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houseguest issues...again...

(45 Posts)
daydreambeliever Tue 18-Sep-07 16:07:29

Anyone who saw my recent post on some insenstive we go again... I think.

My houseguests have just departed. I am so happy. But I feel a lot of guilt. How much of what went wrong was my fault??!!!

So 2 Canadians, a married late 40's couple, are taking a month long european vacation. We are buddies with them since we lived in their home town for a few months 2 years ago. Since then we have had a baby- now 3 months. They told us ages ago they were coming to visit. We have a very small second bedroom, full of baby stuff. We put up a camp bed next to the single bed and cotbed (our baby is still in our room)- this eliminated all the floor space. I thought they would take one look and say "Oh, you should have said you had a tiny house, we'll book into a b+b". They didnt. I felt edgy about having them round thehouse all day- I am bfing little one, she is a very easy baby, but I like my space and routines. I hoped they would go into the city and sightsee in the days, but they didnt. They got up late, hung around the house, took little walks. We all spent the first day together, after that, I exccused myself from their little afternoon expeditions each day,saying that I had stuff to do. We all went away together at the weekend. That was great. Then they had 2 more friends arrivingyesterday. Unfortunately I know their 2 freinds a little and find them hard to get on with. DH and I felt we were being put under pressure to pick up the 2 new guests and enetertain them, altho they were staying in a b+b. We told them to get a taxi from the aiport. I ended up cooking diiner for the lot of them last night. One of our houseguests had said something vague along the lines of "We'll all get fish and chips" - but he didnt exectly specify who would pay, and the chippers here are pricey so I cooked. So, anyway it turned out to be a tense meal, the newcomers compounded my dislike of them by basically not being at all interested in us, not making any effort to reciprocate our small talk type questions, and made us feel like intruders at our own table. I buggered off and fed my baby for ages and left them to it, and DH kicked themn out at ten, saying he was tired. Our guests then stayed out late- they were still not in at midnight. Today the atmosphere was strained- clearly the dinner was a flop. I feel responsible for creating a forced get together- but I figured they'd end up round our house anyway, and no -one else offered to cook, hence I just bit the bullet (begrudgingly) and said, right, I'll cook for us all. Our guests cooked dinner for one night over the week. They did buy all the booze every night- but am bfing so dont drink much.

They were all due to leave today, but on Sunday our houseguests put the fear of god into us by saying, "Oh, we might stay another night after the others arrive". We have been wimps about it, in total denial, didnt even want to ask them when they might leave. Today my FIL took matters into his own hands and arranged them a rentalcar so they can all go away. They are coming back in 2 weeks!!!! They informed me they will stay overnight, and would like to take us out to dinner then. I feel this gesture is a little late now!!!! I feel resentful, they breached all the fussy guest etiquette thngs that I always observe. No gifts, no taking us out for lunch or dinner, not stripped their beds, not clear on departure dates, not out of the house enough for my liking. On the plus side, they are laidback and fun, and lovely with my baby. I think they found it odd, even hurtful, that I didnt want to hang out every day with them. But I go crazy if I am with people day after day. And I want time with my baby, lots of time. And I have secret dodgy hobbies, like writing music on the piano, that I cant do in front of them, that I like to get a bit of time with , just half an hour or so each day.

Fully fledged disaster of a visit. Am I antisocial to want to not spend all my time hanging out with them on their visit? To be honest, when really good friends have visited, I want to be with them all the time, and we do stuff together all day. Maybe to them we are very close friends, but to me, they are not such close freinds. Actually, I saw them as a nuisance from day one. Could they have picked up on that and be hurt by it?

Oh dear. Any thoughts?

Oh, and one of them was very ill lately. So they were looking forward to this visit for a long time.

Earlybird Tue 18-Sep-07 16:12:27

Sounds very strained. How long, in total did they stay at yours? And you say they're coming back - for how long?

Anna8888 Tue 18-Sep-07 16:13:47

I'm afraid I don't really understand why you invited people you barely know to stay for so long when your accommodation is quite small... smile. How did it come about?

daydreambeliever Tue 18-Sep-07 16:14:05

They stayed 8 nights, and they want to stay again for one night before they fly out. Very strained. DH is aware of the strain, but he is out of the house all day at work, so escapes it all.

Carmenere Tue 18-Sep-07 16:19:35

8 nights is far too long, the rule of thumb is that house guests are like fish, they go off after three days.
If they had stayed for just 3 days you would not be having this problem.

DaisyMOO Tue 18-Sep-07 16:19:39

Did you invite them or did they just ask if they could stay?

daydreambeliever Tue 18-Sep-07 16:20:24

No Anna, its not that we barely know them, they are good friends from when we lived in their town, but I guess what I mean is, I wouldnt class them up there with my best friends, whose visits I live for! They would be little further down the list....DH may feel differently....And the visit came about cos they said ages ago, Oh, we're coming to England, we'll come and visit you. So we didnt really get a chance to say yay or nay. I have been bitching to DH for months, saying that it will be difficult putting them up in our spare room, and couldnt we ask them to stay in a b+b, which even my own parents did on a recent visit. But DH thought that would insult them, that it was one thing for then to suggest a b+b, but quite another for us to suggest it. And we both said, 'oh, canadians have no idea how small houses in Europe are, as soon as they see it they'll book into a b+b'. But they didnt.

I find it very hard to assert myself over stuff like this, I would worry that putting out some basic ground rules would seem cold and unfriendly.

lucyellensmum Tue 18-Sep-07 16:25:58

my god, you must have the patience of a saint, i can't abide people in my house, i have some friends who visit occasionally, but after two hours im itching for them to leave, i love my friends, i just cant do the whole hostess thing. I couldnt have house guests, i just couldnt, i fear i may explode

fireflyfairy2 Tue 18-Sep-07 16:32:17

Does your FIL know them too? Are they family?

I would be overly pleasant to them when you next see them & then don't ask them to visit again

I had a friend here for a week once... never, ever ever again!

daydreambeliever Tue 18-Sep-07 16:35:09

FFF2, no FIL doesnt know them, but he's met them here over the course of their visit- he lives nearby. And then he saw them in the pub last night and they were talking about a rental car. I think he must have realized we were drowning in a plague of guests, so arranged the car to move them along.....

Twiglett Tue 18-Sep-07 16:39:42

3 days is maximum for a house guest

you haven't done anything wrong or abnormal getting stressed about this .. its out of order, they were out of order

but still .. one more night and they're gone

steel yourself for this one night, arrange a babysitter, go out and have fun, pointedly allow them to pay then wave merrily adieu and remember next time say 'sorry the house is too small, here's a good B&B'

maisemor Tue 18-Sep-07 16:45:18

So you have never actually stayed in their house?

daydreambeliever Tue 18-Sep-07 16:48:08

No, we have never stayed in their house. Although we've been there for diner etc.

daydreambeliever Tue 18-Sep-07 16:48:26

I mean dinner.

happystory Tue 18-Sep-07 16:49:24

I know just how you feel. We had guests descend on us a couple of times of year with 2 very lively kids and although it sounds as if we had a bit more room, I did get RATHER resentful. I think a couple of nights, especially if it's the weekend, is do-able but other than that, it's a right old pain however good the friends.

With us, first off, dh works long hours and is pretty uncommunicative in the evenings, with guests you feel like you should be social, cook a proper meal, having wine even if you wouldn't normally. Hard to sustain over a week or more

I was torn between resenting them being around all the time and resenting them being on holiday whilst we were emptying dishwashers, walking the dog, my kids doing homework etc.

TBH I think it can spoil friendships and if I was in another country I would only stay 2 nights at the most- and am sure I would fall over myself with bottles of wine, tidying up etc.

You sound like a very good uncomplaining host and I'm sure they appreciated you.

edam Tue 18-Sep-07 16:53:09

I sympathise, one night of guests is enough for me! Much as I love my family and friends, I start getting stressed after a while as I like my space. Until I have a house with a West Wing or something I keep visits short.

maisemor Tue 18-Sep-07 16:53:25

Then they are being very weird (your house guests). They should not want to stay in your house for that long, and only go out for one walk a day. That is just plain rude and too weird.

Is your house in some kind of fancy travel guide that I have missed?
Are you telling me they travelled all that way just to sit and watch your living room and spare bed room. You must have a brilliant house, or you and your husband are drop dead gorgeous and they are dying to swap wink.

Twiglett Tue 18-Sep-07 16:56:22

to put it in perspective DH's best mate (before we were married) moved into the spare room in my flat for 8 weeks, and then brought his new squeeze back

DH's sister moved into our dining room in our brand new house when our first child was 6 months old and I had to ask him to ask her to leave after 6 weeks because I wanted a dining table

Ripeberry Tue 18-Sep-07 17:18:09

If i was you, when they are away, decorate the spare bedroom (unless you already have) and leave it all looking messy.
Or just move the baby into the spare bedroom and say there is no more space.
Its a bit of a cheek, staying for 8days then expecting to be put up again a few weeks later.
They are just being cheapskates and relying on your good nature.
Grief! you've got a young baby to look after, let alone any houseguests!
Tell them to find a B&B and that should not stop them being able to take you out!.
And if they get shirty about it, then they can't be friends after all.

daydreambeliever Tue 18-Sep-07 17:33:16

Heehee maisemor that made me laugh. I have been starting to wonder if this is all some great Canadian tradition, spending all your annual leave in someelse's sitting room surfing the net and watching TV. We had another similar Canadian houseguest, one sprung from the same group, who wound us up nearly as much. Ironically I was only last week bitching to my current houseguest about that other one,reminiscing about how she'd suddenly announced she would stay another 2 days, and sat around the house like a teenager. How little I knew. Current houseguest even sympathised. Has she no insight? Or did I actually give her ideas?

And Ripeberry, you are right, they are being cheapskates. Stuff like that is starting to really piss me off. DH and I seem to be forever picking up the tab for people who are oh so broke, then they go and buy a house outright and quit their jobs to travel the world. We are being mugs. DH hates to not be generous. We pay the tab for bloody everyone which is why we never go out for dinner anymore and are drowning in a sea of washing up. It has become a big deal between us, shall we go to a restauarant, how will we deal with the bill, lets practise, no, you dont get up and sneak off and pay for everyone, lets practise again. He seems to feel that when people visit us its our obligation to pay if we go out. And then if we visit people obviously then its our obligation there. And we dont often visit people anyway, they visit us cos its a tourist hotspot. But the shoe is always on our foot when it comes to restaurant bills.

Sorry, have descended into long tirade. I will have a bowl of rice krispies to staunch the bitterness.

chocolatedot Tue 18-Sep-07 17:57:56

I am gald to hear this. I have had a summer of endless people to stay and I am wondering whether I am just cut out for it. First up was DH's sister, husband and 3 kids who stayed 3 weeks in total. I just got so exhausted cooking and shopping for 10 (there are 5 of us) and tifying up endlessly etc. Then my mother stayed for a month which was not much better.

I absolutely love having good freinds to stay for 2 -3 days but any longer and I just go mad. I need my space, privacy and my routines. I am always left feeling bad that I haven't enjoyed it more but I find it impossible.

rosmerta Tue 18-Sep-07 18:03:05

DDB, I know what you mean about always seeming to be picking up the tab for people. When we go out with other people now (very rarely!) and get the bill, we just say "Right, that's however much each" and don't give them a chance basically! It might sound mean and tight but you do end up resentful otherwise and not wanting to go out.


daydreambeliever Tue 18-Sep-07 18:23:03

That is the best way to do it, Rosmerta. But when DH has had few drinks he thinks he's Bill Gates. So even when we've discussed it before, he will bolt for the bill when it comes. So I end up cooking for people all the time, despite being a shit and slightly nervous cook. Or DH does it, with such flair that it is a popular myth amongst our friend and family that he does everything. No! He does nothing, but he can cook like Jamie Oliver when he's in the mood.

But I was adamant when 2 of my girlfriends visited a while ago that these were my friends, we'd split the bill, thats how my circle of friends did things. And then, after all, there was this terrible tension when we did split the bill, and the reluctance with with they dragged their wallets to the table was something to witness.....So you see, we have habituated people to this, Im sure everyone must think we're loaded, when in fact we live from one paycheck to the next.

Chocolatedot, what do you think? Should we be doing an 'im so in control i'm oprah winfrey' style routine of groundrules when guests arrive? Like actually saying, welcome to my house, can I just put forward a few groundrules....I would appreciate it if you can entertain yourselves some days outside of the house, could you please share the cookiing and cleaning by cooking every other night.......that sort of thing, it sounds so cold and clinical, and every time we have a guest, I think, oh but they will chip in, and then they dont and so I dont enjoy their visit and Im fuming afterwards, and also slightly lonely when they go, feeling I didnt enjoy them enough. When you have a lot of guests, like we do, because DH and I lived abroad for years, and now we live away from my own family and friends.........maybe I need to have a little speech prepared....oh bugger, I dont want to just stop having guests just like we stopped going to restaurants!!

chocolatedot Tue 18-Sep-07 19:43:10

daydreambeliever, that is my quandary exactly! I so want to be a generous and good host but after about day 4 of cooking for everybody, paying for everything and doing the clearing up, I get fed up. I always think people will help out and then they never do and spend hours hanging around in my kitchen which I hate. My nieces and nephews drank 3.5 litres of fresh orange juice in the first 12 hours of their last visit which nearly sent me over the edge.

I actually think the speech is a good idea but know I could never do it.

kookaburra Tue 18-Sep-07 19:54:18

DDB and Twiglett - I agree 3 days is max - however awful - it IS possible to survive that... as a habitual houseguest in other countries I would NEVER stay beyond three days - I truly believe that 3 days is the clinching threshold between staying friends and not.

Our bestest bestest (sob) friends are emigrating to the States this month and we have sworn solemnly (and drunkenly grin)that they will visit, we will visit, BUT WE WILL GET A HOTEL. Because the reality is that - WHEN U HAVE KIDS - you just will not survive otherwise.

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