I am a male living in the U.S. with a female and another male. We all get along just fine, but as time has passed she has made me more and more uncomfortable; she shows signs of romantic interest in me and asking questions that I feel is stalker-ish and intrusive. Recently, she has started hanging her skimpy bathing suit in the hallway, which I have to walk past to get anywhere in the apartment.

I want to directly address the issue of her leaving the bathing suit hanging out in the hallway (she has the biggest bedroom of us all and has a huge closet inside, there's clearly no need for her to hang it outside of her room, other than for seeking attention, I feel), but I am not sure how to do this without being accusatory and mean.

But, she seems to be trying everything possible to get my attention and I am trying everything in my power to maintain a somewhat private life while implying to her that I am not at all interested in her. But, she has not gotten the point yet, and I would hate for having to be explicit and spell those words out for her; I like where I live and I am guessing she does too, so it would be unfortunate for us to leave a living situation that overall works for the both of us.

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    Do you just want the bathing suit gone from the hallway? Or do you want to address the other parts of her behavior at the same time? Since your title suggests you want to do more than just have the bathing suit gone..
    – Tinkeringbell
    Dec 4 '17 at 15:46
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    @AndreiROM Answers go in the answers section below. Please don't put answers in comments.
    – Catija
    Dec 4 '17 at 15:50
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    Have you spoken to your other male room-mate. Does she act this way to him as well (now or in the past)? How does he deal with all the skimpies being aired in the common areas?
    – user1722
    Dec 4 '17 at 16:18
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    Are you really interested in some clothing hanging about, or are you really interested in her stopping the behavior?
    – user1856
    Dec 4 '17 at 16:47
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    Is there a pattern of behavior? If so, could you provide some details other than the bikini?
    – user4548
    Dec 4 '17 at 19:06

You perceive her as trying to ignite a romance, which may or may not be true, however what cannot be denied is that her behavior is making you uncomfortable. This most certainly needs to be addressed.

What it really comes down to is setting boundaries. Let's use the swimsuit incident as a concrete example. Having it hang there - no matter the reason - is making you uncomfortable, and there's no real reason why she should be leaving it there. Regardless of what her motivation is, the subject can be broached in the following way:

"Hey roomie, I noticed you put some of your stuff out to air on the hallway. I don't mean to be rude, but that's a shared space, and I would greatly appreciate it if you used your own room to dry out clothing. I'll be sure to do the same. Thanks!"

This way you're neither being rude, nor making any accusations that may later come back to haunt you.

You can similarly rebuke inappropriate inquiries into your life:

I don't mean to be rude, but that situation/information is kind of private, and I'd rather not share.

Reinforce that boundary, over and over again, and eventually she'll get the point. This advice can work with intrusive coworkers, neighbors, or any other sort of nosy people.

  • @IamNotListening the idea is probably to replace "roomie" with the name of the roomie, which we don't know ;)
    – Erik
    Dec 4 '17 at 16:17
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    Your second suggestion would be stronger without the preamble. Sentences that starts with "I don't mean to be rude, but" invariably come across as rude, and there's no need to further hedge the very reasonable statement.
    – 1006a
    Dec 4 '17 at 16:58
  • @1006a - that's my style. Whomever is taking my advice can tailor that statement to match their own situation.
    – AndreiROM
    Dec 4 '17 at 16:58

There are two possible and mutually exclusive situations:

  • it is true that she is romantically interested in you;

  • it is not true that she is romantically interested in you;

In your situation, which one of the above is the actual case does not actually matters.

If I understand well your question, you are asking two things:

  1. how to stop her from leaving things (regardless they are swimsuits, etc.) around

  2. letting her know that you do not return that romantic interest, if any.

So, one answer at a time.

About question 1, I'd go with:

Look, I've been seeing your things/stuff/swimsuits left around the house: I was wondering whether there's any problem with your wardrobe/room, maybe it's just temporarily packed/encumbered/overloaded? Not my intention to make a big problem out of this [smile and try to assume a cozy voice], it's just that, in my opinion, the whole house would look like a mess if it gets any worse.

This is passive, not-aggressive. Also make sure you tell this to her when you are not in front of the other room-mate.

About question 2, well, you said:

I like where I live and I am guessing she does too, so it would be unfortunate for us to leave a living situation that overall works for the both of us.

Now, look at what my one-on-one (no other people present) conversation with her would be:

Hey, sorry to bring this up, I would like to tell you something: while I might be wrong - in which case I'd like to apologize - I noticed some behaviour from you that made me suspect that you might have a thing for me. If that is the case, well, I'm afraid to say that it wouldn't work. Also, I thought that the earlier I told you, the better. That said, please don't get me wrong, I do consider you as a very nice person to live with.

(well, that's the line a girl gave me in the past)

This is a very-neutral, polite, respectful and non-dangerous answer because:

  • if there's no romantic interest from her, this answer will just be taken as a clarification, so there's no actual reason for her or you to need to leave;

  • if she's actually romantically interested in you, she might be on the edge of leaving regardless what you say or don't say, due to the frustration of not seeing her interest returned, it will all depend solely on the strength of her feelings.

I hope this help, I wish all the best to both of you. :)


I agree with previous answer that attention seekers will eventually cease their efforts if they do not get any attention from you. However the possible romantic motivation changes this somewhat. If she is trying to get your interest rather than your attention she may not stop until you address that.

Because you don't want to upset the living arrangement you should choose your words carefully, but a direct approach is the only way. Rather than address what you assume is her motivation, just address the individual incidents (such as the bathing suit in the hallway) and use them as opportunities to stress your platonic feelings towards her.

For example:

Can I ask you not to hang your bathing suit in the hallway? You can hang that in your room. I don't particularly want to see your bathing suit, but what if I brought a girlfriend round - what would she think?

Address any other behaviour as it arises and treat them as unrelated incidents. If she actually does go on to declare romantic feelings for you then you can address that. A simple "sorry, but I don't see you like that" should suffice.

Hope this helps!

  • Maybe this is a cultural thing but what do you mean with "what would she think"? I quite don't understand what you are saying here. Do you mean that girlfriends are mostly very clean and tidy and would think OP lives in a dirty place because thinfs are lying where they not should, or what?
    – guest
    Sep 2 '20 at 7:22

How to deal with an attention-seeking female roommate?

You appear to be making a lot of assumptions in your original post that can't really be considered as fact. For example, what you determine to be 'stalker-ish' questions; may very well be her trying to get to know the person she lives with.

Bear in mind that if you are co-habituating with other people, there's usually a level of acquaintance required to make all parties feel comfortable and safe in their shared home.

That being said, it obviously makes you feel uncomfortable. With that in mind first you need to determine the reasons behind some of her actions, by simply asking her directly.

Her leaving the bathing suit hanging out in the hallway

You cannot assume that this is purely for your benefit, the fact is that there may be numerous reasons why she chose to leave her bathing suit outside of the room she sleeps in. Without asking her the reason you will never know. That said as this makes you uncomfortable then perhaps simply ask her the reasons during a conversation.

Such as:

Hey [her name], I just wanted to check if everything was alright, I noticed you'd left your bathing suit outside in the hallway, are you struggling with room, or drying clothes off?

As to your desire to maintain a private life, the simplest way is just to be honest and direct about it.

Hey [her name], I appreciate that we've been talking a lot lately, and getting to know the people you live with is important, but I really enjoy my own personal space, I've always been a bit of a loner. So don't take it personally if sometimes I like to avoid conversations and do my own thing.

There's no perfect way to say this, so being honest and not making up excuses is the most practical approach in my opinion.

  • Don't really know what the down vote was for, as it went on 20 seconds after I posted this answer... Some quick readers out there. Dec 4 '17 at 16:21
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    LOL Same happened to me, so I just deleted mine.
    – user1856
    Dec 4 '17 at 16:22
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    @iamnotlistening - I was also randomly downvoted within seconds of posting. Very strange
    – AndreiROM
    Dec 4 '17 at 16:33
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    @AndreiROM me too....my answer obviously wasn't well suited so its gone.
    – user1856
    Dec 4 '17 at 16:49
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    @iamnotlistening - I wouldn't necessarily say that. Consider that a single up-vote is worth 5 down-votes as far as rep points are concerned. Don't be discouraged by such initial reactions. After all, you may be bringing a much needed counterpoint to whatever the other answers are offering.
    – AndreiROM
    Dec 4 '17 at 16:57

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