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To think if you invite visitors to stay you should modify your behaviour a bit to accommodate them?

77 replies

AgentZigzag · 28/04/2011 19:12

I'm just on a thread about a poster who was invited to stay at a relatives house overseas and was made to feel pretty unwelcome.

In this posters case it was the strict cleanliness rules and petty penny pinching that made her feel it was more like staying in a boot camp than a nice visit to the rellies.

I'm not saying you should totally change the people you are to fit in with, what can be, difficult guests (not suggesting the OP was in the thread) but surely you shouldn't behave exactly as you would when you're on your own, or expect them to fit in with sometimes bizarre routines.

So what kinds of things wouldn't it be acceptable to do when you've got people over (and I'm talking about shortish term visits, not when your MIL stays over for months on end)?

What about not locking the bathroom door when you're using it?

Stinking the bathroom out and not giving a warning before the guest goes in?

Sitting glued to your fave TV program while they sit there in silence bored stiff?

There was a thread on here about a poster (it was Yankandcock I think, I've no idea why I remembered the posters name Grin) who was Skyping her mum and her mums husband was stood behind her with not a lot on, he clearly didn't think it was a problem because he was in his own house, but the OP was a bit embarrassed Grin

Some people do think 'it's my house and I'll act like I want', and others go the total opposite and try to control smother their guests with constant attention.

So what would be the nice balance?

OP posts:
Prunnhilda · 29/04/2011 06:46

I go and visit somebody occasionally (not to stay) and I don't think she has ever shut her laptop once. She just carries on a conversation whilst simultaneously checking email, twitter, facebook, and whatever other sites she's addicted to. I know this because she'll talk to her husband about what so-and-so's saying on twitter and then he opens his laptop and they're both at it.
I thought it was me, but then I went for her child's birthday party, and she was doing the same.

So that's on my list of infringements.
Sadly now dh has an iphone, he is quite likely to be checking his email at any time, I quite often have to give him The Look.

SpringFollows · 29/04/2011 06:52

We tend to have people stay (and often invite themselves) throughout the summer as we live in a touristy area. I always make sure people know where everything is in the kitchen, and let them know they are welcome to coffee/tea/cereal toast and that they can eat it in their rooms in bed if they like. I think we are pretty relaxed. The only thing I ask is that they do not criticise my house or my methods. Thinking of the cousin who gave me a lecture on hygiene because we let the dogs on our covered sofas.

But we can literally have guests for weeks and weeks on end (two years ago we had just a handful of weekends free of guests from mid-April to September which was bloody ridiculous) so I have to get on with my life really.

MrsSchadenfreude · 29/04/2011 07:15

I'm with SpringFollows. We are in central Paris and often have non-stop long weekenders. Most are lovely, but we do have one couple who regularly invite themselves and treat our flat like a hotel. I work long hours, and if we have visitors, we generally go out to eat when they arrive. Most visitors offer to pay half, but this couple NEVER do, and dinner here costs in the region of 300 euros for six of us - and it's generally more when they come because of the amount of wine they drink They have never, ever offered to pay their way (and they earn $$$$$ - the last time they came she treated herself to a Longchamp bag and a Louis Vuitton holdall!), or contributed so much as a cheap bottle of wine for dinner. So we have been "very busy with other visitors" when they have suggested coming, and recommended a good, cheap hotel when they told us they had got their tickets already! (They had the cheek to say, but if you're only putting up one other couple you would have room for us as well!)

SpringFollows · 29/04/2011 07:25

Oh MrsSchadenfreude I could write reams of stuff about people treating your house like a hotel also!

When DH was a bachelor he loved having loads of people down, and that has just carried on. I usually enjoy it alot though. But I became a bit sour about one couple who stayed with us for 4 days - a week and then a week and a few weekends over a few years who brought nothing and contributed nothing, when we were feeding and watering them. (Although the wife did tell me in depth what she thought we should do the kitchen as it was 'dated'... so that was a contribution of sorts). The final year they came, they came with a bloody great honeydew melon and two bottles of champagne which I thought was finally quite kind of them. But they consumed both and it was clear they meant it for them, not as a gift to us.

They then invited themselves down to stay the week i was due to give birth and I finally put my foot down with DH (he is too generous) and said NO. We have not heard from them since.... and are apparrently off their Xmas card lists too!

No loss, I think.

kreecherlivesupstairs · 29/04/2011 08:04

I could write reams about houseguests who change before your very eyes.
The worst experience I had was visiting a friend in Nottingham. Me and DD drove over from Manchester pre GPS.
I got lost and rather than arriving at 5 we got there at 5.25. My friend went bonkers. She calmed down and showed us her mummified spiders in the bathroom then decided we ought to have some dinner.
I was talking to her in the kitchen while she got a pizza out of the fridge. She opened the box and I saw it was greeny glistening nasty looking. She asked me if I liked pepperoni, I said no so she said I'd have to have salad.
DD was mooching around and G asked if she liked pizza, I said she didn't and DD looked like this Hmm. The salad was cos lettuce and gherkins the pizza was three weeks out of date. Me and DD went to bed hungry and got up to one slice of bread to be shared between three for breakfast.
We left in a hurry and went to Macdonalds for breakfast.
We've never been back to visit her.

ledkr · 29/04/2011 09:13

Kreecher-she sounds mentally ill.
I too could go on for ever about visitors,i recognise a lot of the problems are mine-very set in my ways and love my peace and quiet,tbh id be better off not having any overnight ones as it never fails to annoy me.So i lived on my own for years and then what do i go and do then?Yep marry a man with a huge close family who live away and expect 5 start hospitality at a moments notice Shock Bring on the tiny house.

anonacfr · 29/04/2011 14:32

My ILs are friends with a couple who have five grown up children.
They recently moved to the South of France and bought a one bedroom house specifically because they didn't want their children to use their house as a hotel. Hmm

LDNmummy · 29/04/2011 14:49

Spero YABU.

Spero · 29/04/2011 17:14

How am I being unreasonable? In thinking that friends who invite me to stay with a young child might at least say 'we won't be getting up until late tommorow. Here's the coffee and this is how you work the TV remote?'

I think that is bloody rude and inconsiderate.

WhiteBumOfTheMountain · 29/04/2011 17:25

Well Spero if you dont have kids 10.00am is NOT late! Grin

WhiteBumOfTheMountain · 29/04/2011 17:25

Plus...I DO have kids and 6.00 is ver early for me! My DC get up at 8.00 and the youngest is three!

moondog · 29/04/2011 17:45

Ooh Schaden, I remember your stories.
Aren't they the people who used to ask what was for dinner when you came in knackered from work.

Indaba · 29/04/2011 18:09

Whilst not defending their behaviour, we live overseas and after a few years we got used to a very, very steady train of visitors.

I'm sure we have p*SSEd friends and relations with our lack of hostess services....... but I kind of think if they are close enough to come and stay with us they should give us some slack.

I'd get over it and move on.

microfight · 29/04/2011 18:27

I had parents of a friend stay from overseas, didn't know them that well so it was really just to save them a hotel bill as a favour to my friend. I left bread and milk (basics) and a first meal for them in the fridge which they ate and when it ran out they went and bought some replacement basics, which I thought was nice.
However, I was Shock after they left as I went to make a coffee and realised they had taken everything from the fridge including a third of a loaf of bread and dribble of milk with them! I know they bought them but they had eaten all the stuff I provided and left my fridge totally bare!
Next time they come they can pay for a hotel Grin

Spero · 29/04/2011 19:32

Whitebum, indeed I remember fondly those halcyon days when a 10am start on the weekend would seem like an abuse of my human rights and noon was the earliest I would emerge.

And fortunately my daughter is now old enough to turn on the TV herself so I can usually stay in until 8am.

I guess I am unreasonable to attribute to my friends some small amount of intelligence and foresight.

This is quite similar to a thread a while back about whether or not it is rude just to cancel plans by text. I think we are once again falling into two fairly polarised camps - those rude, insentive wankers who say 'my house, my rules, like it or leave' and those who at least try to make their friends and guests feel comfortable and welcome.

It makes me cross that people can be so rude.

bellavita · 29/04/2011 19:57

Agent - I have met YanknCock's DH Grin - and her too of course... made me chuckle that story. I must ask her about it.

I think if you are the party that is being visited then rules must be bent at least a little bit.

WhiteBumOfTheMountain · 29/04/2011 20:05

Spero ROFL at wankers! Chill out.

Truffkin · 29/04/2011 20:10

I always make an effort when we have guests to stay by making sure we have food and drink they will like (esp. if they have children I always check as have no clue what they will need!), make sure we have interesting / fun things to do and they feel that they can help themselves in the kutchen / bathroom etc. But I don't think it's at all reasonable to expect me to get up really early because the guests have children who get up really early!

I would make sure they know to help themselves to breakfast, TV, colouring things etc and leave our keys out in case they wanted to wander to the shop for papers but I wouldn't get up at 8am as the weekend has to be balanced for everyone and not just all about the guests at the host's expense!

Spero · 29/04/2011 21:16

Respect my RAGE dammit.

Turffkin - if you wouldn't get up at 8am (the horror! the horror!) then don't. Just don't invite people over with young children and then drift out of your boudoir around noon. It is bloody rude. If you can't put yourself out enough to get up at a perfectly reasonable time and get them some breakfast, don't have guests. Simple.

bigbumum · 29/04/2011 21:26

I babysit for a friend.
when i drive (40 mins) to her house, every week, i have never been offered a cuppa, she is on fb or ebay on the lap top, while her dh is glued to the telly which is blaring.
When i converse with friend, he tuts and turns the telly up even higher.

She never says a word.

Trying to think of excuses to get out of going any more but feel rotten as she has PND Sad

Tarenath · 29/04/2011 22:12

I remember an awful experience with a, now, ex-friend.

We had arranged to house sit while she went abroad with her new partner but we stayed there for a few days before hand. We came back to the house to find clothes littering the hallway. They hadn't even bothered to go to the bedroom before removing each others clothes! We went straight out again! To make matters worse, they spent most waking hours in the bedroom and when they did emerge they wore only dressing gowns. There was also an incident where they got rather noisy in the bathroom, right next door to where my toddler was playing. It was awful!

We looked after the house for them, but needless to say the friendship broke down shortly afterwards.

AgentZigzag · 29/04/2011 22:12

I don't want to get YanknCocks DH a bad name bellavita Grin

So just in case you got the wrong end of the stick it was Yanks mums husband who was partially clad on the skype convo, and not her husband flashing at her mum Grin

That sounds like he's had words with her before you went round bigbumum.

I know someone who is unable to keep their feelings under control and if they don't want you there will just sit in stony silence, not offer any drinks, afraid that if they offer you any hospitality it might give the impression they want you there.

It's more likely to be him than her, it'd be a shame if you let him put you off seeing your friend, she must know what he's like and feel very isolated by him.

Perhaps she doesn't say anything because she 'can't' because of the consequences for her when you leave (not necessarily physical, but him going on at her/sulking).

OP posts:
Lucy88 · 29/04/2011 22:19

I always try to be a good host when we have visitors - find out what they like to eat and drink before they come, stock the fridge and freezer up, fresh bedding for them, clean house etc. However, we have our routine when it comes to meal times and bed times and I always tell my guests. I will not stay up until midnight chatting (usually in bed at 10pm) as my DS gets up at 7am. Guests can stay in bed until whatever time they want, but DS gets up at 7am and I wil not expect him to be totally silent for hours, just because we have guests. We eat breakfast, snacks, lunch and tea at pretty much the same time each day - DS likes his routine, so I alwasy tell guests what time we will be eating.

Come to my house and you will be well looked after, but you need to be aware of our routine and the way we do things. My attitude is - if you don't like it - don't come and stay.

bigbumum · 29/04/2011 22:22

I very much doubt that there is anything sinister underlying this. I think its just the way that they work. She has converstaions with him while he is watching, nay glued to the telly witht he volume blaring out and doesnt bat an eye lid. I think that they are used to this and they dont see the problem.

To me i think its rude.

AgentZigzag · 29/04/2011 22:26

That's good bigbumum (I don't like to shorten your MN name Grin) I'm good for reading between the lines where there isn't anything to be read Grin

I'm glad I'm wrong.

OP posts:
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