Rejected Craigslist Roommate = Possible Date?
August 18, 2014 12:49 PM   Subscribe

My housemates and I interviewed several people yesterday for a new roommate. We chose the person whose move-in schedule logistically worked best. However, we got along with all of the interviewees surprisingly well; each one stayed and chatted for at least an hour. I especially got along with two people, and I'd like to contact them again to see if they want to get together as friends, or - especially one of them - as a date. How inappropriate is this? Would you feel flattered or stalked if someone who didn't choose you as a roommate asked you out?

Probably relevant details: I am a queer/lesbian woman. This is in San Francisco. The one person I want to "get to know" more as a friend is also a queer woman. The person I really want to ask on a date is a trans* guy. Both mentioned during the interviews that they are single.
posted by Munching Langolier to Human Relations (21 answers total)
If you got a bit of a vibe coming back from them, then I would say yes do it!

If there was no vibe then I would tread carefully... maybe start as friends first. "Sorry the timing didn't work but you're so awesome, are you open to hanging out?" and then see how it grows (or not).

I would not be insulted about it at all, sometimes rental timing just doesn't work out.

There are stranger ways to meet people!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:55 PM on August 18, 2014 [14 favorites]

I would be weirded out, a little. I wouldn't have gone into the interview thinking that anything other than roommates might come of it. It's kind of like if I interviewed for a job, didn't get it, and then the interviewer contacted me again afterwards. It's just a little outside of normal interaction and expectations, for me anyway.
posted by Solomon at 12:56 PM on August 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

I say do it, but be prepared for weirdness on either party's part just because it's a little unorthodox.
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:59 PM on August 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

I would do it more of a friend thing at first. I wasn't chosen as a roommate through Craigslist and the guy invited me to a group thing. I wasn't creeped out. I would have if he had made it a date.
posted by pando11 at 1:04 PM on August 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

If I could I would favorite St. Peepsburg's suggestion multiple times. If you're going to give it a shot, I think that's the right answer.

1. Hey, sorry it didn't line up
2. You seemed pretty awesome
3. Are you open to (platonic) hanging out?

It isn't a bait-and-switch to hang out as friends if you would consider something else on the horizon; that's the natural progression of things (well, usually). I would likely want to have a specific potential hang out activity (house party, show, other cool event) to suggest you don't get stuck in "sure sometime (but really never)" territory.
posted by Poppa Bear at 1:05 PM on August 18, 2014

I've asked out someone via email after a successful buy-and-sell meet up. Just acknowledge the weirdness and ask them out politely. The person was flattered and agreed to go on a date.

My email went like:
"I swear I don't normally do this, but I think you're really cute. If you're single and interested, would you like to grab a drink or a quick bite sometimes?"
posted by lucia_engel at 1:08 PM on August 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

They didn't get the apartment, that aspect of your interpersonal relationship is done. There's no power imbalance or potential for coercion or anything like that at all in this scenario. I'm not sure why it's any more inappropriate than asking out for a drink (or whatever) someone you met at a party and talked to for an hour in that context.

Just don't be offended if the reply you get is a confused "uh, no thanks" and them hanging up. But, honestly, if you're asking out on a date (or, again, whatever) a person you don't know too well that's a risk comes with the territory.
posted by griphus at 1:09 PM on August 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

Strategic tip: Have one of your other roommates be the one to give them the bad news about the room. Wait about 24 hours to contact them separately after that about going out for a drink.
posted by amaire at 1:15 PM on August 18, 2014 [10 favorites]

Totally. I've had those thoughts after being both interviewer and interviewee in roommate situations, but I never acted on any of them. If your approach is casual and straightforward, they will probably be flattered.

There is potential for weirdness if/when the friendship-dating thing leads to a sleepover. If I really wanted to live in your house but didn't make the cut, I'd regard the new roommate (the one who did make the cut) with a stinkeye. Or not. This situation has great potential for a hilarious "how we met" story!
posted by magdalemon at 1:23 PM on August 18, 2014

My college roommate met his now wife in exactly this way. Ask her out.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 1:57 PM on August 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not inappropriate, and maybe slightly unusual/awkward but totally manageable. The queer community is small, even in San Francisco, and presumably the reason these folks even got chosen for interviews is (partly) that you have the queer thing in common. It's not a stretch that you might want to be friends or date.

However, I would be careful to let the trans guy know the reasons that you didn't choose him as a roommate. That way, if it turns out he ISN'T interested in dating you, he won't think that you rejected him as a roommate specifically so that you could ask him out. THAT would be awkward, him thinking "man, I really wanted that great room but they turned me down so they could ask me out, bleh. (If he does want to date you, I imagine his thinking would go differently--a nice date is a decent consolation prize, eh?)
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:23 PM on August 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is basically how my parents met (though minus the craigslist).

If it weirds them out well it isn't like you live together and will see them every day so just back off and you're done.
posted by magnetsphere at 3:38 PM on August 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a friend who got together with her husband like this. There was other assorted weirdness (her ex-boyfriend still lived there, and her new boyfriend eventually moved into her room, so at one point they were all there together), but now they're just a boring couple in a different state. I'd figure that in the LGBT community, since folks can be harder to meet, there'd be even less weirdness about it.
posted by klangklangston at 3:39 PM on August 18, 2014

I say go for it, why not? I agree with griphus' logic.

Back in the day I was actually offered rooms in two different houses because one of the people in the houseshare was attracted to me. I find that quite weird - I'd much prefer your approach of being upfront that you're attracted to someone / would like to hang out with them. [with a disclaimer that I'm a hetero guy and don't live in the US, so maybe norms in your community are different].
posted by Pink Frost at 4:11 PM on August 18, 2014

Go for it! Meeting people is hard . I haven't been in your situation, but I do have friends who I met when they came to look at our apartment and decided not to sublet from us, and one of my very best friends I first met when she bought a lamp from me.
posted by juliapangolin at 5:55 PM on August 18, 2014

I had a male friend who interviewed to be the roommate of a lady. Lady said "You can't be my roommate because I want to date you". They have been married for eight years now.
posted by greta simone at 6:42 PM on August 18, 2014

One of my good buddies met the woman he married two weeks ago in exactly this way.

Do it. There is nothing to lose.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:07 PM on August 18, 2014

I became friends with a woman who rejected me as a housemate, and we hung out regularly for a few years before she moved away. This is the Bay Area; the housing market is crazy and you can't take rejection personally, especially because you're liable to run into your potential roommates once a week for the next year. Never have I lived in so large a small town.

Anyway, make sure the rejection note is personalized, not a mass email, and make sure it's positive: "You seemed like a really fantastic potential roommate, but in the end we went with so-and-so because we [i.e. not you, but everyone in the household together made this decision] felt that they would work better given our concerns about pets/overlapping schedules/whatever." Ideally it would come from a different housemate than you, as amaire suggests, so when you contact them a few days later it doesn't seem extra overlappy.
posted by tapir-whorf at 8:40 PM on August 18, 2014

It's all in the approach. I was asked out by a guy who rejected me for a room. Felt zero attraction to him, but it wasn't weird because his email was low-key and non-stalker-y.

(And OMG: I would've been super jazzed if I had thought he was cute.)
posted by jessca84 at 10:13 PM on August 18, 2014

You can't win if you don't enter.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:24 AM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I did this on a friendship level. It didn't really work out, but not in a bad way. Go for it.
posted by maryr at 11:38 AM on August 19, 2014

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