Why does this potentially awesome move make me uncomfortable?
January 29, 2014 9:09 AM   Subscribe

Looking for an apartment, found a possibility with an interesting guy I met a couple of months ago. The neighbourhood is great, the apartment is gorgeous. I get along well with him and I will expand my social circle living with him, so that's a nice plus as well. However... my guts say no. And I can't pinpoint a reason.

I can write a list of cons:

- the room is significantly smaller than my current room. This will force me to decrease my possessions/stuff, but I think that is a good thing, despite the work it will involve.

- we would pay the same rent, even though he has a bigger room. I have brought this up, and he argues that since it is furnished, it is a good deal. However, I could certainly buy my own furniture, I do have my own kitchenware, and while I would be using the couch/projector/chairs, what if I already had this already and were moving in? Would it be different then? I can see that this is an issue to me, and I can't rationalize it. Splitwise has given a 30-40$ decrease in my rent, if it were to be split fairly, which is quite negligible.

- The kitchen is small. But the dining room is large enough for prep work.

- There is little storage space -- but this also helps for diminishing possessions.

I'm trying to explore my feelings and take a decision, and I'm not sure what questions I can ask myself.

First world problems, I know. Any advice appreciated.
posted by StoneSpace to Human Relations (48 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would try looking around and seeing what else is out there before you make a decision. That might help you clarify your thoughts.
posted by bleep at 9:11 AM on January 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

What about cons related to the guy? How well do you know him? Have you seen his living space under normal conditions (how good of a roommate will he be)? Do you currently live alone? How does the rent compare to what you're paying now?
posted by Night_owl at 9:13 AM on January 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

If your guts say no, listen to your guts. All of the gorgeous apartments in the world don't make up for living with someone who makes you subtly uncomfortable, and you don't need a rational and objective reason to say no besides "I don't want to live with this guy." It looks like you already don't see eye to eye on how to handle money and space in a fair and equitable fashion, which is a red flag for all kinds of future conflict waiting to happen.

There's always another apartment.
posted by Andrhia at 9:16 AM on January 29, 2014 [46 favorites]

Your gut is protecting you. Please listen to it.
posted by zdravo at 9:19 AM on January 29, 2014 [8 favorites]

Trust your gut and keep looking. It doesn't sound like to me there is any one big thing that is making you have a bad gut reaction, but rather a bunch of small insignificant bad things that when added together make a big bad thing. Know what I mean? And that is okay. You don't need a big obvious reason to not want to make this choice. Why do you need to pinpoint a reason anyway? Having it just not feel right is definitely a good enough reason.

And frankly, in my books a small kitchen is a good enough reason to pass on an apartment.

Keep looking.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:20 AM on January 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

What you feel is an inequitable rent split isn't working for you. I think that's at the root of the problem. If you can't resolve it (rationally or irrationally), don't move in. Been there, moved out of that...good luck.
posted by xiaolongbao at 9:20 AM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Sack it. We are unsophisticated animals trained out of listening to our gut. Gut knows best.
posted by tanktop at 9:22 AM on January 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yeah.. Sorry... if your room is smaller you pay less. Period. Utilities are split evenly, but rent is equitable to living space. Arguably if his stuff is furnishing the apartment, he's taking up even more of your living space.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:23 AM on January 29, 2014 [13 favorites]

It sounds like you'd be paying about the same rent for a prettier but less functional apartment in a popular neighborhood. The less functional part seems like what's bothering you, and is a totally reasonable reason to keep looking. The fact that you and your potential roommate don't see eye to eye on how to split expenses is icing on the cake.

Not that you need a reason to keep looking .But if you wanted one, there it is.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 9:24 AM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm not you, obviously, but if I were in this situation, I would say no. He's splitting rent inequitably, and rationalizing it when you bring it up. While financially, this is not a big deal, it does say a lot about how your future interactions with him might go. He may be financially precarious, or simply likes to take advantage of people. (Some people are great too everybody, EXCEPT those they live with.) Either way, I wouldn't move in with him.
posted by ethidda at 9:25 AM on January 29, 2014 [22 favorites]

Speaking to the uneven-sizes-of-bedrooms aspect - my apartment has unevenly-sized bedrooms as well, and I split rent evenly with roommates. So that happens.

However - a responsible roommate would make up for this difference in some way (I give any roommate exclusive use of an office space off the living room, which evens the "personal space" up) rather than dismissing your concerns by saying "but it comes furnished so it's a good deal".

This would make me uneasy too. You can say no.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:27 AM on January 29, 2014

Yes. If someone is insistent upon an unfair financial arrangement, which is to their benefit, and they blow it off and rationalize it when you try to talk about it, that is a very very legitimate bad sign. I've had tons of roommates over the years, and I have lived with more than one person like that. In every case, this kind of behavior turned out to be a pattern.
posted by cairdeas at 9:28 AM on January 29, 2014 [16 favorites]

And yeah, for me, his stuff in my room would not be some kind of bonus, it would be him using the space that I pay for as free storage for his own belongings.
posted by cairdeas at 9:30 AM on January 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

Splitting rent equally in spite of unequal room sizes is not necessarily a problem, but the way he's dismissing your concerns about it IS a real problem. It sounds like perhaps your gut is reacting to the guy, not the place, here... and if I were you, I'd trust it.
posted by snorkmaiden at 9:34 AM on January 29, 2014

Would he be furnishing the entire apartment, including your room, or just the rest of the apartment? Would the rent situation be different if you furnished your own room? Does he have kitchen stuff as well, or will you be providing the majority of it? Can you store any of your stuff outside of your room, or is he essentially treating you like a boarder in his place rather than as an equal roommate? These are things to weigh, to help factor in to your decision on whether to do this or not.
posted by gudrun at 9:34 AM on January 29, 2014

Thanks for all the answers. I have to say the following has also made me uncomfortable: he argued that renting his stuff from him (!) would be more expensive than what I would gain in rent, and has argued that his social circle also makes up for it...which made me raise my eyebrows (even though he does have lots of awesome contacts!). As a prompt reply is necessary, I'll do my best to express my feelings to him and go from there.

Ah, "like a boarder" -- that's the feeling I do not like. Thanks gudrun, that is essentially what this makes me feel like, somehow an unequal roommate.
posted by StoneSpace at 9:34 AM on January 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

he argued that renting his stuff from him (!) would be more expensive than what I would gain in rent, and has argued that his social circle also makes up for it...

He's charging you a premium because of his ... social circle?

Dear god. Run.
posted by jayder at 9:36 AM on January 29, 2014 [94 favorites]

Sounds like you are trying to rationalize away why living in a cramped space won't be so bad. Which you wouldn't feel the need to do if it didn't somewhat depress you.

Plus it sounds like your potential room-mate is not above taking advantage of you in small ways. Or at the very least the two of you are not great at discussing and resolving any differences to your mutual satisfaction.

I'd trust your gut in this one.
posted by philipy at 9:36 AM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

His social circle makes up for it, really? After seeing your followup I would say another factor would be if you can deal with his giant ego (ugh).
posted by gudrun at 9:37 AM on January 29, 2014 [5 favorites]

OMG, I would totally not want to be friends with anyone who would consider this guy a friend. Ruuuuuun.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:38 AM on January 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

Oh hell nope. This is never going to get any better than it is right now, and it's awfully meh right now.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:41 AM on January 29, 2014

Lot harder to reverse the decision/downsize/move when (not if) the thing doesn't work out.
posted by chuckiebtoo at 9:42 AM on January 29, 2014

has argued that his social circle also makes up for it...

Translation: My friends will show up and take over the common space with me, pushing you further into an unequal roommate situation. If you are cool enough, they may even talk to you.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:45 AM on January 29, 2014 [30 favorites]

Unless he is a clandestine European prince there no way in HELL his "social circle" could be more valuable than square footage.

Don't just turn him down, tell him to FUCK himself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:47 AM on January 29, 2014 [11 favorites]

Translation: My friends will show up and take over the common space with me, pushing you further into an unequal roommate situation. If you are cool enough, they may even talk to you.

I had to cut my last comment short because I needed a moment to let the douche chills pass. But anyway, nanukthedog really nails it here.

And honestly ... I'd bet anything that a guy who will nickel and dime you like this over rent -- and who can say, with a straight face, that the apartment comes with "all these amenities plus access to my social circle" -- doesn't have a social circle that's going to be worth much ... to you at least.
posted by jayder at 9:54 AM on January 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

well first i was going to respond that i live in an apartment with uneven room sizes but each has its own advantages/disadvantages - ie the larger room has more closet space but is next to the kitchen/living room so you get less privacy and hear everything in common areas, the smaller rooms have claim to the hall closets, etc. we make fair trade offs to make up for the uneven sizes, so that is why we go for the even split with rent. also, i am the only one on the lease so i made up this decision years ago as people have moved in and out - no one has complained, probably because it's fair. since you are going in on this together, you BOTH have a say - don't let him trod all over you with how he thinks it should be! call him out on his BS and give YOUR terms of a fair arrangement.

oh and i just read the line about part of the rent having access to his social circle... hahaa WHAT!
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 9:55 AM on January 29, 2014

has argued that his social circle also makes up for it

Ok, this is so obnoxious it's kind of awesome. I have some great friends I'd like you to meet, do you want to come over tonight? I'll give you my special intro rate of just $5/hour and I'll throw in a guaranteed hug with a person of gender of your choice.

I agree that this guy sounds like an egotistic jerk. I think you are right to avoid someone who is already throwing up huge red flags.
posted by medusa at 10:03 AM on January 29, 2014 [12 favorites]

I would not live with somebody who pitches his social circle as a perk of renting with him.

(Unless the alternative were living on the street. Maybe.)
posted by kidbritish at 10:04 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

has argued that his social circle also makes up for it

Yeah, this guy is going to go from sketchy to impossible, because if he's quibbling with you money-wise like this, then dealing with the bills will be a nightmare. I can just see him saying, "Your showers are 5 minutes longer than mine, so you pay 75% of the water bill." Run away.
posted by xingcat at 10:37 AM on January 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

I've never heard of a potential roommate touting his social circle as a reason to share rent. Is that a bit weird or am I lost in the last century?
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:50 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've only lived one place where a roommate was able to successfully make a case that he had something that no one else could realistically offer. He had a mig welder in the basement and we modified bike frames. Incidentally, our rent was still based on square footage. The welder was strictly a perk.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:02 AM on January 29, 2014

jayder already gave the best answer. But as an aside, I used to live in a place where we split the rent equally but the room sizes were different. The deal was that the person with the smallest room got to dominate the common space with his personal possessions. So when I was in the small room, I got to keep my big desk, the stereo, and books in the living room. There are ways to arrange these things to make it fair, but this guy isn't doing that.
posted by deanc at 11:15 AM on January 29, 2014

When you turn him down, I'm tempted to recommend adding that you "looked over his Facebook network, and, frankly, it just...well...left something wanting. The math didn't add up."

Seriously though, I wouldn't be too bent out of shape about square footage/rent. It's more that this is clearly his place, he's overcharging you as a boarder, and nobody likes him very much.
posted by vitabellosi at 11:24 AM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

OP I just read your update. He's already manipulating you and you haven't even moved in. You have already picked up on this. Do not move in.
posted by futureisunwritten at 11:24 AM on January 29, 2014 [8 favorites]

Second guessing yourself never goes well. If you are struggling to rationalize pros and cons, you are not in a good situation.

Fortunately for you, you can walk away from this situation.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 11:38 AM on January 29, 2014

Why express your feelings to him? Even if he backs down on the rent split etc, he's already given you reason to not live with him.

"I've thought about this and it won't work for me. Good luck with your roommate search."

Boom. Done.
posted by bunderful at 11:57 AM on January 29, 2014 [11 favorites]

Agreed with bunderful. Why do you need to express your feelings to him? If he is the type of person to think his social circle has monetary value then i doubt thoroughly that he will care in the slightest what your feelings are. And expressing your feelings to him isn't going to fix his being an egotistical, selfish, manipulating jerk. Seriously, he is being buckets of crazy and (in my opinion) unreasonable and this is him trying to be on his best behaviour to convince you to move in. Imagine what kind of bullshit he'll throw at you once he gets you in there and drops any sort of pretense of kindness? Seriously, THIS IS HIM TRYING TO BE NICE. Think about that for a minute. This is sort of like when someone is a jerk on a first date. That is when people are trying their hardest to be liked and charming, so if they are a jerk when they are trying hard, it bodes very poorly for when they stop trying. Run run run run run run!

Just tell him it isn't going to work and that you'll be finding a different place to live, and then walk away. No, scratch that. RUN away.

His social network pays the difference in the rent... Jesus Christ... Next he'll tell you that you'll have to do all the cleaning because touching a cup that he drank from is an honour he's bestowed upon you. Cleaning the kitchen after he made a mess is doing you a favour!

God, I seriously cannot get over this. I will worry tremendously for you if you are still considering, even for a second, moving in with this guy.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:05 PM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've found that when it comes to injecting transactions into friendships, there are really two kinds of people in the world -- people who want everything to be scrupulously fair, and people who think that they need to always be looking out for their own interests.

When people deal with people from their own group, this all works out okay. The scrupulous people might disagree a bit about what constitutes fair but they'll usually work it out okay. The self-interested group will keep negotiating until they find a deal they can both live with. But when people from different groups try to deal with this stuff, it can end up with the self-interested person walking all over the fair-minded person, under the assumption that if they really minded, they'd fight back.

If you don't want to constantly be fighting for your own interests with this guy, you should go find a roommate who believes in fairness as the basic principal for deciding these things, because that is the type of person you are.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:20 PM on January 29, 2014 [19 favorites]

Always trust your guts. Your subconscious is picking up on things that your socialization is obscuring, and you need to pay attention to that.
posted by scrump at 12:30 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I doubt you need another voice chiming in, but no, of course don't move in with this guy. He sounds nuts. Giant ego + weird manipulator + small space = can't be your best option. However, I wanted to thank you for the followup, because that was funny as hell.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:35 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

You did great! And, I bet your gut is really happy right now.

That guy is a sleeper jerkface. Eject, and done. You don't owe him a thing. And you don't need to justify anything to anybody. Unless they are your BFF, or your gut isn't going, "Danger, Will Robinson!!!" around them all the damn time. Living with people is hard enough; no reason to start with that.

Remember: he's not the gateway to your dream social network. Come from a place of power, strength, empowerment. Don't give that to him! Who the hell is he?

You're gonna find another great place.
posted by simulacra at 1:27 PM on January 29, 2014

If he's on the lease and would be dealing with the landlord and repairs, plus most of the furnishings are his, you would indeed be his boarder, and he'd be within his rights charging rent to you at whatever the market would bear, so you could take it or leave it.

So you should leave it, because there's another place with a bigger bedroom and better kitchen, but I don't think the rent split is inherently unfair.
posted by mgar at 2:09 PM on January 29, 2014

Find an apartment that suits YOU. Your social circle will grow all by itself - it doesn't need this guy's help.

Always listen to your gut. But this time, your brain is telling you the same thing: No.

He's trying to rent an apartment.
posted by aryma at 3:57 PM on January 29, 2014

Even before I got to the jerktastic comment about how you'd essentially be paying extra rent so you can hang out with him, I was reading about the small size of the apartment, and how he's already got furniture, and how he's not looking out for your interests when he's deciding what's fair (example=rent) - and this made me imagine you and all your stuff crammed into the space behind your bedroom door, with the exception of the one shelf in the kitchen that he allots you.
posted by aimedwander at 4:54 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh my god go with your gut - he's making a stupid argument about why rent is split the way it is, can you imagine how much worse it'll get when he's your roommate?

I've lived with many douche-canoes over the years - and the only advice I can really offer from my own experience is that a red-flag popping up before you even move in together is going to lead to a series of metafilter questions about breaking leases and what to do about your awful roommate.

Screw the "social circle" and find someone you really get on with to find a place to live.

Edit: I'd like to add that living with anybody else will expand your social circle as well, even if it's just by that one person (who you can do stuff with and then meet MORE people!)
posted by rideunicorns at 7:19 PM on January 29, 2014

I'm sure he'll be able to find a roommate within his 'social circle' with whom he'll be happy to split the rent in a fair and equitable fashion.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:23 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have to say the following has also made me uncomfortable: he argued that renting his stuff from him (!) would be more expensive than what I would gain in rent, and has argued that his social circle also makes up for it...

You should make him a counter-offer: You have examined the monetary value of your social contacts and cultural capital, and have determined that he should actually be paying you to live in the apartment with him.

posted by inertia at 10:19 AM on January 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Based on what you marked as best answer, I sincerely hope that you are not still considering renting from this guy. Don't do it. Even if you were in a tight rental market, I would advise you to keep looking.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:46 AM on January 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

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