Social Question

MissAnthrope's avatar

Am I being cold and selfish, or is my friend overreacting?

Asked by MissAnthrope (21491points) April 13th, 2010

I’ll try to lay this out in the least complicated way possible.

My friend, Mike, who I’ve been really good friends with for 6 years, is miserable in WV and I totally understand because neither of us belong(ed) there. He visited me over spring break and made the decision that he wants to move here. I’ve been encouraging him to do so, which would be a win-win, he’d be happier and I’d have my best friend nearby.

When he came to visit, he paid for a lot of things to ensure we both had a good time. I’ve been working for my mom, but I can’t get ahead cash-wise because I had a car accident, she paid for it, and now I’m working it off. I’ve been looking for a job, but am having difficulties.

In the discussion about Mike moving here, we weren’t discussing specifics, so in my mind, I thought he could find a roommate situation. I have free rent until the end of the year—I live with my cousin in exchange for housework and such—and the Bay Area is expensive. In addition, with my expensive auto body-work indentured servitude, I am leaving at the end of May to go work for my mom for 2½ months, which makes finding a job harder and I will likely have no money when I return.

Somewhere along the line, Mike took my encouragement to mean that I wanted to room with him. He was so gung-ho that I kind of was like, Oh yeah, that’d be cool without really thinking about it. Now that I have, I realize I don’t think I can pull it off.

I think that I should try to get back in school, live here free for the rest of the year, work, and try to get back on my feet. I’ve been severely broke and miserable because of it for about a year and a half and the thought of being a real person again is really appealing.

I told Mike this tonight and he blew up and completely flipped out on me. He said I’ve screwed him, that he’s arranged his school schedule to work more to have enough money to move out here, that he has a limited window to make a move after his lease is up, that I’m only thinking of myself, that by doing this I’m making things much harder than they need be, that I’m scared, amongst other things. In short, he’s really pissed at me and has basically made it sound like he no longer wants to be friends.

I’m trying to understand why he feels so strongly, but I can’t help feeling like he’s completely overreacting. I told him that I really want him to come here, that I would help him however I could.. just that I am trying to be reasonable and yes, to think of myself for once, considering I usually screw myself trying to make everyone else happy and end up making poor choices that get me nowhere.

I just can’t relate to the level of anger and outrage he’s displaying toward me.. He is being somewhat nasty and keeps saying things like ‘have a nice life’ and ‘don’t worry about it, it’s not your concern anymore’, like that’s the end? I don’t understand what the difference is between his rooming with me or with someone else, as long as he’s in a place that makes him happy. Am I being cold and selfish, or is he overreacting?

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30 Answers

jazmina88's avatar

hmmm. does he have more than friendship on his mind?

I’m sure he is hurt, but you need to look ahead to your future as well.

see if there is a compromise. You know any roommates for him?

YARNLADY's avatar

He must have put a lot of effort into making it work, based on his mistaken expectations to go off so strongly. Maybe he has stronger feelings than you realize. Let him know that you are willing to do all you can to make his relocation as easy as possible.

Ask him why he is taking it so hard, and what does he mean by it’s not your concern anymore

MissAnthrope's avatar

@jazmina88 – Ha, no, no.. it’s not like that. He’s gay, I’m gay.. he’s like my brother. Actually, we’ve never even had a fight before.

@YARNLADY – He has and I totally recognize that. The thing is, if he wants to move out here, it’s necessary. So whether he rooms with me or not, it’s the same effort. I told him that I would look at places and help him on this end however I could. He just keeps going on about how I’ve screwed him, messed everything up, made him look a fool, stuff like that. I told him that I didn’t understand his reaction and made several attempts to point out that he could find a cool place without having me in the equation as a roommate.

“It’s not your concern anymore” basically means he’s going to do this without me, screw me, I’ve ruined our friendship, he’s done. I don’t get the severity of this reaction.. I dunno.

zophu's avatar

Don’t worry about it too much till you talk to him again. He might have been under more pressure than you realized and maybe that’s why he reacted so harshly.

aadmin's avatar

Do you worry about the 2012?! haw-haw!
This is life !!!!!
You are not going to give anybody else permission to affect your emotions today. They are your emotions. Control them. If your life sucks then tell the person in the mirror to change it.

JeffVader's avatar

The only real reason I can think of that explains such an over the top reaction is that he has feelings for you & was hoping this might lead to something more than just friendship.

autumn43's avatar

When people are facing things that are going to be complicated and scary, they can lash out at the people they love – because they are the closest to them. I’m sure he’s worrying about his whole move and this threw a little wrench into the situation.

The pressure he is feeling to move away from whatever he has now has to be building up. He’s scared. He thought that maybe the one thing that would be safe was to move in with you and he can’t. So, he blew up – most likely overreacting.

I think he is just nervous/scared/apprehensive/anxious about the whole thing and for that moment, that was his reaction. Today might be a different story. At least I hope so, for your sake.

Trillian's avatar

This sounds like a typical male over reading into a female friendship. The thing about us women is, we really don’t think about it like they do, so we tend to underrate the sex thoughts and signals. My oblivious ass misses them then I’m all surprised to have to say “Whao! Down boy!” It’s just basic life. They think we’re sending signals, and we go “Huh?” The fact that so many females really are sending signals does not help the case of those of us who are not.
Guys take that crap seriously for at least the duration of that particular erection and they get pissed and say stuff like; “Well, what am I supposed to do with this?”

wonderingwhy's avatar

It really sounds like you’re missing something here… normally I’d say boy+girl=friction, but unless he’s become a switch hitter without you knowing that’s probably not the case, though not knowing him personally I can’t completely rule it out. For what you’ve said it sounds as though he’s going a bit over the top with all this, which is why I think you’re missing some piece of what’s going on. For example it would be easy to see if, say, his financial situation is much tighter than it appears – perhaps he doesn’t have the money to grant time in finding another flatmate and has shifted his classes to the point where it may impact him in the future. That would make a pretty potent combo, particularly with his lease ending.

Regardless, you did the right thing. You should have nipped it in the bud rather than letting it get to here but had you tried to pull it off and failed after he was here he’d be in a much worse situation. Plus, you need to get your life together. Too many people try to help when they aren’t really able to – a noble effort, but sadly one that often does nothing more than leave both parties worse than where they started. It sounds like you realize that and are trying to get a solid base together so that when you do lend a hand you can actually help pull someone up rather then the alternative. He won’t be seeing any of that right now I suspect but hopefully you do and understand that even though it’s hard, you’ll both be better for it.

Now it’s time for you to be patient and keep him engaged. Keep offering to help, when he says it’s not your problem tell him it is and why it is. Don’t let him lay his failure on you, apologize as you see fit but remember, you were/are in no position to take on rent, you just can’t do it and blaming you for it won’t change anything, but letting you help with other things (finding a replacement, go-between for him and the rental manager, helping him move/find a job if he needs one, etc) just might.

Bottom line, he made a bet, it didn’t pay out, now he’s faced with the consequences and you’re the closet thing he has to a target that isn’t himself. He’s going to take a few swings. But you’re his friend and sometimes you just have to stand there and take it until he’s worn out and ready to see what’s really going on. Good luck to both of you.

snowberry's avatar

If you stay friends with him after this or not (I’m sort of glad you don’t plan to move in with him). Would you want to be living together and have him go off at you? If you were, there’d be no place for you to go. His anger is over the top for the situation, even if he IS upset. He sounds manipulative and controlling.

beautifulbobby193's avatar

You are a girl. Perhaps he’d like to sleep with you? Judging by his behaviour I would be strongly inclined to believe that this is the case.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

He’s needing you as a crutch to justify moving out there. If he had not spent his vacation with you, he never would have had the idea to make the move out there. What he’s failing to understand is that you are in a precarious financial situation, and you are not financially independent yet; you rely on the largesse of others to put a roof over your head, as your cousin provides you a place to live and your mother provides a financial safety net. Being his roommate sometime in the future is a great idea, but you are not able financially to support yourself fully in your present circumstances.

He’s angry because he feels you’ve squashed his dreams, but in reality, nothing has changed for him, because he’s still in WV and needs to be there until he can afford to move to CA. Which, if he’s doing it without having family there, means he needs to have $10,000 in the bank, and a job and school lined up before he makes the move. The cost of rent in CA compared to WV will be quite a shock.

No, you are not cold and heartless. You are practical and realistic. Mike is responsible for his own practicality and realism.

john65pennington's avatar

In the beginning, you really layed in on thick that you wanted your friend to make a big move, in order to be near you. that was okay. apparently, you cannot deliver what you originally stated to your friend. being your friend, and believing what you first told him, he rearranged just about everything in his life, in order to be close to you. does Mike have reason to be ticked off? yes. you led him on to believe that his moving would not be a hassle for you, but apparently that was not the truth.

To be truthful…...you made this bed, now its time for you to lay in it.

Cupcake's avatar

I agree with @PandoraBoxx. I think people are being too hard on you. He needs to be responsible for himself, his decisions and his actions. He can be disappointed and upset… but he should not treat his best friend the way he is treating you. Give him some time and he’ll cool off… hopefully.

wundayatta's avatar

The question is why was he so attached to the idea of you being his roommate? What are the consequences of you not being his roommate?

Well, obviously, he now has to make up money for rent (it sounds like he has money troubles, too) and to do that, he has to find a new roommate who he won’t know. Both of those things are stressful things. If he had been totally thinking you were going to be his roommate, then perhaps when you pulled out (in his mind you pulled out), it was like a close friend screwing him over.

He may have thought that he was moving there for you. You’ve been encouraging him to do so, and perhaps he read that as you having a greater interest in rooming together than you do. Perhaps he thought you were asking him to move out specifically to room with you.

In addition, there may be stresses in his life you don’t know about. But moving and making money are two of the biggest stressors in life there are (having a death in the family or getting married are two more). You need a lot of support to do these things, and perhaps he was counting on you to be there with him, and sees you as abandoning him, and thus abandoning the friendship.

I don’t know. Just a few guesses.

phillis's avatar

Both you and he are gay. thought that beared repeating, since no one saw your comment.

Mike doesn’t have any place to live. He doesn’t know anyone, either. He can’t go on personal recommendations that someone could give him as to the character of a potential roomate. Additonally, he is leaving all that is familiar to him, and we all know how much humans loathe change. Obviously, he loves you a great deal to move clear across the country. He faces insecurities, fears and huge changes. So it does not surprise me that he feels the way he does.

That being said, he DID over react. It would make more sense to discuss how this will go in order to make the transition go as smoothly as possible for him. Getting upset and inflicting pain is NOT a good idea.

At the same time, you did see this coming, but you blew it off. At the very least, you failed to recognize his thoughts through his words. However, this is not something to be crucified for because…...it was an honest mistake.

In the same situation, I would take proactive steps to encourage him to open up a reasonable dialog about it again. It means that you will have to cater to his needs a little, but that is sometimes what best friends do. Start with an apology. Admit that you didn’t fully recognize what his vision was, and tell him you are sorry (if you are).

Not until after he has digested that apology, is it a good idea to launch your reasons that he cannot live with you. He will only see them as an excuse. Take care of his needs, if you care to do so, then address your situation. Good luck.

snowberry's avatar

Great response, Phillis. You win.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Thanks to everyone for slogging through the details and giving me your thoughts.

I did not intentionally screw him.. for one, I’m not like that. We’d been talking in an abstract way about him moving out here, he came to visit and loved it, and he decided he wanted to move out. He was in a conversation with someone else and all of a sudden it was ‘we’re going to be roommates.’ I was surprised, as he knows my living/financial situation, but I didn’t feel it was the time to jump into his conversation and contradict him.

It just seemed like all of a sudden, what we’d been talking about shifted from one thing to another and I never had the time to completely digest it. I just kind of took it in like I do, thinking, Oh, I’ll make it work somehow. But that hasn’t served me so well and I have come to realize it’s kind of ridiculous for me to attempt such a huge financial undertaking when there’s pretty much no way that I will be able to swing it. In addition, wouldn’t it be shitty of me to not say anything and then let it all progress, and get to the point where he’s really counting on me and then have to bail? I don’t want that. Like I said, I’m not out to screw anyone and I do care.

So now he’s looking at roommate situations here, but is acting like I completely cast him off, like threw my hands up and said, “screw you, have fun doing it alone”—despite my repeatedly telling him I would help him on this end however I could, that I’d check places out for him, etc. He’s being immature and posted on a friend’s Facebook wall that I bailed on him, basically airing dirty laundry in a way that I find irritating.

I was only confused last night, but I’m starting to get pissed off at how he is handling this. All I did was be realistic, I gave him plenty of warning (he visited in March and is planning to move in October), and offered to help him.

phillis's avatar

“I just kind of took it in like I do, thinking, Oh, I’ll make it work somehow. But that hasn’t served me so well and I have come to realize it’s kind of ridiculous for me to attempt such a huge financial undertaking when there’s pretty much no way that I will be able to swing it.”

First, kudos. You’re right! It hasn’t served you well, and now it has involved somebody else. But I can’t fault you for a repeated error while you’re doing everything you can to fix it. That is defeating and discouraging. What I DO see is that you are trying. No one could hardly ask for more than that.

I agree that you aren’t in any position to swing his living with you. It is also “ridiculous” (that’s a pretty strong word, so be careful using it with him) to expect him to swing it, too. Whether he realizes it or not, both of you are of equal importance in this equation. He might figure that out, given enough time.

“In addition, wouldn’t it be shitty of me to not say anything and then let it all progress, and get to the point where he’s really counting on me and then have to bail? I don’t want that. Like I said, I’m not out to screw anyone and I do care.”

Yes, it would definitely have been shitty, and after he has calmed down, feel free to point that out to him (nicely). The argument could be made that you could have acted on it sooner than you did. But, then the question becomes, would he still have had the same reaction? I don’t know the answer to that. But you do. He loves you, but he hasn’t perfected the skills to deal with disappointment. Those are two totally separate issues! So, as much as it hurts, try not to take it too personally. If I had to bet on it, I’d say that, with a little effort, this can be resolved fairly easily. Appeal to his love, and not his anger.

PacificToast's avatar

If you keep ‘screwing yourself over’, you aren’t being selfish. This is just a communication error. He’s got something he isn’t telling you or else his reaction wouldn’t be so severe.

Pandora's avatar

Sounds like you both were involved in a little fantasy gone wild. Neither of you truly took a long hard look at things and made an effort to make things clear about your future plans. I can understand where he was upset if you led him to believe that you both would be roomates. On the other hand if he knew you were all over the place then he should be angry with himself for thinking that his determination to change things would fix both your lives. Sounds like he’s ready to move on but he’s afraid to do it alone and your aren’t ready or at least not able too at the moment. He needs to wake up and you need to be more forth coming and realistic about your situation when dealing with your friends. You are not responsible for his life. But if your mom is helping you out than you need to meet those responsiblities.

kiki98's avatar

Hi! I think that he is overreacting but i also think u should of thought this over.

beautifulbobby193's avatar

Why not offer him sex to prove how good a friend you are?

MissAnthrope's avatar

Gross. Read above where I state that he is gay, I am gay, and neither of us is attracted to the other. It’s like thinking about having sex with my brother. Really sick.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@MissAnthrope, In your post you say he visited you during Spring Break. Around here, college spring break was 3 weeks ago. I’m not understanding how your change of plans impacted him at all. He hasn’t even finished out this semester. I doubt he’s done all of his laundry from the trip. Your telling him you can’t afford to pay rent on your own and have him blame you for any negative impact on his life is a cop-out on his part.

beautifulbobby193's avatar

Two gays? I think you should have made that clear on the beginning as the advice from many would probably have differed.

phillis's avatar

@beautifulbobby193 She did try to correct it, Bobby. She added it on the thread. Was it such a profound mistake that it deserves a negative public comment?

MissAnthrope's avatar

Thanks, @phillis. It was an oversight, not intentional. I was a bit out-of-sorts when I posted this question and it didn’t occur to me until people began suggesting he might want in my pants that it might be a useful piece of information for others. I mean, considering how much we both don’t want in each other’s pants, I didn’t think at all about the whole hetero male-female dynamic.

@PandoraBoxx – Yeah, it was about a month ago.. which is why I am having such a hard time with his flipping out. It was all talk during the week he was here, and then he went home and started to try to make it work for October. He said he rearranged his school schedule in order to work more and that if he didn’t make it here, I’ve screwed him. I’m unclear as to what that means, considering school is still in session. All I can think is he dropped classes or something, but he didn’t say that.

At this point, to me, it’s a shifting of plans.. plans that are still new and in development and I still don’t feel this shift warrants a temper tantrum.

Anyway, we haven’t spoken yet since that night, other than his posting dramatic crap on FB (and making me look like a right bitch) and my getting irritated and posting that he was making me angry with the dramatics, that I said repeatedly I’d help him. He hasn’t de-friended me, which I know he’d do in a heartbeat if he was truly done.. so I’ve kind of relaxed and allowed myself a bit of anger and indignance at his reaction. I will apologize to a point (it’s true that I should have said something earlier), but I don’t feel like I’ve really done anything wrong. It’s just that he’s quite unhappy with the turn of events and I find his reaction to be uncalled for.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

How in the world could he rearrange his school schedule in the middle of the semester? There’s nothing to stop him from still moving out there, if that’s what he really wants to do. He can do like everyone else, and find a roommate on Craigslist.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@PandoraBoxx – When we’re speaking again, I’ll ask him because honestly, I have no idea. And I totally agree.. if he wants to move, he can still totally do so. There is not much difference between finding a place on CL or whatever and living with me, considering I will be doing much of the legwork on this end either way. It’s just that he doesn’t like the idea of us not being roommates, which, after all the great feedback here and much rumination, I think is silly to throw such a fit about. I mean, the veracity of his response, you’d think I stole a bunch of money from him or something.. and I have always treated him well.

Thank you all again, I really, really appreciate it.. I try to be a fair person and I always consider that I might be the one at fault. I was just so confused because I really didn’t think it was a big deal, so having other people weigh in was a great help.

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