How can I grow to like someone I don't?
January 23, 2020 5:08 PM   Subscribe

I have a new housemate who I simply dislike. She seems like a good person— trustworthy, reliable, friendly and communicative. My other roommates adore her and say she feels like family. I have no doubt she will be a positive force in our community-oriented home. However, I just don't like her. It's a gut feeling I've had since the moment we met. How can I change this?

I don't feel unsafe around her, so it's not a red flag. Just an aversion. I've asked myself why. Do I feel competitive with her in some way? Am I picking up subtle traits I dislike, either in the world or myself? What's the deal?

All I can conclude is that we just don't vibe on some chemical or cultural level. Nobody in the house knows that I don't like her; in fact I've gone above and beyond to welcome her in. It's very important to me that I live with friends, not friendly strangers, so I am really struggling with this internal discrepancy. I am quite close with all my other housemates and it's something I have selected for in choosing housing, even when it means I've had to search far and wide for a great dynamic.

For all her fine traits, I wouldn't choose her as a friend. Part of the problem is that I think we value different ways of relating: she is a private person who rarely shares her internal state of mind or facts about her life, even when prompted. Her sort of affection is action and group oriented. She'll make dinner for everyone or organize a bike ride. I see and appreciate these things, but I create intimacy by being physically close or having animated solo conversations. Like "good to see you!" hugs, group movie nights where we all snuggle on the couch, inside jokes and wordplay, sharing our innermost feelings and thoughts in deep one-on-one talks. I interact with everyone else in the house in these ways. She hasn't outright rejected my prompts for these, just redirects or seems not to notice or value them the same way I do. When I organize activities that speak to her love languages, she is stoked to participate but I don't feel closer in return.

I also have an irrational distaste for her manner of speech. It's very slow and unadorned, and my racing mind feels like it is tapping impatiently while she finishes her sentences. I try my very best to not express this, to tune in and be a good listener. It feels excruciating though.

Before I throw in the towel and accept that we simply won't be close, I would like to try harder to bond with her. She likes me just fine, so I'm the odd one out. It's only been a few months. The stress of having to "fake it" with her is getting to me. I feel less comfortable in my home. What can I do?
posted by aw jeez to Human Relations (63 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: in my experience, when the substance is good but the styles are mismatched... especially in terms of style of speaking... it just takes much longer to build affection.

It can work. But it requires you, as the impatient person (we quick talkers do tend to be very impatient, it's nobody's fault) to take several breaths, and look for the good. Thank her for the food. Thank her for the organizing. When you voice it, you'll hopefully come to feel it. Assume it'll come when it comes.

Maybe it'll help to think about the typical roommate stories we see here, about folks stealing food, refusing to pay bills, complaining about/being irresponsible about pets, etc. Steady and dependable and kind is more necessary in a roommate than Sorkinesque dialogue.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:22 PM on January 23, 2020 [14 favorites]

Best answer: If it's only been a few months, then these things you are describing as ways you get close to people is far too intimate too soon for a lot of people. That is my personal reaction, but I don't think I am the only one. To me, that would feel like rushing something that takes time. I appreciate you don't feel that way about it, and lots of people would definitely agree with you. But some people are more hesitant about such things, or take longer to feel comfortable, or any number of possibilities, really.

I'm not sure how thinking about it that way could help you overcome your current feelings. But she certainly doesn't sound super objectionable generally. She sounds quite nice to me. And you will get used to the speech, I'm sure. It may be linked with your feeling that she is holding you at arm's length for the time being. So. Give it some time.
posted by Glinn at 5:25 PM on January 23, 2020 [52 favorites]

Best answer: I know this will be hard because you operate on overdrive, but the best way to bond with your roommate is to relax about it. She may have had some trauma or stress that causes her to open up only very slowly. Or, she may just be the quiet, competent type who prefers to be background support rather than a cheerleader.

In electronics we call this an "impedance mismatch" where two devices who want to communicate cannot do so because there is a physical difference in how they can talk to each other. Neither device is wrong or bad, it's just that there needs to be some kind of translation between them.

It seems like everyone else has adjusted to the new, quiet person, so it's going to be on you to do so as well.

Read her needs and respond to them appropriately. It'll work out!
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:27 PM on January 23, 2020 [17 favorites]

Best answer: It's a tough one. What's obvious to me is: you're doing an awesome job in how you're thinking about this.

IMHO, just as we can't entirely choose who we fall into romantic-love with, we can't entirely choose who we fall into friendship-love with. And this is OK, even if they are good people, and even if it is a house where folks are supposed to be a close-knit community. The important thing is to be kind and decent, which it sounds like you're doing.

And who knows, it might become friendship some day. But you can't force it to happen.

Again, this is all IMHO, so take all I've said with a liberal dose of salt.
posted by splitpeasoup at 5:32 PM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think if you keep acting like you like her and vocalizing this as well then you eventually will like her. Also see if there are any favours that you can do for her as apparently doing things for people makes you like them better.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:39 PM on January 23, 2020 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Anecdata: For what it's worth, some of the people that I love the most now, after years of knowing each other, are the same people who irritated the living snot out of me when we first met. Sometimes it helps to relax and take the long view.
posted by cnidaria at 5:56 PM on January 23, 2020 [9 favorites]

Best answer: You seem to me like a very empathic, emotionally intuitive person. I suspect that you are correctly identifying that your new roommate is more emotionally and physically reserved than you are, so the energy you are sending out is just kind of bouncing off of her. Of course that's off-putting! I think I am a lot like your roommate - I don't respond well to that kind of emotional energy from relative strangers. Over time as I get to know people better and build trust, I open up more. I think that if you remain open, trustworthy, and give it time, she will start to return that energy.
posted by muddgirl at 6:02 PM on January 23, 2020 [14 favorites]

Best answer: I would give it a lot more time. Some people are slow to trust, especially with the kind of conversations you want to have. It’s a little demanding to expect this from someone so soon. Personally, it takes me a very long chunk of time and lots of smaller experiences before I trust someone enough to let my guard down about the big stuff. I’ve had brand new acquaintances say things like “I love you!” or ask me really personal questions I wouldn’t even discuss with family and I found it so off-putting because it seemed false. Feeling like I was being rushed along or that someone was trying to get me to spill my feelings would make me withdraw.

Does your current interaction make you feel vulnerable because you’re sharing information and the new roommate is not? Or does her different way of being (slower and more deliberate) make you feel judged for not being as cautious? Does her apparent lack of interest in confiding in you make you feel kind of useless? I would think about and work through whatever this is provoking in you and realize you have great value as a roommate and friend whether or not this particular roommate likes you the way you are; it’s not up to her.
posted by sallybrown at 6:06 PM on January 23, 2020 [29 favorites]

Best answer: I agree these things just take time. I have friends I feel pretty close to now that I wasn't that crazy about at first. But the more time I spent with them and the more I got to know them, the more I liked them.

(And to be fair, I've had some people in friend groups I've just never liked that much. We could get along and be friendly but we were never really friends. So that happens.)

It sounds like you're doing what you can here, and you may already be doing this, but I would try to talk to her one-on-one. Like "That dinner was great! Where did you find the recipe?" Or "I liked that bike ride. I read about another great trail near here. Have you ridden that?" And then depending on her reactions, you could follow up later with something like "Oh, hey, I came across this review of a cookbook that I thought you might be interested in" and share that. (If it's genuine, of course -- like don't go out of your way to find a cookbook review.) I don't see that as a faking it -- that's just paying attention to her.

(I'm also not sure who's the newcomer here or how everyone knows each other -- whichever one of you is "new" to this situation is going to be the odder one out for a while. That just happens. You're all still figuring out what your roles are and that's OK!)

I think you'll get there. I do think living with people -- even people you like -- is a pretty intense situation and there's a pretty long learning curve. It's great you even care about this!
posted by darksong at 6:25 PM on January 23, 2020

Best answer: Stop faking it. I'm slower to build relationships with people who feel fake to me or where I get a mixed vibe. There's no way that's not coming through in your interactions with her. Slow down and stop trying to force it. Float a little and look for small moments that feel good to you to connect with her, even if they're not the big deep dives you're used to. Someone like this may not ever be your closest friend, but she also could turn out to be one of your closest, if you can soften and try some different approaches. Bring your true, relaxed self to your interactions and give both of you the chance to learn how to be friends together.
posted by spindrifter at 6:48 PM on January 23, 2020 [14 favorites]

If I were you, I'd consider whether your reaction to hearing "no" is completely healthy. It's okay for people to not want to share their lives or snuggle or what have you. It's also okay to not connect with them. But when you edge into disliking someone because they are setting boundaries, that is something to work on.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:50 PM on January 23, 2020 [112 favorites]

I think what you can do is stop trying to connect with a virtual stranger in these really intimate ways, and let the relationship develop as it does over time. You already said she is a private person, but you don't seem to actually understand that for reserved people, snuggles and sharing your innermost thoughts in deep heart-to-hearts just aren't things they do with somebody they've only known for a few months.

As for inside jokes, you haven't had enough time to build any up.
posted by spicytunaroll at 7:00 PM on January 23, 2020 [58 favorites]

> Part of the problem is that I think we value different ways of relating

Let me tell you about an early personality models in psych, built from factor analysis of questionaires of women's dorms. Questions were clustered into 4 groups using the responses. Modern research has added additional factors, but those 4 base personality aspects are still useful in thinking about daily interactions. One popular formation labels them DISC:

Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C)

Additionally, these tend to be 2 dimensional -- people who match I traits tend to match fewer C traits, and same for D&S. Your self-description sounds like a high I: fast talker, enjoys conversations with groups and individuals, seeks out stimulation, and prioritizes quantity of relationships and social esteem. And she is maybe a high C or high S, maybe both: quiet, reserved, cautious, and frankly a little squicked out by touching other people.

Generally speaking, the further around the circle two people are, the harder it is to connect. You kind of know that from your discussion of love languages. Matching your behavior to their own behavioral preferences will typically be well received, but it's not going to make you like someone more. And I doubt she is going to magically change her personality to enjoy snuggling-on-the-couch level intimacy with random platonic housemates.

And like, she's never gonna talk faster. Everything else about your post is reasons not to platonically love someone, but that one stands out as a reason someone might give for hating someone. We tend to associate slow speech with low smarts, even if implicitly.
posted by pwnguin at 7:03 PM on January 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: One thing that can help you change your mind about how you feel is to tell people how you would like to feel. Not your roommates, who might notice you're faking it. But coworkers, family members, other friends. Tell people your new roommate is great. Tell them she plans amazing group activities and makes fantastic dinners. Tell them how much fun she is.

The more you talk about how much you like her, the more work cognitive dissonance will do to make you actually like her.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:33 PM on January 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

Speaking only to your last point, I had a colleague years ago who spoke very slowly, and when I first met him I found it very hard to deal with. Over a couple of years I came to respect him a great deal and now I really value the time I spent with him. It can get better! Just keep trying; it's the trying that does it.
posted by dbx at 7:46 PM on January 23, 2020 [6 favorites]

I'm one of those who can love you to pieces and I might forget to hug you when I see you. I have friends that I am only now on hugging level with after years and years. It never really occurred to me that someone would be put off by my not wanting a lot of physical affection, so that's interesting.

As a reserved person in general, I am initially put off a little bit by people who seem to come on too strong. I am immediately suspicious. I'm sure I telegraph it, too. But exposure makes me more comfortable, if the person turns out to be a good person. So maybe she'll loosen up with time, and you'll get to know her better, and it'll mesh. Or it won't and you'll just be friendly and that's ok too. Not everyone can relate on the same level with everyone else.
posted by cabingirl at 8:14 PM on January 23, 2020 [4 favorites]

Maybe it will help to keep in mind what a good sport she’s being by not betraying any annoyance with the chatty roommate who wants to get in her personal space.
posted by lakeroon at 8:47 PM on January 23, 2020 [28 favorites]

but I create intimacy by being physically close or having animated solo conversations. Like "good to see you!" hugs, group movie nights where we all snuggle on the couch, inside jokes and wordplay, sharing our innermost feelings and thoughts in deep one-on-one talks. I interact with everyone else in the house in these ways. She hasn't outright rejected my prompts for these, just redirects or seems not to notice or value them the same way I do.

I'm very sure she notices them, and the effort it takes to redirect a "prompt" for hugs&snuggles from a housemate without letting them perceive a rejection is considerable. She's working harder than you can perhaps imagine.

it's great that you report not feeling unsafe around her. I hope you make an effort to allow her the same sense of security.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:49 PM on January 23, 2020 [94 favorites]

Do you have to like her to live with her? Don't force it. Putting yourself under less pressure will help the relationship grow more organically.
posted by chiquitita at 8:59 PM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Why does a roommate have to be your soulmate? Why are your needs for hugging more important than hers for expressing friendship in other ways? Your expectations feel very coercive to me and if I were her I would feel very uncomfortable to be forced to be someone's friend. My friends have earned that trust, not demanded it as a condition of sharing a space. What have you done to earn that trust from her?

Give her space. She doesn't owe you love or hugs or talking in a way you prefer. She's a person with her own life, not your possession.
posted by emjaybee at 9:00 PM on January 23, 2020 [34 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm seeing the tide turn on whether or not I respect boundaries, so I just want to clarify that I have been very careful not to press or insert myself when I'm unwanted. By "prompts" I meant creating openings for these sorts of intimacy to occur if it feels natural, not demanding them. I don't ask for hugs or any sort of physical contact. If she seems disinterested in talking after I try once, I make an exit. I don't press her for information and I let her change the subject if she wants to. She's definitely a smart and accomplished person, even if I'm a bit frustrated when we chat. I guess I feel vulnerable because I'm sharing and she isn't? A bit useless. I open a conversation; she rarely does. If she's feeling upbeat, she'll pivot to ask me surface-level questions about myself, my work; I ask her one at the same level, she answers minimally then shifts the focus back to me. It feels asymmetrical, deflective. Whether I wait for her to initiate, ask a gentle question outright, or share a bit to see if she mirrors me, the response is the same. I can accept that patience is my best tool, and we may or may not grow closer over time. But it's the combination of feeling like she doesn't want to be known AND she doesn't want to know me back that gets me uneasy. She is never cold or spiky, but home is a place I want to feel like my presence is desired. Not passing in the halls. I don't want to have impersonal interactions in my most sacred space.
posted by aw jeez at 9:27 PM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

She is never cold or spiky, but home is a place I want to feel like my presence is desired. Not passing in the halls. I don't want to have impersonal interactions in my most sacred space.

I guess this is retroactive a bit, but now I am curious how you select roommates as a group. Do you all meet prospective co-tenants? Do you have a set of house rules that include this as a requirement? If this is a group thing, you might want to look into the experiences of intentional communities.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:42 PM on January 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: It's a collective decision. We all met her. She had sublet in the house before and was already loved by everyone who knew her. I met her twice and felt some discomfort, which I shared with the others during our voting process— they said it was true she was reserved when we met, but that her behavior was unusual/situational due to short term career pressures. I trusted their judgment and hoped I would come to feel like she was family too. Good fit is extremely important to us, we only look for people who want a communal, open and emotionally supportive vibe. Of course everyone gets to choose how much they share and when, but wanting to be vulnerable with each other is an explicit part of our house culture! These people are like my siblings. It's something we lead with when talking to prospective tenants.
posted by aw jeez at 10:02 PM on January 23, 2020

I'm a fairly reserved person when it comes to my feelings (if not my opinions), and nothing makes me more reserved than the sense that someone is pressuring me for intimacy. I think the expectation that real intimacy should spring up between grown adults in the course of a few months just sharing a house is unrealistic--it's not that it can never happen, but it's not the normal course of events, and trying to accelerate or force it doesn't help. One of my closest friends for a number of years was also a notoriously reserved person. It just takes time.
posted by praemunire at 10:10 PM on January 23, 2020 [31 favorites]

I believe you that you are doing what you can to respect boundaries, but as a very reserved introvert who used to live in a house full of people who sound a lot like you and your other roommates, it sounds like she might be really overwhelmed by your overtures. I find that outgoing/extroverted folks feel like they're giving me an out in the way that they’d like one, but often it’s not one that I feel comfortable taking because I can tell how frustrated they are that I don’t want to share. Like a lot of people here have mentioned that leads to a really intense need to set up more boundaries.

It seems like your roommate might be wondering just as much about you as you are about her. Has she opened up to other roommates in the way you’re hoping she will for you? Either way, could you have a talk with her about how you’re feeling? Because right now the only thing the both of you can do is make assumptions about each other. I mean this kindly but if I were your roommate then I’d assume that you’re going to be way, way too much for me because I have extremely limited capacities for socializing and sharing. This doesn't mean I didn't form incredibly meaningful relationships with roommates but I did keep people at a distance if I thought I needed to for my own sanity. It always helped a lot when I was told explicitly by someone what they wanted from me and I’ve had roommates do that before when they were surprised I didn't want to spend more time in communal areas or whatever, and we worked past it.

It’s a red flag for me when people start sharing personal things with me too quickly. I need to know whether I can trust a person before I can put in the work to form an emotional connection, especially in a vulnerable and socially draining situation like moving into a new household of people who already know each other.

I do think it's worth exploring why you dislike someone for having different needs from you, especially since this roommate is a newer acquaintance in a situation that requires her to navigate a lot of boundaries (multiple roommates). If your dislike is hinging on her inability to be open and affectionate with you after a few months then that is something to talk about more and address with a therapist. It's okay to dislike someone for any number of silly reasons but if it turns out you dislike this roommate based on them setting what sound like appropriate and normal boundaries then that's an issue worth solving on your own since it’s going to affect your life far beyond this one person.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 10:49 PM on January 23, 2020 [36 favorites]

I feel vulnerable because I'm sharing and she isn't? A bit useless. I open a conversation; she rarely does. If she's feeling upbeat, she'll pivot to ask me surface-level questions about myself, my work; I ask her one at the same level, she answers minimally then shifts the focus back to me. It feels asymmetrical, deflective. Whether I wait for her to initiate, ask a gentle question outright, or share a bit to see if she mirrors me, the response is the same.

I have to say I pick up on this not so subtle conversational gambit and am skeeved out when people act this way. You sense deflection because she's deflecting you like mad. You are talking about manipulating a conversation towards mirroring in order to create fake intimacy like its ok. Hint: it's not.

The idea that you can extract intimacies from someone by telling them your secrets because then they owe you is not far from the idea that being nice to someone means they owe you sex. If that upsets you to hear, conisder that you continue to follow the script by bad mouthing this woman and doubling down on the belief she owes you her time and attention. Respect this woman's right to live her life the way she wants to. I have had amazing roomates im lifelong friends with and I've never snuggled with a single one of them and I'd be extremely weirded out if they kept pushing it.

Alao, are you attracted to her? It kinda sounds like you are, tbh.
posted by fshgrl at 10:49 PM on January 23, 2020 [52 favorites]

Some people are slow to trust

Just wanted to add that I don't see this as a trust issue. I can trust people perfectly well and still not tell them all my intimate secrets because that is stuff I only share with a few close confidantes. I think thats absolutely normal.

I find that the accusation of "trauma" or the idea that this person is lacking or damaged somehow because she's not acting the way another person wants her to really manipulative.
posted by fshgrl at 11:12 PM on January 23, 2020 [24 favorites]

I wonder if the love languages book would be appropriate here? For platonic friendship love obviously but it still applies. She seems to show friendship through doing things like making food. You seem to show friendship through quality time.

Just a random thought, ymmv
posted by christiehawk at 11:30 PM on January 23, 2020

Nobody in the house knows that I don't like her;

I am a person like your roommate and recently exited a roommate situation with someone like you.

I would bet my life savings that your roommate does, in fact, know that you don't like her.

It also sounds like she does not like you or want to be close to you.

If you back off and keep it all polite and surface level, it's possible that in time (real time, not a paltry few months), she will start to feel more comfortable around you and might open up a bit more. This will probably make you feel more comfortable around her.

If this happens, it is not an invitation to overwhelm her with bids for intimacy. Try to let the slowest person take the lead on the level of intimacy.

It's very nice that you feel safe around her but it doesn't sound like she feels safe around you.

Expecting a relative stranger to deepdive into "a communal, open and emotionally supportive vibe" in this circumstance sounds like it is you expecting to get your emotional needs met with no regard for hers. This is likely very trying for her. Pushy, needy people are exhausting, as is navigating around a refusal to satisfy them without offending them. If I were to enter a household with this kind of motto, my assumption would be that this level of intimacy would be a goal to work towards together over time, not an expectation I'd immediately be obligated to fill. In fact I see forcing immediate intimacy as unhealthy behaviour that indicates poor boundaries and I'd become hypervigilant for additional red flags.

"Of course everyone gets to choose how much they share and when, but wanting to be vulnerable with each other is an explicit part of our house culture" are two contradictory statements. Pick one, because it doesn't really sound like you are actually ok with her choosing how much she shares with you and when.

Not everyone likes everyone. Backing off is the best possible thing you can do here for both of you. However much you think you have backed off, just dial it back even more. You can't force yourself to like her and you can't force her to like you. The sooner you accept that, the more likely that you two can actually develop a real relationship.

In my experience as the person like your roommate, the behaviour of the person like you left me feeling targeted and unwelcome in my home, which resulted in me withdrawing even more. Having someone who clearly doesn't like or have a genuine connection with me expecting me to be open and vulnerable with them is... Very distressing.

As to how to be okay with the fact that different people are different than you- There's no special trick to this. It's just one of those things.
posted by windykites at 11:50 PM on January 23, 2020 [58 favorites]

This sounds like this is more about your needs than respecting hers.

My advice is to back off and let things develop in their own time. This may never include snuggling. It may never include anything beyond courtesy, either, but it most certainly won't become anything like a real friendship if you don't stop breathing down her neck.
posted by Crystal Fox at 12:06 AM on January 24, 2020 [9 favorites]

Best answer: A few things I've found helpful in changing my perspective on someone:

Gratitude Journaling - I originally started this for general life-satisfaction reasons, but calling out specific things about certain people I'm thankful for has made me like them more. The key here is that it should be specific to them, and accurate. For example, if your roommate made dinner but it wasn't great or you didn't appreciate it don't include it. But if the movie night was really good and lead to nice conversations with other housemates that's the perfect thing to write down.

Working Together - Is there a house task that's been put off? Maybe a door or cabinet that's squeaky? A closet that needs to be cleaned? If your roommate is down for working on something that might at some points be frustrating that can really help. Even something simple like going to the same yoga class.

Interrogating my Dislike - Your feelings are valid, and it's worth seeing if there's anything specific that either of you can work on. For example, sometimes when one person in a group conversation is more closed off it can change the whole dynamic and make it impossible to get beyond small talk. Maybe the underlying cause of your dislike is that conversations at dinner are less likely to be in the deep style you enjoy due to your roommate not opening up enough. If that's the case you might have more one on one conversations with people or go on after dinner walks with a subset of your roommates so your needs continue to be met.

Better Conversational Topics - It can be really boring to talk or hear about someone's work, and it can be a lot of work to talk about someone's hopes and dreams. Is there something you both enjoy talking about that you could steer conversations towards?

Time - Remember that these feelings are valid, but that they will likely pass even if you don't work on it too much.
posted by hermanubis at 12:26 AM on January 24, 2020 [5 favorites]

I haven’t read through all the responses an introvert I’m getting uncomfortable just reading your question. The idea that if someone I’ve just met is trying to have hugs, snuggles, intimate conversations, deep one on one talks and movie nights... that’s reserved for really close friends. It sounds like she’s trying to open up to you in her own way by making dinners and you’re just trying to force an intimacy that doesn’t exist yet. You need to let her move at her own pace, otherwise it can feel really creepy. Respect her boundaries and move at her pace, not yours. If you keep this up don’t be surprised if she announces that she’s moving out.
posted by Jubey at 1:18 AM on January 24, 2020 [31 favorites]

Best answer: I would like to offer my perspective as someone whose coworker Did Not Like Her. It was distressing to me.

I could have dealt with the not liking, except that everyone else, people I liked and respected, was cool with her! Was something wrong with me??

So I am guessing you would feel different if your housemates agreed that she was standoffish. You would probably just see her as "my reserved room mate" rather than someone who (subjective feeling) seems to be threatening your status in the group because suddenly everyone is good friends except you, and you're the problem room mate looking in from the outside.

If this is in large part about your insecurity about group dynamics, then there are things you can do to shore up your confidence. You could start consciously building individual intimate friend moments with the people who do like you back unreservedly. It'll feel good to get positive vibes back.

Then it'll be easier for you to back off and just let room mate do her thing.

Yes, there maybe won't be group snuggles with everyone anymore, or all night baring of souls. You'll have to be ok with the group dynamic changing, and having to recharge your happy friend meter individually with your friends, rather than as a whole household.

Incidentally, what didn't work with my coworker was uptalking her to myself and others. The more I tried to convince myself how cool she was (and she is a great employee!), the more miserable I got. We're totally into BEC territory now. The only thing
t hat worked was when we parted ways.
posted by Omnomnom at 3:18 AM on January 24, 2020 [7 favorites]

Best answer: It's very important to me that I live with friends, not friendly strangers

It's probably important to her too, else she wouldn't have chosen to live in your house. But there probably does have to be a transition from stranger, through friendly stranger to friend, and you might get stuck in the middle section for longer than you would like. I concur with everyone else who suggests dialling back the things you want, do more of the things that you have noticed actually make her comfortable and happy and welcomed/amongst friends, and spend more time with people who already give you that 'living with friends' feeling. Maybe confide in someone who does know her better, to see if they have any insight into what might help your dynamic specifically (this is what worked for me and my similar person). Try not to let it get to BEC stage.
posted by plonkee at 3:56 AM on January 24, 2020 [4 favorites]

Surely once you get to know her better (i.e. for longer) you will naturally progress to more intimate ways of relating. I am an extrovert, and I am like you when it comes to my close friends; I understand a lot of what you're saying because that's how I relate to them too. Deep one-on-one time, physical affection etc. But... you don't start out from there. I feel like I can relate to your housemate, as I have also had experiences where people want to get too intimate with me too quickly, and even though I'm not averse to this kind of affectionate vulnerable intimacy, if someone tries to get there too fast it can be very disconcerting and threatening to all sorts of boundaries - no wonder she's deflecting! Part of escalating intimacy is to learn to run with other people's love languages. It's so good that you've identified what she does feel comfortable with, you are obviously very empathetic. But I feel like you're trying to get her to fit into your preferred ways of relating when these are not comfortable for her (and TBH, they would not be comfortable for many people). If you really want her to like you, surely respecting her ways of relating would be the best start.
posted by unicorn chaser at 4:00 AM on January 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: After reading your updates, I think you should spend some quality time with her that does not involve talking about personal topics. Take on a task together that means you’re working side by side, or get a group of people in the house to go see a movie or binge watch a show together. Invite her to come get groceries or run house errands with you.

One thing that makes me feel very comfortable around newer people is if we can be in comfortable silence together. If you and she are puttering around the house some afternoon, don’t feel the need to ask her questions, just sit and read a book while she’s doing the same.
posted by sallybrown at 4:16 AM on January 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Accomplish things together. Pick some small stuff that's useful to the household and do it with her, figuring out how to be a team along the way. Something like deep cleaning the fridge together, doing a costco run, repairing the wobbly coffee table, replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors... Pick something that you can do in one day, that's mutually beneficial, that's easier to do with a second pair of hands. Don't use it as a chance to force an intimate conversation, just talk about the thing at hand and casual topics. Over the course of a few of these things you'll form positive associations with her as someone who makes good stuff happen for your home. But it will also be a discreet interaction with a goal at the end so she can have space afterwards without you, and you can feel like you're getting to know her without her opening up unnecessarily. And by inviting her to do things that help the house communally, you're saying to her that she's part of it and you welcome her presence as she is.
posted by Mizu at 4:37 AM on January 24, 2020 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Commit yourself to her well being. Figure out ways you can make her life better which do not involve interacting with her in any way. Set yourself up to be her partisan. I don't mean anything creepy, but set out to learn what she likes in the line of food by observing her and when shopping and cooking make sure that there is always stuff that she likes to eat. notice things like the boots on the floor and line them up where they belong so she won't trip. Practice talking more slowly and work to normalize her style of intensity in the household. Plan on ways to make her comfortable that will be non intrusive, like making a point of giving her a brief genuine smile and directing a group conversation into something she has demonstrated she finds interesting and then fading to silent.

If you quietly and subtly treat her like she is valuable to you and worth going to trouble for your emotions may catch up. It is often easier to learn to love someone whom you serve, than someone who serves you. You'd think it would be easier to love the person who gives you a gift because gratitude and self serving, but we are often more likely to shrug off the gift - not quite my colour - and take the people who are kind to us for granted. Whereas once we commit to caring about someone's internal life and their happiness we get involved and they matter to us.

Think of her as that shy cat that will never warm up to you, but which is the indispensable companion to your other cat. If nothing else looking after her looks after your other roommates.
posted by Jane the Brown at 4:52 AM on January 24, 2020 [9 favorites]

Good fit is extremely important to us, we only look for people who want a communal, open and emotionally supportive vibe. Of course everyone gets to choose how much they share and when, but wanting to be vulnerable with each other is an explicit part of our house culture! These people are like my siblings. It's something we lead with when talking to prospective tenants.

Well, a few things. I think you've learned that your intake process might not work for you personally. But I do want to highlight the inherent contradictions in your statement above.

1. It doesn't sound like the 'open and emotionally supportive' work goes in two directions. What if she wants you to be emotionally supportive by relating to her differently? I understand that you are mourning the loss of full-house all-night talks but it really doesn't sound like this emotional work of the house goes in the other direction - learning to be in community in other ways that are significant to different types of people.

That's ok, but it probably means you should have some kind of trial period in your lease, if that's possible in your area.

2. If you expressed something like "wanting to be vulnerable" in your intake process, it's entirely possible that you actually screened in for what sounds like very normal introversion/visual-spatial thinking. My son, for example, is very kind and aware of the emotions of those around him, and supportive, especially for his age. He also expresses himself in media other than words and asking him to share deep thoughts is a direct path to cutting off his ability to speak them. When his deep thoughts come out is during things like doing the dishes together, and I have had to learn to listen for them because they come out succinctly. I can see him signing up for your family-like experience in order to be with people who care for each other, without getting that this means he has to snuggle and have long involved conversations.

What I really wanted to understand is how intentionally you are building this community and how thoroughly you are taking your responsibility as a builder of it. It sounds like, in a way, you just want the relationship you have with people you've known for a long time to to be your relationship with others, and you haven't really thought through how to build a series of principles to apply to people who behave differently and want some of the same things and some different things. ("I don't want to have impersonal interactions in my most sacred space." It's also her sacred space, right?)

Given that, I think I would recommend you focus on meeting your own needs in other ways, because it's not actually about building a relationship with the person she is or wanting to be truly vulnerable to your own feelings about her way of interacting.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:39 AM on January 24, 2020 [18 favorites]

Time will help.

I know these feelings though. I do think sometimes people can just slide past each other or graze against each other. It's amazing to see how closely you have analysed your differences, and with such nuance. This is potentially a positive thing, because you care and are attentive. But it might also be part of the issue here. It's better to just 'be'. Don't try so hard to understand. Drink a few more beers, and at some point you will find yourself in a situation with her that exposes you to a new way of looking at her, new intimacies between you.

In short: time and beer are the answer.
posted by 0bvious at 5:59 AM on January 24, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I've noticed in a previous comment on the site you mentioned being on the spectrum and some difficulty in childhood - reserved people often "feel unsafe" for folks on the spectrum because they can't be read, and a trauma history or any instability or unpredictability in childhood means we get trained to look for patterns in people to help us stay safe, and people who don't show those patterns feel unsafe. The answer to this is therapy for you to help undo some of these learnings, and also to help you be happier in general so you have more resilience to put towards this situation. It also might be useful for you to acknowledge that many people are reserved because of their own trauma histories and their own neurodivergences and that this may simply be an access clash. It also may be worth the house discussing intake strategies in future in order to accommodate your access needs. I have huge compassion for you in this situation.
posted by Mistress at 6:02 AM on January 24, 2020 [7 favorites]

Vulnerable means capable of being hurt. not just literally and etymologically, but in regular usage, that's what it means. It isn't reasonable to complain that someone you don't like won't show you how to hurt her. especially if your justification is that once she she gives you this power, you won't dislike her anymore.

and I'm sure you don't want this access to her feelings for the purpose of having power. but opening up in that way to someone who doesn't like you is both unpleasant and unwise, whether you're sure they don't like you or whether you only suspect.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:05 AM on January 24, 2020 [27 favorites]

Nthing that I feel deeply squicked out just reading your question, and your added explanations about how you are not pushing her boundaries is not really helping. I very much agree with the person saying that you sound like you are being manipulative, and seeing that you only marked 'best answer' to those who validated you is a bit concerning, as is your characterization that the 'tide' was 'turning against you' in this thread because people began to verbalize their discomfort with your descriptions of your behavior. Just like in real life, it takes awhile for some more reserved people to express their discomfort and weirded-out-ness which is what people are doing in this thread (and quite possibly exactly what your roommate is experiencing with you.)

I think you should take a BIG step back, and stop going into this with a concept of how people should behave with you. It's gonna take hours till I stop feeling weirded out imagining snuggling on the couch with my (beloved) housemates. Let HER guide you. That's what friendship is: being respectful and letting things develop organically, based the actual people involved. I won't say I do it right myself, so I avoid it except with people who are VERY respectful and patient with me and LISTEN to me. Those who really do it, not those who fake it or offer lip service. I know when people are being fake, and that's about the worst possible scenario I've experienced. I think you should make RESPECT and LISTENING literally your only guiding concepts here and see what evolves.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 7:24 AM on January 24, 2020 [38 favorites]

Like "good to see you!" hugs, group movie nights where we all snuggle on the couch, inside jokes and wordplay, sharing our innermost feelings and thoughts in deep one-on-one talks.

For me, those are things I do and enjoy only with people I already have formed close friendships with. Again, just speaking for myself, those aren't things that I would do as part of forming a friendship -- they are activities reserved for people with whom I am close.

So if I was living in your house, I'd give a hard "no" to all of that until enough trust and closeness was formed organically, which takes time. If you were pushing for intimacy (even just the deep talks, never mind the hugs) I'd be kind of squicked out, honestly. I don't know if that is how you are actually coming across, but if so, her reaction seems normal to me.

Let her set the tone and the pace for boundaries and intimacy, and recognize that she might form those bonds quickly with some of your housemates but slowly or never with others, maybe including you. It's not an all or nothing thing for most people, and not everyone is going to connect equally.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:33 AM on January 24, 2020 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Since she's more into activities, have you tried suggesting activities that tend to lead to either deeper conversation or experiences that lead to inside jokes, to see if that helps your affection grow? Board games, performance art events, zip lining, etc.
posted by metasarah at 8:14 AM on January 24, 2020

Best answer: She had sublet in the house before and was already loved by everyone who knew her. I met her twice and felt some discomfort, which I shared with the others during our voting process— they said it was true she was reserved when we met, but that her behavior was unusual/situational due to short term career pressures. I trusted their judgment and hoped I would come to feel like she was family too.

How much of your anxiety toward your new roommate comes from you being the odd man out? Your roommates all seem satisfied with the level of friendship they’ve got with this person, they all seem happy to have her in the house ... is some of your discomfort rooted in feeling excluded from the majority-group vibe?

I don’t dispute that your issues in connecting to your roommate are real, but I also wonder if there’s an additional level of urgency for you because you are aware that in terms of connection, your connection to her is the weakest among all the group connections and you’re worried it will somehow weaken your other connections within the house.

If this is the case, it’ll be helpful to remember that this woman has prior history with everyone else, that deepened their relationships, it happened independently of you, and your path toward a mutually rewarding relationship will be on a different timeline. Nobody else in the house is expecting you two to instantly bond. Your bonds with everyone else won’t be threatened by you taking your time to connect to this roommate.
posted by sobell at 8:18 AM on January 24, 2020 [15 favorites]

Yeah, I feel like you’re pushing in a way that’s much more overt than you think it is and it’s really counterproductive if your goal is to organically build intimacy. It sounds like your thought process is “I’m sharing these things about myself and she has the choice to share or not,” and while that’s technically true, when I’m in your roommate’s position I don’t want to share things of a deeper nature than I’m ready for, but I also would prefer you not to put those things on me before I’m ready either; it indicates that you’re either not noticing or not caring about my needs. It would prompt me to start putting up walls.

I guess this is partly about basic personality type—I have a lot of good friends who I don’t really have a “deep sharing” relationship with. The way I feel “known” by someone, as you put it, is by directly experiencing each other in our full multitudinousnesses over time, not (necessarily) by unpacking ourselves verbally. If you want to build the relationship, I would encourage planning some task-oriented activities together. It’s like creating a teeny tiny version of the adventure-and-adversity-type life situations that cause people to bond unexpectedly. I’m talking on the scale of “Let’s build this Ikea couch” or “Let’s check out that museum you mentioned”.
posted by dusty potato at 9:08 AM on January 24, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: This is so familiar to me. I have a friend group with one person who is so dominant, physically expressive, nuanced in their dissection of everything, wants nothing more than to talk and hang for hours, or even days in a row. And I am not like that. I like my friends, enjoy one on one conversations with them, feel like part of the group but I fall to the other end of the spectrum in needing space from not only her, but everyone. I too participate and organize, but I can't be on in the same way this friend is.

And frankly, I never got that close to her. We never had the one on one connection that I am capable of with other people. I think she is Too Much. She has many excellent and lovable qualities but some connection won't happen between us. It's not comfortable.

So, your ideal house has changed. You should accept that and understand that even the best things in life where everyone is in sync are temporary. People will move out. If you need this level of intensity in your relationships you need to add people to your mix from outside the house instead of focusing on this person as the fly in your ointment. She won't change and neither will you.
posted by perdhapley at 9:58 AM on January 24, 2020 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I'm with spendrifter above -- honor your gut and then either bite the bullet or move.

One thing I ascertain from your post is your sensitivity and mental acuity -- those are great qualities, good on ya! It's just a fact of life that some folks don't jibe with other folks. Minimize time with this person and get on with living. No need to invest so much time and care and attention and focus on this; instill that force into a creative project or...?

I dislike when people say to me, should I have negative intuitions about another person, "Oh you're probably projecting. Maybe you need to look at that." Etc.

Uhm, no, sometimes people are assholes. Life goes on, the world keeps spinning.

Good luck!
posted by zenpop at 10:27 AM on January 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

There's something that I'm not sure I've seen mentioned yet that may be relevant.

Look, just because you're open to people's vulnerability doesn't mean that you're necessarily going to find what's below someone else's surface relatable. That's something you need to be honest with yourself about, because it'll help you better understand the risks that others take in opening up to you. People like your roommate sometimes prefer to keep things at surface-level because:

-The really personal stuff in their lives has often been perceived as unrelatable by others
-They don't otherwise have a lot going on in their lives that other people tend to take casual interest in

That does not make someone an asshole. Especially in a living situation that involves compulsory interaction, there is something pragmatic about aiming for consistently pleasant yet boring cordiality rather than taking the risk of giving someone enough information to make them feel super alienated from you. Maybe I'm projecting, but this might have a lot to do with what your roommate is experiencing. This doesn't necessarily have anything to do with introversion so much as it does with the reality not everyone finds that people accept their lives with open arms.

You want your roommate to share her "internal state of mind" and facts about her life, but ask yourself if how well you're likely to receive that information if it isn't positive or fun or well within your frame of reference.
posted by blerghamot at 10:56 AM on January 24, 2020 [12 favorites]

Your question is disingenuous. It's clear that the problem is she doesn't like you, not that you don't like her. You obviously desperately wish she liked you. You are working incredibly hard to get to know her, become intimate with her, get her to be vulnerable with you, cuddle with you, etc. SHE is keeping her distance. SHE is rejecting you.

You refuse to accept her rejection. Instead, you are relentless in your efforts to get close to her. What you have described is HARASSMENT. You need to stop harassing her. She deserves a safe home.

Back off, and let her initiate any further efforts to hang out. If she does not initiate, you have even more confirmation that none of your overtures were ever welcome.
posted by MiraK at 12:18 PM on January 24, 2020 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Taking your question at face value and assuming you actually do want to like this person, look into intensive loving kindness meditation. Sharon Salzberg's work is always a good place to start for developing deep compassion for even those we don't vibe with immediately.

I also second the comment about assuming that there is trauma at the core of the reluctance toward intimacy, because almost by definition (and it might be epigenetic/lineage) there is - we all have trauma in our personal and familial histories, and for many of us, it is wise to refrain from trusting others immediately. This is particularly true for people whose ancestors have been persecuted (which is way too many of us, at the end of the day, and don't assume that's not the case if she's white).
posted by namesarehard at 1:18 PM on January 24, 2020

Best answer: The answers above offer several ways of looking at your question, and I think sobell may have hit upon an aspect affecting your feelings toward this new roommate.

She'd sublet before, and made a big splash; when the opportunity arose to move in again, everyone else was extremely positive and excited to move forward. You voiced a few reservations, but decided to try (after being essentially outvoted, which can chafe). If you were the last 'new person' in that environment (as you were not living there during her previous sublet), and have felt safe and welcome and like you're clicking like mad with your roommate/siblings, having a new person with a noticeably different, reserved vibe is throwing your own personality traits, relationship dynamics, and basic preferences into high relief.

And maybe all that's making you consider your own bonds with your housemates. Your gestures, your personality, are big and open; you did an awful lot of work, thinking through your interactions and approaches, deliberately getting to know everyone individually, putting in significant time and energy to make key contributions toward developing this haven for all of you flourish in... and new roommate appears, already on a pedestal? She's mainly interested in group outings, doesn't seem to be cultivating one-on-one intimacies at all, and is pretty closemouthed about personal details, yet she's adored? That's a bit irksome.

Bottom line: Please know that the members of your close-knit household can love you both so much, as individuals, and thoroughly enjoy and value your vastly different approaches to social interaction. If you've got some family-of-origin stuff, where your mix of ebullience, introspection, and high-level communication efforts were not appreciated, much less celebrated, and/or had a 'quieter' sibling who seemed to enchant everyone with zero planning or exertion, maybe part of not liking this woman is low-level resentment.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:36 PM on January 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

A lot of commenters are coming at this as introverted and/or more reserved folks, but as an extroverted, affectionate, trusting, open-book, more-the-merrier, yay-new-friends type, I still felt a bit squicked out by your framing of what you’re expecting from this person.

From experience, “too much, too soon” is a big red flag in my book. I’d definitely hug a new friend/acquaintance goodbye or chat with them about a bad date, or whatever. But cuddling, deep conversations, or bids for emotional care are a real no-go in the first, say, 6 months of a new friendship.

Case in point: I made a new buddy the other day. Cool! They texted me, but I couldn’t respond til the next day. Before I even had the chance, they texted me the dreaded, “Are you mad at me??” And now I’m slow fading, hard.

I agree with the comment that the expectation of that level of openness can’t be immediate upon move-in; that it has to grow. **If** it grows into what you want, at all. And recognize that what she brings to the house might be something it actually has lacked!

The best you can do is chill. Go on those bike rides. Be kind, but don’t push.

I hope this doesn’t come across as harsh... you seem like a really sweet and cool person. Just wanted to nth the more introverted MeFites’ comments, as someone who is closer to the YAY FRIENDS end of the continuum.
posted by functionequalsform at 2:55 PM on January 24, 2020 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Something you might want to consider is that, even though it might not be your standard operating procedure... the kinds of activity-based group outings that New Roommate organizes can be refreshing because they give people an opportunity to socialize without requiring a huge outlay of emotional labour. That's something that may be really valued by your roommates, and something you may learn to appreciate in time.

To be fair, what this person's presence has begun to uncover is that maybe the people you're around don't always want their social interactions to involve bids for emotional care. Introverts and extroverts alike tend to enjoy some variety in how they connect with people.
posted by blerghamot at 3:07 PM on January 24, 2020 [7 favorites]

Best answer: yeah there's no suggestion of introversion in the question. This is a person who organizes group bike rides and dinners, for heaven's sake. "Private" was about the content of what she says, not the amount; she's "friendly and communicative" according to the OP. And it's self-professed introverts who are most often dismissive of small talk as time-wasting, impatient to get to what they define as real deep conversation -- unlike the housemate, who sounds happy to be the kind of smooth and undramatic living companion that a comfort with surface-level social interaction often enables a person to be.

OP, hand on my heart I believe this might be helpful: check out the Janet/Tina parts of Pamela Dean's Tam Lin. If this isn't the kind of book you would otherwise have any interest in, skip all the other parts. But this speaks directly to the issue of pretending to like someone because you know everyone else in your social group likes her, and because you want to be a good person, while privately feeling superior but thinking you've kept that to yourself, and being furious when -- inevitably -- directly addressed about it because everyone else could tell you didn't like her even though you thought you were doing such a good and noble job of suppressing it. Nobody who notices it likes to be tolerated, is what someone in the book says.

It's very sympathetic towards the person in what I think of as your position, however it may sound in my characterization. The answer, which is less banal in the book than when I summarize it, is to learn to appreciate virtues that you don't possess yourself and that aren't the same ones you already consider to be the most important virtues people can have. Dean takes this seriously as a difficulty.
posted by queenofbithynia at 4:01 PM on January 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Hm! Lots of food for thought here. Seems like this question brought up high feelings. I'm highlighting answers I feel correctly describe our dynamic, have given me useful emotional reframings, or offer concrete suggestions for change. Thanks!
posted by aw jeez at 4:05 PM on January 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think it might be very worthwhile to read through just the comments you didn’t mark best answer (all of them, from the beginning) and then reflect on them and your reaction to them.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:44 PM on January 24, 2020 [21 favorites]

Best answer: Hey OP -- as someone who just got diagnosed with ADHD and I read through your old AskMes and saw a lot of similarities with my older self, I think you may want to consider looking into rejection sensitivity dysphoria. I've had very similar desires as this and been almost obsessing about this, but I used a lot of mindfulness techniques and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy techniques to manage the intensity of dealing with this. I would be very careful to not overly internalize this as a judgment of character of yourself, if that is becoming an issue for you.

For example, I just dealt with an almost emotional meltdown that was intense because my bestie, which I have an enormously stable friendship with, just turned me down for hanging out because he needed self-care. I was completely shocked by this because in reality I've been very good at taking care of myself and my self-needs and couldn't understand why I was feeling so rejected by someone I have such a stable friendship with, but after reading yours, I remembered about rejection sensitivity dysphoria. I've also built several very well intentioned loving friend groups in similar ways too, but after friends graduating and moving away, I still had to learn how to self-soothe and deal when people wouldn't respond perfectly in the way I wanted them too. RSD and working with it made a loooot of sense for me and took a huge edge off and made me a lot more carefree and less demanding of others.

So, would give that a look since I haven't seen anyone else make this suggestion yet.
posted by yueliang at 10:48 PM on January 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: It sounds like you and your housemates managed to create a truly extraordinary living situation where everyone clicked and the group felt like a family and it was one of those rare and amazing times when everyone feels like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. That’s an intoxicating dynamic. As I have gotten older I have realized how rare and precious it is to be part of a group that works that way. You can try in every way to select for the right personality and the right characteristics to foster that dynamic but there is so little that anyone can control in terms of how groups of humans interact with each other. A new person can change a group in all kinds of unexpected ways, for better or worse. You might consider giving yourself space to grieve for a change in the way your household feels right now.

That’s not to say that you’ll never have that dynamic again or that you won’t have it with this person. You might! But I think you are going to have to give it time and opportunity to grow organically. Part of that will probably involve backing off a bit and not expecting your housemate to meet your emotional needs with what probably feels to her like enforced vulnerability. Slow way down and let her come to you. Your relationship will develop. Or it won’t.

It might help to think of your new housemate as a person who is filling a need in your life rather than a person you don’t really want in your life because they’re not behaving in a way that makes sense to you. They are giving you a chance to learn to interact with someone who isn’t making it easy to get to know them—and that’s ok. You may come to be great friends with her. You may never be friends at the level you are with the rest of your housemates. Either way, you will learn something and grow in your ability to relate to other people. Does it help to think of her as giving you a gift, albeit a difficult one?
posted by corey flood at 10:50 PM on January 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

This thread would look dramatically different, I think, if you had been male, OP.

You yourself said: "But it's the combination of feeling like she doesn't want to be known AND she doesn't want to know me back that gets me uneasy."

The message from her is loud and clear. You don't get a free pass to keep ignoring it just because you're a woman.
posted by MiraK at 9:10 AM on January 25, 2020 [8 favorites]

I missed the part where the OP mentioned they’re a woman?
posted by Jubey at 2:37 PM on January 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

My bad. I made an assumption about OP's gender (which seems to be shared by most on this thread I think?) based on the "but of course!" quality to their expectations of physical closeness such as cuddling while watching movies with all roommates. That was sexist as well as heterosexist of me.
posted by MiraK at 6:44 PM on January 25, 2020

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