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Playing One Roommate Against Another

A short while ago, my friend Steve asked if he could crash at my place after a work function he had been invited to where I happened to live close by. This was no problem with my roommate or myself, my roommate knew Steve as well, so no issue at all. He never mentioned the exact date. Error number one, I should have asked exactly when this party was, but I thought he would bring it up again nearer the time. He did bring it up again nearer the time. On the day of the party to be exact. I, unfortunately, had made other plans and would not be at home that evening. and my roommate was on call for work so would also not be around. I explained this to Steve, apologized that I would not be able to accommodate his request as it was too short notice, and though I appreciated that he had asked in advance no date was specified and both my roommate and I had other commitments that evening. Steve was understanding, agreed that he should have confirmed earlier and I thought that was the end of it. Unfortunately not. This is the text message that I then received from him:

‘Hey. I’ve just spoken to [roommate] about crashing at yours. I’ll be needing a key or something to get back in later if your [sic] out. ’

I immediately called my roommate to find out what had transpired between them as I thought I had made myself clear. It turned out that Steve had called her and told her that I had said that it was ok that he stay over, despite the fact that we would not be there, and that SHE would be able to give him a key to let himself in and back out again! When she had told him that she would be unable to accommodate that request, he sent me the above text message to make it look like my roommate had said the same thing, and that I would give him MY key. Honestly, the nerve! As if he thought that as roommates, we didn’t communicate with one another and wouldn’t work out what he had done. Needless to say, he did not stay at our house that night. 1221-12


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  • Maggie December 27, 2012, 4:30 am

    Wow! Steve managed to outstay his welcome even before he arrived!

  • mpk December 27, 2012, 7:49 am

    Sounds like he’s done this before with other friends and it worked. Maybe that’s why he didn’t bother confirming the date ahead of time. Some people would just take him at his word without checking with their roommate. Luckily, you two do communicate.
    I think i’d be making Steve an ex-friend.

  • Angel December 27, 2012, 8:22 am

    WOW, I am speechless on this one. I can’t even imagine the nerve…

  • Moose December 27, 2012, 8:29 am


    I bet he used to play Mom and Dad against each other the same way. After all, if it worked for your parents it’ll work for everyone, right?

  • MamaToreen December 27, 2012, 8:48 am

    How old is he? 6?

  • WildIrishRose December 27, 2012, 9:31 am

    When he first asked to stay at your place, did it not occur to you to ask when the party was? I would have. But either way, he’s got his nerve doing this!

  • Ellen December 27, 2012, 10:41 am

    There is nerve, and then there is chutzpa.

  • Cat Whisperer December 27, 2012, 11:10 am

    Is “Steve’s” line of work something like selling overpriced time-share vacations? Because he sure doesn’t seem to accept that “no” means “no”!

    Don’t people like this have any shame? If his trick had worked, he’d have had to face OP and OP’s roommate the next morning. Or did he plan to slither away before they got back and confronted him?

    Just amazing. And sad, too.

  • Lisa December 27, 2012, 11:35 am

    I believe the OP was in the wrong. He said the friend could stay there then at the last minute changed his mind and left his friend hanging. Yes, the friend was devious to play the two of them against one another, but who wouldn’t think to say “Sure, you can crash here, what day is your event?” And really, if this is a friend, do you not trust them enough to sleep on your couch?

  • Ashley December 27, 2012, 12:21 pm

    Almost makes me wonder how often he does stuff like this. Glad that the roommate didn’t go “oh okay!” and give him a key

  • Elizabeth December 27, 2012, 2:57 pm

    Maggie, well put!!!

  • JGM1764 December 27, 2012, 5:20 pm

    What a jerk. I hope OP no longer considers him a friend.

  • missminute December 27, 2012, 6:08 pm

    I can’t agree Lisa. I have a lot of friends who I adore but I would not leave them alone in my home after a (probably drunken) party. It was odd that the OP had not asked the date but really it was her friend’s responsibility to call ahead of time with a date. I would no longer be calling someone this devious a friend.

  • Marozia December 27, 2012, 6:17 pm

    He must’ve known about the party at least a week beforehead. He should’ve had the decency to let you know about it. Get rid of this ‘friend’.

  • --Lia December 27, 2012, 6:57 pm

    I’ve had friends who were welcome to stay at my place only if I’m at home and other friends who are welcome to stay when I’m not. I give them a key, and they come and go as they please. I’m not making any excuses for Steve who sounds manipulative and tricky, but I do wonder if that’s where the source of miscommunication came up. He may have thought that he checked with you and that it didn’t matter if you had other plans because you’d give him a key and he could let himself in, sleep on the couch, and see you when you got home.

  • Surianne December 27, 2012, 8:25 pm

    If it was important that one of you be home when he stayed there, why didn’t you ask him the date up front? I’m a little confused by this. You told him he could stay at your place, but didn’t make any other conditions, so why not just loan him a key and let him stay?

  • Duni December 27, 2012, 8:25 pm

    @Lisa – I disagree. If I’m asking my friend to do me a favor and let me stay at their place, I would consider it my responsibility to get them all the relevant information as soon as possible so they can make any necessary arrangements. I certainly wouldn’t expect them to chase me down to find it out.

  • Pinkiu December 27, 2012, 10:19 pm

    There must be a reason why the friend could not stay with them not there. We were returning from vacation a day after out of state friends needed a guest room. We had no problem giving them our key and allowing them to be in our home without us because we trusted them.

  • StephM December 28, 2012, 5:46 am

    I have friends that I have trusted with my worst secrets, but I would still feel weird if they were in my home without me. I certainly wouldn’t allow a casual friend into my house overnight without me. It’s my space, my domain, my territory. Say what you like, but that’s how I am.

    Wag of my finger at OP for not getting the date upfront, but it is a very halfhearted wag because it is a minor mistake that anyone could make. Steve is entirely to blame for not getting the date to OP, and his manipulative behavior is disturbing.

  • Justin December 28, 2012, 10:58 am

    When I had roomates we had a simple rule on guests being present when one of us wasn’t, we both had to be okay with that guest staying alone. Now that I live alone I only allow a few trusted friends to have free run of my home when I am not present.

    If the person staying failed to give a date when they would be there I see no fault from the OP or roomate, you don’t hold plans idefinately if someone hasn’t firmed up a date.

  • Vee December 28, 2012, 11:49 am

    If “Steve” lied about talking to the roommate I’d be worried about what he might lie about if left alone in the apartment!

  • Angeldrac December 28, 2012, 7:30 pm

    OP – can we get a bit more information about how the actual conversation went, when Steve asked initially?
    Was it “Hi, wondering if I could stay at you place after my work party? I can’t remember the exact date, but I’ll get back to you beforehand”.
    Or was it “Hi, can I stay at your place after a work party next week?”, “Sure – I’m just going out now, but if you can let me know the date later that’d be great”.
    Cos, there IS a difference.
    Either way, though, what Steve did playing you two was inexcusable.

  • Cat December 28, 2012, 10:53 pm

    A master manipulator at work. I had a woman at work pull the same stunt on me. She told me that the principal wanted us to switch lunch hours. I agreed as per the principal’s request, and then I asked the principal for the reason she had switched us. She had not. She had been told that the two of us wanted to switch and she had agreed to that.
    I went to the other party and said that we would not be switching lunch hours after all.
    And, no, you did not leave dear old Steve hanging. He took the notion that he could stay at your place at his convenience, not at yours. There are inventions called hotels and motels. He should learn to use them rather than lying to his friends.

  • Kit December 29, 2012, 11:01 am

    @Angeldrac, I suppose there is a difference, but is there such an important one? In both of your examples it is quite clearly Steve’s business to contact the OP to tell the date, and obviously the sooner the better.

  • Cat December 29, 2012, 11:14 am

    Does anyone recall the poster who allowed a drunken friend to stay the night? They had made a very expensive and special meal, frozen the leftovers for future meals, and had gone to bed.
    The drunk ate all the food they had saved, been unable to keep it down, went back and ate more, and continued the cycle until he had eaten all of their food and vomited it all over their house.
    Lesson learned, but not to be repeated.And was he the same person who had also helped himself to their frozen top layer of wedding cake they were saving for their first anniversary?

  • GleanerGirl December 29, 2012, 12:55 pm

    There are friends, good friends, dear friends, best friends, and non-blood family friends. In other words, at what tier of friendship was this friend? That makes all the difference in the world about whether or not you let them stay at your house when you are not there.

    And how many times have we said, right here on this site, “What is your mother-in-law doing with a key to your house?!” Some friends you like and trust enough to have over, while you are there, but you wouldn’t give them a key, because you are aware of the temptation that would cause, and how weak they may be.

    Also, what would you say if the OP’s previous plans were to have six other friends staying over for an overnight stay? “The more the merrier” does not always work if there is simply no more room on the floor for another sleeping bag, the couch is full, and you have someone trying to sleep standing up in your shower.

    Did the OP ask when the party was, only to be told, “It’s sometime in December. I’ll have to check my calendar and get back to you?” If so, she did nothing wrong in thinking that Steve would, indeed, check his calendar and get back to her, in a timely manner. Since he did not, it is his own fault that he waited too long, and she had every right to make plans.

    I don’t think OP did anything wrong here.

  • GleanerGirl December 29, 2012, 12:59 pm

    I had an uncle (RIP), who was a real hoot. I always enjoyed his visits, however, I knew full well that he would NEVER get a key to our house. You do not give a key to a man who shows up unannounced, from half-way across the country, nor to one who likes to backtalk the police, nor to one who gets in trouble with the Mob. My uncle was all three, rolled into one. No way, nohow would he be allowed to stay in the house unattended.

    And why would we have him, at all? You may ask. Because we loved him dearly and enjoyed his company. He could charm stink off of a skunk.

  • Sugaryfun December 30, 2012, 5:51 pm

    I’ve had a family member try a similar trick with me. He was staying with us and called me while he was out to say that my husband had told him it was okay if he stayed an extra week. I said I didn’t think that it was likely my husband would have okayed it without asking me so I checked with him and they had had no such conversation (as if we as a married couple wouldn’t talk to each other about it!). He then backpedalled and said that a third party had told him my husband had said it was okay. Again, not likely, but I checked. Third party denied it also and was annoyed at being involved and gave me a hard time about it. Family member in question now doesn’t get to stay with us unless he specifies the length of his stay in advance.

    Some people just don’t really do advance planning and don’t understand that other people need to. They never learn if you give into them, so good on the OP for not doing so.

  • June First December 31, 2012, 12:31 pm

    I don’t feel comfortable with anyone having an extra key to my place. I even feel weird when the landlord comes over when we’re out. This might be partially due to the fact that we’ve been burglarized.

    I agree with those who have said you should drop this manipulator. If anyone tried this on me, I wouldn’t socialize with them anymore. Who knows what else they’ve fabricated about you??

  • Tracy January 2, 2013, 9:32 am

    I’m not going to blame the OP for failing to nail down the date. I can see many circumstances where this might not happen (“Mind if I stay at your place after the office Christmas party?” asked in early November, for example).

  • OP January 7, 2013, 11:24 am

    Hi one and all, OP here.

    To clarify, it was a Birthday party for a work colleague. He asked about 6 weeks in advance and couldn’t remember the exact date at the time of asking. I’m afraid I do believe that it was his responsibility to get the date over to me nearer the time, hence why I told him he couldn’t stay in the end. If he had given me a date and I had forgotten, for example, the responsibility would have been completely my own and I would have changed my plans or given him a key. As it was, he called me up six weeks after a non-specific request and I wasn’t going to go out of my way to accomodate it as I believed the ball was in his court to confirm the date in a timely manner.

    Regarding giving out keys to people, I agree with the notion that there are some people I would have no problem giving a key to. There are others that I would not. Generally speaking, the number of people in the first category are not many.

  • Enna January 9, 2013, 12:53 pm

    @ Lisa I disagree, it is Steve’s responsiblity to tell the OP when the party was.

    Like the OP said, if she/he had got it wrong OP would have done something. Playing housemates off against each other is wrong.