When does one cross over from being persistent to being annoying?

Here’s the story:

One of my college roommates lives in my area. I really haven’t had any contact with her since May of 2002. During the spring and summer of that year, I got an internship in Minneapolis and left my roommates back in Madison. I never got someone to sublet, so I continued to pay my third of the rent even when I didn’t live there. I offered to pay a third of the utilities, but my roommates told me I didn’t need to.

They both graduated in May of that year. Our lease ended in August and I didn’t come down to help cleanup and get my stuff (I sent my parents to get my stuff, and as for not cleaning, well I was there when we moved in and did a lot of initial cleaning, our third roommate didn’t come until a few weeks later). They went on to different cities and I had a year left.

I’m back in Minneapolis after graduating. I knew that this particular roommate (let’s call her Susan) grew up in the suburbs. I had lived with her for 2 years and we went out to parties and bars a lot together and had good times. I still don’t know many new people, so I thought I’d try to get in touch.

I sent a letter to her in care of her parents in April. Shortly afterwards, one of my coworkers recognized a picture of a painting I had in my cubicle (she’s an art major) and revealed that he had seen her work displayed recently. He had her business card and I borrowed it.

I initially only wrote down her email address and sent her an email. I didn’t hear from her in a while, but in the past she hadn’t always been the type to instantly answer an email. I asked this coworker for the business card again, but he couldn’t find it.

In maybe late July he did locate it and I got her phone number. I called and got voicemail and left a bit of a rambling voicemail. I didn’t hear back from her. Last week I called again and left another voicemail. Still haven’t heard from her.

She was really cool and I thought we got along great, so part of me definitely wants to try to renew our friendship. But on the other hand, I worry that she’s sending me a not-so-subtle message that she wants nothing to do with me (I have a high sensitivity to the feeling of being ditched, so that may be contributing to my anxiety). Should I continue to call her, or do I start looking pathetic? Leave voicemails or just call until I can get her live? I know she has an art show in the fall–should I show up and try to strike up a conversation in person? Or would that make me look like a stalker?

I don’t know if it’s just that she’s been busy or is lazy about getting back to me (I don’t fret when it’s other people that are like this) or if I somehow pissed her off by leaving her and my other roommate rather suddenly to pursue a job.

So, any suggestions?

Not to be mean, but you attempted contact 4 times with no response. I’d say drop it.

For all intents and purposes, I could be your college roommate. (In fact, I was in this same scenario, but I was the one doing the ignoring.) For some reason, I can only juggle so many people in my life. Once I leave a particular environment (job, college, former town, etc.) I usually don’t want to keep up the relationships I had while I was there.

Of course, I’m also very introverted and only have a handful of people I consider close friends. The rest - including my college roommate - in my heart of hearts I judged as passing aquaintances.

Don’t let it bring you down, though. You sound like a nice enough person, and there are a million and one reasons why your old roommate can’t or won’t contact you back. Or, there’s always the possibility that her life is really hectic right now, and she’ll end up getting in touch with you in a few months.

It sounds to me like she’s not interested in getting in touch with you, if she didn’t respond to either your email or your voicemail. Don’t assume it’s because she’s mad about something like the cleaning of the apartment – some people just don’t reconnect with others once they lose touch with them. Don’t take it personally.

Just wanted to say, my mind interpreted the thread title as follows:

When does one cross over from being president to being annoying?

Oh, about one year and nine months for the current one…

And, since I wasted the electrons to say that, I will offer my advice… such as it is.

Two seems the absolute limit as far as unanswered voice mails go. Any more, and I would say you have crossed that line.

Showing up in person might give you a better idea as to what her current situation is. Maybe she is too busy for much socializing, or whatever. I don’t think it would be crossing the line unless you constantly cling to her the whole time. Nothing wrong with checking up on an old acquaintance.