How do I find a place to stay?
March 16, 2008 10:20 PM   Subscribe

Tried to stay with someone in a college dorm - their roommates said OK, I booked non-refundable plane tickets, I'm here now, and their roommates are backing out. Help!

I've wanted to meet someone for a long time now, and we arranged to meet at her university during spring break and for a week after.

When planning the trip in January, her roommates said OK. Right before buying the tickets, I confirmed with them again just to be sure.

During spring break, we stayed in a motel off-campus, but now I'm here on-campus and her roommates are getting cold feet. While I totally understand them being uncomfortable with a stranger, the problem here is that they said it was OK for me to stay and, also, they bring strangers in on a regular basis themselves.

I have a few options here from what I can tell -

1. Stay here anyway and probably have to go through arbitration with the RA or something
2. Book a room off-campus
3. Find some magic way of getting her roommates to like me :)

Any suggestions here? Am I in the right by insisting on staying here, or asking my friend's roommates to pay for my stay elsewhere? Is it likely that my friend will get in trouble for this?

BTW, the dorms allow guests, roommate selection is random (ie. my friend doesn't know her roommates at all, outside of living with them), and they don't get along very well anyway (which may have contributed to the roommates suddenly deciding to be, well, mean).
posted by mebibyte to Human Relations (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
She's the one who'll have to live with them. It should be up to her if she wants to declare war.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:24 PM on March 16, 2008

1) Do the roommates actually share a room, or just a suite, with your friend?
2) Does the dorm policy stipulate that roommates have veto power regarding overnight guests? My dorm did.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:25 PM on March 16, 2008

I'd just find the closest Motel 6 and call it a day. Staying will only make things difficult for your partner with the roommates. For me, a $40 room is worth the privacy and not having to deal with the hassle.
posted by sanka at 10:27 PM on March 16, 2008 [3 favorites]

Does your friend know someone else in the dorms (or on-campus suites) who'd let you crash there? You might try to find a spare room/couch on or (I've had great experiences with guests & hosts from both sites, though your chances for privacy vary). Non-chain motels will often allow you to bargain a discount if you do it cheerfully and respectfully (even asking "do you have any discounts?" with a big smile can produce good results).

Talk it over with your friend first before proceeding. Chances are, escalated tension with the roommates won't improve your burgeoning friendship, so it may be your best bet to find a different place to stay. That said, have you tried talking--very diplomatically, because burned bridges or aggressive confrontations won't help your case at all--to the roommates and asking why they've so suddenly changed their minds, and what you might do to make amends?
posted by soviet sleepover at 10:41 PM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Unless your friend can appeal to them on some level (compassion, fairness, etc) then you're probably SOL. Seriously, things must be pretty bad between them for it to come to this, then again you probably really only know what your friend has told you, and he/she may not have cleared your visit 100% with the roommates.

If I were your friend I would do both of the following: 1.) Beg the roommates to let you stay, explaining that you flew all this way and have no where else to go, and failing that, 2.) pay for your hotel room out of pocket.

Anyway, it's not your place to make this move, your friend has to handle it. Please don't go into their dorm without permission. You can be hassled for trespassing, even arrested if one of them causes a big enough stink...
posted by wfrgms at 10:43 PM on March 16, 2008

I agree; find a room off campus if you can't talk the roommates into accepting you. Maybe the person you're there to see has a friend with crash space or something.
posted by hattifattener at 10:50 PM on March 16, 2008

Aren't there study lounges in the dorm where people can crash? I remember random visiting student groups doing that in college. It lacks privacy, but sometimes free is better than private.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:06 PM on March 16, 2008

Do not insist on fighting the roommate, try a youth hostel, would be cheaper than a motel.
posted by kanemano at 12:02 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

book a room off-campus. You were only a guest after all, and the roommates have every right to change their mind - it's their home!!
posted by seawallrunner at 12:07 AM on March 17, 2008

Hold on a second... Is this an internet hook up? Did you meet someone on the internet who invited you to come and stay at their college... the roommates were cool with the idea in theory but then freaked out and wanted you to leave when they met you? If so, ouch... don't take it too personally and just try to get out of there as painlessly as possible.

Otherwise... They did say you could stay there, and you double checked, then you paid for your travel. If your friend says its cool to ruffle the feathers, don't wimp out because some stranger is giving you the stink eye. They're the flakes.
posted by muscat at 12:31 AM on March 17, 2008

It's their home. They have the right to ask you to leave. Maybe they're just dicks, maybe you did something to alienate them, but it doesn't matter.

So, get a room off campus.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:32 AM on March 17, 2008

Buy them nice presents. Maybe that will actually soften them up toward you. You don't say why they are reluctant (not that several possible reasons don't spring to mind), but a number of possible reasons could be partially allayed with lovely gifts.

Something better than flowers and chocolate -- unless they really like flowers and chocolate. Re: flowers and the like, be sensitive to things that would take up additional surface space in an already crowded environment.
posted by amtho at 5:21 AM on March 17, 2008

Am I the only one (so far) who thinks that gender is an important thing to know here? If this is an all-female room, and you're a dude, regardless or whether or not they're being fair or they're being passive aggressive you're not going to have a leg to stand on with any R.A. "She's trying to board some internet guy here...we said OK, but now that we met him we're kind of freaked out and don't feel safe." Are the "strangers" these roommates have brought in themselves in the past male, or female? How long are you staying? How long have their overnight guests stayed?

I don't know you or them....for all I know you perfectly lovely, and they are perfectly dreadful. But I just wanted to bring up that possible dynamic, which would equal....yeah, get a room. Literally.

Check for youth hostels, check craigslist for very short term rentals, check the university for their suggestions for visiting prospective students and parents, or....if your friend isn't a freshman, shouldn't she have an off-campus friend you could stay with until this is resolved? You may have to sneak back into the dorm when the roommates aren't around for sexyfuntime, but at least you could remove the, "he's living with us and it's not OK" objection.
posted by availablelight at 5:36 AM on March 17, 2008

[should have read, "for all I know you are perfectly lovely, and they are perfectly dreadful." Time for more coffee.]

Also, if we're throwing out the "use the dorm lounges" suggestions, also check for 24 hour libraries on campus. Sometimes they have some awfully comfy couches.
posted by availablelight at 5:39 AM on March 17, 2008

Also, you already asked this, and got some great answers on exactly where to stay off campus in this situation.
posted by availablelight at 5:40 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Spend the first night in a cheap motel off-campus, but then the two of you should spend as much time as possible with the roommates during the day. Hopefully they'll get to know you and grow comfortable with you. At the very least, they should feel worse about making you shell out for a motel the rest of the week, and might give in because of that.

This plan would also probably help if you two were to hang out with the roommates a lot outside the dorm room. This way they'll get to know and like you but won't get the impression that you'll be hanging out in the dorm room all day.
posted by aswego at 6:09 AM on March 17, 2008

Am I in the right by insisting on staying here

No. Simply no.

You have no legal rights to housing whatsoever in this arrangement. I also suspect that if you bring the RA into it, you will be immediately expelled from the dorm. Think about it. Some random person shows up, the rightful tenants complain. You're the one in charge. What would you do? You'd throw the freeloader out. In fact, if you're a guy, the RA would probably be required to remove you from an all-girl room. (It's one thing to allow it on the sly, but if you make it obvious you're there when you're not supposed to be, what choice do they have?)

So either lay low or move on.
posted by Doohickie at 6:32 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]

Stay out of the roommate politics and get a room. A good guest doesn't impose, ya know?
posted by desuetude at 6:34 AM on March 17, 2008

You mentioned the non-refundable tickets... the fact that you didn't give yourself an option to leave early does NOT mean anyone owes you anything in this.
posted by Doohickie at 6:34 AM on March 17, 2008

It's their place; it's for them to decide who stays there, not you. If your friend wants to battle them, that's her decision to make, not yours, and even then in the meantime you may need to go back to the hotel. (Which, by the way, you, not they, get to pay for.)

They may just be being assholes, or maybe you are a really terrible guest, I don't know. But that only matters for next time -- right now, you have a "please leave" request from your hosts, and you need to honor that.

I was in college pre-internet dating, but people still managed to make random long-distance hookups via those alt-dot and rec-dot newsgroups; those long-distance hookups would come and stay in the dorms, and sometimes they were a lot less than ideal guests (if for no other reason than people feeling the need to compress a year's worth of sex into a week-long trip). So your friend's roommates' discomfort is totally understandable to me, and she is the one who will have to live with them for another two or three months, not you.

Lastly, your third option ("Find some magic way of getting her roommates to like me") is hardly impossible. Are you the most awesomest guest ever? Do you clean the whole place, every day? Bring everyone coffee and pastries from the cafe? Buy beer and pizza? Restock bathroom supplies? Demonstrate good hygiene and manners at every opportunity? Don't interfere with anyone's studying schedule? That's the kind of guest that everyone loves to have come back often -- the smelly guy who has loud sex, farts in the kitchen, leaves his skidmarked underwear on the couch, and can't have a decent conversation is either resented or asked to leave.
posted by Forktine at 6:35 AM on March 17, 2008

my 2 cents: a week is a REALLY long time to impose yourself on roommates, whether they like you or not. get a hotel.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:47 AM on March 17, 2008

My college sometimes had extra dorm rooms that were available for ~$10 a night for visitors to the university. Check if they have something like this.
posted by Yorrick at 7:37 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Am I in the right by insisting on staying here, or asking my friend's roommates to pay for my stay elsewhere?

Neither. It was a risk to put your travel plans in the hands of your friend's roommates, because, as you're finding out, they have no obligation to put you up and no consequence for backing out because they aren't your friends (and it doesn't sound like they're her friends, either). Get the room off campus.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:47 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I was an RA. You have no rights so your best bet is to just go.
posted by PinkButterfly at 4:46 PM on March 17, 2008

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