The Never Leaving Guest

by admin on September 11, 2012

My husband’s best friend, Marcus, and his wife, Penny, were coming to our apartment for a little pre-Christmas feasting and imbibing. The plan was to have them over, serve up a bunch of appetizer-type dishes, drink a lot of festive cocktails and then watch that heartwarmingest of heart warming holiday classics, Christmas Vacation. Marcus, a cook, suggested they contribute some goodies, which was more than fine with me – the more food, the merrier!

The day before the party I suddenly remembered that Marcus and Penny had been going gluten-free last I heard, and thought it the polite thing to do to call them up and inquire about the state of their diets. “Hi!”,  I said. “So I know you and Penny have been doing the gluten-free thing. Before I get in the kitchen, is that still on? Just wanted to check and make sure! Oh, and are you still eating meat? Because I also remember at one point you guys weren’t eating meat, so…”  “Well, no,”  he said, “the gluten thing isn’t really on. I mean, we try not to, but it’s no big if we do.”  We chatted for another minute and then just as I was about to hang up I hear,”But, um, yeah, about the stuff we don’t eat thing? Well, we’re not really into pork, and we’re both trying to stay away from red meat…veal is murder and WE WON’T TOUCH THAT! Um, and fish has so much mercury in it now, so maybe not fish. Chicken’s good. I mean, free range chicken is better, but chicken’s good. Oh, and tomatoes. The acid in them destroys your teeth, so we’re trying to cut down on those…uh, let’s see. We’re really trying to cut down on our fat intake, too, because all those cream-based things just make you feel so heavy, so maybe not that kind of stuff either.”   The litany continued for another 30 seconds or so and finally ended with, “Ooh, but I’d love to have that pineapple tart you made that one time! That was so good! Just maybe not with the devon cream this time. I’d try whipped cream instead. That would be better.”

“This guy is a raging tool,” you may be thinking to yourself. Well, I was inclined to agree, even knowing that Marcus is just a very high strung individual with a lot of neuroses about, well, everything. But I had come to understand that for the very few times a year I saw the guy, I could put up with his antics, because it made my husband happy and I genuinely enjoyed Penny’s company.

The day of the party we’re bustling around cleaning and cooking when the phone calls start coming in. First Marcus wants to know exactly what I’m making so we won’t have any  “flavour clashes”.  We compare lists and Marcus hangs up. A few minutes later he calls back and wants to know what I think about his suggestions. “Sounds great to me,” I say, while wondering exactly why he’s so wound up. It’s just appetizers, man! Two hours later he calls to say that they’ll be at our place in an hour, but can they stop and get anything on the way there that we might have forgotten? “Yes!,” I shout. “The maraschino cherries for the Manhattans! Thank you!”  45 minutes later they call to say they’re heading out and will stop at a store on the way over. I hang up and ask my husband why Marcus and Penny seem so intent on narrating their entire day for me. An hour later they finally arrive. Marcus is grumpy and clutching a bottle of maraschino cherries. Penny looks annoyed. The implication is that this is all my fault for forgetting the cherries in the first place.

Everybody gets over their moods and we get down to the serious business of eating. I provided all manner of yummy snacks ranging from vegan to vegetarian to outright carnivore, and I took great (internal) smug glee in noting that Marcus had eaten tons of my chow and very little of his own. “Dietary restrictions, my widening fanny,” I thought to myself.

During and after dinner and cocktails we watched the movie and chatted about our plans for the holidays, and then, about six hours later, when the evening should have been wrapping up, it just…didn’t. Marcus and Penny stayed on, and on, and on, long past the point of either good manners or a genuine interest in our company. We had simply run out of things to say. Undeterred, Marcus began looking up stupid cat videos online (something I quite enjoy myself, actually!) When it, too, continued long past the point of being funny or even mildly amusing, Penny put her hand on his leg and said, “Do you want to turn that off, sweetie? Because I think it’s time we go. It’s pretty late.”   Marcus sulkily muttered, “Yeah, yeah, okay, I get it, Penny, thanks.”  For the next couple of minutes my husband and I sat uncomfortably and watched as Marcus and Penny not-so-jokingly tore each other to shreds. They didn’t seem to mind that we were there, but we sure did.

So I got up and began clearing away some dishes I had left on the table. They stayed on, sniping on. My husband blew out the few remaining lit candles. They stayed on. I filled up the cat dish, loaded the dishwasher and brushed the crumbs off the coffee table. Marcus and Penny stayed on, undeterred. So we gave up. Resistance is futile. We sat back down and stared blankly at one another as Marcus and Penny continued taking passive aggressive jabs at one another. Two hours later they finally left, clocking our “evening” in at a little over nine hours.

They got married some months after that and then divorced even more months after that, so, you know, there’s that. 0829-12

 

When our guests are not getting the subtle clues we drop that it is time to go home, my husband looks at me and says quite cheerfully, “Well, honey, I think we need to go to bed so these lovely people can go home.”  We both then stand and start moving towards the door to lead the way for our guests to exit.

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Esmeralda September 11, 2012 at 7:03 am

I have a friend like this. Her home life is pretty depressing, so whenever she comes to our house, she simply plants herself in a chair and refuses to leave. After a couple of hours, her kids start calling her nonstop on her cell phone, then her husband starts calling our home number. Still, she won’t leave.

For what it’s worth, she’s a great conversationalist and lots of fun to talk to, but it really does turn into an all-day marathon every time she visits. So, my husband and I spend as much time with her as seems reasonable, then we just go about our day: yard work, laundry, reading a book, etc. Our friend sometimes joins in, sometimes goes off to play a video game by herself. We’ve even gone grocery shopping and returned to find her sitting at the kitchen table, sipping coffee as her cell phone rings, unheeded. It’s our fault for allowing it to go on, but short of actually dragging her out of the house by force, I just don’t know how to stop it.

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Shoegal September 11, 2012 at 7:57 am

I have friends like that!!! This was one of the first times we ever invited this couple over for a glass of wine and they came by. It was a lovely evening but after tons of wine and hours and hours upon hours of stories – at 2 am they still weren’t ready to go home. I was dead on my feet and fighting – I mean really fighting to stay upright – they both seemed fresh as a daisy and not the slight bit tipsy. They literally drank us under the table but there didn’t seem any way at all to make them leave. I swore to my husband that I would never invite anyone over again because it reassembled torture if they didn’t leave at a reasonable time. I told him that we’ll attend anyone else’s function but never have one of our own. Admin’s advice is dead on – that is a very lovely way to say go home now.

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Enna September 11, 2012 at 8:02 am

I like admin’s advice.

Admin, how effective is it? Have you and your husband ever gone to bed and left guests there in the sitting room?

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Jewel September 11, 2012 at 8:21 am

I don’t understand what’s so hard about saying, “Well, guys, it’s been fun, but we’re exhausted and tomorrow’s another day. Thanks for coming! Drive safely!”

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Just Laura September 11, 2012 at 8:26 am

I’ve had the people who won’t go home, except in my case they feel like inviting themselves to my house when the bar closes.

At 2am, I said that it was nice seeing them. They hung around. I said we’d have to see each other again soon. They hung around. I started walking to the truck, jingling my keys (I was Designated Driver, if anyone is concerned at this point). They follow down the sidewalk for a bit. Finally we’re climbing into the vehicle, and this person says, “It sounds like you’re trying to get rid of me.”
“Um, well, not really… I’m just going home.”

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Elizabeth September 11, 2012 at 8:41 am

I’m looking forward to all manner of suggestion of how to encourage guests to head home. We have friends, a very nice couple that we are close to, that sometimes don’t seem to get it. They live here in town and we include them in many family and holiday gatherings (their families are not close by and they do not have children). Most recently, we hosted a family brunch which began at 11am. They left at 5pm … I was ready to pour wine for cocktail hour (I couldn’t use the ‘time to go to bed’ approach but perhaps I should reconsider). In my mind, one doesn’t get invited for a meal and stay into the next meal. I need help in KINDLY hinting that the gathering is over.

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GroceryGirl September 11, 2012 at 8:50 am

I do the same thing, Admin. I always say something to the effect of “oh my it’s so late! I’m so sorry to have kept you hear so long!” and then very pointedly stand up and move toward the door. I also do that when I ring off the phone when I’m stuck in one of those conversations that goes on and on. I always say “well, I’ll let you go”

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Library Diva September 11, 2012 at 8:51 am

What an odd couple. I think the reason they hung around so long is because they knew their relationship was unraveling and didn’t want to have to be alone together. Being with you and watching the movie probably gave them warm fuzzies that were sorely lacking in their own gluten-free fat-free cream-free mercury-free tomato-free free-range flavor-matched home. They clearly should have left, especially if they couldn’t control themselves and if their hosts were evidently winding down for the night.

But I have to give compliments to the OP on the way this is written. OP’s good sense of humor is evident, and I think she’s very gracious to tolerate Marcus’ antics for the sake of her husband. I’m sure her sense of humor and laid-back attitude serves her well when it’s time to get together with Marcus!

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Serenity S. September 11, 2012 at 8:58 am

I don’t think it was rude for Marcus to talk about his dietary restrictions since OP asked him about it. But it is rude to fight with each other in front of your hosts and stay late into the night.

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Fiona September 11, 2012 at 9:00 am

My great-grandfather would break out the vacuum cleaner as a not-so-subtle message to get rid of lingering guests. Nobody wanted to be in the same room as that ancient, banshee-wailing machine.

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TylerBelle September 11, 2012 at 9:43 am

Grrrr… the juxtaposition kills me: The storywriter host asks the guest about any additions/changes to the party menu, and the guy goes on with a huge laundry list. Then in turn, the guest asks the host if she has any additions/changes, and she has ONE (the cherries) and the guests show their irritation. Goodness.

In my fantasy of getting people to leave, I’d like to dangle a piece of their favorite food of the evening in front of them, then open the door and toss it out, while saying, “Go get it.. go get it..” And have hopes they’d dash out after it, whereas I close and lock the door. I don’t know what I’d exactly do in that situation with guests sniping for hours on end, though I’d hope I’d tell them how they needed to take it elsewhere. Although, before it comes to that, the Admin’s husband has a good solution.

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Saucygirl September 11, 2012 at 10:01 am

With someone who is a best friend (as Marcus is to the husband), I don’t think being subtle is necessary. I’ve told numerous family and friend “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here”. And one very good friend who would move in if I let her is always given a curfew before she even shows up, something like “why don’t you come over around four so we have plenty of time to hang out, cause you will have to leave by eight”. And then at eight I remind her that the evening is over. No hard feelings, and they continue to happily come over. And leave.

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Coralreef September 11, 2012 at 10:10 am

There was a comedy show with little skits (do I have the right word?) some years ago. One of the recuring characters would offer “Un petit café avant de partir?” i.e. : “A bit of coffee before you leave?”

I’ve never had to deal with glued-on guests, but I always keep the coffee bit in mind.

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Shalamar September 11, 2012 at 10:13 am

Oh my goodness, what a terrible evening! I think Library Diva hit the nail on the head – they stayed as long as they did because they knew they’d fight the second they got out the door. (So they chose to stay and fight in OP’s house instead … ‘kay.)

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BethRD September 11, 2012 at 10:26 am

I have a friend who just does not understand social signals and will stay forever as long as you make a pretense of being still engaged. I’ve learned to just say, “All right, A., I think it’s time for you to go now.” and to up it to “Shoo! Shoo! Seriously, go home!” if he still doesn’t leave. I guess it’s rude, but I think it’d be kind of silly for him to be offended

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Adelaide September 11, 2012 at 10:37 am

I don’t see how it’s impolite to say “Well, I must be going to bed now, thank you for stopping by, I’ll show you out” or something like that. I know a lot of people have trouble doing it though.

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Shannon September 11, 2012 at 10:40 am

I’ve found a cheery, “Well, it’s almost time for me to get naked, slather my face in Vaseline and meditate upside down!” works wonders at dinner parties. Offering your guests and arrestingly disturbing mental image shoves them out the door like nothing else.

Until you meet that rare person who has a Vaseline-meditation fetish.

If guests have been drinking, I usually say something like, “I’m pretty wiped and need to turn in. If you’d prefer not to drive, I’d be happy to call you a taxi, or you’re welcome to stay in the guest room.” Sometimes guests who overstay are concerned about driving under the influence, and it’s best to take those concerns seriously.

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Erin September 11, 2012 at 10:52 am

My dad went to a party once where, long after the other guests had gone home, he and his friend stood outside on the front porch loudly discussing music while the hosts (having turned off the lights and gone to bed) yelled “Go HOME!” out the window. So that’s always an option…

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Cat September 11, 2012 at 11:17 am

How about, “Well, it’s time for our night prayers. We always say them right before we retire for the night. Would you like to join us?”
If you don’t practice one of the mainstream religions, you can always claim a sudden conversion to something like Zoroastrianism. or Swedenborgism . Few people today would know what religious practices they follow so you would be fairly certain you could create your own without discovery. Just bring out some candles, incense, and start to chant. Your guests will probably beat a hasty retreat and have something to talk about on their way home.

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ferretrick September 11, 2012 at 11:20 am

Admin, what do you recommend when guests are overstaying their welcome but it’s not an evening activity, so the going to bed wouldn’t work? We often host my partner’s family for birthdays and such, usually on a Sunday afternoon (and I love having them other than this annoyance). The way I was raised, if you are invited for lunch (or a big meal mid-afternoon that would probably take the place of a seperate lunch and dinner), you don’t stay past 5:00 p.m. at the absolute latest, and that’s pushing it. But a couple of them have been known to stay till 7 or 8 p.m. and I still have dishes of 7 or 8 people from a multiple course meal to wash, by hand if I’ve used the good stuff!

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Shalamar September 11, 2012 at 11:46 am

Groucho Marx used to stand up and say “Well, I’m going to bed. You people can stay if you want to.” He said later “You’d be amazed at how many people decided to stay and have a helluva good time after I left.”

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Calli Arcale September 11, 2012 at 11:53 am

I’m so glad I’ve never had to deal with this. I have had guests stay much longer than anticipated — but only because we were all having so much fun we all completely lost track of time. That’s a whole different ball game, of course.

In general, when I’ve got guests staying late and we’ve got cleanup to do or just want to get some sleep, I just tell them that. I’ve never had any problems. But then, I’ve never had guests who couldn’t catch a clue with a mile-long drift net.

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Rug Pilot September 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I have a practice of standcing up and yelling “A night!”. Someone usually chimes in with “She just called it a night. I guess we will too. And we all go home.

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Library Diva September 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm

About the dietary restrictions, I don’t think it’s rude to share genuine ones when asked. If you’re lactose or gluten intolerant, if you have a severe allergy to peanuts or shellfish, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, these are things a host needs to know lest they cook a whole dinner that will go uneaten. This guy took it to the extreme, though. The amount of mercury contained in one commercially-available fish won’t kill you. Eating a few tomatoes won’t instantly corrode your teeth. And “feeling heavy” after eating cream? Actually stating a preference for free-range chicken? I think that’s crossing a line and getting into an attempt to dictate the host’s menu.

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LS September 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm

C.S. Lewis considered food fastidiousness a form of Gluttony. I can’t say I disagree.

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Sboebox September 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Count me among those who have no trouble saying to even reasonably close friends “Hey, it’s been great, can I get your coat?” (I very much like Admin’s suggestion for not-so-close visitors.)

I commend the OP for taking it all in stride — I would’ve snapped at the ‘flavour clash’ call, myself but given this comfort level with these people, I’m a bit surprised that OP or her husband didn’t simply start goodnaturedly herding them doorward long before the sniping began, or more emphatically when it did.

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Lo September 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I’ve never really had a problem with this. In fact I usually have the opposite happen. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been a guest in someone’s home and have had a hard time leaving because the host can’t take a hint.

I’m pretty pro-active at getting people out of my own home. I’m a morning person and not at all an evening person. After 9pm I just get irritable if I’m stuck at someone else’s place or if I have guests that aren’t really close friends and don’t know my habits. So I tend to have people over in the afternoon and then I expect them to be out by 9-10pm on a weekend. Or if a close freind comes over to watch a movie we’ll stay up to see it through and talk if we like but the minute I’m done I’m just DONE. Usually I’ll turn off the television, put the dishes to the sink and usher them towards the door with a, “Sorry to kick you out already, I’m falling asleep.” And by that point it’s almost always true.

When I was living with a roommate, whenever my friends would stay later because they were absorbed in a conversation with her I would happily wish them goodnight and go to my room and close the door. No offense given or taken– roomie was a night owl and loved to chat until the early hours of the morning. As long as my guests were being taken care of by my roommate it was just fine for everyone.

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Brockwest September 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Several separate issues in this post:
1) Guests who demand you follow their specific litany of demands for food. I would suggest that since everyone is bringing food, that you make whatever you want and they make whatever they want. As noted, they chowed down on yours anyway. With the exception of severe circumstances like peanut allergies, I don’t think they should dictate your menu. If you were the only one cooking, than a couple of suggestions fine, but when you find someone with a shopping list, it sounds again like the time for each to bring their own.
2) Guests who won’t leave. THIS is a toughie….I agree with admin on this. People who don’t get it, won’t get it, so you have to make them get it. I would NOT suggest the guest bedroom….then they are still there for breakfast, lunch and more. Taxi for the imbibers is a good suggestion.

3) My own experience with this was a 1st-grade party for my daughter. We were BEAT by the end of the party and VERY ready to go take a nap….everyone came to pick up their kids but one parent…who didn’t come for HOURS. She cheerfully announced she had taken the opportunity to have built-in baby-sitting. wow.
4) Along the same lines as guests with food demands are guests with guest-list demands….don’t invite Cousin Bill or Neighbor Joe or I won’t come. I LOVE the idea of…..invite anybody you darn well please, and let both sides know that both sides are invited and that you would love for them to come, but it’s up to them. Don’t let people dictate your guest list/wedding list/holiday list.

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Lo September 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I just remembered, I have a really funny story about this!! (at my own expense)

Once I went to visit a friend from the US who was studying abroad and had kindly offered to let me stay over at his place. While there he introduced me to many of his friends, one of whom came over to visit with us one evening. I was completely out of my time zone so it was one of the few times I’ve been able to stay up all night without any problems. Oblivious to the growing annoyance of the friend I was staying with (who just wanted to go to bed), I spent the hours chatting away with this lovely young man who came from an upperclass English family and was just as polite and refined as you might expect. This of course made it a million times worse when while laughing at a remark he’d made I felt a sudden tightness in my stomach and without any further warning broke wind so loudly I’d be surprised if the upstairs neighbors hadn’t heard it.

The conversation ground to a halt. I sat there, red-faced and stammering an apology and he stared at me in shock and then looked away, clearly embarrassed. A few minutes later he made some polite excuse and left.

Humiliated, I turned to back to my friend only to hear him sigh with relief and say “Thank God you farted. He doesn’t know when to leave.”

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PM September 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Believe it or not, I have a friend who has even more preference-based dietary restrictions than Marcus. He is really particular about what he eats and you never know what will “put him off” of something and make him decline. Still, he’s invited to all of our parties and a blast to be around because he doesn’t impose these preferences on other people. He doesn’t make what he calls his “food quirks,” someone else’s problem. He makes sure he brings a fruit and veggie tray to parties so he has something to eat. He doesn’t gripe about what’s available or tell people he thinks what they’re eating is gross. He’s there to have a good time with his friends.

On the over-staying issue: My sister, Emmy, and her husband, Gil, live in the same area as several of their college friends. Ast they have made other friends through work and church, they have tried to mix the college friends and the “grown up” friends at parties with disastrous results.

Several of the college friends have become insecure around the new friends and seem to want to prove that they are closer/better friends to Emmy and Gil. One couple in particularly, Steffie and Paul, seem to think that they can show the others how close they are to Emmy and Gil by staying later than all of the other guests, like they have special privileges or something. Combine that with new friends who have a minor tendency to over-stay and you’ve got a Steffie and Paul Sleepover! Emmy didn’t know what to do or how to draw the line without Paul and Steffie taking it super-personally, sulking and saying, “Well, I guess we’re not as close now that you have NEW friends.”

And then one evening, Paul and Steffie were still lingering in Emmy and Gil’s living room at 2:30 a.m. Emmy found Steffie rooting through her freezer looking for “a frozen pizza or something” as she and Paul were peckish. Steffie was already warming up some canned ravioli from sister’s cupboard, but didn’t think that would be enough. Emmy can only remember saying, “It’s time for you to go home now.”

Paul and Steffie pouted. Emmy and Gil let them. When the pouting didn’t do its truck of cowing Gil and Emmy back into place, Steffie asked “whhhhhhhhhhhyyyyyy” Emmy was so mad. Emmy explained that all-nighters and raiding each others fridges at 2 a.m. for snacks might have acceptable when they were in college, but that was years ago and it was time to grow up and learn how to socialize like a polite adult. Steffie called her a snob and she and Paul stopped talking to Emmy and Gil. Emmy and Gil are OK with that.

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Miss Raven September 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Fiona, that’s also an old server’s trick! Everyone who has ever waited tables has had the dreaded couple or party who stay way beyond closing time, while the bartender, busser, waitstaff, and manager sit around twiddling their thumbs because none of them can leave until the last customer is out the door.

Typically after the restaurant has been closed for 30 minutes, around the time that cleaning would be getting finished up and the staff would be grabbing their coats, is when the vacuum would come on.

I’ve seen a lot of bad behavior in the service industry, but maybe none so obnoxious as the customers who keep drinking coffee (or just sit, long after the coffee cups have been cleared) when the “Open” sign goes off, alone at their table, while the exhausted staff just wants to go home.

Vacuuming at that point typically starts nearer to the offending table, moving closer. It is the very last subtle hint: Please leave. We are closed and would like to go home. Wouldn’t you also like to go home?

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Bint September 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I agree with Jewel. If they really don’t catch all the other social cues, I say, “It’s been lovely to see you, but I’m afraid I have to go to bed.” It’s never failed.

Fortunately nobody daft enough to take offence would be in my house at that time in the first place.

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Gloria Shiner September 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm

My daughter’s friends used to occasionally stop by to chat, even after she had moved to her own place. One night they stayed and stayed and talked and talked. At midnight I finally said, “Well, guys, we have to get up and go to work tomorrow. It’s been nice talking to you, come back again soon, but you have to leave now.” They weren’t offended, left and sat in our parking area in one of their cars and continued to talk. Finally, my husband went out and asked if something was wrong. No, they were just out-waiting the cop who was waiting for them just past the end of our driveway!

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Stacey Frith-Smith September 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I’ve never actually had this problem, but I could see how it would be frustrating. Admin’s line is perfect! Also, stating expectations in advance is a good rule of thumb to follow (ie how long the event will last, whether it’s just drinks and appetizers or another activity.)

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Green123 September 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I must apologise to the OP that this story did have me in stitches from the moment Marcus started explaining his food pickiness (and on behalf of his wife, who presumably has no say in what she eats?) to the OP’s phrase ‘my widening fanny’. I AM sorry, OP, but thank you for sharing this excellent example of the overstaying guest, and eliciting some great suggestions from Admin and others about how to get rid of The Ones Who Won’t Go Home. I’m definitely trying Mr Admin’s phrase next time we have some persistent stayers!

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Spike September 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I fell like I’ve probably been guilty of this a few times, if only because some people will scold you for “leaving too early” if you try to leave at a reasonable time, so sometimes I guess I overcompensate. But usually I’m pretty sensitive to the various signals people send that the night is winding down. Personally, depending on the person (but even with close friends) my social “battery” starts winding down at about 2-3 hours, because I’m not really a person who enjoys sitting around talking until the late hours. Sometimes it can feel guilty to kick people out if you know you have no better excuse than “I want to be alone now.”

Love the choice of Christmas Vacation for a movie! Classic!

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Angeldrac September 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I stupidly agreed to host a New Years Eve party last year while eleventy months pregnant. The whole night I was thinking “just get to midnight, then go home!”. Well, midnight came and I promptly fell asleep on the couch within seconds. My husband informed me that everyone quickly left after that.
So, that’s my not-so-polite strategy for dealing with overstaying guests – just fall asleep!

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PolitePolice September 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm

It’s really not as tough as it seems.

When I have guests who won’t leave, I give them a few obvious cues first. Conversation changes to brief answers, bring out the ‘yawns’, etc. If they don’t get it, I say, ‘It’s been great, but we’re going to have to call it a night. You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here’. :)

The latter part is accompanied by me turning off the electronics, and walking to the kitchen so I can let them out the door.

It’s all done in a friendly way, but leaves no room for debate. There’s no way I’m going to lose sleep because of a guest that doesn’t know when to leave. :)

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Psyche September 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I recall that at my local library, one of the librarians, a notoriously sassy old woman, liked to walk around the library calling out that the library was closing and to “go home! I’m tired!” I was sad to hear she retired and died of cancer not long after.

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jena r September 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I too have no trouble shooing folks out. I just say something like, “Well, we’ve got some things to take care of, so we’ll need to let you go… Thanks for stopping by; this was great.”

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Nicole September 11, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Sadly, some people just don’t pick up the subtle (and not-so-subtle) social cues.
My friends and I have gotten pretty blunt about it, now. When we’re done playing hostess and and want to go to sleep, it’s a simple “I love you, now go away! “

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Kate September 12, 2012 at 3:11 am

Admin, I like your hint and have a person in mind to use it on.
My fiance and I have a good friend who we hate to invite over because he CANNOT take a hint to leave. He’s a great guy, but I think he gets a bit lonely on occasion and as a result can overstay his welcome. We have started doing the washing up when he’s still there, switched off the TV, changed into pyjamas and I’ve even taken out my uni books and started doing readings, all to no effect.

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squashedfrog September 12, 2012 at 3:31 am

My dad had a trick for people who just wouldn’t leave of a night even after several hints had been dropped, even when the “well, its been lovely to see you but I need to get up for work in the morning” had fallen on deaf ears.. He would go upstairs, put his ratty old PJs and slippers on, and then sit with his arms crossed theatrically yawning. They soon got the message.

My mum also had a habit of answering the phone when we were on our way out of the house for an appointment. She does not have the ability to ignore it, let it go to answerphone or just tell people that she can’t talk right now. Dad would go get the hoover, and then turn it on full blast and bump it at her feet around the house until she finally hung up.

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MizA September 12, 2012 at 4:05 am

I find calling cabs for people works quite well, as the folks way overstaying tend to be somewhat well-lubricated- The last thing I’d want is them driving. Nothing says “Well, g’bye now!” better than the warm yellow glow of a cab light beckoning you home.

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Katie2 September 12, 2012 at 6:01 am

OP, ever since I have read this story, I have become preoccupied with the idea of that pineapple tart. It sounds so delicious :)

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sv September 12, 2012 at 6:06 am

@Lo – Best. Story. Ever. Thanks for the morning laugh!!!

I have the “the just won’t leave!!” problem too, although mine is not with guests. My son has a friend who frequently comes over for visits and due to the location of our home, this requires the parents to drive him. These children are almost 12 – there is no need to walk them to the door or otherwise ensure that they have gotten in safely, and yet the father does this every time. His son immediately disappears into my house while the Dad has a nice, leisurely visit with my dogs – literally getting on the floor to pat them, or, because I have taken to meeting him outside in a desperate attempt to have control over the situation, on my porch or lawn. If I hide my dogs he will simply have a long, slow conversation with me. Time does not matter. On his last visit I actually stood in the shade in such a manner that I forced him to stand in the sun in the hopes that he would grow so uncomfortable that he would leave. Nope – he still stayed 45 minutes. What do you do about that? I’ve never met a person who didn’t pick up on SOME social cues!! And no, I have never gotten the vibe that he is somehow “hitting ” on me or anything like that…he simply never seems to be in a hurry to leave. It’s ridiculous, but short of saying, ” I’m closing the door now, goodbye” I can’t be any more obvious.

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2browneyes4 September 12, 2012 at 9:59 am

@ Lo: LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!! No more TGIF, you can now refer to that evening as “TGYF!!!” Too funny!!

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cromo September 12, 2012 at 10:21 am

@sv – Have you ever tried pretending to be on the phone when he drops off his son? You are otherwise occupied in conversation, you can point to the phone signaling that you can’t talk to him just then, wave goodbye and walk back in the house.

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MichelleP September 12, 2012 at 10:53 am

I love all the stories on here! You guys are awesome!

I have a question about the opposite scenario: my mother drilled it into my head to never overstay, so I’m always worried about it. I know all the cues and do my best to follow. My question is, I’m afraid I commit the opposite faux pas. I never make it obvious I want to leave, but I have been the unwilling guest and just be polite about leaving.

Once, I had a friend, more like a good acquaintance. She had a baby, and I asked to come see her and the newborn at the hospital. I called first, and she said she would love it. Her sister was there, and we had a nice chat. After a while, I had held the baby, we had talked, yadda yadda and I had to get to school. (College class) Her family had just shown up and there were only two chairs there. She told me over and over that I didn’t have to leave!! I told her I had had fun, but needed to get to school. She mentioned it several times after that, “Did we run you off?” and comments like, “I’m sorry you felt like you had to go!” I couldn’t convince her that I was perfectly fine with the visit and truly needed to leave. How do you leave when people don’t want you to?

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Shalamar September 12, 2012 at 11:35 am

Alas, Angeldrac, falling asleep on the couch isn’t necessarily the sign to leave that it should be. I have an unfortunate habit of falling asleep while we have friends over (in my own defense, it usually happens once midnight has come and gone), but said friends just stay and keep talking over my peacefully sleeping form. My husband has taken to pointedly yawning every five minutes when that happens, but that doesn’t always work either.

sv, my best suggestion for that father who won’t leave after dropping off his son is to put on an apron before you answer the door. Maybe sprinkle some flour on yourself for full effect. Before he starts talking, say “I’m afraid I can’t chat – I’m in the middle of baking a cake and have to get back to it, otherwise it’ll be ruined.” Then close the door in his face.

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