The Guests That Never Leave

by admin on December 18, 2014

I’d like to vent about my husband’s brother and sister-in-law. Just as I think they couldn’t possibly be as bad as I think they are and I am simply being uncharitable, something else comes up which reaffirms my view of them.

They live in a small town about 2 hours away, and we live in a larger city, so they enjoy coming here for shopping, baseball games, etc. but they treat us like we are a free hotel. My first real experience with them was just after we moved into our house. Like literally 3 days after we moved in. They moved in with us, or so it felt at the time. They came over on Friday and spent the night, which was fine, their plan was to spend one night with us and then go to a hotel for the next night or two. We all went to the mall on Saturday and next thing I know, DH is saying “They spent all their motel money and want to know if it’s OK if they stay with us again tonite.” What was I supposed to say? Then BIL found out he didn’t have to work on Monday so they invited themselves to stay Sunday night as well. It just went on and on and on, kinda like the Titanic song except without the Uillean pipes. Having people around kinda stresses me out, especially when we were still living out of boxes.

What’s next… must be this past summer, when they asked us to watch their 4-year-old daughter so they could go to a baseball game. We took her to Chuck E. Cheese and had a great time. But the next day they didn’t leave, again. I ended up entertaining our niece while they played games on our computers. It was finally about 9pm on Sunday night when DH had to go to his brother and basically kick them out. I think they were hoping we’d just give up and let them stay again or something. That’s the night they left the gate open (twice) and our dog got out and nearly got hit by a car (twice).

This past Christmas, we hosted my mom, sister & BIL for Christmas day dinner and were planning to got visit DH’s parents the following day. His parents live in the same town as my BIL and SIL, who were catching a red eye flight on Christmas night to visit her parents for a week. BIL & SIL had arranged to come to our house Christmas night so my husband could drive them to the airport. Fine, no biggie, we just asked them to come down later in the evening so we had plenty of time with my family. About 4pm, as we were sitting down to open presents, the phone rings and it’s my SIL. They had already left home and were on their way, and oh by the way, could we watch their dog while they’re gone? I repeat, they had ALREADY LEFT. I thought of several answers, none of which I wanted my own family to hear, so I handed the phone to my DH (who really is a dear, and in general a much more patient person than I). He reminded them that we were coming to their town the following day, and when she argued back, pointed out that our male dog was not fixed and he didn’t want to take the chance of unplanned puppies. She responded with “but our dog’s not in heat!” I’m not sure what he said to finally convince her, but they ended up turning around and taking the dog back to stay with someone during their absence.

Rumor has it that BIL & SIL are moving to Virginia soon. I’ll miss our niece. ๐Ÿ™‚ 0428-10

{ 156 comments… read them below or add one }

just4kicks December 18, 2014 at 2:53 am

What’s that saying on here? Poor planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part?
What nerve!
My darling only sister moved a few states away, many years ago. She has a very good girlfriend who still lives up here, is married and has no kids, their choice not to have any. When my sis and her kids come up to visit, she dumps her kids off on me or my folks, and bar hops with this chick….every night of her stay, whether it three days or a week. Since my kids don’t see her son or daughter alot, one time five years ago (my sis and I haven’t spoken in three years) I planned a special sleepover at our house for all the kids. We got lots of movies and snacks, and….that’s the first and last time I hosted her kids at my house. My kids aren’t perfect, but hers are ill mannered, impolite brats. “What movies did you get?!? We don’t WANT to watch those! Ugh! What kind of popcorn IS THIS?!? It sucks!!!” You get the idea. Around three am, I hear my (8 year old) niece screaming downstairs. I flew out of bed to see what happened. Niece “wasn’t sleepy yet!!!” So she woke her brother and they were playing hide and seek, at THREE AM! I admit I lost my temper, and told them to go to bed….NOW! Of course tears flowed, and at six am sharp, they called their mom to say come get us now, we hate it here, auntie is stupid and mean to us! My sis showed up at noon and read me the riot act for being so mean to her kids that I hardly ever see! They pull the same crap at my folks house, and a huge fight ensued when my sis overheard our Dad say to our Mom, “Jesus! I’d rather watch K’ s (mine) kids for a month than “Sue’ s” kids for one more hour!”

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Ladyofsighs December 18, 2014 at 7:53 am

I am afraid growing a pair of iron spines is a bit urgent…

I do not wish to sound harsh, but I also feel a bit sad when people tend to confuse being “a dear” or “being very patient” with being a doormat. None of this would have happened if OP or her husband had put their foot down at the very beginning.

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Ladyofsighs December 18, 2014 at 7:55 am

(oh shoot, this is not where I wanted to comment at all… I do apologize profusely, Just4kicks, my comment was not directed towards you but towards OP.)

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just4kicks December 18, 2014 at 1:32 pm

@Ladyofsighs: LOL! Actually your post does pertain to me, as my polite spine is only a few years old! ๐Ÿ™‚
My pre-coffee brain went off the rails a little before, I had meant to say, my sis is one of those “doesn’t get the hint– it’s time to GO” folks. My polite spine, with her, at least, kicked in the day one of my kids (who used to get very car sick) was throwing up in my folks car after an outing. My sis and kids were visiting that week, and my sis had the nerve to reach across my vomiting son to get her daughter out of the car, because little precious cannot be around vomit. Ummm, can we get the child who actually IS throwing up out of the car, please?!? Your Angel can wait one damn minute!!!

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Anonymous December 18, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Maybe your sister was doing everyone a favour, if her daughter was a “sympathetic vomiter.” I had a friend like that, who told me a story from her childhood. She was about ten years old, and she was in the car with her parents, sitting between her two younger brothers in the back seat. At one point in their journey, they stopped to get strawberry milkshakes. A while later, after the milkshakes had been consumed, one brother got carsick, and threw up…..then the other one……and then my friend. To this day, she can’t even stand the SMELL of anything strawberry-flavoured (real strawberries are fine, just not artificial flavouring), without feeling sick to her stomach. So, maybe if your niece had the same problem as my friend, your sister felt that getting her out of the car right away was a good idea, so there wouldn’t be twice the mess.

just4kicks December 19, 2014 at 3:13 am

Anonymous: you raise a very valid point, however that was not the case in this particular situation. My sis flies under the “if my kids want it….it shall be!!!” She was the first to reach the back seat, where I thought she was grabbing my son out of the car. Her daughter was whining about my son throwing up, so my sis was getting her out (reaching over my son) because “EWWWW!!” ” ‘C’ is throwing up! It’s so gross! Get me outta here!”
Now, I’m not the perfect mom, and don’t have perfect angels myself…but come on!
My mom, seeing what was going on said “Sue! She can wait a minute! Let’s get “C” out.” Which started a fight between my sis and my mom, and my niece pouting the rest of the day.

Margo December 18, 2014 at 4:21 am

Wow! At least it sounds as though your DH is willing and able to stand up to them, and that you and he present a united front.

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Kimstu December 18, 2014 at 6:36 am

“I’m afraid we cannot comply with your request.”

All the fuming and resentment in the world, however justified, won’t accomplish anything if you and your husband don’t put your connubial foot down and keep it there. If you give his brother and SIL chances to take advantage of you, they will take them.

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Bluenote December 18, 2014 at 6:47 am

They sound pushy, but here’s a question for the OP: When they were treating you like a free hotel/babysitting service, did you ever explicitly say no?

Annoying as they may be, you can’t change their behaviour, only your response to it. I think that a firm refusal would have prevented a lot of the problems you are complaining about.

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Treasure December 18, 2014 at 7:19 am

It may sound weird, but I’m almost certain Ive read this before in the archives. It sounds really familiar.

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Amy A. December 18, 2014 at 11:06 am

I agree. When I started reading this, I was sure I’d already read it somewhere.

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Shannan December 18, 2014 at 11:12 am

Sounds familiar to me as well……Deja vu, no?

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Ellie December 18, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Same here. Was there another story about someone trying to leave their dog with them as they were heading out of town? That was the part that rung a bell for me.

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doodlemor December 18, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I know that I’ve read the dog part somewhere else on ehell.

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Vrinda December 18, 2014 at 5:37 pm
Pax December 19, 2014 at 9:38 am

Hello Vrinda,

I’m the OP for the story you referenced…when I read this one it gave me flashbacks!

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Miss-E December 18, 2014 at 10:10 pm

You are so right!! I knew I had this before too!

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Miss-E December 18, 2014 at 10:36 pm

And here it is: http://www.etiquettehell.com/?p=1798

Five years ago. Wonder if they moved to Virginia after all!

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Ellie December 19, 2014 at 7:42 pm

So it is the exact same! I was thinking it was two similar stories.

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Ladyofsighs December 28, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Good grief, indeed! It’s the same exact story!

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ketchup December 18, 2014 at 7:27 am

Just be friendly, polite and most of all FIRM. Make detailed appointments and don’t let them deviate from those. Do not apologise. Don’t say: I’m sorry, but no. Just say: no.

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Anonymous December 18, 2014 at 8:33 am

I was right in the middle of replying, with suggestions of “outside venue, fixed amount of time” activities you could do with BIL and SIL, they moved to Virginia (presumably too far away from you for spontaneous visits), so that’s kind of fixed itself. I say “kind of,” because, as Ray from Everybody Loves Raymond told Debra, when they were in the process of choosing their first house (flashback episode, anyone see it?) that they wanted houses in the “middle zone” of proximity to Frank and Marie, Raymond’s parents who argued constantly, and also invited themselves to Ray and Debra’s apartment at the time. That’s because, if they lived too close, they could pop over whenever, BUT too far away, and any time they visited, they’d automatically become overnight guests. Of course, everyone knows how it plays out–the best (or only) available house for Ray and Debra is right next door (or right across the street, or something) from Frank and Marie, which makes up the premise of the whole series.

Anyway, OP, since life isn’t a TV show, here’s the sticking point–if you ever want to see SIL and BIL again (and I’d imagine that your husband will), you can’t just invite them over for a few hours, and then send them on their way, so you might have to pre-emptively say something like, “Oh, you’ll have to stay at a hotel; we don’t have room at our house right now.” If they press, you could either make up some excuse (“We’re using the guest room as storage at the moment”), or even telling the truth and citing examples of them overstaying their welcome and taking advantage of your generosity in the past. You could always guide them to a nearby hotel, but make it clear that your house isn’t an option. If you don’t want to make waves by telling the truth, you could always use the “storage” excuse (and with Christmas coming up, it’s plausible), and then, if the in-laws started respecting boundaries more, you could “suddenly decide” to clear out the guest room, and welcome them back into it.

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Tracy W December 19, 2014 at 4:20 am

No, don’t make excuses. Excuses can be argued with. Just say “Oh terribly sorry that we can’t have you to stay, but it’s just not possible right now.”
And repeat as necessary until they give up.

And, this statement can be true: you’re terribly sorry that they’re ingrates who try to treat you as a doormat, and the reason that it’s impossible is that you just can’t bring yourself to put up with them for a second longer.

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 5:40 pm

I’ve never lived in a house that had a guest room. It was boot someone out of their bed, make up the couch, or guests sleep on the floor.

Some guests are OK with that, even the sleeping on the floor (usually younger ones), and for my elders (older than my own parents), I didn’t mind giving up my bed to sleep on the floor for a few nights.

However, both my mother and I were ticked off, once, when I gave up my bed to sleep on a love-seat (not a full-length couch), while an elderly aunt visited. We were not ticked off because I gave up my bed, but because she made the comment that it was nice my mother had a guest room, and she could “always accommodate visitors.” My mother said, “No, that’s my daughter’s room.” The next time the aunt visited, we rented a folding bed and I slept in the kitchen. In the middle of the night, it folded on me! That was an adventure, and we got a good laugh out of it.

The point is, the lack of a guest bedroom won’t really stop people who really want to sleep at your house. I suppose you could turn your guest room into a craft room, and swap out your couch for several easy chairs, so that renting a bed or sleeping on the floor really is the only option. But then, your guests will expect the hosts to be the ones to sleep in the rented bed and/or floor.

Best to determine what level of hospitality works for you, and develop the spine to enforce it. “No, that’s my daughter’s bedroom,” is a perfectly valid statement. If the guest does take the room, she needs to express gratitude to the person giving up the room, as well as the heads of household for inviting the guest to stay. Such gracious gratitude is what allows the hosts to feel up to making some sacrifices to host the gracious, grateful guest again. And such gracious grateful guests might very well find themselves invited to stay in an actual guest room, when the host family situation changes, such as when children move out and rooms become empty.

If they are not gracious, grateful guests, and you never want them staying over again, but you do want to enjoy familial visits, then may I suggest something along these lines: “Dinner was lovely. Hey, let’s meet for brunch tomorrow. There’s a lovely breakfast-style restaurant right close to your hotel. Oh, you’re not staying at X hotel? What hotel are you staying at? We can find some place close to that hotel, instead.” And if they say that they want to stay with you, “Oh, no, we couldn’t possibly put you out like that. Sleeping on the floor will be so uncomfortable for you.”

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Lera99 December 18, 2014 at 8:40 am

It sounds like your husband’s brother and sister in law are users.
They know that people don’t want to be seen as “mean” so they take advantage.
They put you in a position where they can act like you are being unreasonable if you don’t drop everything and comply with their wishes.

The only way to deal with people like this is to consistently say “No”.

– “I’m sorry you spent all your money at the mall. But we are still living out of boxes. I’m not prepared to host you for another evening. So sorry you have to cut your visit short. Have a safe trip home.”

-“It has been lovely spending the day with your daughter. Have a safe trip home!”

– “I’m so sorry. We aren’t prepared to receive you. As we discussed, my family is here celebrating the holidays. We’ll be happy to see you at 9pm as originally arranged.”

– “No. We will not be able to take care of your dog. Would you like the yellow pages so you can find a place to board it?”

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 5:41 pm

This.

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SweetPea December 18, 2014 at 8:44 am

I feel like I’ve read this story on here before, or at least one(s) very similar. I’ll consider myself blessed that I’ve never been in a situation where someone tried to take advantage of my hospitality like that. The nerve of some people!!

Anyway, to the story at hand, it seems like you and your husband are in the process of developing your polite spines – good for you! In the future, should they ask for an above and beyond request before they move away, I would treat it like any other request that you don’t want to do. What I mean is, if someone asks me, “hey Sweetpea, want to go see that new horror flick” I would say “no, I’m sorry, I don’t like them. Thanks though!” In that same vein, if someone asked me (particularly, right after moving) if they could stay a few unplanned days with me, the answer might be “oh sorry, unfortunately I have other plans. Next time though, if you give me some advance warning, we might be able to make it work! Have a great weekend!”

It appears to me that they have a habit if intentionally putting themselves in a position where you will feel guilty if you turn them away. Not acceptable – they can easily drive the two hours home, and I’m sure the lesson will sink in.

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Dublin December 18, 2014 at 8:58 am

So what you are saying is that you are annoyed that your family wants to spend time with you.

I am very close to my brother and wish there wasn’t so much distance between us so we could just hang out more and visit like your family. We grew up in a manner where family members came and went and a front door wasn’t never locked to a relative. Its a good thing. You aren’t saying this happens every week or that they eat all your food or take advantage of you but that a few times they stayed longer then you wished. I don’t see that as being that big a deal. Certainly not enough to justify the “good riddance” sentiment you ended with. Sure that stuff is annoying but it sounds like you spouse has no problem setting boundaries when it happens. Which doesn’t sound like often according to your post. Why don’t you try enjoying the company and your niece instead of sitting there stewing. Also, a warning, be careful you don’t draw a line between your husband and his family. That’s not right or fair of you either.

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Jinx December 18, 2014 at 10:35 am

While having a close family is great, I think it’s only polite for anyone to up front state how many days they are planning on staying with you, so that you can plan meals and times that you’re doing things.

There are many people I adore and love spending time with, but if I unexpectedly found out that I had to host people for several days in a row, I would have to change my whole schedule to accommodate them. Which even if I love you, once I probably suck it up, but after it happened a few times, I’d be a little put out. I think it’s only appropriate that you tell your hosts how many days you intend to stay with them.

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Girlie December 18, 2014 at 10:50 am

I agree— it’s different if you have agreed on a certain number of days and if the guests all of a sudden decide to stay another day— there’s nothing worse especially when they do it all the time because you have your own schedule and it just messes everything up. If only the OP had kids, she could definitely use them as a great excuse! lol.. but I guess it doesn’t come down to excuses, rather just standing up for your space and hosting effort.

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Dublin December 18, 2014 at 11:02 am

I agree with you. They were being a bit presumptuous and I can see how this would be annoying. My point is that none of this seems like something that warrants the overall tone of the post that ends with a “thank god they are moving and I wont have to deal with them any more”. That’s a bit extreme and petty for the examples the OP cited. In two of the three examples, the husband handled it just fine by asking them to leave and saying no to the dog. Its done and over with so why is the OP still fussing. She sounds like a bit of a drama queen and making mountains out of mole hills. Get over it, its family and while annoyances happen, this is hardly worth cutting or limiting ties with them especially when a child is involved. Like you said, I would be A LITTLE BIT put out.

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Tracy P December 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm

I’m sorry, but you’re coming across as someone that thinks people should lay down and let others walk all over them “because they’re FAAAMILY!”

The OP and DH were used as un-asked babysitters and free hotel. That they’re family makes it even worse.

And I taking a wild guess that this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m betting BIL and wife are users in other ways too.

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JackieJormpJomp December 18, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Have to agree. It’s a bit annoying, but people can be. And part of having a family who feels close is having a family who feels at home. Sometimes that backfires into a visitor getting too comfortable, but by the same token, the “we need some space and quiet” is taken with a (relative) amount of relaxation.

It’s okay that the OP disliked the above, but the sheer amount of vitriol seems completely disproportionate. Especially the part about arriving early for a night over (the notion that introducing the sis to her parents would ruin the evening seems snobbish.)

Though the dog thing is very presumptuous, no question.

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Maybe the sister and the parents are oil and water, and the OP knows it. I know there are some friends of mine who will never be introduced to each other by me, because I know them well enough to know they would clash. Snobbery has nothing to do with it. It’s more about political fervor, in this case.

As to the “but it’s family,” thing – my family used to live near Disney World, and we had lots of visits from relatives, which was fun. We would save up and plan trips to the various theme parks, and all was good. But my father’s brother had a recurring habit of simply showing up, announcing that he and his family were staying for the week, and expecting us to drop everything to take them around town. We enjoyed their company greatly. Nevertheless, it was annoying having to reschedule everything. As a child, if my parents told me “Sorry, you’ll have to cancel X activity, because Joe is here, and we’re doing Y, instead,” I didn’t have the right or ability to assert a polite spine, and say, “Sorry, I cannot accommodate that request, and we will be doing X, instead.” So, I fully felt the annoyance of being forced to change my schedule, even when I did enjoy the new activity. The issue wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the company, or the activity, but that it had been forced upon me, and I did have to give up other things because of it.

The OP and her husband, on the other hand, have the right and ability to stand firm on their own plans. They would be doing their own children a favor by doing so.

The process of growing that polite spine can be rather painful. I’m glad to she OP and her husband are moving well along the process.

Renee December 18, 2014 at 4:57 pm

You are right. The OP’s husband handled the situations as they happened. However they should have never happened in the first place. You don’t take advantage of people the way SIL and BIL were doing. You just don’t treat people that way.

So yes, the husband defused the situation but the SIL and BIL should have never created a situation to defuse in the first place.

I have a polite spine but I rarely need to use it. Reason being, the people in my life don’t try to take advantage of each other. It’s all about respect. Regardless of being friends or family. You don’t assume it’s ok to bring you dog to another person’s home. You don’t show up hours before your scheduled time unless you ask first. You don’t use people as your impromptu babysitter and you certainly do not stay at someone’s home after your previously arranged departure date.

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gb December 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Not every family member is enjoyable, not every family operates the same. Assumptions about the OP’s relationship with her or her husband’s family are only going to take this beyond the etiquette question.

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cdubz December 18, 2014 at 11:22 am

Did you even read the submission? This isn’t a case of BIL and SIL wanting to spend time with them, it’s BIL and SIL wanting a free hotel with maid service to stay at so they can visit the city. She even says that came over and just played computer games. Not exactly my idea of family bonding time.

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iwadasn December 18, 2014 at 11:35 am

There’s a big difference between spending time with someone and just taking advantage of them. It doesn’t sound like the brother and SIL really want to spend time with their family; they just want a free hotel, daycare, and boarding kennel. And I don’t care how much you love your family, I doubt you would be happy if they invited themselves for a three-day stay while you were still unpacking from a move to a new house.

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Heather December 18, 2014 at 11:58 am

I agree with you, Dublin. The only issue I agree with OP on is with the assumption about the dog… and her husband took care of that. It doesn’t appear as if they asked to stay the night and ended up staying a month! She even admits in her post that having people around kind of stresses her out. I believe that’s her problem. Family members who want to be with you and don’t really wear out their welcome or do anything too manipulative or aggressive are part of the deal. The positives you get out of it outweigh the minor annoyances.

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Tracy P December 18, 2014 at 2:43 pm

As iwadasn says above you, the OP and DH aren’t getting any positives out of this. They BIL and wife play computer games and go out all night leaving their daughter to be babysat.

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hakayama December 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Yes, @Dublin, anybody and everybody is perfectly justified in not wanting any company, no matter how loving and loved, right after moving into new premises. Not even for an hour. Not even if one is terrifically organized, down to the last silver fork. Not even if one has a well trained staff to respond to every beck and call.
What OP’s family lacks is tact. And a sense of empathy. Also they lack imagination, which is not needed just for purposes of artistic expression, but for every day situations. Y’know, the “cause and effect” thingie…
As in: these folks just are undergoing an experience that, according to those who study these things, in terms of stress is only second to the loss of a spouse. This is not exactly the time to be gracious in making anyone a cuppa, much less putting them up for days…
As for the “oops, money spent”, that is either an outright calculated lie to cover up stinginess, or a complete lack of responsibility. I am not sure which is a worse sin. And to think that these people are raising children, the future of the nation. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Yarnspinner December 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm

I think I see what you did there!

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lakey December 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Hanging out with siblings is all well and good, but in this day and age many people are dealing with both spouses working full time jobs, plus having to do all the work of maintaining a home, plus having children to care for, plus having their children’s activities to deal with. They simply can’t handle having houseguests for entire weekends very often, because weekends are the only time they have to do all the stuff that they can’t do during the week.

And yes, it is a big deal when you expected to be able to spend at least part of your weekend grocery shopping, mowing the lawn, doing laundry, and cleaning, in addition to taking kids to sports practices. I have 5 brothers and sisters and spend friendly time with all of them. That is possible because 4 of the 5 respect boundaries, and the fifth has been taught to.

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Ellie December 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm

What do house guests and fish have in common? They both start to stink after a couple of days.

Being with family is wonderful. I’m glad you had such a warm upbringing. But it doesn’t sound like it’s a personality conflict here, it’s the overstaying their welcome and taking advantage that’s the problem. And yes, it absolutely sounds like she’s being taken advantage of. Especially with inviting themselves to stay because they didn’t stick to their budget for a hotel room, or by not planning ahead to have somewhere for their dog to stay so trying to dump it on them last minute knowing they would be traveling also. OP shouldn’t have to feel guilty for wanting her own space after a while, or for at least having a clear idea of how long she must plan to entertain. She has a life and it doesn’t have to revolve around their whims.

I can agree with you on the not drawing a line between husband and in-laws. It is tricky territory when you aren’t a fan of your spouse’s family. But it sounds like a united front in this case.

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vjcole December 18, 2014 at 1:26 pm

I don’t care how close your family is – it’s common courtesy for people to see if it’s convenient for them to pay you a visit, and if there’s extra requests above and beyond normal hospitality – like watching their dog – they should be asking WAY ahead of time. I used to have a problem like this with my ex-inlaws. My mother-in-law – who in most ways was a great person – thought nothing of just dropping by our house unannounced. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy seeing her, BUT – 1) we spent the better part of pretty much every single Sunday with the family – went to church, went out for lunch, then went back to their house to visit. 2) My husband was a security guard and worked odd hours – so when we WERE both at home, we enjoyed having time to ourselves. I would say that 9 out of 10 times, if she had called first, I would have said, “Sure, come on by” – but it was the lack of courtesy shown by NOT calling that was annoying.

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Ergala December 18, 2014 at 3:53 pm

My home my rules. Just because I have a house somewhere everyone wants to visit does not mean I am required to have an open door policy.

I don’t mind company, my husband and kids love it when people drop in. However if you stay more than 1 or 2 days I am going to start getting cranky. This is my home, my escape. I don’t like tripping over other people’s stuff. We have a smaller house and it’s quite cozy, so when you bring in suitcases I do end up having to step over them at some point. When my kids go to bed I keep it quiet in the house. Not for them but for me. I very rarely get peace and quiet so the last thing I want to do is have a conversation. I want to sit down in the living room, light the fireplace and either read a good book or watch a movie that doesn’t have a G rating. After that I go to bed….and I don’t want to hear the TV going in the living room either.

Yes I am picky and have a routine, but for someone with my mental illness I absolutely NEED that routine. The over stimulation is maddening for me. A lot of people don’t understand and think I am just being a stick in the mud. Well no I’m not…I am trying to keep my sanity. My house my rules.

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Kate December 28, 2014 at 5:25 am

I’m of a similar view, Ergala. I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, so a significant break in routine for me constitutes my partner doing the washing instead of me. Unexpected house guests with no time frame would send me into a panic.

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Goldie December 18, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I had to go back and re-read the letter to see if I missed the part where OP’s BIL and SIL keep coming over for the enjoyment of her and her husband’s company… nope. They kept coming over for free lodging, free babysitting, and free pet-sitting. Oh, and apparently, computer gaming, which they seemed to prefer to OP’s and her husband’s company. And yes, entertaining houseguests is work and extra expenses that I personally would like to plan ahead for. Also, I cannot imagine any of my relatives unexpectedly dropping by for three days AFTER I JUST MOVED, unless it’s to help me unpack.

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BJ December 18, 2014 at 5:32 pm

I agree. People on Etiquette Hell seem to act as if having friends and family at their house is akin to getting a dose of the plague. It is an attitude I had never encountered until I read this website and I find it incredibly sad. People have become so insular and selfish.

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NostalgicGal December 18, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Or those posts you are reading are of that slant. We post the stuff that is like that. I have many family and friends I love to have over and we have great times. Then there are those that take the cake, topper, serving platter and server. The last batch are the ones that get posted about.

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Kimstu December 18, 2014 at 10:26 pm

@BJ: “People on Etiquette Hell seem to act as if having friends and family at their house is akin to getting a dose of the plague.”

Eh, no they don’t, actually. They just don’t like it when their friends and family inconsiderately take advantage of their hospitality.

@BJ: “It is an attitude I had never encountered until I read this website and I find it incredibly sad.”

If you think about it a minute, it’ll dawn on you that it kind of stands to reason that you would “encounter” an “attitude” of resentment towards rude behavior on a website SPECIFICALLY INTENDED FOR COMPLAINING ABOUT RUDE BEHAVIOR.

Most posters on Ehell do in fact get along just fine with their family and friends most of the time, but we don’t bother writing in about it, because that’s not what this website is for.

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just4kicks December 19, 2014 at 11:59 am

@BJ: chiming in my two cents here…there are friends and family who are welcome any day, any time. We do like entertaining most of the time. However, there are those in our circle who have taken advantage of our hospitality, and we are just not willing to spend the time and money to entertain them.
Example: we used to hang out with another family who had kids close to our kids ages. We would alternate visits at each other’s houses. Until we realized that the hospitality was very one sided. If they were coming over here, my husband would get a text from the hubby telling him what top shelf liquor or expensive wine he and his wife were currently “into”. Not trying to be cheap at all, but after several visits where we shelled out maybe $200.00 dollars for expensive booze and food, (we really have a hankering for lobster/ribeyes/etc!) And then going to their house (they have a much larger home/expensive cars etc) and them throwing hot dogs on the grill (“oh! On your way over could you get rolls, chips, some dessert….I think we are out of mustard too!”)….we cooled our friendship with them. And no….It’s not about who spends more, it’s more of a “we served you lobster and cognac….And we got hot dogs and water (I’m not joking!). Gets to be very one sided.

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just4kicks December 19, 2014 at 12:34 pm

And, yes, for the record: I’m completely aware that my husband and I could’ve just said NO to any/all requests.

hakayama December 20, 2014 at 9:08 am

Ah yes, @just4kicks… From my first youth, I recall the style of friends of the family. Dinner at their house involved cutlets, chops or other “main meat” pieces counted out right down to the precise number of people at the table, veggies and sides looked lovely but also on the skimpy side. You see, the hosts were on a slimming diet.
At dinnertime in my parents’ home, dieting was set aside and serious “competition chow down” would take place.

just4kicks December 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm

@hakayama: I realize I sound petty and cheap with my comments about the one sided hospitality. And, yes, we have all had “lean” weeks where getting king crab legs were out of the question. But, the third or fourth time they pulled this crap on us, we started to catch on, and started refusing invitations from this couple. Once, when we were invited over, my hubby pulled the “text trick” where he said “Hey! How about if you guys supply the steaks and we will bring wine and dessert?!?” The reply was, “hmmmm, well….not this week. I think we have burgers in the freezer.” Burgers are great! See y’all this weekend! When we get there, the grill is fired up with burgers and dogs….great! Looks and smells wonderful guys…Thanks for the invite.
As we sit down to dinner, one of their kids mentions to us casually, “wow! You guys should of come over LAST NIGHT….we grilled the best steaks I’ve ever had! ….And mom was hungry for clams….we had a surf n turf FEAST!!!”
Really, now? You don’t say! And yes, I know how expensive American cheese is lately, of COURSE half a piece is fine on my burger.

Yarnspinner December 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

When did not wanting to host users become “insular and selfish”? These people don’t come to visit their relatives. They come to USE them like free baby sitters, waiters and chefs. They come to play games on the OP’s computer while the OP and her husband watch the kids. They drop the kids and go out every night. That is not a desire for family closeness…that is an entitlement for free stuff. BIG difference?

I have relatives who I will open my door to and happily host forever if need be. They are the ones who come to sit, chat, and have fun together. The ones who want to visit because I happen to live near Big City with Lots of Attractions and Expensive Hotels? The ones who want to use my home like a hotel, eat my food (for free) and don’t bother to help or chip in and then walk off with some books or DVD they happened to want? Yeah, no, they can stay home and I don’t ever need to see them.

If that’s being insular and selfish, well, it’s a new definition for me! It used to be called “entitled, rude and self centered”. I guess that has changed.

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Yarnspinner December 19, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Oops..I meant the behavior of the visiting relations was entitled, rude and self centered. If it’s insular and selfish to expect visitors not to USE you, well, that’s a new one on me.

gb December 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm

There are people on ehell that will break down your every sentence to mess with. I think it’s ironic on an etiquette website. Sometimes I won’t read comments because some are so far off the topic. This isn’t seem on the private message board so much, but a lot here.

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Markko December 19, 2014 at 9:10 am

That depends entirely on the relatives. A dose of the plague is EXACTLY what a visit from my relatives is like.

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 6:19 pm

I’m very blessed in my current crop of relatives.

Current crop? Yes, because some have died, and others have had the ties cut between me and them. For example, I will not invite the convicted murderer over to stay the weekend. I might meet him a local restaurant, however that is unlikely.

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Goldie December 19, 2014 at 9:22 am

Well, in my 18 years living here, I’ve never encountered people just popping by their friends and family’s homes unannounced whenever the mood strikes them. Or coming to visit as houseguests and then never leaving. Everyone I know in real life seems to respect their friends and family’s time and resources. And you’re right that with the ones who don’t have such respect, having them over is indeed like getting the dose of the plague, even if they’re family.

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Ergala December 19, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Anybody who comes to my home and takes advantedge of my hospitality under the guide of spending time with my family and I only to do the opposite is a plague. I have a friend who simply does not understand about short stays. He is absolutely clueless and I can take him in very very small doses. But because he lives with his dad and doesn’t have a job he doesn’t really have a pressing need to return home. You invite him over for a weekend and he will stay a week. He also brings his computer and is playing world of Warcraft the entire time….he barely talks to us. I no longer invite him over however he still will ask if he can come over and if I say no because of xyz he will go on to tell me doesn’t mind if I’m busy, sick, kids are sick…whatever. I find myself justifying why don’t want company in my own home and it makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

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Tanya December 20, 2014 at 1:56 am

That’s why you don’t need to give an excuse when you say no.

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 6:21 pm

“But, whyyyyyyy?”

“Because BACON!”

Bacon is always a valid reason for everything. Absolutely unassailable. How can anyone argue with bacon?

Well, maybe a vegan or vegetarian.

“Because Texturized Vegetable Protein!”

cdubz December 22, 2014 at 8:56 am

“No” is a complete sentence. You do not have to justify why you do not want company in your home.

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Kate December 28, 2014 at 5:28 am

I see it as being similar to the news. You could watch the nightly news and say “only terrible things ever happen in the world, you never hear about people having ordinary nice days”. Well, it happens, but it’s not worth reporting on because it’s not unusual. Same with this website. Why would you write in to Etiquette Hell about a charming Christmas lunch with your loving extended family, where everyone was courteous and nothing went wrong? Not newsworthy.

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm

This sounds like:

“I’m a podiatrist. For some reason, all of the people who come into my office complain about their feet!”

This is Etiquette HELL, not “I Have Polite Relatives.com”

I’m sure that most, though not all, of the posters here have many happy memories of family visits that went well. I sure do! And yes, some of the posters here really do have toxic family, so that NO visit from those people would be happy. That IS sad, but not because of the posters’s attitude. Some relatives really are toxic.

The truth is, though, that it’s not as sad as it seems on the surface. On average, people do get along well with their family. On average, people are sociable and generous. We’re just not reading about averages here.

If you’re looking for happy stuff, keep checking in on Fridays. It’s not always funny videos. Sometimes we get “The Perfect Bride (TM)” postings, or “Exceptional Graciousness” postings. These things are usually posted on Feel Good Friday.

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Ai December 19, 2014 at 10:31 am

Okay my opinion; my brother and his wife are planning on moving closer to me. I am ESTATIC for this. My MIL and FIL are only an hour away and I am grateful to have them nearby as well as extraordinarily happy that my brother and my SIL are gonna be close. That’s great to me!

But my MIL and FIL don’t come by all the time and just play computer games. They don’t drop in unannounced. They don’t make up lies about getting a hotel and then go ‘OOPSIES! All our money is gone. Can we STAAAAAAAAAAAY?” If my brother and SIL started to use me as a babysitter or dogsitter on a whim, my happiness would change into dread and resentment, because instead of feeling like I am spending time with my family, I would feel used. I wouldn’t be too happy being used, no matter how close I am to the person.

Not only that, but if the situation were reversed, if I decided to crash in on my brother three days after he and his wife just moved into a new place, with little to no notice, without offering to HELP them UNPACK, I’m sure my brother would kick me to the curb. Not because he’s mean, but because he just moved and probably would like sometime alone with his wife to get settled in and get rid of some boxes. The BIL and SIL here sound selfish. I don’t blame the OP for her vitriol at all; I’m sure there are many more incidents than she described.

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm

I’m very close to my sister, but we learned long ago that we CANNOT share sleeping quarters. We get along like two peas in a pod, when it’s time to be awake, but as soon as sleep becomes an issue, we fight like cats and dogs, if forced to share sleeping quarters. Meanwhile, my other sister and I turn every night together into a slumber party, which made for much sleep deprivation when we shared a room for a while. Neither case was good long-term.

It’s possible to be close and welcoming to family members, and still not want to host them for an overnight stay, due to personal dynamics. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We have to take care of our own needs, or we won’t be able to accommodate anyone else’s needs. Put your air mask on yourself, before putting it on your children.

Yes, accidents and emergencies happen. The first time they overstayed, it was fine to suck it up for the night. However, they made a habit of it, and that is not something the hosts should just suck up.

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AnaMaria December 18, 2014 at 9:22 am

The dog-thing just kills me; it sounds like your dogs have never met? How can they think they can just drop theirs on you and hope they get along, risk or no risk of unplanned puppies? Easy solution to pet care: find a trusted tweenage neighbor, give them a house key, and ask them to come to your house daily or even twice a day (if they can work around school) to care for the pet and give it some human interaction (heck, they can bring your mail in, too!). I did this all the time for my neighbors and it gave me my animal fix, since there were allergies in my home and we couldn’t have pets. My neighbors usually insisted on paying me around $20, which was a lot of money to me at the time but far less than the cost of a kennel (or the amount that you would owe someone for preparing their home for your pet, watching said pet 24-7, and then cleaning up after the pet left!).

Glad your husband sticks up for the two of you!!

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 6:30 pm

That’s a great solution! I have done that sort of thing before, as well. A few times, I actually stayed in the house, and house-sat, because the animals were needy, and the house needed someone to look after it. Other times, it was “Come in and water the plants on X, Y, and Z days.”

If you plan in advance, you can stop mail and paper delivery, and now you can get these nifty devices to turn your lights and electronics on and off and pre-determined times, to make your house look lived in. If you don’t plan in advance, you really do need the human element, even without pets to consider.

I consider house-sitting of some for or another a necessary traveling expense, just like transportation, hotel and restaurants.

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Wendy B. December 18, 2014 at 9:28 am

“You got Monday off? That’s wonderful! You can spend a day relaxing at your house! Bye!”
“You brought your dog? There’s a nice kennel down the street…”
“I’m sorry, we weren’t expecting you and we have plans. No, I can’t change them.”

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BeachMum December 18, 2014 at 9:39 am

I could tell the same stories exactly as OP. For example, SIL was coming to town last week for a business trip on Wednesday. I told her that we couldn’t see her because the kids had a class right after school and then we had a music recital. She seemed fine with it.

However, on Wednesday, she called right after she arrived to say that she might come over to my house since her aunt doesn’t have WiFi and, it turned out, wasn’t even home. Before I had a chance to say that it wasn’t a good time, she hung up. She spent the afternoon ‘working’ from my home, which meant chatting with me and having me make tea or a snack for her.

Yes, I need to grow a polite spine, but this is the one area where DH won’t support me. He felt that it was fine for her to come over (even though Starbucks has WiFi and they didn’t have a million things that didn’t get done that afternoon because of guests). She’s a royal pain, but at least she lives several sates over.

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Renita December 18, 2014 at 10:07 am

If your SIL insists on using your house like a Starbucks, I would have continued on my afternoon chores and errands. “There’s the teapot, I’ve got to run out.”

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 6:37 pm

I have done this sort of thing with family, as well. “Oh, your place is being sprayed for bugs and you need a place to hang out for a few hours? Well, I’ve got classes, but you’re welcome to hang out. You know where the fridge is.”

Been on the receiving end, and the giving end. As long as people don’t abuse the situation, it’s fine. Also, they need to go into the situation with BOTH parties knowing that is what the situation will be. Honest expectations make for good relationships.

There are SOME nearby relations to whom I have given keys, and when I changed the locks, I gave them new keys. They earned the right, and never abused it. Some people should never be given keys to your home. It’s all pretty much dependent on the individual.

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Miss-E December 18, 2014 at 10:22 pm

I have an aunt that does the same thing. She lives out in the country and my parents live in the ‘burbs outside of a big city and she treats their home like a rest stop. She is constantly making and breaking plans with them, always expecting that they will just be around when she turns up.

A few weeks ago she was supposed to have dinner with all of us but decided at the very last second to change it to lunch…only she forgot to inform anyone of this. She turned up at my parents house, much to my mother’s surprise, expecting to go to lunch. My mother told her my dad was out, as they weren’t expecting her for hours. Aunt came inside anyway and hung around, eventually asking my mother for tea and lunch. My mom waved her in the direction of the kitchen saying “help yourself, I just ate”. I’m hoping that made some impression on her but that remains to be seen…

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 6:33 pm

And she didn’t even go to the kids’ music recital?

The polite thing for her to have done would be to say, “A recital? Oh, boy! OK, I’ll hang out at Starbucks and meet you at the recital. Perhaps I can take you all out for ice cream afterwards, so we can celebrate, and have a little bit of time to chat, before you go home to bed.” Then, praise the child’s recital performance, and say how glad you were to be able to be there in town at the right time to see it.

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JeanLouiseFinch December 18, 2014 at 10:09 am

Next time they want to stay, you could tell them that the last guests had bedbugs and none of the guest beds can be used right now.

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Jinx December 18, 2014 at 10:24 am

I once had my brother stay with me in my home while I was studying for spring finals. there was an event near me he wanted to go to with his family, so I told him he was welcome to stay for the weekend (with his wife and 2 toddlers), but that I would not be available for anything, as I was studying for finals.

Fast forward to that weekend, and my mother has dropped by to say hello to my brother. My brother tells our mom that he and his wife want to take her out to dinner. My mom asks, “what will you do with *toddlers*?” to which he replies, “Oh, I figured Jinx could watch them”.

I just looked at him and said. “Remember when I told you I had no time and was studying for finals? I was serious about that”.

Sadly, our mother wound up watching *toddlers* while brother and wife went out all night, which she wasn’t too happy about. Her spine isn’t as shiny as mine. But I spent a lot of money for an education, and it was the most important thing to me.

Regardless, my intentions were clear, and I felt that especially considering the circumstances, I was being more than accommodating. I think that if you let someone change your plans (except in cases of emergency), you are giving that person the okay to treat you like a door mat. Be very specific about times, “we’ll see you at *blank*” or, we’d love to have you for dinner from 5pm to 8pm” and then stick to it. Preemptively say, “we love your company, but just so you know, we can’t accommodate you to stay here for the night”

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lnelson1218 December 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Good for you for using your spine. No doubt some people will say you should have sucked it up. However, it was your brother at fault. You agreed to let them stay with you and put out the limitations up front. He should have respected them.

Any of us who are or have worked towards getting a degree know that finals period is never fun.

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Ellie December 18, 2014 at 1:36 pm

That would make me fume! That even though you made it clear, he still thought he could take advantage of you. Reminds me of a friend I made on my dorm hall freshman year of college. I had a parking spot on campus for my car and she did not, so she would guilt me into taking her places, or to leave my dorm late at night to pick her up wherever she was. Never offering anything in return. It felt like too she wouldn’t really make an effort to catch the bus, knowing I was just a phone call away. I finally quit being a doormat when she begged me to take her to the mall even though I was studying for finals at the library, a good 20 minute walk away from my car. After much back and forth she said “I can’t understand why you won’t just take a quick break and take me.” Like it was my obligation to. I told her my priority is finals right now and I don’t appreciate being used. The polite spine paid off, because after that she became much more considerate and we remained friends the rest of our college career.

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NostalgicGal December 18, 2014 at 7:35 pm

And a first round college friend of mine, with her mother being a night private duty nurse and studying for further degree; would volunteer to everyone that her mother could take people places all the time-whether or not her mother was needing to sleep or study. Um no, her mom had a rather busy life but clueless my friend thought her mom could accommodate everyone in the world. I never EVER took her up on it, and I explained it once to her mother… who WAS getting all these people asking her… oh. Mother grew a spine as clueless never did get the clue.

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I love redemption stories!

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Tracy W December 19, 2014 at 5:30 am

I hope your brother offered to take you, his host, out to dinner, before he made that offer to your mom.
I agree that you were entirely justified in focusing on your exams.

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Go, Jinx!

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JD December 18, 2014 at 11:17 am

I don’t care how dear someone is to me, I would NOT want to host them 3 days after moving! It’s rough that the OP’s DH seemed okay with it, but it would not be okay with me. They blew through their hotel money, really? Did they ever really have it, or was this a plan to sneak in free accommodations with no intention to actually stay in a hotel? In my younger years, I would have helplessly said, “I guess it’s okay,” but the older I get, the stiffer my spine gets, and I would have had to say no to this, giving my best regretful smile, these days. And the dog and arriving way too early is just insane. It seems like boundaries are starting to be drawn by OP and her DH, so I see hope here, which is good, because if the in-laws move away, they’ll be coming for overnight visits when they come back, and they might try the same thing all over again:
“We’re here! Oh, we hope you don’t mind the dog. And we’ll just stay here as our base while we visit the others….”

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mark December 18, 2014 at 11:46 am

I’ve watched my siblings kids and they have returned the favor for me, so it’s mutual. But we haven’t taken undue advantage either way. And it’s nice because there is no hesitation when it is an emergency. I got really ill one early morning (turned out to be a kidney stone) and we dropped off the kids @ my brothers and SIL’s. There was no hesitation on their part, because we never took advantage.

As far as people spending days in your house. Well that gets old quick. My wife and I usually rent an hotel room when visiting family except for my parents who have a really large house and live out in the middle of no where.

If them visiting often like this is a problem. Just tell them you would prefer they get a hotel.

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Huh December 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I have a dear friend that is like family. And when I visit her, I get a hotel room. I can do one night overnight at her house or another very close friend’s. After that, I as the guest get uncomfortable. I like my space, I like being able to take a break from other people. I like the pool and the continental breakfast at the hotel. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve vacationed in dear friend’s city to spend time with her, and that means coming to visit after breakfast time and everyone’s had their coffee, making plans for the day, and leaving at a reasonable time in the evening to go back to hotel and wind down for the day, before doing basically the same thing the next day.

Like you, the only people I stay with at their house are my parents who also have a large house and live out in the middle of nowhere, but even then after a day or two, I am ready to go home!

So yeah, the thought of having guests coming to stay for 1 night and ending up staying for several with no notice makes me really twitchy. And I don’t hate my family or friends. I enjoy seeing them. I look forward to visits. I am just one of those people who need time to decompress from “being social.”

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Goldie December 18, 2014 at 4:16 pm

I found myself on the other end of this one year when we went to visit the in-laws in their home town in Eastern Europe. BIL and SIL offered their (large for that town’s standards) apartment for us to stay there with them for two weeks. Which was super generous of them, but we were all still pretty cramped. Our two boys were 9 and 12; their daughters, 9, 6, and a toddler. One bathroom! Eight people! (plus the toddler, who was in diapers). We actually had to stand in line every morning to use the bathroom and take a shower. There was a brand-new hotel across the street, dirt cheap to us (since we came bearing US dollars) and our other SIL was a manager there. We could’ve rented a whole floor if we wanted! but the in-laws wouldn’t hear of it. They didn’t want us to go to a hotel, because that’s not done, what will people say or some such silliness. So we ended up having nine people stuffed into one 1-bathroom apartment for two weeks for completely no reason. We still had a good time, but it was so much unnecessary hardship both for us and the ILs – especially the bathroom part! I told my husband that, on our next visit, we should put our foot down and get the hotel, since both our sons and BIL’s daughters would be teenagers then and it wouldn’t be proper for them all to stay under one roof – but then both we and BIL/SIL got divorced in the same year, which made future visits unnecessary.

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Jewel December 18, 2014 at 11:55 am

Now that you know how these people tend to operate, the key to not being taken advantage of is to employ the “pre-emptive strike”. Manage the situation before it develops.

If they call to say they want to come for the week-end, state that you can accommodate them Saturday night, but not Friday or Sunday nights. And, that they’ll need to be on their way by 4:00 Sunday afternoon as you have things you need to do to get ready for the work week. Then, at 3:30 on Sunday, start your count-down with a phrase like these every few minutes: “Do you need any bags for your laundry?” “Please bring the sheets to the laundry room on your way out.” “Do you need a Pepsi for the road?” “It was good to see you; let me help you with your suitcase!” (and so on).

If they say they’ll be there at noon, repeat it multiple times back to them so there’s no question in their minds that they can’t just show up at 9:00am and will be welcomed by you. If they do show early, send them to the local diner or mall to spend the next few hours. Because they’re pretty dense, feel free to show your shock and dismay that they didn’t abide by the arrangements when telling them you can’t let them in just yet.

If you remain consistent (and polish your shiny spine), it won’t take too long before they either become more considerate guests or they cut way back on their visits because staying with you is “too restrictive”. Win-win for you!

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Livvy17 December 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I definitely think they’re being rude, especially about trying to make OP into their dog-sitter without checking first. However, some portion of this may be that they like hanging out with DH/OP a lot better than OP likes hanging out with them, and/or they thing that family has more relaxed/different rules than regular guests. It may also be that this is how DH and his family operated before OP and her feelings about not liking having people around. Honestly, reading this, other than the dog idiocy, I felt more sympathy for brother and SIL than I did for OP.
Of course I could be wrong, perhaps DH wants them gone as well, perhaps they are annoying or rude otherwise, but it sounded like DH was supporting his wife’s (slight) misanthropy, rather than kicking them out for his own sake. I’m not trying to say the OP is doing anything wrong – I’m just saying it may be a difference of opinion on how much hanging out is too much, rather than a more overt rudeness issue.

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crebj December 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm

“No, thank you. I’m sorry, that won’t be possible.” Repeat as necessary, with no additional information, as necessary.

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lakey December 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm

The way to handle people like this is to set the boundaries of the visit when it is first discussed and before they arrive. Then if they try to extend the stay, tell them :
1. you have other plans
2. you can’t accommodate them
3. that won’t be possible

I had a sister who is manipulative; she tries to push you into doing things that she knows you don’t want to do. She figures if she springs it on you, you can’t say no. She lives a 3 hour drive away. So one time she visited me for a weekend. The following Saturday she called me in the morning to tell me that she and her boyfriend were one hour away and would stay with me for the weekend. I told her that I would make reservations for them at a nice motel nearby, have lunch with them at that motel’s restaurant, and that I was busy the rest of the weekend. She pulled this stunt of announcing her arrival with her boyfriend, after having traveled halfway across the state, TWICE. I didn’t accommodate her either time.

OP is lucky that her husband is supportive of her.
The next Saturday

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Shalamar December 18, 2014 at 1:32 pm

It took me a while to realize that my boyfriend’s sister (my current sister-in-law) is a user, too. When my then-boyfriend, now-husband were dating, we would occasionally drive to see his parents, who lived in a town 2.5 hours away. Sister wanted to see them, too, so she sat in the back seat of Boyfriend’s car. Invariably, she would demand that I push my seat forward so that she’d have more room to stretch out. (I might add that Sister is considerably shorter than I am.) For the first few times, I complied, then sat in miserable discomfort with my knees practically around my ears while Sister had all the space in the world. I finally put my foot down and said “Sorry, (Sister), if I push my seat forward, I won’t have enough space.” She spluttered in disbelief, and I said kindly “Tell you what – I’ll move it up just a bit.” Which I did – maybe half-an-inch, if that. She then couldn’t say that I refused to move my seat, but I had enough room at last!

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Dee December 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm

I don’t understand why the OP is frustrated with SIL and BIL, when she has, more than once, made the choice to participate in this … dance. It takes two (parties) and if one simply does not dance then there is no dance. OP is as capable of saying “no” as anyone else, so the reason why she does not is the issue, not BIL and SIL. And arguing with the other party about that “no” is akin to saying “maybe”. “No” and repeat as necessary, said over the phone or at the front door. That’s all.

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kit December 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm

My parents, my sister, my brother, I – we all live in different towns 2 to 12 hours away from each other. I never make my family use hotels when they drive all those 4-5 hours or more to visit me. Neither do they with me. Different habits, I guess. I admit I don’t like staying with my parents for more than a couple nights as it usually gets crowded (and the other way around – we don’t have a guest room, but move kids into one room to free a room for guests), but it isn’t because they wouldn’t take us, or that we wouldn’t want to have them.

The “we are on our way” thing reminded me, though, how once, when I was sick and so was my baby, my mother decided she will come to help me. So she took some vacation days from her work, bought a ticket, sat into bus (that has exactly one other stop between her and mine, which is about 2 hours from hers) and THEN called me saying she is on her way. Which was quite unnecessary, as she found out when she arrived, and what I would have told be had she ASKED first. But how do you tell someone who sitting on moving bus – that she shouldn’t come?

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hakayama December 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm

@kit: Was the Dear Lady on the Hitlerian side all your life? ๐Ÿ˜‰ As in “I’m going to help you whether it’s needed or not, I’ll help you even if you don’t WANT me to, I’ll help you even if it kills you” way?
After all, who knows what’s best for the offspring, if not the mother…

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Goldie December 19, 2014 at 9:31 am

My mom does this all the time. When my dad was alive, they did it together. It took us years to train them to call ahead; they’d just pop in unannounced, let themselves in with their own key, and get to helping, whether any help was needed or not – they’d just come by and find something to do. I know they mean well, and we’ve all learned to work around their attempts to help (hide things that are valuable to us before mom decides they’re garbage and throws them out, for example). But I certainly hope I won’t be like that when I’m older.

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kit December 21, 2014 at 10:48 am

Oh, when I know my dad is coming to visit, I always try to think of something that needs to be built or set up or checked whatever – else there is a real danger he will think of something himself!
Or maybe it is past now, because lately he has said he would only if my husband approved. I suspect someone told him that his son-in-law may not be happy about his FIL coming into HIS house and starting to behave like the master of house.

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Goldie December 19, 2014 at 9:52 am

Wanted to add – me becoming single and starting to date really went a long way to teach my parents to call ahead, especially on weekends. I told them, “if you want to come over unannounced and let yourselves in, you certainly can, but then I cannot be held responsible for anything you might walk in on!” Worked like a charm!

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kit December 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm

As far as I can remember from my childhood, she wasn’t, and really isn’t usually nowadays, either. I guess she just gets these motherly bouts occasionally.

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hakayama December 20, 2014 at 8:51 am

@kit: you must be in the diplomatic corps. And if you’re not, you should. Such considerate turn of phrase… :-O
“Motherly bouts” indeed! May I borrow the term now and then?

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kit December 21, 2014 at 11:29 am

Sure, just don’t tell to my mother (or any other family member) that you think I am diplomatic. She would die in laughing fits.

Lyn December 18, 2014 at 2:58 pm

I live on a cul-de-sac – there are 4 houses on it. Out of the four houses, three of us get along really fine – so far as to watch each others animals when we are out of town for a few days, having keys to each other’s houses, etc.

The folks in the 4th house don’t get along with any of us. They are the kind of people who look for trouble, and have screamed at one of the neighbors and tried to sue them before. Don’t remember why.

Anyway, several years ago (after the attempted sueing) the neighbor in one of the three houses was out in her front yard, and the man from the 4th house was in his driveway, packing his van like for a trip. He walks over into her yard and says they are leaving today to go on vacation for a week, would she feed and water their dog while they were gone??!!!!! Asked the neighbor who he has screamed at for God knows what, threatened to sue, to watch their dog. And they were packing to leave that morning! Wonder who he had in mind to take care of his dog if she hadn’t been in her front yard?

She took care of the dog for him. Because that’s the kind of person she is.

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Goldie December 18, 2014 at 4:19 pm

I’d be afraid to look after a dog of a man who’s already tried to sue me once. What if he doesn’t find the dog’s condition to his liking when he returns, then out comes the good old lawsuit again.

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hakayama December 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

I had a vaguely similar experience years ago. I had a nodding acquaintance with people that lived at the end of a paved road that led to the woods surrounding the hamlet. I routinely walked with my dog past their house and into the trail in the woods, so I must have been “spotted”. The lady of the house asked me to take care of their cat during their vacation that was to start the next day.
A friend later commented that regular walks must have given the impression I was a reliable person.
Trusting soul… Gave me the key to the house that I’ve never been in before. Or after.
Yes. People can be strange.

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beth0214 December 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm

As a certain TV psychologists says “We teach other’s how to treat us.”.

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Tanya December 20, 2014 at 2:01 am

He’s not a psychologist, but the concept is sound.

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beth0214 December 20, 2014 at 9:55 am

He has a phd in clinical psychology.

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hakayama December 20, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Not the same as a PhD in folklore, but it has to count for something… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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beth0214 December 21, 2014 at 5:18 pm

hakayama-very true!! heehee! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

NostalgicGal December 18, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Dropping in on us doesn’t work. We might very well not be there. My best one was having someone call me with ‘oh we are an hour out, we brought the kids, our dog (big pyranees, how did they manage that one) and want to spend the night then see the sights (and stay a few more days)’. I had pulled over and went ‘gee I’m sorry but we might have just passed each other, I’m on my way to X city for three days of medical tests, so there’s nobody there. You can stop or backtrack to Y city to stay or come back to X city but. I’ll be at the Center for the next three’. Honest true, and they had many a knyption about getting some free vacation out of us–their kids are bad mannered, I can’t deal with a dog that big, and the last time they stopped for ‘a afternoon’ and it ended up middle of next day we got rid of them, they had majorly eaten us out of house and home without dog… nope. They haven’t contacted us in three years. I’m happy. Neighbors said some big van pulled in our drive and one of them went over to say howdy and nope they are NOT home and we’re keeping an eye on the place–here let me give you directions back to the road… (I owed that neighbor)

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Cat December 18, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Reminds me of the time I invited my uncle to lunch and he decided to spend the night. I found out later that he did not intend to spend the night as I had not invited him to do so. He had not brought an over-night bag or anything he would need for an extended visit.
His sister, who was in Nebraska, called him during the afternoon and told him to spend the night. It did not occur to her that she had no business inviting him to spend the night at my place for no reason.

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AnaMaria December 19, 2014 at 10:13 am

Huh? Who just randomly calls their brother and tells him to spend the night with another person for no good reason? Did you have a creepy ex-boyfriend or something that she might have been worried about, or is she just that much of a control-freak??

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Cat December 20, 2014 at 3:38 am

Auntie is used to running other people’s lives. She decided that uncle and I should “get to know one another”. She didn’t bother to tell me this, nor did he.
She decided to come spend the winter with her brother, help him clean his house as it wasn’t clean enough for her, and then to demand that all family members come up, bring artwork for his house, and then to paint his house.
She was injured while cleaning his house, ended up in the hospital and then had to go into a nursing home in her home state. She called me to demand that I fly to her state, take her out of the nursing home, throw the people who rented a condo I owned out, breaking their lease, and then she would live in my condo. She got mad when I told her no and I don’t hear from her now.
I think it is a need to control all those about her. I am the only one to tell her no about anything.

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NostalgicGal December 22, 2014 at 1:53 am

Wow and wow. We must be related… I have a few relatives that are almost this bad.

Congratulations about shiny spine and saying NO. So if she was in a home, and wanted to live in your condo instead; you were going to drop your life and take care of her? Or hire around the clock care for her on your own nickel? (sounds like it…) Good that she has left you be.

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Marozia December 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm

If they are going to be doing this to you, you’ll have to lay down ground rules, e.g., chores like washing up, cleaning, feeding animals, cooking, etc. Make sure they realise that you are not a free ride.

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Missusmidas December 18, 2014 at 7:44 pm

OP here. Thanks all for the comments! They did indeed move out of state so we haven’t had any issues since. Just to clarify a couple of things though… my husband and his SIL had a history. Before I was in the picture, my husband and his brother were sharing a place. BIL met SIL and they got married, still sharing the place with DH. At some point SIL accused DH of being a Peeping Tom through a window while she was naked. It wasn’t true at all, but it accomplished what she wanted – DH had to move out. I knew of this history before I met her, so I admit I was leery of her. I did try to accept her on her own merits, but with the things I wrote about before, plus on one of those occasions that they were at our house she announced that she had used my deoderant because she forgot hers, and “I hope it’s OK”… and the Halloween night that they called us at 11pm asking us to go pick up a friend of theirs (whom they had never actually met in person!) whose car had broken down and allow Friend and Friend’s 7 year old daughter to spend the night with us… I try to be charitable, and I love my husband’s family. Anyone who has in-laws has a story to tell, right? Besides, I lucked out with a wonderful MIL and FIL. But the BIL and SIL have been a source of exasperation and bemusement throughout. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Jewel December 19, 2014 at 8:04 am

Anyone who accused my husband of a crime (and, I presume, never owned up to her mistake and apologized), would never step foot in my yard, much less be a multiple time guest in my home.

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Goldie December 19, 2014 at 9:42 am

OMG! The deodorant thing is so gross. And the Friend thing is just bizarre and scary!

I had a crazy SIL. It all works out in the end. She’ll either stop being crazy, or she’ll stop being a SIL. Hang in there.

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Cat December 19, 2014 at 10:20 am

I am wondering why the friend and her daughter could not call a cab to take them to a hotel. Why would it be your responsibility to take care of her friends?

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Miss-E December 20, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Huh You’d think SIL would want nothing to do with your DH after he violated her and all. My dark nature would be very tempted to have reminded her of that back when they first asked to stay over. “Well, I’d love it but aren’t you going to be very uncomfortable after The Incident? Maybe it would be better if you didn’t sleep here.”

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NostalgicGal December 18, 2014 at 7:57 pm

In the early 70’s one of my aunt’s inlaws had six kids and liked to show up with a station wagon full a few weeks before their ‘hosts’ were going to go on vacation and literally move in for a week. They expected to be put up, fed, and entertained, and have their hosts be their servants. And burn off any chance the hosts had of being able to afford a vacation of their own. My aunt had been warned; so they made out their vacation was X to Y dates… and left two weeks before, the time that these people showed up to drop in on their relations. The station wagon showed up to an empty house. One neighbor said they left about light so these people missed them by about half a day. Wish I was making it up but it isn’t. Of course this went sideways with the SIL and family that got ‘abandoned’ — they had to drive three states back home, and they cut all relations with brother and his hateful family, and Uncle wasn’t the least upset. Heard they detoured to another sibling’s place who refused to let them in the house (having had this done to them a few years back).

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Tracy W December 19, 2014 at 5:45 am

How bizaree. Well done on the aunt, and particularly on the sibling who refused to let them in.

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Library Diva December 19, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Makes me think of the in-laws from Christmas Vacation. How strange. What is the purpose of doing that? At least the character from that movie had the excuse of basically being homeless and not having anywhere else to go. And very strange of the SIL to drive across three states without concrete plans and then be so angry that no one was around that she stopped speaking to them? “I dropped in on you and you weren’t home. YOU’RE DEAD TO ME!” Then again, none of this woman’s behavior makes any sense, so it’s not very surprising.

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NostalgicGal December 21, 2014 at 8:37 pm

They were repeat offenders. Sad. True.

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PM December 19, 2014 at 7:29 am

Super-weird that they timed this right before vacations. Were they intentionally trying to stop other family members from being able to afford to travel?

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NostalgicGal December 21, 2014 at 8:43 pm

It seemed they figured out that ‘host family’ would have saved for the vacation; so would have money to spend on THEM if they showed. They wouldn’t lift a finger, ate quite seriously, and expected to be hauled around to all the sights and attractions as ‘guests’ (aka don’t pay anything for anything).

My aunt and uncle had expected to stop at THEIR place, overnight on way to Disney World vacation, so yes the inlaws were in loop. Then it came back from another of his side that this is what had happened to them, the station wagon had descended when plans had been made. Instead they left ‘early’ and thus saved their vacation from the inlaw’s ‘visit’.

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Goldie December 19, 2014 at 9:48 am

Wow, that’s like The National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie, when the main character’s cousin, “whose heart is bigger than his brain”, showed up with his whole family a couple days before Christmas! Cute in a movie, not so cute in real life.

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Yarnspinner December 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Jaw meet floor. What IS with people who think this way? Pity the whole family couldn’t have ganged up and shown up at their home right before they planned on making their vacation rounds. That would be amusing.

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NostalgicGal December 21, 2014 at 8:46 pm

As told, if you dropped in there, there was no place to stay/sleep, suggested they all go out to eat (and have the visitors pay) and stuff like that. As I remember it took a few more years and out of the 9 other siblings I think they were no longer welcome or spoken much to (and off the Christmas card lists).

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Miss-E December 18, 2014 at 10:35 pm

My first thought was to say that when you know they are coming, schedule a lot of things very close to their original arrival and departure times. That way when they are dawdling around on your computers you can rush them out by saying “We’ve got to get going if we’re going to make that appointment/recital/circus/whatever”. But that would really just be slapping a band-aid on a gushing wound. You need to grow a spine and firmly (but politely) tell them to leave when you want them to go. If you keep allowing this kind of behavior it will only get worse and worse until it reaches a point where you are just as much to blame as they are.

In fact, they may not even realize that they are doing anything wrong. If you asked them they might rave about the casual atmosphere at their brother’s house. “Oh, it’s so lovely, they are so accommodating. We can come and go as we please, stay a few extra nights and they don’t mind at all!” Some people have that kind of attitude. I have an aunt who lives on the other side of the country who I visit often. Her house is literally open all the time to me and my family. If one day I read a story like this I would be FLOORED and feel awful that this had been going on for 30 years without her saying a word.

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Rebecca December 18, 2014 at 11:06 pm

These people just need to be told, “No.”

“Oh, you already left? Too bad you didn’t check first, because it won’t be possible for us to have you come early. No, we can’t take the dog. You’ll have to make other arrangements.”

You spend way too much time justifying your reasons to these people.

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Powers December 19, 2014 at 10:50 am

WHY is your dog not fixed???

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Melalucci December 22, 2014 at 3:47 am

My thoughts exactly!

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Goldie December 22, 2014 at 9:27 am

Maybe they breed the dog. Maybe it’s one of those purebred dogs that was sold to them under the condition that they do not fix him. Either way, it’s not our dog, and not our place to ask “WHY???”…

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VA Lady December 19, 2014 at 2:35 pm

“Rumor has it that BIL & SIL are moving to Virginia soon.”

NO!!!! we don’t want them!

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delislice December 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Wow, this is so not a case of “Sounds like you don’t want to spend time with your family.”

Granted, some people do grow up surrounded by relatives and basically living at whichever house they’re in at the moment …

But not wanting people to treat you repeatedly as a free hotel, babysitter and pet sitter is not the same as “not wanting to spend time with your family.”

My mother-in-law invited herself to come stay for three days immediately after I’d had surgery under general anesthesia, supposedly to help out. Instead, she put her feet up, expected to be waited on, and made it clear she was to be treated as an honored guest. Moreover, she played the “Poor (husband), you work so hard” whenever my husband tried to do any cooking, housework, or looking after our toddler.

She was reluctantly persuaded to leave only because she’d been assured that my own mother was coming in to help. Literally on the doorstep, she started backing back into the house, saying, “But is your mother going to stay the night? Because if she’s not, I can stay and ‘help.’ ” I all but shoved her out the door.

Did we continue to make visits to her, and host her again? Of course. Did we enjoy it? Yes. But recovering-from-surgery-time is a horrible time to have to cover even the basics of daily living, let alone being a charming hostess to an entitled guest.

Not. The. Same.

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Tracy W December 20, 2014 at 4:20 am

Okay the aunt-in-laws with 6 kids was appalling but your mil managed to top that! Impressive! In a terrible way.

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hakayama December 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Hmmm… doesn’t MORAL and emotional support count for anything with some of you people? ๐Ÿ˜‰
And of course, it’s disgusting how some females don’t know what a woman’s place is? Delislice or not, SHE is the one that has to be in charge of children and the home fires? And greet hubby at the door with a martooni and a smile when he comes home from a hard day at work?

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Cat December 22, 2014 at 7:47 am

I think it’s that we recall the story of Mary and Martha. Martha stayed in the kitchen and Mary stayed with the Guest. Martha wanted Mary to help and she got chewed out for being obsessed with trifles while Mary was praised for doing what she should. Keeps me out of the kitchen and on the phone ordering pizza.

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NostalgicGal December 21, 2014 at 12:49 am

Looking at the comments, and at the original post, it has some numbers… 428-10
The link to original story is in 2010.

Is this a rerun?

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Enna December 21, 2014 at 9:32 am

Blimey some family members can be hard work. Best not put your foot down politely and stick to and provide a united front with the spouse. I no longer speak to a woman I once knew – she would take advantage of her relations when they put her children up for the night: when I asked her if she would ever put their children up she said no: just because they do it they shouln’t expect her to do it for them. Then later on she was complaining that she coudn’t get people to look after the children.

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just4kicks December 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Reading all the stories reminded of when we moved into a new house, and around the same time my husband got a promotion at work and really hit it off with his new boss. Once we were settled in, we invited her and her hubby over for cocktails and a “taco bar”. Our house was so new, the yard had just been seeded, and it was exceptionally rainy that week, so we had a mud pit for a yard. Ding song! Yay! Boss and her hubby are here….And so is their HUGE English sheepdog. Ummm, did she tell you (or ask) if she could bring the dog. Nope. Greeeeeeeaaattttt. “Hi! (Hugs all around)….Thanks for having us over….what a beautiful home!” Thank you….we didn’t know you had an English sheep dog. “Oh….Yes…we’ve had Kirby for years now. I hope you don’t mind we brought him, hubby mentioned what a big beautiful yard the kids have to play in here.” Well, yes….And once the grass comes in, it’ll be great. “….Well…Kirby got into the trash yesterday, and we don’t know WHAT he ate, but he has been sh@tting all over the house! We couldn’t bear to leave him home alone! And God knows what we would have found on the carpets after getting home tonight!!!” So….you have a sick dog, and we have a mud pit for him to go out and do his business in….should be tons of fun……” I was furious! But, of course, being my hubbys boss, I had to grin and bear it. Every time they let the dog out, it took me 15 minutes to clean up after him, no offers of help. And what was supposed to be a two/three hour visit, turned into them coming at six and leaving at one am. I stopped serving alcohol and made a pot of coffee around 10pm, after we were gently trying to get them to leave, and instead, they pulled out poker chips and cards. One of my kids also happened to be getting over being sick, and when she fell asleep on the couch, I took the opportunity to take her upstairs…..And STAY THERE.
Oops….I guess I fell asleep after reading her bedtime story….

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Jewel December 21, 2014 at 7:56 pm

How absolutely awful, just4kicks! I hope the boss wasn’t as oblivious in the work place!

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just4kicks December 22, 2014 at 5:52 am

@Jewel: my said she was a wonderful boss, very on top of things at work, and they had a great working relationship.
I don’t know what they were thinking, and of course, my husband was pissed off they bought the sick dog, but was shooting me “PLEASE don’t say anything!” looks all night.
I really took exception to “we can’t leave a puking dog at home!”….Oh, but it’s ok if you bring a puking dog to OUR house. The kicker was after very exaggerated yawns on our part, and well, little one hasn’t been feeling well this week was apparently code for “hey! Let’s play poker until one am!”
That was the last time we invited them, and Kirby, over.

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Michelle C Young December 30, 2014 at 7:40 pm

See, I always thought that “I have a sick dog who can’t be left unattended, and I don’t have a dog-sitter” was one of the few acceptable excuses to cancel, or request the invitation be rescheduled. That’s right up there with (true story), “our child has scarlet fever, and our scheduled babysitter just called to tell us that she heard through the grapevine that our child has scarlet fever, and to tell us that she has never had scarlet fever. We thought everyone had scarlet fever as children, so it never occurred to us to ask her if she had not, but then, she’s American, and it seems they have a different batch of regular childhood diseases than we do, here. Can we reschedule our dinner engagement, please?”

I was the scheduled babysitter, and yes, apparently in that area, scarlet fever was like chicken pox where I live now. Parents assumed everyone past puberty had already had it. Fortunately, when told that I had never had it, they didn’t hesitate. They just said, “Well, you can’t be exposed to it NOW!” and altered their plans, accordingly. Quite mannerly, I thought. Had I already been exposed to it, it would have been a simple enough gig, because they were only going to be out for a few hours, and the child was fast asleep, already. They didn’t even mind the language barrier, because even had the child been completely healthy, I wouldn’t have had to say much, anyway. I’ve had plenty of baby-sitting gigs where I just sat around, being on hand in case of a fire in the neighborhood, and never even saw my charges.

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Goldie December 22, 2014 at 9:43 am

Ugh! What was so difficult about calling ahead and saying, We cannot come, our dog is sick?!

We had an insensitive coworker guest over once. Also someone I’d initially hit it off with at work. It all started with THEM inviting US over for Thanksgiving. Or, in my coworker’s own words, “my wife told me that, if I don’t find anyone to invite for Thanksgiving, she’ll invite her mother, and I told her, I’d rather pick a bum off a street… you guys wanna come?” I said yes. Monday before Thanksgiving, I call him for the details and to my complete shock he says, “well you guys didn’t call to confirm, so we thought you weren’t coming, so we’re going to someone else’s house that night”… (guess his MIL and the bum off the street never called to confirm their visits, either). Somehow I ended up inviting him, his wife, and his three young kids (same ages as ours) over to our house on Friday after Thanksgiving. They came over. The wife and the kids were very good, fun guests, but my coworker was something else. He talked my then husband (who btw had a bit of a drinking problem) into a drinking contest. He drank my husband under the table, husband went upstairs and passed out. My coworker then did the victory dance around the dining room, told us he’d won, told his wife to get the kids ready, they’re leaving. He then sat in the car and honked non stop as she was trying to get a 7yo, a 5yo, and a 2yo into winter clothes and into the car. But wait, it gets better! We saw them again two weeks later at the Christmas party and the wife proceeded to tell me that “Bob” drove them home that night! That’s 40 miles. Remember “Bob” had just won a drinking contest, there was a lot of hard liquor involved and his entire family was in that car! I asked her why she’d let him drive, and she said “but he really wanted to”! “Bob” then changed jobs and so did I, and I didn’t see him for five years, until he surfaced at my next job. We chatted and caught up on things and it was the same old obnoxious Bob… and he tried inviting himself over to my house again! I told him I’d ask my husband, which I did, and my husband said “PLEASE don’t let him come”… and that was it.

At least Bob wasn’t my boss… That would’ve really complicated the situation.

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just4kicks December 24, 2014 at 6:48 am

@Goldie: I still don’t have the foggiest idea why they it was appropriate to bring their dog along, much less a sick one! Had it been friends or relatives, I would’ve had no problem shooing them and their sick pooch out the door, but bosses and co-workers are tricky. I’ve cancelled plans because of one the kids coming down with/just getting over being sick. I also have IBS and weak bladder issues, which have kept me from quite a lot of outings. Aside from the pain and discomfort those issues bring, it’s embarrassing to keep running to the bathroom every few minutes during a flare up.
We were once invited to a birthday party for one of my husband’s co-workers he was very friendly with. I was in the midst of a flare up, but my hubby said we just needed to please make an appearance, a quick cocktail (for him, alcohol exacerbates my symptoms) and off we go.
Well, I know how these work things usually go, so we drove separate cars so I could leave when I needed to. After my third trip to the bathroom in an hour, I decided it was time for me to leave. I was coming out of the bathroom, and one of my husband’s co-workers was waiting to go in. I said, “Oh, my goodness! I hope you weren’t waiting TOO long, “Jim”, I’m so sorry! To which he replied, “I’ve noticed you keep running to the bathroom….I followed you this time! Are you going to share?!?”
“Ummm….huh?!? You want to SHARE my diarrhea?!? WHAT?!? I have irritable bowel syndrome, and am having a very bad time of it today.” He turned four shades of purple and slinked off. He thought I was in there doing drugs!!! Seriously?!?

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Goldie December 24, 2014 at 11:56 am

Well isn’t that a sane, rational assumption about a coworker’s wife: that she brought drugs to her husband’s coworker’s party, is taking them in the bathroom at the rate of three times per hour, and is willing to share!?! Jim sounds like he was already on something and didn’t need anymore!

I’ve canceled plans because of sick kids too, and so did my friends. The one time I hosted a party at my house and my then 12 year old came down with a flu, he hid in his room all evening, and put a note on his door saying that he had the flu and was contagious. Apparently, not everyone does this. My last ex was friends with a couple who used to throw phenomenal Mardi Gras parties and invite dozens of people with their kids. Our last year together, he came down with a terrible cold a week before the party, still insisted that I come over and spend the weekend with him, and of course gave it to me. Sure enough, on the day of the party, I had his cold, was sneezing all over the place, and had to bow out of the party so I wouldn’t make everybody sick. Then he left me six months later and I’ll never get a chance to go to another of those parties again, and I didn’t even get a chance to attend the last one I ever could because of the stupid cold! Ugh.

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just4kicks December 25, 2014 at 6:02 am

@Goldie: Exactly! I was speechless and left in a hurry after saying my thank you’ s and good byes. I waited up for my husband to get home and told him what happened with “Jim”, and asked exactly what happens at these “work” outings he is always going to. He said he had no idea that Jim was into drugs, maybe I misunderstood him. I said what on earth else could he possibly ask me to “share” in the bathroom?!? My tampons? Feminine deodorant spray? Ridiculous!!!
That was the last time I ever went to a work function, and thankfully my hubby changed jobs a few months after that.

NostalgicGal December 26, 2014 at 3:47 pm

@ just4kicks, I might have been snarky enough TO hand Jim a tampon and pantyliner and say ‘sure, the more the merrier–sucks you didn’t pack enough supplies’ and went on my way.

just4kicks December 22, 2014 at 5:53 am

….my husband said…..that should read….Oops.

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Angel December 27, 2014 at 5:10 pm

When I read submissions like this it makes my own family seem incredibly normal lol. I’m sorry OP but your DH’s brother and sister-in-law could not possibly care less about offending you. If they did they wouldn’t try to pull this crap over and over again. They are not exactly modeling good behavior for their child here either. The good thing is your DH stood up to them–before they could bring the dog with them! While them moving far away is a solution, it is temporary. They need to be told NO often and consistently. I would probably give them a pre-emptive NO before they even had a chance to ask the question.

As far as “spending all their money shopping at the mall, now they can’t get a hotel and need to stay an extra night” that is absolutely unconscionable. Shame on them for pulling that crap with you! I will never understand people who use relatives as a hotel, maid service and babysitter. It’s one thing if it’s an emergency, it’s quite another to be just an ass about it! ugh.

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Cheryl S January 8, 2015 at 9:19 am

Sometimes you can’t pick your family, however, in this situation, the DH should have talked to BIL bluntly and informed them that even though they are family, it doesn’t mean that you are their care taker and will allow them to use you as a free hotel. Boundaries need to be set and manners need to be minded, asking for one night fine, and unless you have an emergency then maybe two or unless otherwise agreed upon time frame but sticking around because you can, or are just lazy or etc. is just rude. An up front talking to needed to commence, and BIL and DH should be the only people in that conversation.

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gigglemesilly April 10, 2015 at 1:04 pm

In the past 5 years I have found the perfect deterrent for drop-ins. I live in a STUDIO apartment . It works everytime.

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