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Bad Houseguest Gets Slapped By The Karma Fairy

Ahhhh justice! I love when it gets served to those who deserve it.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine decided to move to my city. We had been roommates once before and realized that living together wasn’t really the best thing for us (especially when she “forgot” to pay rent for a few months and was out of the country) but I was happy to oblige when she asked if she could stay with me for a couple of weeks while she found her own place.

She arrived close to the end of the month and unloaded her car full of possessions throughout the house and moved into my bedroom with me and began her house and job hunt. She found a job quickly but the house hunt was another story. She had every excuse in the book to not look for places and live rent free with me instead. And then she began seeing someone and so she would stay out all night and expect me to let her in when the sun was coming up. She didn’t help with groceries or cooking and didn’t pitch in with chores around the house either. She spent her days watching TV and playing online and the weeks rolled by.

Finally I grew a polite spine and began asking what her plans were for house hunting. I offered to help her and I began to drop not so subtle hints that it was time for her to start figuring things out. After living off – erm with – me for just over two months she found a place and left.

Our friendship has had its ups and downs but we’ve remained close for the most part and I’m happy to say that we’ve both grown up a lot. I now have a spine and she has boundaries.

I got a call a few months back asking whether my husband and I would be able to help her friend move her things out of her place. Apparently this friend had a nightmare of a landlord and she needed to get out right away. My friend had volunteered her home for a few days until this girl found a new place. DH and I were busy so we were unable to help but I made a point to ask about the friend and how things were going. And I had to bite back laughter for the next six weeks as my friend increasingly complained about this girl who didn’t help with bills or groceries, wanted to be let in at all hours and had her stuff all over the place with no end in sight.

My friend has never mentioned a word about being slapped by the karma fairy but I think we both know that she got walloped pretty good.   1031-12


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mel November 7, 2012, 6:35 am

    She probably has no idea.

  • Emmy November 7, 2012, 7:05 am

    It would be tempting to tell the friend, “Yes, I can sympathize. I took in a friend and went through the exact same thing.”

  • Adelaide November 7, 2012, 7:35 am

    OP, I honestly don’t know why you let her stay with you in the first place. She already had a history of basically leeching off of you when she forgot to pay her rent. I’m not sure if it was the Karma Fairy or just the parallel fact that you and your moocher didn’t grow polite spines very quickly. I’m also a little confused why you’re still friends with her after all of that-she must have an awesome personality or something to make up for being a squatter.

  • jen a. November 7, 2012, 7:42 am

    I’ve always thought it would be fun to have a vindication/karma slap section in the forum to cheer us all up on days when we need it…

  • MamaToreen November 7, 2012, 7:57 am

    What a charming story! I loved it!

  • Shannan November 7, 2012, 7:59 am

    On the contrary . I think she looks around every day & thinks”I could NEVER treat a friend this way”.

  • Lychii November 7, 2012, 8:49 am

    I’ll just throw it out there, because I hear about this same situation a lot… If you take in a long term houseguest, just tell her right off the bat that she’s expected to pay at least for her own food, and do her share of chores. This is your house, not a free hotel.

  • Xtina November 7, 2012, 9:21 am

    Maybe this experience will open her eyes and cause her to change her ways, but people like this almost never see the parallel or realize that they have done the same thing.

  • Girlie November 7, 2012, 9:31 am

    Haha.. I agree with Mel and Shannan… she probably has noooooooo idea.

  • Cat November 7, 2012, 9:35 am

    Knowing her history, I would think a set amount for rent and food would be required before she moved in, along with enough money to re-key your house once she moved out. I am not getting up early to let an all-night partier into the house but I would give her her own key.
    I wonder if she really makes the connection between her behavior to you and how her new houseguest is treating her?

  • KMC November 7, 2012, 9:56 am

    I’m inclined to think she doesn’t even remember that she behaved that way with you, or she didn’t interpret it as the same thing. She probably minimized to herself how long she was staying with you. People can be a bit blind to their own behavior.

    However, I think it is good to read that she matured and developed boundaries since living with you!

  • Sharon November 7, 2012, 10:14 am

    I have had almost the same experience with a friend who had stayed with me many many times. I won’t go into the details of how I felt like basically I was running a hotel. But my friend had a relative come stay with her who turned out to be a nightmare–and my friend complained to me bitterly about her relatives demands, etc…that turned out to be mirror images of what my friend put me through. And she never “got” it!!

  • TylerBelle November 7, 2012, 11:17 am

    I agree with the friend not ever seeing herself in the same situation, or if she ever did, she would never admit it, probably even to herself. Perhaps I’m missing something here, and it may be beside the point, but I’m not getting the “having to be let in” part. With their living there, they didn’t have their own key or other sort of access to the residence?

  • Enna November 7, 2012, 11:48 am

    Did this firend pay you back for the rent she forgot to pay? Personally I’m surprised that you let her stay with you and pay for everything even though she had found a job after your past history with her. If she was abroad she should’ve either covered the rent or found someone to stay and pay on her behalf.

    I wouldn’t let someone move in with me after they had alread set down a precedent like that as they can’t be trusted. Unless of course I drew up some agreement and got them to sign it with a few house rules and amount to be paid in full for a set amount of time e.g. three months. Then keep record of what was paid and when. If friend isn’t prepared to give the money in advance I would have no problems in telling her why I’m going what I’m going.

    Do you rent your property? If you do what would your landlord/lady say? S/he might be preapred to charge the firend rent, or quite easily say “no”. You could be violating your tenancy agreement by letting someone live with you.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith November 7, 2012, 12:49 pm

    Great story! Good laugh for an election week! OP, they say revenge is a dish best served cold, and you didn’t even have to cook it up- it was delivered to your former housemate free of charge.

  • sv November 7, 2012, 1:12 pm

    I agree with Emmy….” Gosh, the same thing happened to me a few years ago! So frustrating! I can really empathise with you. ” 🙂 Chances are, though, she’ll have NO idea you are talking about her…but that’s okay. You ‘ll know!

  • cathy November 7, 2012, 1:22 pm

    I wouldn’t have let her stay with me in the first place, but that’s just me. 😉

  • Missy November 7, 2012, 1:32 pm

    Here is an eHell confession:

    I had a roommate who stopped paying her rent and bills due to the fact that her job cut her hours. At first it was understandable that she had been blind sided. But she discovered that she liked working only 10 hours per week and made no move to try and find a supplemental or new job. Then she informed me that since I “could afford it” she was under no obligation to try and pay her share. In fact, she was going out to lunch and shopping in her free time and using her small income solely for recreation. I was unable to afford any recreation at all because of the increased bills. She actually had the gall to pull the “manners” card and told me I was tacky, classless, and rude for consistently bringing up the financial arrangement. At the time both our names were on the bills and lease which meant either of us could be held fully liable so I was trapped. When our lease ended, I finally got the spine to tell her she was on her own. Of course I got stuck cleaning the whole apartment. AND she got mad because we had $50 refunded from the deposit and I kept it all since $25 was her share of the last months’ utilities.

    18 months later we mended our fences and were friends again with her understanding that I would not allow her to ever live with me again. Nor was she to ever ask me for financial help. I was to never give her financial advice or comment on her spending habits. We just don’t go there.

    24 months later Friend got a new roommate who was barely 18 and on her own for the first time. New Roommate was very immature and bad with money. As a result, she was frequently late with her rent and utilities. I point out: LATE. The New roommate did NOT run up a $3000+ tab with the friend. Friend began to complain to me about the situation (we normally acted as sounding boards for each other).

    My confession: I would sometimes say. “Well it’s kind of rude to constantly nag.” or “It’s tacky to bring up money.” when she complained about the new immature roommate. Just because that’s what she said to ME.

    I felt like the worst friend in the world, but I just couldn’t stop because I was still a little bit mad that she never apologized, tried to pay me back, or even acknowledged that she put me in an ugly place. I still got the feeling that she thought it had been perfectly reasonable for her to keep expect unquestioning financial support. But at the same time, we had been close friends since HS and I didn’t want to lose that. Lesson: being taken advantage of takes a whole lot of time and space before you get over it. (Yes, I got over it eventually.)

  • Angel November 7, 2012, 2:04 pm

    This story is pretty far fetched to me. How could anybody be such a doormat? After a few months of her “forgetting” to pay rent you can bet I would have given her a big fat “NO” if she even dropped a hint about staying with me. I don’t feel too sorry for the OP–she chose to host this squatter for months on end. And that’s what she is–not a friend, a leech, a squatter, a manipulator.

    And yes, I agree she probably has NO idea. She just thinks she is generous for letting a friend stay with her. She will never get it–people like this rarely do.

  • Elizabeth November 7, 2012, 3:56 pm

    No Dear, she hasn’t a clue.

  • Jones November 7, 2012, 4:12 pm

    @ Angel: Lots and lots of people are “such a doormat”. I have met a few in my own life, including my own husband. I’m getting him trained up now though, his spine is coming along much better these days!

  • Cat Whisperer November 7, 2012, 7:47 pm

    My daughter is thinking of moving from a residential hall at her college into an off-campus apartment with some friends. It’s precisely because of situations like those mentioned in today’s postings that I’m not very happy with the idea. I’ve known far too many roommate situations where one roomie gets financially shafted by another roomie.

    It’s easy to be on the sidelines and say that the person who got shafted was a “doormat;” but I’ve known some pretty savvy, strong-willed people who ended up getting stuck this way, people who I would never in a million years consider to be “doormats.” I think that there’s an insidiousness to this kind of situation that ropes people in– it happens by increments, so to speak, and it almost always involves people that you know and like and don’t want to think badly of.

    It’s easy to be firm about boundaries with people we don’t know or don’t like. With people we care about…. well, that’s a different kettle of fish. What was it J. K. Rowling said in the first “Harry Potter” book? “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”

    Regarding karmic retribution: I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s kind of pointless to hope for that. I’ve also come to the conclusion that wanting bad things to happen to other people because they’ve “done me in” makes me feel ugly in a way I really, really don’t like.

    I came to this conclusion when I had a situation that came up with a relative who did a lot of dancing and crowing when something bad happened to me. He felt he was perfectly justified in feeling the way he did, and he openly celebrated that I was having a bad time.

    That really didn’t feel good; but what felt even worse was the realization that I felt exactly the same way about him. He’d managed to drag me down to his level, in other words.

    When I realized that I would be celebrating if he got hit by something bad and started suffering because “it would serve him right”, and that that made me just like him, I cannot describe the revulsion I felt. I didn’t feel good about this relative, but being like him by dancing at his misfortune was such an ugly feeling. It also made me realize that I was letting him and the thought of him be far too controlling of my thoughts and actions, and I was horrified that I’d given him that much power over me.

    With that wake-up call, I started concentrating on taking care of my own karma and not worrying about whether other people are getting their karmic comeuppance from the universe. It’s hard and I certainly don’t always get it right, but it feels right to try. JMO.

  • Angel November 7, 2012, 8:33 pm

    Jones, I wouldn’t have thought she was a doormat the first time, a lot of people get caught in a situation once–but fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Learn from your mistakes the first time–don’t get fooled again 🙂

  • Rinny November 7, 2012, 9:58 pm

    ” I now have a spine and she has boundaries.” – I like how this was phrased! 🙂

    I’m with those who said that the friend has no idea… But it’s still nice to see the law of karma still in effect! Hope the OP wouldn’t get caught in similar situations in future.

  • JamieC November 8, 2012, 8:08 am

    Ten years or so ago I was sharing a house with five roommates, and everything was fine for the most part (just the usual struggles over dishes and the trash). However, one of the dudes started dating a girl just out of high school, who was apparently having some issues with her parents. She would show-up at the house and just stay there for a week. He would go to work, and she’d still be on the couch. If he was home, they’d go out for meals, but when he was at work – so like two meals a day – she’d eat everyone else’s food. After a couple of weeks, she started bringing her two friends with her; she’d sleep in her boyfriend’s room and they’d crash on the couches, which means that the people who actually lived there could never use the living room and we now had three people eating our food. We talked to the boyfriend but he didn’t quite get it and would get pissed at us for saying anything to him. So eventually everyone started showing their annoyance to the crashers. Finally they got the clue and stopped coming around. The food thing was annoying since, obviously given the number of roommates, no one had a lot of money to spend on extra groceries, but the worst was that they were always there and doing nothing. I came home from working one Saturday and started cleaning the bathroom and entry way floor, which usually wouldn’t be bad as I could have the tv on to listen to, but they were all there eating my food and watching Sex in the City. That was the last straw for me.

  • Tanya November 8, 2012, 10:14 am

    This whole thread just brings up memories of my time in college, when I rented my first apartment with two roommates. We originally had put a deposit down on Apartment A, and because we needed to put the money down FAST I agreed to put all of the money down with the understanding that I would be paid back by the other roommates. A few days later, my roommates and I came across a much better apartment, and jointly decided that we would prefer to live at Apartment B. After much wrangling with Landlady A, she refunded most but not all of our deposit– keeping $1,000 “for her trouble.” While I wasn’t thrilled, I understood that deposits are deposits, and that if we wanted to break our rental agreement it was our loss.

    Unfortunately, my roommates saw it as MY loss, not OUR loss. They flatly refused to pay me back for their share of the $1,000– the $1,000 I would never have paid by myself if not for my roommates’ initial inability to get the money fast enough for the original deposit. I pointed out that they had agreed to pay me back for their share of the deposit, but they claimed that since it was MY money, it was MY job to get it back from the landlady, not theirs. Needless to say, I was not happy. While I eventually decided it wasn’t worth the hassle of alienating both my roommates for the next two years, I made sure I would never be put in a similar position by refusing to ever loan them money again. Utility bills? Not in my name, and I would pay my share but would never write a check to the company for all three of us. Groceries? I would only pick up food for them if they gave me money in advance. No question of my ever paying their share of the rent– I wrote my check to our landlord separately and mailed it in myself to make sure I wasn’t subsidizing them.

    We never got to be really close friends during the two years we lived together– I don’t attribute it solely to the money issue, but I can’t say that it didn’t color my opinion of them and their trustworthiness. It’s tough to be real friends with someone if you know that they have no qualms about stiffing you for several hundred dollars. We never really communicated again after college, and it didn’t bother me one bit.

  • Robert November 8, 2012, 11:04 am

    My best friend of 25 years went through a nasty divorce a few years ago. He was a stay at home Dad with no job so when his wife threw him out of the house with no access to their bank accounts he was literally homeless.

    Call me heartless if you want but even though I own a house with a spare bedroom I told him in no uncertain terms that he would be sleeping on the street before I would let him spend one night in my home.

    In short order he destroyed three friendships and his relationship with his sister because of his slovenly ways, poor manners and mooching. When I told him his Mother had called me and was moving back to our state he thought his problems were all solved until I let him know that his mother refused to tell me where she was living because she was afraid I would tell him (I wouldn’t have but I don’t blame her for not wanting to take a chance).

    He finally found a friend who is a very sweet woman but has absolutely no spine. With increasing bitterness she cleaned up after him and bought his beer, food and cigarettes for over a year. She finally moved to a new, smaller apartment to get away from him.

    After a year and a half, finally out of options and faced with sleeping in his car, he found a job and a one bedroom apartment within a week.

    It was tough at times but I know I made the right decision in not enabling his behavior and we are still friends because of how up front I was.

  • The Elf November 8, 2012, 4:18 pm

    Cat Whisperer: That is exactly what I’ve seen too. The “doormats” can be not a doormat in every other way. But the other person, the user or moocher, starts so small. And there’s a good reason – at first. And it’s just this once. But then it oh-so-gradually turns into larger things, and the reasons get weaker, and it happens a lot. By this time, the person has been there a while and might even have tenant or squatter rights. And you’ve given so much it’s hard to say that this new thing is that much worse than that old thing you allowed. You start prodding, nagging, begging for change. After all, you don’t want to be the one who ruins the friendship. And you might not be able to straight-up evict because of the legalities. And so it keeps going on, and the roommates turn bitter against each other until it culiminates in either a huge fight or legal action.

    Generally, this kind of person knows how to play the other person and/or play the legal system to their advantage, but the “doormat” is kind of new to all of that because they like to be more upfront about everything.

  • Missy November 13, 2012, 1:20 pm

    Just to jump in about the “doormat” discussion. I know my situation was different from some others because I was in a legally binding agreement. But the whole time my family was giving me what to about “not standing up for myself” and “Well if you want to be a doormat, you deserve it!”

    It’s not always that simple. In my case, the bills/lease was in BOTH of our names. In most cases in the US, joint agreements like that mean that any one individual can be held liable for the whole amount. So if I had “stood up for myself” and refused to pay her share, I would have had my lights turned off and been evicted. Getting back into a lease or getting a new account with the energy company would have been insanely expensive if I had given myself that history. (Plus, the leases in that city would have allowed the landlord to sue me for the balance of my lease and garnish my wages.) Paying the bills was much cheaper in sanity and money even though it was not my favorite solution.

    Sometimes it’s easy to say “stop being a doormat.” But the reality is that sometimes you just don’t have that option. While I was very hurt by my friend’s actions, I was also hurt that others who I considered friends were quick to demean my character and didn’t stop for five minutes to realize that I was between a rock and a hard place. I would have liked someone to say, “That sucks. I’m sorry she is acting that way. Three more months, you can do it!”

  • NostalgicGal November 18, 2012, 7:31 am

    Roomies and having bills in one person’s name… I got in that one once but in the end it also got me out of a lot. Damages had happened to the place that were done BEFORE we moved in and didn’t show up until afterwards (proven it wasn’t us-especially the dog urine stains of Landlady’s dog around every bit of furniture SHE used to have on that carpet-we didn’t own one bit of furniture that matched those rectangular stain rings), and one particular carpet issue was proveable *I* was not the one that did it; and a verbal break of the lease because I wanted out early and landlady wanted to move back into the unit-and would let other roomie stay for the rest of the lease. THEN landlady decided to sue me for the carpet issues and the rest of the lease rent. Final bills in my name (paid too) and transference to Landlady’s name meant there was NO Room for me to live there anymore so… (proving legal residence of her not me for example). Other roomie made it to end of lease and bailed…she said she should’ve been smart and left when I did even if it meant sleeping in her car.