 16, 2013 [52 favorites]

If you were a good friend, you would give her a month's rent anyway, to cover you bailing, so that she can afford to stay while she looks for another roommate.
posted by greta simone at 4:53 AM on August 16, 2013 [25 favorites]

She is the wronged party here. Your actions have caused her a lot of trouble and stress (whether you meant to or not is less important, your refusal to communicate clearly was, in fact, the cause of her stress). As missmagenta points out your decisions have put her in a position where she may actually be left either homeless or in a much worse living situation.

You should call her and the conversation should start by you saying "Hey, I'm sorry that I stressed you out last week. I really did get sick, but I realize now that you are depending on me and I've handled the situation poorly. Can you tell me what's worrying you?"

Then you can act based on her response. For what it's worth, I see no reason (grounded in her actions) not to move in with her.
posted by oddman at 5:00 AM on August 16, 2013 [37 favorites]

Don't move in with her, for her sake as much as yours.
posted by unSane at 5:30 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Communication is the key here.

You have to be very clear just how sick you were. If you ever make significant life decisions in the future that affect other people, no matter how sick you are, don't turn your phone off. She more than likely thinks you were flaking on her and she needs to pay her rent. She thought she had that set up. You disappearing (which is what you did), sent her into panic.

Is there a good way to navigate through this

Talking to people is incredibly necessary. But they will almost always look out for their own interests before yours. That's not a reason to avoid difficult conversations with them. The key is to say no when you need to, not after the fact, not passive aggressively, and not in a way that punishes the other person for overstepping your boundaries. In this situation, avoiding the drama created drama. In July you should have stuck to your guns. But you let her talk you around. And I don't think you should have let that happen. And you're possibly resentful because you did.

Just keep in mind that she needs somewhere to live. This is a big thing for her. So by not saying no to her initially, and then by not sticking with it in July, that's created an even bigger problem.

However - you're not the only person on the face of the planet who she can get to live with her, right? I'm sure she could find someone else?
posted by heyjude at 6:04 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

On the other hand I feel like I may be shafting my friend horribly.

Yes, you are. And you've been really uncommunicative, which may well justify her panic on Monday and certainly justifies her "polite but firm" request to call her and talk things over now that you've been blowing her off for almost a week.

Dude. Pick up the phone. Apologize. The only red flags here are on you.

If you don't want to move in with this person, fine, but at the very least you should do the right thing and offer your share of the rent for the first month, to give her some breathing space to find a less unreliable roommate than yourself.
posted by ook at 6:05 AM on August 16, 2013 [18 favorites]

Is something else going on here that you haven't told us? Are y'all dating or something and you are worried about moving too fast? Is there romantic tension between you two? I ask this because I recognize your username and I know that in my case, my romantic relationships in particular (but all relationships, platonic too, but to a lesser extent) have high potential to get all gummed up because I'm still healing from my situation. Perhaps that is part of what is going on with you.

We actually discussed this extensively in my survivor group therapy recently and it's a common problem. Many of us think "getting close to someone is scary; the last time I did, it didn't turn out well, because that person hurt me". I would like to gently suggest that perhaps you are experiencing some worries and cold feet partially because of this and partially because you may be super-tuned-in with respect to red flags and her multiple calls and texts were a trigger for you.

Be honest. Call her and talk to her. I have learned that although I had to lie to my ex all the time as a survival strategy, people who are not manipulative and abusive do not need to be lied to. They understand these kinds of things. Talk to her.

That said, ignoring the urge to run is almost always a recipe for disaster. For whatever reason, you don't want to do this anymore. That's ok, but back out respectfully and gracefully and offer some compensation for your friend, who has her own struggles. She needs compassion right now, too - moving and having a roommate bail both suck, no matter if his reason for doing so is legitimate.
posted by sockermom at 6:19 AM on August 16, 2013 [8 favorites]

All the drama of this situation was brought on by you. I'm surprised that your friend is still interested in a roommate situation with you, because your actions, as described by you, were really not putting you in the best light as a potential roommate.

Cut bait. It's better for both of you.
posted by xingcat at 6:45 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Something that just needs to be reiterated: When did this happen? As in, which day of the month? Because from her perspective, it does look an awful lot like you backing out -- and leaving her responsible for all the rent. Depending on which city this is, this will probably be several hundred dollars, possibly even over $1000 if it's someplace like NYC; and depending on what "to help cover the rent and bills" is a euphemism for, this is very likely several hundred dollars she may not be able to cough up unexpectedly. (I'm taking "move into her box room" as meaning she already has the old place, i.e. won't end up homeless -- but generally you don't go from living alone back to living with roommates unless there's some financial worry going on.)

So even if I thought you really were sick and was genuinely worried (which is probably what's happening; "I'm coming to you, I don't know what else to do" isn't what you say to say "fuck you" but "oh my god you said you were sick and now are suddenly not answering calls are you in the ER?"), I'd still be pissed. If I thought it was just you flaking, I'd be livid.
posted by dekathelon at 7:13 AM on August 16, 2013 [10 favorites]

I suspect at this point the other person is done with you, but feels obligated to not be an asshole and uninvite you. So call her, apologize for not being responsive, and say it would be for the best if you guys didn't move forward with the plan. It's obvious from your behavior that you don't want to do this anymore, but that's not her problem to deal with, so don't go into it.

The worst thing she can do is yell at you. Stop avoiding it and get it over with. At least you hadn't signed a lease on a new place. But if you're able to swing her a couple hundred bucks, call it a deposit and then forfeit it, that would be a step toward making this right.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:26 AM on August 16, 2013

Sockermom made some insightful comments. I agree that it sounds like there's something else going on here, and that perhaps you need to take some time to get re-calibrated with reality and basic empathy for others. I don't think the situation is necessarily unsalvagable if you apologize.
posted by bleep at 7:53 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't want the kind of drama in my life hat happened this week because I was sick.

If you don't want this kind of drama in your life, then don't create it. If you get sick on the day of a major event that you've already expressed hesitation about, like moving in with a friend who is depending on you to live up to your part of that whole moving in together thing that you agreed to, then instead of texting that friend and shutting off your phone so that you're unreachable, leave your phone on. Instead of refusing to call that friend all week because you know they're (quite fairly) upset with you and they deserve an explanation that you're unwilling to give because it makes you feel ooky, be an adult and pick up the phone.

Responsible adults don't pull dramatic moves like going totally incommunicado on a day that they're supposed to do something major like move in with someone, and then only communicate via email after that because they don't want the "drama" of a phone call. That's what flakes and drama queens do. Stop doing that.

If you don't want to live with this friend anymore, be honest and tell them. It's kinder than what you're currently doing. Odds are high that they don't really want to live with you anymore, not after this, and I can't blame them in the slightest.
posted by palomar at 7:54 AM on August 16, 2013 [34 favorites]

Yeah, even based on your own retelling, which is naturally biased in your favor, it looks like approximately 100% of the fault lies with YOU, not with her.

You shouldn't move in with someone that you apparently neither like nor respect nor consider in any way whatsoever, and you probably shouldn't be friends with that person either.

But you SHOULD try to avoid making any person abruptly broke and/or homeless just because you changed your mind and apparently don't feel like calling. What the hell. Send her your portion of the rent so she isn't out on the street, apologize like 900 times for heaven's sake, and really, never ever do this again, it was poor form.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:20 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

You're the drama queen here. Interpret your friend's actions through the lens of someone who is finding themselves imminently homeless or saddled with extremely high rent, who is facing total non-communication from a supposed friend and future roommate.

Here's your question, written by her:


1. A friend of mine expressed an interest in moving to my city.

2. I've been looking for a roommate to help cut down on housing costs, so I suggest she move in with me.

3. My friend agrees. She'll move into my current apartment for now, and then we'll look for an apartment together.

4. My friend starts thinking about backing out three weeks before she's supposed to move. We talk it over and she re-agrees to move in. I'm starting to get worried about the situation. My apartment is re-valued so I cannot afford the new rent. Now I have to move.

5. Now things get weird. Sunday, the day she's supposed to move in I get one text from my friend that she's sick. Then nothing.

6. Now I'm freaking out. I have no idea what's going on or if she's still moving in. I try desperately to get in contact with her and send texts, emails, and try to call. No response to any of them. In retrospect maybe I shouldn't have sent as many. But I didn't know whether the lack of communication was because she was half-dead in the ER or because she was backing out again. The day that is supposed to be a move-in with a friend turns into a giant anxiety attack. Finally, at the end of the day with no further communication from her, I decide to take the next day off work and drive the 300 miles to see my friend to figure out the situation. Monday I get ready to leave, and finally receive my first communication from my friend since the text: an angry phone call telling me not to come. I'm very upset at this point and insist on coming anyway. She shouts me down.

7. We have since been in sporadic contact via email. I am still unsure as to what happened. She was sick, but why wasn't she more clear? Does she still want to move in?

8. Yesterday, Thursday, I sent an email asking for clarification on my friend's moving status. As I said, I can't afford the rent here anymore. Remember, originally I wanted a roommate so I could pay less in housing costs!

Should I keep trying to get this girl to move in? Or should I abandon this effort entirely? I am sympathetic to my friend's sickness but resent how she left me in the lurch. She couldn't have sent a text or two more to clarify her intentions? I am also sick of how wishy-washy she's been about the move-in process. At this point I would be happy just knowing whether I'm going to have a roommate or not. If I'm not I can at least prepare to spend the next two weeks scrambling for an apartment somewhere else. I didn't have any contingency plans, as I didn't realize my friend was going to flake on me!


You have behaved like a huge jerk. If I were her I would not want you to move in with me. It's likely she's only trying to salvage the situation because she's going to be in such a financial bind if she doesn't.
posted by Anonymous at 8:25 AM on August 16, 2013

How is it that you can flip flop like this? Are you moving out of your parents' house, or some other living arrangement where you are not paying rent? I guess you must be, because for rent-paying people, changing your mind at the last minute about whether you are moving or not is a very, very difficult situation.

Typically it's necessary to give 30 days notice to one's landlord. At that point the landlord will look for a new person to rent to, meaning that you the tenant MUST leave by the date you said you would. It sounds like your friend may already have given notice to her landlords--maybe for the end of August? So to use that as an example, now she must move out in 2 weeks. That makes finding a new place pretty urgent, and she was expecting you to be there earlier in the week to get started on that.

You really need to stop putting off talking to her. Call her now. For someone who is renting a place and is planning to move, it's very important to stick to plans such as when to leave, when a new place needs to be found, etc. It's often not at all possible to change plans once things are in motion (ie, once the landlords have been notified). So if, as in your case, one is planning to move but can't do so because of illness, that's a really serious issue that merits a phone call, or at LEAST ongoing availability by text, absolutely more than a single message.

Maybe you shouldn't move in with her, but you absolutely need to call her and discuss all of this right now. Maybe she will still be able to find another roommate, but she might need to get started immediately. If she is not able to find another roommate, then yes, you would be seriously shafting her by flaking out like this.

You should absolutely offer to pay the first month's rent if you choose not to move. This is what you do when you rent. When you commit to rent a place, it is never possible to get out of it at the last minute without paying for the first month.
posted by snorkmaiden at 8:26 AM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

Personally, I wouldn't want you to move in if I were her. You sound self-important, dismissive, indecisive and uncommunicative--all horrible traits to have as a roommate. This person obviously needs someone who can make commitments and can communicate, and you are not that person. Do her a favor and find somewhere else to live.

Based on your posting history, I don't think you're ready to move in with another person, especially a female, at all. You freaked out about the whole thing and then went non-communicative, because that's how you're used to dealing with your ex. Break that pattern.

She sounds a little dramatic herself, planning on taking a day off just because you didn't answer your text for example, and you really, really don't need that kind of drama in your life at this point.
posted by Melismata at 8:36 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

I don't think either one of you is a jerk. I think you both got your feelings hurt, and you're both a little stubborn and slow to cede ground when you get your feelings hurt. In a high-stakes situation like this where living arrangements are involved, that can do a lot of damage without anybody being a jerk.

But let me say this on her behalf: Depending on what your text said, having you disappear may have been really frightening for her, and when people make you worry unnecessarily, that can be something that causes strain on a relationship. In other words, it deserves an apology. Again, it depends on what your text said and what you said the next day when you called, but I've been the person who agreed to go check on someone at home because we feared s/he might be in some sort of trouble, and that is a no-fun situation, let me tell you.

Don't move in with her; the two of you aren't in the same headspace. This will only be more drama. But if it were me, I'd give her a month of rent to cover your indecision and the fact that you are, in fact, leaving her in the lurch. You may feel that she "talked [you] round" in July, but you're an adult, and you made a decision that she relied on, and you're backing out. Since you both could perhaps have handled this better, I'd do your best to share some of the costs of this sequence of events with her, rather than making her bear all of them.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 9:21 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Your friend behaved normally, and in fact, with kindness.

If I were her, I would have assumed you were lying when you texted you were sick, and I would never ever ever talk to you again.

posted by jbenben at 9:53 AM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]

What exactly did the new roommate do that raised red flags? As far as I could tell, you were the one who kept flaking out. You were the one who said you didn't want to move and then when it was time to move in, you texted her to say "I'm not coming" and then proceeded to turn your phone off. She couldn't reach you, got worried, was going to come see you, and you told her no. Then, even after you were better, instead of talking to her about how you feel or why you disappeared, you avoided her and you came onto AskMeFi to complain about her. Um, what?

Yes, do her the favor and let her find a less flaky roommate. And next time, try not to punish your friends for your own inability to make decisions. What you've done is what we call "a dick move." Your friendship is probably over and she's the one who's better off.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:55 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

So is your friend now on the hook for rent which she cannot afford because of you? She thought her living situation was stable, and then you upended it by not communicating like a responsible person when you got sick. I think you owe her your half of the rent this month, and that you should not move in with her.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:36 AM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

I don't really want to phone her as I'm putting off having a conversation about what the hell happened earlier this week.

I feel you on this; I've been you on this.

Putting it off will not help. It will not magically make the drama go away or not happen; avoidance only increases drama. And the longer you put it off the higher the likelihood that any kind of friendship will be salvageable.

You have to put on the grown-up pants and call her.
posted by rtha at 11:52 AM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]

This is already a gigantic pile-on, but i just wanted to add that i've been the other person in a story like this.

At least 3 times.

Part of the reason i'd be coming out "to see if you were ok" is that i would be in complete disbelief that you were actually sick, especially after you shut your phone off. I've dealt with soooo many people avoiding me when it came time to do the adult thing and pay the bills, or when they suddenly owed me money through their commitments, etc.

This part especially would infuriate me:

For the rest of the week I've been keeping in touch with my friend by email whilst I convalesce. I don't really want to phone her as I'm putting off having a conversation about what the hell happened earlier this week.

I've dealt with this exact thing. And the thing is it always just reeks of avoidance for no good reason and shirking of responsibility by the other party. It's just really really hard to see it as anything but "i'm going to ignore this until it goes away".

If you told me this entire story i would have an extremely hard time believing it. Even if you showed me a hospital wrist band or some shit i'd still think the amount that you ignored me was inexcusable. And yes, it is completely your fault if you made a commitment to move in and then just no call/no showed and now she desperately needs money for the place. Don't try and pull some "Well i mean, i never even moved in so it isn't my problem" shit. That's what assholes do.

And i'm saying this as a guy who has both been dealt shit sandwiches like this where life 1-2 punches me when i'm in the middle of dealing with serious stuff and dealt with it like an adult, and as someone who has just had too many roommates(who were friends! that i trusted!) completely flake out on me.

Really though, all the drama here is on you. I can't even explain how suspicious i(or i'm sure, anyone else who has been in situations like this) would be if you were going "i don't know..." and then were suddenly sick like this. To the other person it just seems like an avoidance of commitment strategy.

I'm also with the person above who was wondering how you're afforded the luxury of being such a waffle iron on this. Are you month to month at your current place? do you live with your parents? Regardless, that's a pretty big luxury to be able to lean back on compared to your friend who is probably boned now.

I was also going to get in to how this amount of conflict avoidance is unhealthy and will do you no good in life, but i think i'll just let that drop. You might want to look in to(i don't know, possibly even therapy?) dealing with that though. Because being this indirect and trying to sidestep conflict this much with the whole "oh i don't want to call now ahhh" shit won't fly forever.
posted by emptythought at 1:56 PM on August 16, 2013 [8 favorites]

Oh, and if you don't give her what would've been your share for the rent for one month, you can stop pretending you are the good person in this situation or that your friend was in anyway the one whose behavior was wrong.
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:48 PM on August 16, 2013 [9 favorites]

Just Nthing dude, your friend is freaking out because she's worried about how she's gonna pay for rent etc and that you're leaving her in the hole. I have a chronic illness; I know what it's like when you're sick and you just want to be alone, but honestly you can't just shut up shop when people are depending on you or your communication.
posted by smoke at 3:53 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Depending on what you wrote, how close you are, and who else is in your local support network, coming to find you may be reasonable. If one of my best friends lived alone and wrote "I'm vomiting uncontrollably" or "I have some stomach thing, text you back in a minute after i go vomit," followed by 24 hours of radio silence, I might be in the car too.

It sounds like maybe this never felt right to you and like you don't entirely trust her, but that you want this to be her fault.

Leave fault aside, don't move in with her, and (given the late date) pay her what you would've paid for this month.
posted by salvia at 7:27 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

there's an expression that i think would serve you well in the future, "let your yes be yes and your no be no". when it comes to roommates and travel partners i think it is a really good idea to think long and hard before committing to either because you have to know you are highly compatible with them. sadly, you are waffling all over the place and you're screwing your friend over. i think the best thing to do is not to be her roommate and pay her *full* rent for the next month so she's not financially strapped while having to find a new place.
posted by wildflower at 10:09 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think you didn't want to have the difficult conversation where you told her you actually didn't want to move after all and stuck by it, and so you fucked your friend.

I'd offer her the first months rent because that is what she is on the hook for. You may be able to keep the friend, but I definitely wouldn't forgive you myself.
posted by corb at 11:38 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Oh, and after getting back from a weekend mini-vacation in which this post marinated in my brain a bit on the drive home...

For the rest of the week I've been keeping in touch with my friend by email whilst I convalesce. I don't really want to phone her as I'm putting off having a conversation about what the hell happened earlier this week.

Did she try and call you at all? I'd imagine she'd only have played along with this because she was desperate to have some kind of contact with you and was worried that if she pushed you too much you'd either ghost or definitively call her off and she'd never see the money and be screwed for sure.

The whole "we're only talking over email, i won't talk to you on the phone. my way or the highway" thing is really weird and controlling and arm-wrestly trying to pin them down and have the upper hand. It's like something you'd do to limit contact with an abusive parent or something, not a roommate you haven't even moved in with yet. Then and there, it almost seems like some kind of weird "kick the biggest guys ass on the first day in jail to show your dominance" thing. Like, she's freaking out and you intentionally cut contact with her down to a non-real-time minimum where you get to dole out replies when you feel like it and she's standing at the counter begging for more gruel.

Looking specifically at that part and then the rest of the situation, it really seems like a good portion of your freakout here was some kind of weird being in control/on top in the situation, or even some kind of freakout about not being in total control of your living situation.

Like, there's definitely more to this than you getting sick. That may have been an addition stressor, but you were already wishy-washy about the whole thing. Do you tend to freak out and just look for the quickest, possibly destructive exit to a situation just to get out when you're pushed to move more quickly than you want or it gets too stressful? Because the entire thing just reminds me way too much of "push me and i'll explode and hide in my shell" people who have been in my life.

Definitely don't move yet, but use this time for some deeper introspection on how you react when things get stressful or don't go exactly the way you wanted them to... or some combination of both. I also think you owe your friend a serious apology, and shouldn't have any expectation of them being more than a "maybe they'll show up with mutual friends at a bar and we'll have a couple beers and maybe be involved in a conversation together briefly" friend for a while, and possibly forever. Assuming they even talk to you again at all.
posted by emptythought at 12:53 PM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Honestly? You sound like a flake.
posted by lillian.elmtree at 2:58 PM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

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