For revoking an open invitation to stay?(1000 Posts)
I write half hoping to cop a bashing so I am more motivated to do the right thing.
A dear and wonderful friend moved to another town for a work opportunity about 2 years ago. When she moved I gave her a key and told her she was welcome to use our spare bedroom whenever she wanted to come back.
Since then she’s been staying for 1-3 nights at a time about once a month. She’ll usually be back for one specific thing like a medical appointment or an engagement party but have no other plans. She keeps personal belongings in the spare room and stores larger items in our shed so our place serves as her hometown base.
She’s not loud or messy or ungrateful. But- she is underfoot. She is a homebody and mostly stays in, pottering about our living room/kitchen with cups of tea. She tends to come along if we go for brunch, to the park, walking with the children etc. Which is lovely but it eats into family time.
There is all the usual houseguest stuff- more laundry, more pressure to tidy up, an extra clean of the bathroom, the need to make polite chit chat first thing in the morning when I just want to stagger wordlessly towards the kettle. But for a few nights it’s no big problem.
She’s just texted to check that she can stay for 16-20 days straight while she does a professional course next week.
And I reeeeally don’t want to host her for that long.
My reasons (mostly selfish):
- she’s recently stopped taking anxiety medication and the last time she stayed she spent each evening talking repetitively at length about very small problems that were obviously swirling around in her head. I spent a lot of time listening and being reassuring and supportive. But it was draining. It also took a lot of time away from the other things I normally get done in the evenings (life admin, laundry, catching up on work emails etc). I also find that stress in other people rubs off on me and I felt stressed for days after she left.
- I’m 8 months pregnant and I. Am. Tired. I am sore. I don’t want more housework, more emotional labour, one more person to think about. When the children are asleep I want to plough through my To-Do list if I have any energy or switch off completely if I don’t.
- We have easily excited toddlers and having an extra person in the house makes it that much harder to get them to focus and eat dinner, go to bed, stay in bed, all the usual toddler wrangling challenges.
- DH and I are currently in marriage counselling and so valuing our privacy more than usual. Being alone once the children go to sleep gives us space to talk things through if we need to, but otherwise enjoy some downtime together. The next few weeks feel really important for this given we’re about to be back on the newborn/sleep deprivation train soon.
- Our house has just the one living space which is open plan with the kitchen. A toddler sleeps in our bedroom. There’s nowhere to escape to.
My friend is a lovely kind person who would be there for me if I ever needed her. She hasn’t done anything wrong. When she moved I told her she would be welcome so suddenly saying no feels unfair. She knows we have the empty bedroom, so there’s no reason not to have her apart from simply not wanting to.
But I am running on empty and it feels (irrationally) like this one quiet houseguest will break me.
AIBU to say no this time? If not, how can I do it in a way that doesn’t hurt her feelings?
If I am BU, then please give me tips on managing houseguests with minimal effort.
Just tell her that while you love her company, you're going to need more space moving forward for the baby and you hope she understands you need your key back, but if she ever needs the odd night you'll do your best to help
How lovely of her to check and not assume. Thank her for her consideration and explain that given your late stage of pregnancy it would not work for you and in fact she should work on the assumption you won’t want her to stay while you have a newborn either. Tell her you will let her know when you feel up to it, perhaps when the baby is six months old. And thank her again.
Just be honest with her! Say you need more time on your own /just with dh, especially with the baby coming. I think you're over thinking this a bit, if she's a good friend she'll understand.
Any one of your reasons is good enough. You don't actually need any justification other that 'I don’t want to'.
If your toddler is in with you owing to lack of space, you don't have a spare room to offer - it's the child's room!
Say no and use the conversation as an opportunity to put a halt to providing accommodation at all. If you feel you must justify this, I'd go with pregnancy and a new baby changing things.
I'd tell her about your marriage counselling plus how exhausted you are with the toddlers and being pregnant. Be straight--you aren't placed to have her visit so much.
She's taking advantage of you.
So a toddler sleeps in your room whilst the spare room sits empty waiting for her? OP you sound lovely but this is bonkers! 16-20 days takes you very close to full term surely? Who knows when baby will arrive. I think now is the time to explain gently that with another child on the way you will have to put a stop to this arrangement.
You sound so lovely. Don’t feel bad. Be honest and tell her how exhausted you are and overwhelmed you are right now and she sounds lovely too so I’m sure she will understand. You’re not being unreasonable
What are your plans going forward for the room she uses, is it always going to be a spare room?
In answer to your question YANBU at all! Please be honest with her.
Anyone with half an ounce of sense would see that staying in someone's house when they have small children, a baby on the way and a marriage which needs attention, is not a kind idea .
It is not worth the stress on you. Please tell her now and with kindness that it won't be possible. Then hopefully you can relax about it.
I actually don't think you are being unreasonable, you have a lot going on at the moment. I think the kindest way would be to tell her about your marriage counselling (if you feel comfortable with that)and needing time together as a couple as the reason. A good friend would understand.
I also think it's very acceptable not to have guests when you have a newborn, another reason. In your friends position that wouldn't upset me.
I think any of those reasons are totally valid on their own, but the clincher for me is the marriage counselling. You have a toddler and another baby on the way. Saving your marriage is THE most important thing at the moment. I am sure she will respect that. If not I would question the friendship.
You could just say in preparation for the new baby being in with you the toddler is now in the spare room so there isn’t space anymore.
Agree just be honest with her. Explain the kids wont stay in their routine with a fun "auntie" around. That you enjoy her company but at this time in your life it doesn't suit. Yanbu. Do it sooner rather than later. So she knows where she stands and can make other plans. You are 8 months pregnant she wont (shouldnt) expect u to host for so long.
When she moved I gave her a key and told her she was welcome to use our spare bedroom whenever she wanted to come back.
Oh dear. You sound lovely, OP but in the nicest way possible, what were you expecting when you made this offer? Were you thinking 'this seems like a nice thing to say but I doubt she'll actually take us up on it very often' or did you genuinely not mind your DF treating your place like her second home? It sounds like being given a key has sent her the message that she's part of the family and so doesn't see herself as a guest as such.
I think you need to have a proper conversation about it because if you just make an excuse and put her off this time the problem will come up again. There will be other work courses or events, other weekends when you want to spend time with DH/your DC and she'll end up tagging along. Can you just be honest and explain that while you love her dearly, you need more time with your DH and DC and that with finding the pregnancy tough and then the arrival of a new baby you're not going to be in a position to host her for a while. If the spare room (which seems to have informally become hers if she's keeping personal belongings in it) is going to become a nursery or the toddler will be moving in there at some point then that needs to be addressed with her as well. She can't reasonably expect to retain a bedroom in your home when you're having to share with DC.
How does your DH feel about the current arrangement? I'm very fond of DH's friends but if he told me he was planning to give one of them a key to our house and tell them they coul just pitch up whenever they felt like it I'd tell him to get a grip!
Thanks all. I feel bad because it sounds like she's already enrolled in the course and I don't know where else she could stay. I'd be leaving her in the lurch. We have a mutual friend that she stayed with (during a gastro outbreak at our house!) but she was on a couch in the living room.
Toddler still sleeps with us because the spare bedrooms are up a staircase and too far from the main bedroom. We'll all move upstairs eventually but I'm due to have a C-section so want to recover from that before I have to tackle the stairs too often.
It's an awkward house. Lots of tiny bedrooms but not much practical space. I really need Kirsty Allsop to come through with her sledgehammer!
she knows its a bit of a liberty hence her text to see if ok, its perfectly acceptable and reasonable to reply and say i'm sorry no its not ok, aside from fact i'm sure work should be paying for accommodation so really she's just suggesting yours as it suits her better, but this is not your problem, suggest meeting for dinner one night. and that's before taking into consideration issues you have raised, a guest for 2-3 days is one thing , not almost 3 weeks. its too disruptive on a whole household. you don't have to get into excuses.
“I normally love seeing you but honestly I feel like it would break the camels back at the moment and I’d hate to lose you as a friend. I’m almost due, very hormonal, not sleeping....I just don’t have it on me I’m sorry”
I feel bad because it sounds like she's already enrolled in the course and I don't know where else she could stay.
It was inconsiderate of her to enroll on the course without checking with you first though, especially as she knows you're about to have a baby! She can book a hotel or commute for a couple of weeks which is presumably what she'd have to do if the course was in any other town.
She's your friend. Just tell her what you've said here. She will understand.
If she tries to guilt you or argue then she isn't really your friend. You stand firm and say no.
Say it’s not convenient; you aren’t really going to want her there when your baby is tiny either so start as you mean to go on.
I think it was very generous of you but she’s taking advantage a bit
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