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Old housemate desperately wants to be friends

  • 12-11-2020 9:05am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭


    I'm in a weird situation right now. I'm a guy and lived with another guy in a house share for about 3 or 4 years, but we both went our separate ways a couple of years ago.

    I'm sure a lot of you have been in house shares where you're friendly with your housemates, but are not friends. I could have lived with 20 different people over the past 10 years, but am only in contact with 1 or 2 of them now.

    The thing about this guy is that he is a little bit unusual. I think he misses a lot of social cues. In fact it's quite hard to have a conversation with him. Anyone I know that has met him have the same impression. For instance, he met a friend of mine for maybe a couple of hours on a night out. A few days later he messages him to go on a holiday with him!

    I know he is trying to be friendly and only means well, but I've absolutely no interest in being his friend. I'm not trying to be cruel, but there are people out there that you just don't click with. The problem is that he continually tries to message me to catch up. Every time I've said to him I'm busy or that I'm not able to meet, but he doesn't take the hint. He's now sent maybe 5 or 6 messages over a few months where I haven't responded but he doesn't seem to get that we're not friends.

    I'm sure I'm coming across as callous, but I don't know what else to do but ignore him. I could tell him that I don't want to be friends, but that feels very strange and like I'm back in primary school.

    There's also this worry that he doesn't have any friends and he's trying hard to make some. I don't know what his mental state is like, although he's always come across as happy go lucky, and if I shun him who knows how that will affect him.

    What should I do?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Aloissus30


    You don't want to be friends with this guy and you are under no obligation to do so. He might be on the autism spectrum and not realise how over bearing he is. Unfortunately that's his responsibility to figure out, not yours. You haven't been responding anyways so why not block his number so you don't feel guilty when you see texts?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,389 ✭✭✭irishguy1983


    I'm in a weird situation right now. I'm a guy and lived with another guy in a house share for about 3 or 4 years, but we both went our separate ways a couple of years ago.

    I'm sure a lot of you have been in house shares where you're friendly with your housemates, but are not friends. I could have lived with 20 different people over the past 10 years, but am only in contact with 1 or 2 of them now.

    The thing about this guy is that he is a little bit unusual. I think he misses a lot of social cues. In fact it's quite hard to have a conversation with him. Anyone I know that has met him have the same impression. For instance, he met a friend of mine for maybe a couple of hours on a night out. A few days later he messages him to go on a holiday with him!

    I know he is trying to be friendly and only means well, but I've absolutely no interest in being his friend. I'm not trying to be cruel, but there are people out there that you just don't click with. The problem is that he continually tries to message me to catch up. Every time I've said to him I'm busy or that I'm not able to meet, but he doesn't take the hint. He's now sent maybe 5 or 6 messages over a few months where I haven't responded but he doesn't seem to get that we're not friends.

    I'm sure I'm coming across as callous, but I don't know what else to do but ignore him. I could tell him that I don't want to be friends, but that feels very strange and like I'm back in primary school.

    There's also this worry that he doesn't have any friends and he's trying hard to make some. I don't know what his mental state is like, although he's always come across as happy go lucky, and if I shun him who knows how that will affect him.

    What should I do?

    Difficult one! Do your best - remember he has a Mum and Dad worried about him - I know that sounds a bit cheesy but do your best! Sounds like you are :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 593 ✭✭✭dmm82


    Definitely a difficult one. It sounds like he could have learning needs/ be on the spectrum. I would feel bad about being too blunt with him as he sounds like he is lonely or desperate for friends. Hard to know how best to deal with him but maybe just make an excuse that you're busy with work/ family etc and won't have time to meet up anytime soon and hope he takes the hint?


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,891 ✭✭✭✭Purple Mountain


    I think with the Covid situation now, you could get a few months out of that excuse.
    Even when lockdown is lifted, you could say you are still being cautious and limiting your social interactions to the bare minimum.
    Or you could just do as you have been doing and ignore his messages or as someone said, block him.
    Bottom line, you do not want to be his friend and there's nothing wrong with you choosing not to be.

    To thine own self be true



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,867 ✭✭✭yosser hughes


    Why don't you reply to him? Ignoring his messages is cowardly.
    Give him a call and talk.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,248 ✭✭✭✭road_high


    What harm a feW texts back and forth? Seriously, nothing wrong with making space for people in your life they might really need it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 930 ✭✭✭TheadoreT


    Why don't you reply to him? Ignoring his messages is cowardly.
    Give him a call and talk.

    You can only say no to invites a certain amount of times in a row where it should become obvious to the person that you're not interested. If it doesnt you have to stop replying. I knew someone just like this. Give them the smallest inch and it would renew a flurry of texts. It was never a casual conversation, was always straight to asking about interest in a holiday or similar, where it becomes very awkward very quick.

    It's often sensitive whereby if they have a condition you cant just come out and say I dont want to be your friend, stop hassling me please. The hard ignore is the only tactic and 10-20 unreplied messages later he should get the message eventually.


  • Registered Users Posts: 771 ✭✭✭munstergirl


    Just pick up the phone and tell your ex friend, I wish you the best but can't be friends anymore.

    Or send them a text.

    Or you can ignore/ghost them, pretty immature and mean.


  • Registered Users Posts: 593 ✭✭✭dmm82


    Just pick up the phone and tell your ex friend, I wish you the best but can't be friends anymore.

    Or send them a text.

    Or you can ignore/ghost them, pretty immature and mean.

    I think this could be quite cruel/ damaging if the person does have additional needs. I say this as the mum of a son who has learning needs and would be quite socially immature. He would be heartbroken and not understand why a person would not want to be his friend.

    I understand that you do not want to continue the friendship but I think it would be kinder to just not be available and hope that it fizzles out


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,096 ✭✭✭KaneToad


    I definitely wouldn't be telling someone that I don't want to be their friend.

    I would just not be friendly towards them.

    No need to overcomplicate things.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 771 ✭✭✭munstergirl


    dmm82 wrote: »
    I think this could be quite cruel/ damaging if the person does have additional needs. I say this as the mum of a son who has learning needs and would be quite socially immature. He would be heartbroken and not understand why a person would not want to be his friend.

    I understand that you do not want to continue the friendship but I think it would be kinder to just not be available and hope that it fizzles out

    Some people are cruel & mean but the op has been ignoring his "friend" for months, he's not a child, it's horrible when someone doesn't want to be your friend but it's even worse to be friends with a fake friend.

    The op could send a nice text wishing his "friend" the best for the future blah blah.


    Or he can keep ignoring him, which is just as cruel and mean. It might never fizzle out.

    I'm not saying the OP is cruel & mean just some people are.


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭LilacNails


    road_high wrote: »
    What harm a feW texts back and forth? Seriously, nothing wrong with making space for people in your life they might really need it.

    There has been harm done through. The person is clearly crossing the op's boundaries, and cannot take the hint that the op doesn't want or have the same desire for a friendship. It is annoying, draining and very off putting. The op doesnt own him anything. This person clearly cannot pick up or recognise boundaries.


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭LilacNails


    Op I was in the same boat, but mine was an extended family member. They would be known as over bearing, anxious and intense. I met up with them whenever they might be in my area and would reply to texts.

    I just didn't feel comfortable in their company as they were so needy and desperate to be like "BFFs". Of course I had pity for them, and felt horrible of what I thought of them. I wished they had other people to connect with, but because I was a family member, and only 1 of very few that would meet up it was just so uncomfortable. Other people had cut contact with them, I felt so guilty but I couldn't help the dread that came over my when ever they got in contact.

    There were times when I wouldn't tb or initiate contact hoping they would get the hint. A few times they would " Loose" My number and the last time it happened I didn't give it to them (over fb messenger) I felt awful but I just couldn't take anymore. Few days later they managed to "find it" And continually text me, even when I didn't tb.

    I eventually came clear and told them I found there constant contact over bearing and crossed my boundaries. I can't remember everything I said, but I kept it straight forward and honest. I felt horrible and guilty.

    They text back saying how upset they were, how hurt etc I felt awful and apologised but told them I had to be honest. They became a bit abusive and told me god was watching me and karma comes around. I blocked them straight away and tbh it brought relief.

    I wasnt trying to hurt or be cruel to them. I felt so bad but at the end of the day they drained me and were expecting too much, I couldn't give what they were looking for. Honestly and truth can hurt, but sometimes it just has to be told.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,260 ✭✭✭robbiezero


    Maybe do the kind thing and send the odd message and maybe meet up for a few hours once a month.

    Could make a big difference to someone who might be sad, lonely and struggling.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭punisher5112


    Move out of the country....

    Yeah it's a tough one but honestly not up to you to be worrying about.

    We can't take on everyone else's problems.

    Totally up to you how you handle it, your too busy with work and home issues etc etc....


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 164 ✭✭Jimson


    With people like that your only option is to block them or tell them or ignore them.

    If it was me I'd just ignore them till they got the hint.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,179 ✭✭✭bottlebrush


    Whatever his reasons for continuing to text you when you reply that you are too busy or ignore his messages, the bottom line is that he is persistent . My concern would be if you do meet up with him, then what next? He suggests going on holidays with him and now you are in a position of coming up with reasons not to go on holidays with him. Or concerts or football matches or whatever.
    You spent enough time in shared accommodation together for you to know that you dont click with him and if you think that is not going to change then I think the best thing or both of youwould be to let it fizzle out.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    I did wonder if he was somewhat on the spectrum. I'm no psychologist but his behaviour is far from the norm. He attempts to socialise and it does he is keen to make friends. He's a part of a few social groups, but maybe it's been lacking as of late because of Covid.

    Seems like there is no clear consensus as to what to do.

    I know some of you are saying what's the harm in sending one or two messages and meeting once a month, but would you actually want to do that if you were in the same position? Spending an hour or two with someone that you feel awkward around? The only reason I'm in this position was because I happened to share a house with him and was friendly with him while he was there. There's no connection between us anymore. He's just an ex-housemate.

    That being said, I've no ill will against him, despite how it sounds! I don't want to hurt his feelings, but it seems like no matter what I do he's going to be disappointed. He has lately tried to call me and is leaving voicemail messages. And the weird thing is that he just asks how I am and wants to meet for a catch up, as if I hadn't been ignoring any of his messages to date.

    As I say, I don't know what his mental state is like. This is going to sound a bit crazy, but there's a slight fear that he could be angry if we did meet up. There's no reason to think he'd be violent (he's never been in all the years I lived with him) but the fact that his social behaviour is not normal I'm not sure what he could do.

    I'm starting to think the best thing to do is to continue to ignore him and hope that I never bump into him on the street.


  • Registered Users Posts: 29,820 ✭✭✭✭freshpopcorn


    I know people in your position OP and have been in the past.
    There was some lad and he was a bit lost and lonely.
    Most people I know tipped along with the person and met them the odd time and sent them the odd few messages here and there.
    I think we were just trying to be nice to person and felt sorry for them.
    So if I was in your position I’d try and tip along with him once he didn’t get overly intense and you felt safe with them.

    A trick I found was to try and get them involved in something where they could met a like minded person.

    Obviously now things are different with Covid.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭punisher5112


    I did wonder if he was somewhat on the spectrum. I'm no psychologist but his behaviour is far from the norm. He attempts to socialise and it does he is keen to make friends. He's a part of a few social groups, but maybe it's been lacking as of late because of Covid.

    Seems like there is no clear consensus as to what to do.

    I know some of you are saying what's the harm in sending one or two messages and meeting once a month, but would you actually want to do that if you were in the same position? Spending an hour or two with someone that you feel awkward around? The only reason I'm in this position was because I happened to share a house with him and was friendly with him while he was there. There's no connection between us anymore. He's just an ex-housemate.

    That being said, I've no ill will against him, despite how it sounds! I don't want to hurt his feelings, but it seems like no matter what I do he's going to be disappointed. He has lately tried to call me and is leaving voicemail messages. And the weird thing is that he just asks how I am and wants to meet for a catch up, as if I hadn't been ignoring any of his messages to date.

    As I say, I don't know what his mental state is like. This is going to sound a bit crazy, but there's a slight fear that he could be angry if we did meet up. There's no reason to think he'd be violent (he's never been in all the years I lived with him) but the fact that his social behaviour is not normal I'm not sure what he could do.

    I'm starting to think the best thing to do is to continue to ignore him and hope that I never bump into him on the street.

    Change numbers and go off social media or block him and clean up your friend group etc on same....

    It's extreme but then no worries on your end. Anything ever comes of it you just say lost it or whatever.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,341 ✭✭✭tara73


    He has lately tried to call me and is leaving voicemail messages. And the weird thing is that he just asks how I am and wants to meet for a catch up, as if I hadn't been ignoring any of his messages to date.


    First I thought ignoring is the best way to go and sooner or later he will get the hint, but after this, for me, it's a form of molestation, and doesn't matter whether he's on the spectrum or not.

    It's your wellbeing and you clearly feel uncomfortable by it. No way meet him and play along or something, it will only get worse and you are dragged into the weirdness and it will get more and more difficult and draining to get out of it. You are no martyr or need to sacrifice yourself if you feel that uncomfortable with him.

    I would send him a text, a message, no direct phone call, and tell him you don't wish any contact anymore, but wish him all the best for the future. that's it, then block him.
    Don't feel cruel or guilty for it, he needs to find other people/friends.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,709 ✭✭✭cloudatlas


    This isn't your responsibility and I think you should ignore and block as harsh as it is, the longer this is left the worse it will be.

    The people trying to 'tip' along with someone are ultimately cruel because they aren't offering real friendship and are just wasting the time of the person who could be spending time with real friends. Instead they are walking around thinking that those people are their friends when they aren't. Also I think people who do this do it to feel good about themselves so they can brag about helping the person which is just awful.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,374 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12


    Ordinarily id suggest meeting up with him every once in a while for a coffee or a pint, sure whats the harm? and its nice to be nice. But in this circumstance, it sounds like he is quite needy, possessive and very full on. Its unfortunate that he has no friends and it may be whats causing him to act so overtly forward, maybe if given the chance and included now and again he might chill out a bit, it might calm his insecurities but it could go the other way and he could easily become an annoyance.

    I wouldnt tell him you dont want to be friends, that sort of rejection could be very damaging, particularly for someone who already is lonely and has no friends. Theres so much stigma around not having friends, he probably already feels like there is something deeply wrong with himself, I wouldnt want to be the person to rub salt into that wound.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 436 ✭✭eleventh


    OP, I think this guy is most likely in the wrong to be messaging you when you haven't replied (depending how frequent the messages are etc), but you have to consider that he did believe you two to be friends at some point, otherwise the behaviour makes no sense.

    I would say you have to send the guy a simple message saying something like, sorry I'm too busy, I can't be friends. And leave it at that.

    I think the problem is he just doesn't understand the behaviour, and maybe that's something you should look at as well... If you're friendly with people, there is a chance friendship develops.
    Personally, I would not be friendly beyond small talk or things work-related if it's work etc, if I wasn't open to the idea of friendship.
    So for example, if you were talking about family or personal life stuff, you crossed a boundary from acquaintance to possible friend, and now you want to get out of it.
    If that's the case, I think blocking him without a message would be wrong and cowardly - you owe him a quick message so he knows where he stands and can move on. My bet is if you send that message, you won't hear from him again.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,142 ✭✭✭Katgurl


    Ah this is very sad. He definitely can't read social cues and is lonely.

    Could you try taking a (slightly dishonest) kind approach to draw a line so you know you have been clear that you won't be answering?

    "Hi, I know you have left me some messages that I haven't responded to and I wanted to explain. I've a lot going on at the moment and not really available for meeting up or staying in touch. Nothing personal to you, I'm trying to be honest with people. Mind yourself."


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,534 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78


    Katgurl wrote: »
    Ah this is very sad. He definitely can't read social cues and is lonely.

    Could you try taking a (slightly dishonest) kind approach to draw a line so you know you have been clear that you won't be answering?

    "Hi, I know you have left me some messages that I haven't responded to and I wanted to explain. I've a lot going on at the moment and not really available for meeting up or staying in touch. Nothing personal to you, I'm trying to be honest with people. Mind yourself."

    this is probably the best way of dealing with this, it certainly sounds like this chap is autistic, covid is causing mayhem for everyone, but us spectrumors are highly susceptible to high levels of anxiety, and of course theres issues such as loneliness, please be compassionate, its a very difficult time for everyone


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 436 ✭✭eleventh


    Katgurl wrote: »
    Could you try taking a (slightly dishonest) kind approach to draw a line so you know you have been clear that you won't be answering?

    "Hi, I know you have left me some messages that I haven't responded to and I wanted to explain. I've a lot going on at the moment and not really available for meeting up or staying in touch. Nothing personal to you, I'm trying to be honest with people. Mind yourself."
    That just leaves the door open to contact again in a year or month's time.
    Honesty is the best policy (Deception on top of deception solves nothing).


  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Aloissus30


    I know some of you are saying what's the harm in sending one or two messages and meeting once a month, but would you actually want to do that if you were in the same position? Spending an hour or two with someone that you feel awkward around? The only reason I'm in this position was because I happened to share a house with him and was friendly with him while he was there. There's no connection between us anymore. He's just an ex-housemate.
    The harm in sending messages and meeting once a month is he will think you are friends and ramp up his contact which will drive you nuts. It's a sensitive situation and I feel bad for him but it's not your responsibility to sort out his life. There's a saying "you shouldn't set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm". You were housemates at one time. Nothing more. It's not like he is a friend from your childhood that you're suddenly ignoring.

    Some people think you are being cowardly by not telling him outright you don't want a friendship. Others think it would be cruel to tell him flat out. I'm in that camp. If he isn't neurotypical it could be very damaging to hear you don't want to be his friend. He clearly doesn't understand boundaries or social cues. Blocking him is probably what's best for both of you. It might sound cruel to some but you can't pretend to be his friend out of pity or guilt.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    This thread makes me feel sad. I've been in the position before of the roommate. I wanted friends and it didn't work out. Be careful how you handle this. My advice to OP is to send a clear, message to the old roommate explaining that you don't wish to be friends. Ripping the band aid off so to speak


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,341 ✭✭✭tara73


    My advice to OP is to send a clear, message to the old roommate explaining that you don't wish to be friends. Ripping the band aid off so to speak

    this. there's a saying where I'm from originally: better an end with cruelty than cruelty without an end.


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