Welcome to My Life


In my This is how it's done post I provided you some examples of me at my most patient and clever.

Today I am going to share with you an example of me not so much at my best. I don't know why I have so much patience for the men I encounter... maybe it is because I hope to be a good representative for womankind and to not engender any more feelings of misogyny and antagonism between the sexes?

However, with this woman? I don't know. She didn't bring out the best in me. What I wrote is a lot tamer than what I wanted to write, that's for sure... so I'll give myself a little credit. But still, I don't think I lived up to my own standards. Do you?

If you know me or have read my bio on www.jenlourie.com, you know that for the last eight years I have been sharing my one bedroom apartment with Craigslist strangers to help me pay my mortgage.

This is my process:
  1. Post ad on Craig's List
  2. Respond to inquiries by telling people to friend me on Facebook so that they can see photos of my place but really so that I can do my "background" check on them. Do they have a lot of friends? Do their friends post nice things on their walls? Do they look like respectable humans in their photos?
  3. Interview
I have been doing this for eight years so I have it down to a science. I know what I am doing.

So, when this Potential Roommate (PR) contacted me and then proceeded to presume to know how to do my job better than I do, I don't know... I just wasn't really having it and couldn't let it go.

I thought you might be entertained by the conversation. It kind of reminded me of this guy I discovered years ago who would prank people with endless, ridiculous, and HILARIOUS email conversations. But mine wasn't a prank and yes, I know, I KNOW that I should have stopped responding WAY earlier than I did.

To save you time, I will summarize the first few messages:
  1. She wanted to pay me $1000 per month for my whole living room. I normally charge $525 for each spot (there are two). 
  2. I told her I currently have someone (roommate number 65) who I don't know how much longer is staying.
  3. I asked her to friend me on Facebook (as I always do).
  4. She told me she doesn't have Facebook.
Here is how the conversation ensued:


From: Me
To: PR

Hi PR. I am sorry but I don't rent to people who don't have Facebook. That is how I do my "background" check. When I have wavered from this policy, I have regretted it.



From: PR
To: Me

Jennifer,

I'm sorry to hear that. I've actually never heard of that kind of policy from any landlord. Certainly, there are other ways--and much more professional ones-- to do background checks. I myself am on LinkedIn, which is strictly for professional networking. I have no desire to be on Facebook. It's a shame, especially as we are both American University alumni.

Good luck to you.



From: Me
To: PR

Yes, I am sorry too but I have been doing this for a long time and LinkedIn doesn't give you a feel for someone's character. When I used that one time, I got stiffed on rent and the guy disappeared. Best of luck finding something!



From: PR
To: Me

Just my two cents, your emphasis on short-term renters actually exposes you to more risks. And I think the feel for a person's character--especially from Facebook-- is bs. LinkedIn is far more reputable, and I and many others have gotten jobs thanks to our professional profiles and recommendations. I've also been dealing with landlords and individuals who are satisfied with my excellent landlord and employment references, which is the usual way people evaluate prospective tenants.

I'm also thinking your place and arrangement wouldn't work for me It seems very odd you don't know how long the person currently in your living room is staying for. To be honest, that doesn't sound serious, considering how concerned you supposedly are about character issues.

Good luck.



(this is where I should have bit my tongue)

From: Me
To: PR

Your unsolicited advice and insults are unnecessary.

I know what I am doing, as I have been at this, successfully, for eight years.

I hope you find something way better than what I have to offer.

Best of luck.



From: PR
To: Me

I actually tried to help you out, and based on your earlier reply, you were happy with my advice about renting your living room out to just one person. Sorry if you took my advice about the risks you are running the wrong way. As for insults, you basically called into question by character because I'm not on Facebook. As a fellow American U alumni with excellent references, I think ruling out a person on that basis is very poor.

I am sad to have had a negative experience like this with another AU alumni. Until now, I've been fortunate to meet and help many like-minded AU alumni and current students, so this is disappointing.

Good luck.



From: Me
To: PR

I did not call your character into question, PR. I told you what my process is. You have been condescendingly insulting me and my process ever since. Also, you did not give me "advice" about renting out my living room to one person, you said that you would be interested in that. As I told you, this is not something most people who respond to my ad can afford and the people who can would not choose to spend that much money and have no privacy which is why I have not been able to implement that.

Through this conversation it is clear we are not a match anyway so we've probably saved ourselves a big headache.

Goodnight.



From: PR
To: Me

Yeah, your "process" and communications skills leave a lot to be desired. You absolutely did insult me, in fact going so far as to bring up how you were stiffed by someone, implying I would do the same! That was entirely uncalled for in this situation.

Not knowing how long a person currently staying in your apartment will remain when you say you are so concerned about tenants' character is just not serious and comes off as being highly disingenuous.

I am used to dealing with more professional, serious, respectful, and polite people, so most definitely after this experience, I am sure it wouldn't work. Again, as a fellow AU alum, it's disappointing. Good luck to you all the same



(By this time it was really late and I had had enough)

From: Me
To: PR

My final clarification is that I am renting out my place because I need help paying my mortgage but it also gives me the opportunity to help people who need a safe, comfortable place to stay. This includes cheap rent and flexibility around lengths of stay. The reason I don't know how long the girl is staying with me is not because I am unprofessional, it is because I am flexible and kind. I require a three weeks move out notice so people can live with me as a stepping stone to find something more settled.

Me saying that I was stiffed on rent had nothing to do with you personally, I was again explaining the reason for my process.

You have been very unkind to me with you presumptions and projections and insults.

Also, it is irrelevant to me where a renter went to school. It just matters to me if they are respectful and nice.

Please do not respond to me again.



From: PR
To: Me

Regarding kindness and flexibility, you were unnecessarily unkind to me and showed extreme inflexibility. It is not respectful or nice to abruptly dismiss someone---in this case, a fellow graduate from American University (which does matter)--simply because they are not on Facebook. It would have been kinder, not to mention smarter, to.ask for and verify references. I am no longer interested in renting from you, but telling someone you don't rent to people who aren't on Facebook is discriminatory. I have never encountered such bs from any landlord previously.

No need to keep trying to justify what there is no justification for. Please treat people more respectfully and fairly in the future.



From: ME
To: PR

I am sorry my standard operating procedures do not work for you and you find them discriminatory and unkind. This is what works for me and it is my home that I am sharing and opening to strangers. I am the one putting myself and my possessions at risk and I am going to do it in a way that works for me and is successful for me and makes me feel comfortable.

I hope you can understand. As I said previously, I hope you find something way better than what I have to offer.



The lesson here? Don't project onto people. Don't assume people are slighting you when they are not. Don't presume to tell a stranger how to do their job when you have never done their job. Don't give unsolicited advice. And finally, NEVER, EVER rent out your living room to someone who doesn't have Facebook.

What would you have done if you were me? Tell me in the comments!



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Comments

  1. She seems to be obsessed with AU, and being an AU alum.

    You discriminating landlord, you! Trump must have finally gotten to you too ;)
    Bad girl!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha - thanks! You made me laugh out loud!

      Delete
  2. I'm going to play Devil's Advocate, because that's what I do:

    It may have been best to have shown PR a little more empathy.

    1. She OBVIOUSLY spent time searching for a potential new place to live as much as you spent/spend searching for potential new roommates. She was at a peak of excitement when you abruptly squashed her hope. Anyone would have become slightly defensive at being suddenly REJECTED after believing she was ACCEPTED. (You know what that's like; I know you do.)

    2. To reject her based on the fact she DOESN'T have Facebook would have been more accepted by her if you had been more clear as to WHY Facebook is more reliable than other social media accounts, including LinkedIN. Clarification of your policy is YOUR responsibility. Consider writing up a nice script in the future to include something like:

    I know you must have spent a lot of time researching your next "dream" domicile. Unfortunately, my current screening process andapplication policy, based on over X years of renting out my living room, prohibits me from considering any candidate who does not have a Facebook account. This is not a reflection of you personally. I certainly am not passing any negative judgment onto you for not having a Facebook account. And I'm more than happy to explain further as to why this is part of my policy. However, with full disclosure and respect to your time, I can not move forward with the interview and screening process. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and hope you understand.

    Sincerely,
    JLo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are calling me JLo, we know each other. I need to know who you are, Anonymous. Thanks for you not obnoxious feedback. Though really - researching? Dream domicile? Come on. This is Craigslist and people are contacting me to sleep in a living room that they have to share with another stranger. Hardly anyone's dream situation.

      Delete
    2. Yes. "Dream domicile". Dreams are relative and not necessarily about luxury but more often based in comfort, simplicity, and current resources available. Your living room has been a safe "dream come true" opportunity for many of your tenants who are now your friends.

      And don't knock Craig's list because when you do that, you VERY directly devalue yourself and every person who has ever shared your home with you.

      Don't you want smart, passionate and resourceful people in your living room. Or do you just want tenants who fall in line and comply without offering you constructive feedback on your process?

      If you know everything, there's no need to listen to others tell you how to do your job. But for me, personally, even with my extensive education and experience, the ONLY thing I KNOW for certain is that I DON'T know everything....especially about myself and how I can be a better person.

      I think it's fair to say neither of you AU ladies demonstrated compassion and understanding for the other in this exchange. However, I think you both walked away agitated. Agitation is a sign that there's a lesson to be learned. It's up to you to do the necessary inquiry into what you could shift or uprove about your early interactions with potential roommates in the future.

      To close, I think you've guessed who I am. And know I admire your positive, happy-go-lucky attitude. I also admire your tenacity and desire to learn and grow from situations that don't always SEEM pleasant and beautiful on the outside.

      :)

      Delete
    3. I don't think that I knocked Craigslist did I? I am so grateful to Craigslist. I think the only lesson I had to learn from this woman was how NOT to act. But I already knew that... And no, I am not in need of advice on how to go about my interview process. I have got that down pat. :)

      Delete
  3. 1. That lady was flat out rude and you owned her nothing tbh. In my opinion, you displayed way more patience than necessary when she didn't deserve it, so kudos to you!!!

    2. There can be a total detachment of who a person is in their work enviroment and how they project themselves in their personal lives, hence a 'work persona'. Comparing LinkedIn and Facebook is like stating oranges and grapefruits are the same. Are they both social media platforms? Yes. However, generally speaking, unless the other person is trying to grow their professional network, they're gonna ask for Facebook, Instagram, or a platform of that nature.

    3. As a former roommate, I'm a little biased lol. That being said, I felt like that person was more concerned with proving themselves to be 'correct' than actually being interested in the place. And you handled the situation with grace and some (much needed) sass, but I think that it was warrented . She missed out on meeting a kind, fun, and generous person smh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow Keke!! What a lovely comment and analysis! Thank you so much! Also, super psyched to know you are reading my blog! You made me smile, big!

      Delete

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