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I live in a shared household. I was speaking with someone, call him Bob, in the kitchen. I needed to speak with another roommate, call him Dylan, and asked Bob which room he lives in (Dylan moved in recently and I virtually never go upstairs and this is why I did not know which room was his). Bob told me which room but said he is out. I said I thought I saw him recently and went to knock on his door, and he was indeed out.

Latter Bob cornered me and said he heard the door to his bedroom open and could tell someone had been in there and basically said I had entered his room (which I did not). He also accused me of “challenging him” that I didn’t believe that Dylan wasn’t home. Bob spoke very rudely and acted in a threatening way.

The way I see it there's two possibilities

  1. he really does think I entered his room even though there's no evidence
  2. he's trying to get mad at me for something else

I think 2. is more likely because of a recent conversation where he wanted money for house hold goods and I said I wanted to see the receipts (not because I didn't trust his math but because I wanted to see what was purchased, but he felt attacked).

How do I set the boundaries I’m not ok with him speaking to me like this, let alone waiting until I’m alone in the laundry room to make these statements?

It was also Bob who thinks I hacked his computer because my wireless printer shows up as an available device.

closed as too broad by OldPadawan, undefined, Rory Alsop, Alina Cretu, sphennings Jan 29 at 15:05

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    You should rephrase that question I'd say. Right now this soudns rpetty much like a "what should I do" kind of question, what is Off-topic here. So I am gonna close vote it. Please don't feel discouraged. In itself I think this is a good question, but you should state a clear goal you want to achieve with Bob and ask for how to accomplish that, if that's what you are interested in. But just asking what you should do about this won't work out well. – dhein Jan 21 at 6:23
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I answered your previous question about Bob, and it is starting to look like Bob is seriously paranoid. If he does have a real mental health issue fueling this paranoia there might not be any set of words that you can say to him which will break this cycle.

The best action in the face of these accusations is really to stay calm and answer him logically at all times. Be prepared for him to confront you this way, because he seems to make a habit of it. If you get irate or incensed at his accusations it will only inflame matters. If you stay calm and give him irrefutable reasoning then it should highlight that he is the unreasonable one.

That advice is pretty general, and the best I can give to cover your general question of "How to deal with people who make absurd accusations?" You can only take each incident in isolation to come up with an answer that works. For this scenario I would say the simplest, logical answer would be:

If I wanted to break into Dylan's apartment while he wasn't in I would have just gone up and knocked on his door; I wouldn't have asked you first if he was in or not.

It is possible that he is "looking for an argument" with you, perhaps jumping on anything he can in order to build up a portfolio of complaints. Could he be trying to use these "incidents" to get you kicked out of the building? Similar questions have been raised on IPS before - one that springs to mind was a fault-finding landlady who picked on everything. My answer to that question was to pre-empt as many complaints as you can and be prepared to answer them.

If you want to confront him about the succession of accusations then the best way would be first to answer the specific accusation to get it off the table, and then quite firmly, but calmly state your expectations:

I find these constant accusations from you to be unacceptable. Not one of your accusations against me has a shred of evidence behind them and they are a slur on my good character. I want them to stop.

Never make empty or unnecessary threats, so just leave your statement there initially, but have in mind what your next step would be if he persisted. Let's say you feel you could go to your landlord or some other authority. If he did persist or were to argue with your initial statement by saying something like "or else what?" then state what you are prepared to do, and immediately follow through with it. If Bob's behaviour stems from paranoia or delusion then a dose of consequences for his behaviour may bring him back into reality. Alternatively, if he has something against you and is looking to take similar action himself then this could show him that you actually do have grounds for complaint against him in contrast to his trumped-up complaints.

  • Thanks for the advice. When replying to accusations should I stop what I'm doing and make eye contact with him, or should I continue what I'm doing and sort of ignore him? I think most people try to wait to have a conversation when they see a person isn't busy but he doesn't seem to do this. – Haptometer Jan 21 at 23:58
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    @Haptometer If you want to let him know you are serious about what you are saying then yes, stop what you're doing and engage him properly. – Astralbee Jan 22 at 10:38
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I also answered your previous question (where Bob accused you of hacking his computer, based on the fact that he could see your printer on the network, which is absolutely normal). That answer was directed at someone with a technophobic neighbour, and would still be useful for someone with the same problem, but it seems it won't help you.

It seems that Bob either has some serious problem with paranoia, or he is intending to make you look bad to your other roommates.

In either case, there is nothing that you could say to Bob that would help. I recommend that whatever he says, you should stay calm (so you don't look bad in any way should someone be watching by chance), and just firmly reject any accusations. "You hacked my computer" - "No, I didn't hack your computer. I am not interested in your computer. I have better things to do with my life than hacking your computer". "You secretly entered my room" - "No, I didn't enter your room. I am not interested in your room. And if I wanted to enter your room, which I don't, I would be stupid to do when you're home". (Feel free to use a more firm or less firm answer). Just say things calmly, but firmly. You can only hope that the fact that he doesn't get an angry or agitated response out of you will show him that what he does is pointless, and that may stop him or slow him down.

Your other roommates are a totally different matter. If you hear that he is making any accusations about you to your roommates, that is something else. That's something you can't let happen without reacting. I'd talk to them, if needed, in a way that makes it clear that none of his accusations should be taken seriously. Say Dylan says "Bob told me that you secretly entered his room. You need to stop that." In that case, you say "Look Dylan, Bob comes out with all kinds of accusations about me all the time. So far I have, according to him, hacked his computer, entered his room, accused him of stealing from the money for household goods, and so on. That's all nonsense. I have no idea what is wrong with him, he just seems to be paranoid." What's between you and Bob is harmless, when he tries to influence your roommates, you can't let that go.

PS. I read your latest question as well. I'm confused now what's going on. It doesn't look like you are in a place where I would want to be. If I was in your position (in that place), I think I would look for a different place to live.

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