Thursday, May 23, 2013

Real Talk With Rachel: The Friend Who Crash-Landed

by Rachel Kurzius

Dear Rachel,

Recently, my friend asked me if she could crash at my house for a bit. I thought it would be fine -- fun, in fact! So I said yes after checking with my roommates to make sure that they were okay with it too.

Fast forward: it’s one day past when my friend said she’d be out. It's nice to have her around, but truth be told, I'm looking forward to having my space and routine back. I keep gently prodding, asking her things like, "Where are you thinking you're going to move on to?" and "What's your plan?" She doesn't really seem to have one.

I'm starting to resent the situation a little. I feel like I shouldn't have to ask these questions -- she should just know that she asked to stay for only so much time and now it's over. Time to move on. I feel like kind of a jerk for thinking this because she is my friend, I did say yes to having her, and aside from not having my place and routine to myself as it normally is, it's not a huge deal that she's there.

But part of it too is that I know that her circumstances for staying here aren't really dire. Like, at all. She's looking for an apartment right now, but in the meantime, she does have plenty of other options—including her nearby parents who are happy to have her stay, except they live in the suburbs (totally accessible by metro).

I set myself a deadline and if she's still here by then, it's gonna get awkward when I tell her straight up to go.

Am I a jerk? Any advice for this conversation?

Sincerely yours,
Homebody Interrupted

Dear Homebody Interrupted,

There are situations in which I might consider you heartless for telling your friend to leave, especially seeing as she is merely inconveniencing your routine. Those situations include your friend dealing with intolerant parents, just breaking up with her live-in fiancé, having her roommate suffer a psychotic breakdown, or getting mugged in her old place and feeling too unsafe to return, among others.

But let’s see why your friend is taking up residence at your place: she wants to be big city living. Right? I mean, where did she live before she started crashing with you? It sounds like she’s been with her parents in the ‘burbs and craves closer proximity to the action.

I don’t blame your friend for wanting those city lights. But she can’t depend on you for them.

I’ve lived with folks who have slept on sofas for months on end. Some people are totally fine living in someone’s living room and some people love offering theirs up. If it works for all involved, then that’s great.

It sounds like it works for your friend. But it’s not for everyone.

You’re not a jerk just because you cherish your space (unless, of course, you’re in one one of the situations discussed earlier). You will probably become a jerk if you don’t talk to your friend about your frustrations soon. They will only increase over time. You’ve tried to hint that she’s overstayed your welcome, but you’re going to need to be more direct.

The best way to do this is, first of all, by not feeling too bad about it. Don’t let your friend’s attitude about living room living make you feel like a square. You don’t have to be ashamed. Just be matter-of-fact. Tell her how fun it’s been to have her, but that she’s got to find another couch to squat on.

You don't need to go into too much detail. After all, as you said, she has options. And she can still come crash on the weekends sometimes if she doesn’t find a place in city proper.

All my best,


Rachel Kurzius revels in giving advice, and has provided counsel both as a columnist and a friend. She lives in Washington DC, where she works as a news producer. Real Talk with Rachel is published on All Life is Local and the Cleveland Park Listserv,, on Wednesdays. Need advice? You can write to Rachel via or advice @

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