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how to tell her no

(83 Posts)
crunchynutclustersdevilswork Tue 01-Mar-16 00:26:29

A family friend of DH’s who lives abroad (best friend of his older sister) came to stay with us three weeks ago when she was in London for business. We don’t/didn’t know her that well, but as she’s such a long standing friend of SIL, we wanted to honour SIl’s friendship with her and put her up so she didn’t have to pay for a hotel in London.

We showed her a good time, took her out for some nice meals, and spent quite a lot of our family time with her. It was the first time she had met our DC and she made a beeline for our DD (2yrs) who is very friendly and open. While she was here, she repeatedly asked if she could take DD out alone. We made excuses – mostly because we knew that DD usually cries when she is left with someone she doesn’t know and we didn’t want this woman to feel awkward – until the last day we agreed she could take DD for a walk around the park for 20 mins , and things seemed to be okay. We enjoyed her company too and we made a real effort and waved her off a few weeks ago agreeing that we’d pop in on her, next time we are in the country where she lives. We envisaged that would be in a couple of years time, if at all.

Since she left she has been repeatedly emailing me saying that she misses us, and misses DD most of all. I’ve replied a little bit saying hope she’s doing well, but really not encouraging a dialogue. There have been so many messages that I have actually just ignored a few because they just say things like "I am missing XXX (Dd's name) so much...." and I really can't think of what to say to that considering she has met DD once.

Last week she contacted me again saying she is due back in the UK and wants to stay with us again. While we liked her, we have no desire to share our house again for another week with someone we have to entertain. We no longer have a spare room, either, so it was a perfect excuse. I told her (and now regret this) that unless she was prepared to sleep on the hard floor, we had absolutely no room and we were really sorry but we could not put her up.

Obviously she replied saying she was prepared to sleep on the floor.

DH and I deliberated and decided to tell her that it was really not convenient for us, we would be very busy most days and staying away from the house for a few nights this week (this is technically true.) That if she really had nowhere else to go, she could sleep on the floor for maybe two nights, and get the key from one of our neighbours to let herself in.

She replied saying her business trip was very flexible so she would wait until we returned the week after, and come for a week then.

I didn’t reply to this message. She’s followed up with a few other messages explaining that her priority is to spend time with us and alone time with DD.

I’m starting to find it all a bit weird. Dh wants to give her the benefit of the doubt because he’s known her (via his DSis) forever and she’s a family friend. We also don’t want to upset Dsis by rejecting her friend. Both she and Dsis are unmarried and childless and DH’s other point is that it’s quite likely she is lonely and just wants to be part of a family atmosphere.

I also found out today that she had given the impression to DD's childminder (when she met her, as she was living in our house!) that she was DD's second mother and extremely close to DD. And that she (the childminder) didn't really need to be around if she (SIL's best friend) was there to take care of DD, and actually suggested she go home! Although this was an "impression" given, not a direct quote.

Also, the culture that DH, SIL and she are from pride themselves on their “hospitality” and DH said that she would probably not consider it abnormal if we just turned up to the city she lives in and expect bed and board.

Regardless, I am now uncomfortable with her obsession with DD and her focus on spending intense time with us where we are forced into a position of giving her attention. I know that allowing her to stay and then passive aggressively not giving her the same treatment as last time or refusing to let her be alone with DD will just be confusing behaviour for her, so I have to be clear and kind.

Sometimes when I see threads about how to tell someone something, a poster comes up with an ingenious way to phrase something that I would never have thought of, which doesn’t cause offence, and I’m hoping someone can help me out here with some phrasing or boundary setting I can use…

If I repeatedly say it is inconvenient, she will just postpone until the next time

Quietwhenreading Tue 01-Mar-16 00:33:58

That's really quite inappropriate behaviour in any culture.

Firstly stop aaying yes to her visits if you mean no. You don't want her to stay so why offer the floor?

If she is in a business trip her employer will expect to pay for a hotel.

I would never demand to spend time alone with my Godchildren or nieces let alone a 2 yo I'd just met.

I would have said no in your place and would continue to very clearly say no now. The conversation with the childminder is a bug red flag IMO.

This is not about hospitality. It's about safeguarding your child.

Aussiebean Tue 01-Mar-16 00:34:28

'Having thought about it, it really isn't convenient to have anyone stay with us, even on the floor. How about we all go out for dinner one night when you are here'

SoThatHappened Tue 01-Mar-16 00:56:48

Jesus. I have nephews and a niece I am close to. They like me, hug me, kiss me, like being spoiled. But I would never say (as it isnt true) that we are so close I am like a second mother to them and they are my blood relatives.

Do as aussiebean suggests.

SoThatHappened Tue 01-Mar-16 00:59:07

I dont actually want to take my sisters youngest out alone and she is 2 precisely because she may have a melt down and miss mummy.

Just plain weird to want alone time with a young child who isnt a blood relative.

Alasalas Tue 01-Mar-16 01:05:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FundraisingPTABitch Tue 01-Mar-16 01:10:01

I've had situations like this, I have said that my inlaws were moving in indefinitely and that my relationship with them is strained as it is.

If you can't use your inlaws, you can use any group of relatives that take priority over her. For example: an aunt and her husband. Cousins.

I make it sound like a huge gigantic dysfunctional family is moving into my home and that not only would the environment be uncomfortable, it would be down right hostile.

And I've added in pets that I knew the person is allergic to, or just a host of sick pets coming to stay with the family that was moving in--indefinitely.

Loqo Tue 01-Mar-16 01:26:12

AussieBeans suggestion is fine. You can expand of you want. Simply say that you have too much on to have guests and that you don't have room.

It doesn't sound like you are dealing with a 'normal' person so you may have to be blunter than you would with other people.

thebiscuitindustry Tue 01-Mar-16 01:28:45

You're uncomfortable with the situation. "No, that doesn't work for us" is all you have to say, possibly repeatedly.

Can your DH's sister have a word with her?

looki Tue 01-Mar-16 01:31:08

I understand your husband wants to give her the benefit of the doubt but an obsession with your DD after a week sounds very inappropriate.

I wouldn't faff around giving excuses of other people staying. The woman has already said she will sleep on the floor and it isn't an issue re-arranging her visit. I find it difficult to believe she isn't aware that you don't particularly want her staying with you. For that reason, I would be assertive and say that you would prefer her not to stay with you but you and your DH will meet her for dinner in her hotel restaurant. (I would also book a babysitter and leave your DD at home, for that I would make an excuse of bedtimes, school, nursery, missed naps, ill - whatever!).

Iwasbornin1993 Tue 01-Mar-16 02:07:00

I'd speak to SIL and tell her that although you were happy to put her friend up once, you're not able to do so again. Hopefully then she'll be able to pass this on in a way that doesn't offend since she knows her friend much better than you and your DH do. Very strange behaviour on the friend's part though!

AcrossthePond55 Tue 01-Mar-16 02:18:41

Do you think she'd back off if you told her that DD wasn't going to be there?

sheffieldsteeler Tue 01-Mar-16 07:16:07

Yes, could you email and say that good news, there's now room spare! But bad news, you and DD won't be there, as you have to spend some time with your parents at the other end of the country?

Although I do think this might be one of those situations where you probably shouldn't make excuses (which will be steamrollered over until you run out of them), you should just say no.

Isetan Tue 01-Mar-16 08:07:34

Subtlety is lost on this woman so that means the direct approach, which is no. You do not know this woman and just because she's indirectly connected to

This isn't about hospitality or her cultural norms (if she travels frequently to the UK for business, she must have some insight into the value system here), the root of her persistence is her bizarre attachment to your DD and for that reason alone, you should tell her no. Subtlety is obviously lost on this woman and if you don't want to be fending off her unsolicited advances every couple of weeks, then now is the time to set her straight.

Your gut is telling you something, listen to it.

Fontella Tue 01-Mar-16 09:48:16

'Benefit of the doubt'


Your husband is being overly generous. This woman's behaviour is clearly not normal under any circumstances. Who behaves like this - obsessing about a child they've met for five minutes? As for the conversation with the childminder - that is just plain weird and would have all my alarm bells jangling at full alert!

So what if she's SIL's friend? It still doesn't make her behaviour right.

She's bombarded you with emails, insists on staying with you again and spending time with your child alone - all because you were kind enough to put her up for a couple of days?

Personally if it was me I'd tell her to back off in no uncertain terms. I wouldn't be worrying about how to phrase it kindly either. Not convenient, not appropriate, not welcomed and just not right. I'd also tell you SIL how uncomfortable all this had made you feel and why you won't be inviting her friend into your home again.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Tue 01-Mar-16 17:28:56

Yeah, that's creepy behavior.
Politely decline (as a clear answer, no contengencies or maybes) and then ghost her. Ghosting was invented for these circumstances.

CruCru Tue 01-Mar-16 17:32:36

This is a bit odd. Also, it is rather a faux pas to favour one child so blatantly over another (your OP reads as though you have more than one child). Your other children are going to notice and perhaps feel unwelcome.

pocketsaviour Tue 01-Mar-16 17:57:48

Her behaviour rings very loud alarm bells (especially what is essentially fraudulently presenting herself to the childminder) and I would see her as a potential child abuser.

Just think how you would have reacted to the requests and contact if she was a single man, and then consider that female abusers frequently fly under the radar because everyone thinks women don't abuse kids.

"No, we are uncomfortable with the level of interest you have shown in our daughter and do not feel it is appropriate for you to stay with us again."

Joysmum Tue 01-Mar-16 18:14:44

I'd have a word with your SIL. Hopefully she'd be able to shed some light on it.

Also I'd say that her last stay was a one off as a favour to your SIL but you'd happily try to meet up when she's in the area if it fits in with your diary and you'll let her know nearer the time.

If she make any comments, you can jokingly say that she's already spent more time with your family that other members of your family have.

expatinscotland Tue 01-Mar-16 18:23:29

What pocket said.

expatinscotland Tue 01-Mar-16 18:24:10

And next time, don't make excuses. Just tell the truth.

Jan45 Tue 01-Mar-16 18:30:39

Talk about not taking a hint, bloody cheek she has got, be direct, tell her it's not convenient and keep telling her, who wants to sleep on a floor, what a weirdo, and I'd like to meet whoever from whatever Country who'd be happy with no advance warning and folk turning up on your doorstep expecting to be hosted, bullshit.

MoominPie22 Tue 01-Mar-16 18:40:18

This is highly abnormal in any culture. There´s some that are more hospitable than others but she sounds downright pushy and the obsession with your little one is extremely odd and a huge red flag.

Is she S.E Asian? What if she´s wanting to abuse your child or take inappropriate pictures? How can the fact that she implied/hinted that the nanny could leave and that she would take over the care not send any parent into a panic? shock Nobody would have the audacity to say that, and she´s not even family. She´s a stranger FFS!

You need to speak with your SIL about her and to pot with excuses, why lie? Tact and sensitivity will not work with this weirdo, protect your child and just tell her ¨No¨. You don´t need a reason for crying out loud, it´s your home and your family. You helped out once, if you did it again then where will this end? She´ll keep expecting to come.

Be straight, be blunt, you owe your SIL and her freaky friend nothing. Seriously, just say No. End of.

Footle Tue 01-Mar-16 18:50:08

"Is she SE Asian ?" Is that a red flag that we should all know about ?

AddToBasket Tue 01-Mar-16 18:50:57

There are lots of cultures where praising a child and fussing massively is normal. She is definitely at the extreme end of that.

There is no need to be rude or imply to her that you think she might be a weirdo - no need at all. Just don't have her to stay. 'No, that doesn't work for us' is exactly what you say. 'Unfortunately, that isn't going to work out as we have other commitments. We hope to catch up with you sometime, maybe with DSis.' No, but vaguely friendly.

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