Moving to a new place with a new roommate: am I not doing my share?
November 7, 2019 3:57 AM   Subscribe

A friend asked/offered to live together in a new apartment, but now seems to be dragging their feet a little. Should I chalk it up to them being worn out and short on time, or bail on this whole idea, and if it is reason one, should I be doing more to help with the apartment search>

Recently a friend, who would like to move from their current place but can't afford to without a roommate, sort of offered sort of asked me to rent with them. I have lived alone for a while and like it, and haven't had good roommate experiences, but we coexist well and have similar habits, so it could work out ok. Plus I am very tired of being broke.

We would be getting a new apartment together, which means searching for one, and this is where things are beginning to be difficult. They live in the location we'd be renting, while I live states away. When we first discussed this, I mentioned that the majority of apartment hunting would have to be on them, as I don't know good areas around there and obviously can't tour places. They seemed fine with this. And yet, there's been no progress on finding one.

I have one specific requirement that makes finding somewhere to rent difficult, which is a lot of why I've stayed where I am. I feel guilty about this making things harder, and I know they have less free time than I do at the moment. I have offered to help however I can, and tried to help put together a list of options to try contacting. Still, no progress.

I am starting to feel a little resentful that it's looking like I may have to take over the apartment searching entirely, from a distance, when I am already stressed about moving such a distance to a strange place and finding a new job, while they will be moving within the same city. I let myself get too excited about the possibilities before things were progressing, and now I'm stuck in this liminal space where everything is on hold and I hate that. I badly want out of my current situation and am trying not to feel like the hope this gave me is getting crushed, and I've hit a point where decisions must be made about what sort of holiday work commitments I can make.

I don't want to unload this all onto my friend if it really is just exhaustion on their end, but I can't put everything on hold forever either. A mismatch like this so early on has me wondering if maybe this really is a terrible idea, and I should bail now before it gets worse. But I'm also prone to thinking any mistep means everything is the worst.

Does this sound like I should run, or does it seem like I'm being unfair and not putting in my share of the work? Should I bring up my unhappiness with this now, or try and chill a little first and see if things improve?
posted by goreycat to Human Relations (16 answers total)
 
Bail. Living with this person is not going to be a positive experience for you. You are allowed to pull out and you don’t have to say why.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:01 AM on November 7 [25 favorites]


Living with roommates is a financial arrangement. This doesn’t sound like someone I would want make financial arrangements with.
posted by STFUDonnie at 4:25 AM on November 7 [3 favorites]


You’re friend could be dragging their feet because you’re being so difficult and they’re having second thoughts.

I would reach out to friend and say you want to help with the apartment hunt, but it would be really helpful if they could give you a couple of zip codes or preferred area to look in. Make sure you know what friend is looking to spend for rent. Then you do the search for potential apartments. Reach out to the landlords/management companies for preliminary questions. Then compile a shortlist of options you think will work and pass them along to friend for review. If friend likes them, they can do the legwork of looking at a few places. If at any point friend still isn’t being cooperative, take the hint that they’ve changed their mind.
posted by DoubleLune at 4:28 AM on November 7 [5 favorites]


It sounds like maybe you haven't discussed your timelines very explicitly. If neither of you have a lease about to expire, a "sort of" offer to rent with them could be something where your ideas about timelines don't match up. Maybe they are thinking they will find something new "over the next year" and you are thinking "in the next few weeks"? Before you decide to bail or not, I'd check to see if your expectations here match at all, and what happens if you do both explicitly decide on a short(er) timeline to make this happen.
posted by lollusc at 4:28 AM on November 7 [19 favorites]


There is a lot of winnowing of places that can be done at a distance. I agree you could do more to see if that moves it along. My wife and I have done this several times; she never even saw three of the places in-person before move-in, but she did a lot comparing possible places against our checklist of needs and a lot of the Google work. Seeing if the units' postings are different on different housing/rental sites (sometimes you get other photos, for example, or additional description, or evidence of price changes). Street view and satellite comparisons (how has the lot and yard changed, how do the neighbors' yards look, is there lots of street trash or junk, etc., on Google and Bing street view both). Googling landlord phone numbers and names for background. Looking up addresses on crime maps and in newspaper archives or just the open internet. That left me to make the calls and visits. Also, have you sent your friend all the docs you'll need to rent? That would be very reassuring.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:29 AM on November 7 [2 favorites]


i do think a more explicit talk with your friend is a good idea. I don't know from your question how long this has been going on, but if it's relatively recent there's still time to let things develop I'm more sympathetic to the idea that there is something bothering your friend than that they just don't want to do the work. .
posted by Alensin at 5:32 AM on November 7 [3 favorites]


This sounds like such a bad arrangement. Your heart isn't in it, you're doing it to please someone else and not yourself, it's going to be a huge life upheaval for you ("states away"), and probably more you haven't said. You're not obligated to bail someone out of a financial pinch they've got into by moving in with them. If you go ahead, I predict many more struggles down the road, especially because you clearly have a dynamic with issues and criticism and resentment built in already, and you want to live alone, and in your heart, you don't really want to do this. It's OK to say that you have reconsidered, and bless them to continue on their own.
posted by Miko at 5:35 AM on November 7 [12 favorites]


Also is this really a friend or a potential/current romantic partner?
posted by Miko at 5:37 AM on November 7 [2 favorites]


So one take on this is that this person wouldn’t be a good roommate because of lack of follow through. I’d put that back to you and say that an important roommate skill is to be able to raise issues and concerns before they become too big. You can answer this question by asking them for an update and checking in about the search.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:11 AM on November 7 [4 favorites]


if you're not in a rush and if your situation makes it possible (and it might not, in which case i say probably bail and figure something else out), i would actually try to step way back and assume it's going to be a more long-term process. if they really want to move out and really want it to be with you, eventually, they'll start making moves, and then you can work on it with them. if you never really hear anything about it again, that's an answer.

i just went through a similar thing, and my in-area friend was frustrating me because he was shooting down the places i linked him and not seeming to make any progress on his end. but the places i was finding were in really shitty areas, which i didn't know, and he was actually participating, just not very communicative from a distance - things make more sense now that we're in person because that's how we talk better. but we solved our problem by renting a house from a family friend that happened to offer, and i'm not very sure it would've worked out with the two of us if it had been harder than that.
posted by gaybobbie at 7:13 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of leaning with those who say bail. It seems that the two of you don't communicate very well, and that is a critical component of a successful roommate relationship. You should already know if they are too busy to apartment hunt right now, or if your "one requirement" has become too great of a hardship to them searching, or if they have become sort of not-keen on doing this anymore for whatever reason, because they should have told you. They should already know that you are eager to move on this due to your current situation and your need to make or turn down work commitments, and that their leisurely pace is creating issues for you, because you should have told them this.

If you feel you have communicated your needs and expectations very clearly already, yet you obviously currently feel so in the dark about what they are doing and thinking and feeling about this, then the communication issue is clearly on their end and it is safe to assume that this is how their communication as a roommate is likely to play out as well.

I get that you may not want to force their hand for fear they will say they no longer want to do this. But at least if you can get a clear answer out of them and it turns out to be a no, or you realize that they are incapable of being straight with you and you decide to bail, you will no longer be suffering in this limbo of anxiety and you can begin making a plan B for yourself.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:50 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]


They sort of kind of asked you, you don’t really know if you want to do it and aren’t really helping beyond putting forward your list of wants...it’s little wonder nothing’s moving forward.

You need to a) commit to this or not. B) once you decide you’re actually doing this, tell them you’re keen, ask them if they are really wanting it (anything less than an enthusiastic response I would take as a no) and then C) divide up the apartment hunt tasks, so you do the online search, they visit the narrowed down options in person and take it from there. If either of you are unmotivated to do even that much, quite frankly I’d run screaming from the situation because what would you be like to actually live with.
posted by Jubey at 8:51 AM on November 7 [2 favorites]


I've just lost the past year, if not more, to a situation like this. Bail.
posted by ambrosen at 9:56 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]


Bail.

A mismatch like this so early on has me wondering if maybe this really is a terrible idea, and I should bail now before it gets worse. But I'm also prone to thinking any mistep means everything is the worst.

Trust your instincts on this one. You're not communicating well, you feel stuck waiting for your friend to move things forward, and for whatever reason you don't seem to feel like you can press them on it. None of this is anyone's fault, but this is a lot of baggage to bring into the start of a roommate situation.

I was once in a situation where a friend was pressuring me to become roommates, and while I considered it I ultimately didn't for some possibly similar early concerns that made me wonder if I would always feel like I needed/they would expect me to be deferential towards them - the friend is still a friend, but I have never once regretted saying no.
posted by superfluousm at 11:05 AM on November 7


This is already SO ANNOYING for you and you aren't even living with this person yet! Trust your gut here.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 12:49 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


A friend asked/offered to live together ... I have lived alone for a while and like it, and haven't had good roommate experiences

I haven't read the replies (I will, though! - Whew! I'm mostly with consensus) and my recommendation is a Hard No.

Having a roommate after you've been alone and liking it is a no. That a friend is asking to be a potential roommate is a hard no. That you haven't had good experiences makes this a Hard No.

Are you excited to have this friend as a roommate? Don't do it unless the answer is an emphatic yes.
posted by porpoise at 7:52 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


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