Leave me alone with the crowd around me

Friday 19 August 2011, 8.04am HKT

AND there’s always someone who had to ask that question. THAT question. You know, That Question.

If you’re young and still in school/college/uni, either you get asked That Question, or you don’t. (You usually don’t.)

If you’ve gone back to school/college/uni/studying, sooner or later (usually sooner) some bozo out there will start asking That Question out of the blue. Usually during your mealbreak.

That Question is the one question that almost instantly alters your entire perception of everybody else around you.

‘Can I move in with you and share the rent and stuff?’

Man or woman, boy or girl, bozo or bozo-ess, That Question makes you think, gee, I must be a nice, popular person, otherwise no one is going to bother to ask me.

Truth be told, getting asked That Question actually means you might just be looked upon generally as ‘a mark’ — the intended victim for hustling and sundry swindling. Good for skivving off (evading, pawning off) assorted responsibility onto by your peerless peers.

I’ve been asked That Question once or twice before, so that admission alone doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence about my character.

Not that I’m saying I’ve now gone back to school or anything like that — I had gone back to school before, and every time, sooner or later, That Question crops up.

How to you deal with that?

That’s what a colleague’s kid, now college-aged, was hoping to find out from me the other day.

So The Naked Listener is pleased to offer this lifehack for those facing That Question.


Let’s scout out the general situation first.

The first salvo to That Question is usually:—

Do you live on your own? By yourself? What’s your place like?
So you get family or relatives coming over often, right?

Brace yourself. The main force of That Question is coming at you very soon now, with the most usual variants being:—

1 (above).
Can I move in with you and share the rent and stuff?

Can we share a place together and split the expenses?

How d’you feel, say, if I move in with you for [x] weeks until
I get back on my feet and find my own place?

How about you let me move into your place? I’m just
one guy/gal and don’t have a lot of kit. I only need
a bed and bathroom, that’s all, so maybe that’s alright then, okay?

I’m looking for a place right now, but I would like
to live at your place instead, but, of course,
I’ll share the rent and expenses with you.

Rivers begin to form on your forehead now, especially if you’re the type who tends to ‘sweat things out.’

Whatever you do, don’t answer it like this:—

‘Err, sorry, I can’t. I ‘ve got these family people coming over
all the time and I need the place to put them up for.’

‘Actually, I’m not entirely living alone, ‘cos my boyfriend/girlfriend
is more or less living with me.’

‘I don’t think it’s possible, because my place is really, really
small — good for one person, really.’

‘Sorry, I’d love to, but I do lots of home entertaining,
and it’s just a bit difficult with you …’

Basically, you end up humming and harring your way out with those. Which don’t work. You’ll be pestered literally for days or even weeks with That Question. Because people who ask That Question are determined individuals.

Now, the juicy bit.

This is how you should answer to stop the nonsense (in sequence, if you’re facing a really determined individual):—

PROTIP:— Don’t apologise or use words like ‘sorry,’ ‘in fact,’ ‘actually’ or the like. State things matter-of-factly.

SAY 1:—

“You should’ve asked earlier. I’ve already promised Harry/Henrietta from the [whatever] Department couple of nights ago. Do you know Harry/Henrietta yourself? He’s/she’s coming to sign the papers with me this weekend.”

SAY 2:—

“What year were you born? So you’re [age] then. That won’t do. My minimum age for shacking up with is [whatever + 7 years].”

SAY 3:—

“What’s your income like? What’s your job? You have a bank account with which bank did you say?”

SAY 4:—

“You do realise you have to sign a subtenancy with me, otherwise I’d be in breach of my own lease with the landlord. It’s really wonderful of the landlord, such a nice man … letting me sign a lease that allows subtenants … can’t ask for more from anyone … so fair and understanding of the landlord … can’t afford to jeopardise my lease, you understand … blah … blah-blah … blah-blah-blah.”

SAY 5:—

“Yeah, move in, as soon as you pay me the three months’ deposit that my landlord stipulates in my lease from subtenants … and I’m pretty sure you’ll be fine when my landlord gets to meet you and looks you over for his approval.”

Works like a charm, mate, works like a bleeding charm.

No, you refuse even this

No, you refuse even this

Images: Upgrade Your Life via One More Coffee Stain ♦ Chick in white lingerie via c4c.


© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011. (Updated 13 June 2014: formatting fixes.)

3 Responses to “Leave me alone with the crowd around me”

  1. Guus said

    Haha, this post displays with an Ikea advertisement for me! Agree with your advice btw. Be firm.


  2. Ed Hurst said

    Wise words. Even better is to develop the sort of public persona which no one dares to ask such a thing. In my foolish youth, I was asked and managed to escape somehow. When I went back to college later, that was the one favor no one asked me, though they asked others. My persona was quite different the second time.


    • Ed, you are absolutely right about ‘persona’ in this matter. I’ve been wracking my brains for that word on the tip of my tongue. It’s the persona that we leave on people that makes others do what they do to or with us. Thanks for reminding me about ‘persona.’


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