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The Half Price Guest

I belong to a women’s hiking group and we like to travel to fun destinations to hike. There are about 12-15 of us who go on these trips. Everyone gets along very well and we’ve never had any drama or issues. Until this year. We had two ladies drop for different reasons and had 2 spaces open. One of the ladies was offering her spot at half price. The group organizer, we’ll call her Ann, invited an acquaintance of ours we’ll call Betty. I know Betty from other women’s groups and see her about 3 times a week. Betty is ‘different’ and can be brash at times. Ann knows her through me and we all hike together in town with a different group.

For this trip another friend, Cathy, and I had our own room to share in the house at the destination with our own beds. Since Betty only knew Ann and me she asked me if I would switch rooms so she didn’t have to room with someone she didn’t know. I spoke with Cathy and she OKd switching rooms. The 3 of us ended up in the master with a king bed and a double futon. Cathy and I ended up sharing the king instead of having our own beds, which wasn’t a big deal.

The first morning Betty is up very early blow drying her hair with the bathroom door wide open waking Cathy & me up. We were going hiking all day that day so there really was no reason for hair and make up.

That night when we were trying to sleep Betty is talking loudly in our room on her phone. She also would answer her phone at the dinner table and proceed to carry on a loud conversation as we’re all trying to enjoy the meal and table conversation. She never excused herself, just sat there loudly yakking away. She really had no etiquette in that regard.

Betty brought up politics and religion out of the blue with one of the gals, Susie, who is a legal immigrant from another country. Susie told her several times she didn’t want to discuss it. Betty was telling Susie that Susie’s religion doesn’t believe in the true God and they don’t know the truth. That Susie’s religion breeds terrorism and there is only one true God. Betty was also touting the merits of the current US president and her own political party. They were in the back seat of a mini van with 5 other people in the van listening to this. Susie was very upset as Betty would not stop after being asked to do so several times. You could have heard a pin drop in the van. It was very awkward.

Betty also got very angry when we were rafting as she kept hitting one of the girls in the head as she wasn’t using her oar properly. She was very nicely asked to please watch her oar. Betty snapped she was doing it just fine and the other girl (who had rafted many times before and Betty never had) needed to watch her own oar.

At night she always went to bed way before us. One of the nights, when we got to the room to go to bed, we could hear her snoring through the closed door. It was that loud and she could be heard in the next room and down the hall as well. We tried to nudge her. We tried to shake her. We tried calling her name. We tried blasting loud music close to her head. She was on the futon so we picked up one side and dropped it. She didn’t budge. Cathy & I finally had to go to the living room and sleep on the couches. The girls in the other room didn’t get any sleep either due to her extremely loud snoring. We asked her about it in the morning and asked her to please switch rooms as one other gal offered. Betty again got very angry at us, said she doesn’t snore and was snapping at everyone all morning. These are people she just met.

She always made us wait for her to go on our hikes and excursions. One excursion we almost left her as we were all in the vans and she was told a few times we had to go as the tour left at a certain time. We ended up waiting 10 min for her as some of the ladies are too nice and wouldn’t leave her.

She didn’t want to play games with us. She didn’t want to hang out with us. I’m really not even sure why she came with us. She wasn’t super friendly to anyone.
Fast forward 3 weeks and I was driving a group of 5 ladies, including Betty, to a women’s event. Someone asked her how the trip was and she tells them first thing, she didn’t get any sleep and the beds were awful and the night she did get sleep she was forced to move! Wow! You get to go on a trip for half the cost of what the rest of us did. You make it miserable for most of us and now you’re complaining?! I couldn’t believe the nerve. 0918-17

{ 42 comments… add one }
  • NostalgicGal March 15, 2018, 6:52 am

    This so sounds like Betty’s not a good fit with the rest of the club and hopefully it can be put to her that everyone is very sorry but it doesn’t seem like we are the club that Betty seems to enjoy so perhaps a parting of company will be best for all…

    Hope you can duck this one or it may be the end of the club.

  • TracyX March 15, 2018, 7:02 am

    Why didn’t any of you stand up to her?

    Blow drying her hair with the door open – get up and close it for her.
    On the phone in the room/at the table – ask her to please take it elsewhere.
    In a van with 5 other people and she is attacking Susie, and none of you stood up for her? All you had to say was that attacking other members of the group was unacceptable. Instead you allowed it with your silence.

    At no time did anyone show any sort of spine.

  • MelEtiquette March 15, 2018, 7:08 am

    Based on OP’s description, I know a few people like Betty. They are not always pleasant to be around, especially not for long durations of time. With that said, it sounds like OP doesn’t care much for Betty, and as a result found every one of Betty’s actions to be annoying. I sort of feel bad for Betty, it sounds like she didn’t have an ally in her corner on this trip. Where was Ann in all of this? It sounds like Ann and Betty knew each other well, so why didn’t they room together instead?

    • Michelle March 15, 2018, 10:57 am

      Betty attacked Susie about her religion. She refused to stop even after being told Susie did not want to talk about it and being asked to stop. I see this more as a being a poor fit for Betty because she has some boundary issues. However, I also wonder why Betty did not room with Ann. From the OP’s submission, it seemed Betty asked to room with OP.

      • Melissa March 15, 2018, 1:19 pm

        Yeah, I just can’t do the mental gymnastics required to put this on OP and feel sorry for Betty. It sounds to me like OP liked Betty well enough before the trip, if she switched rooms around so that they could room together (notice she didn’t seem to ask Ann, or Ann declined). When you are rude to an entire group of people, either directly or indirectly, then no, no one is going to be in your corner. She went well past annoying, and into offensive around the time she insulted a group member and hit another repeatedly with her oar while rafting.

    • Dee March 15, 2018, 12:38 pm

      OP doesn’t have to like Betty. Nobody does. They need to treat Betty fairly, which they did. But with a group of friends, if nobody likes one of them – in this case, for very good reasons – then it is not possible to get along. And that’s the main purpose of this group, I gather; for friends to participate in enjoyable activities together.

      Betty needs to figure out how to make herself likable or else be left out of groups. It doesn’t sound as if Betty has a cognitive dysfunction or anything outside of her control, she’s just selfish and obtuse. These are traits one can change. If Betty chooses not to change then she has made her choice – to be alone. That’s free will and it should be respected.

    • AngelS March 15, 2018, 3:59 pm

      I think Susie—not Betty—was the one who needed am ally in her corner!

    • Barbara Foster March 16, 2018, 9:11 am

      Why didn’t anyone have *Betty’s* side as she’s calling another member of the group a terrorist and infidel? Goodness, I can’t imagine why!

      If you want allies in your corner, you have to stake your corner in defensible territory.

  • Michelle March 15, 2018, 8:21 am

    Betty goes on the “do not invite again” and “very chilly politeness” list. She doesn’t sound like a very friendly or nice person. This seems to be a case of going just for the sake of going because it sounds like she wasn’t really interested in joining in anything.

    As far as the waiting for her because she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be ready on time: leave her. I’ve done that to people before and they learn quickly that if I say we are leaving at 9, that means in the car pulling out at 9. Not 9:05 or 9:10.

  • staceyizme March 15, 2018, 8:30 am

    Every group runs into a “Betty” and needs to figure out how to deal with it. Just because the one in your group has a short answer for every objection doesn’t mean she gets a free pass. Neither do you and the other group members, OP- you let her get away with very bad behavior without employing natural consequences. You should have left without her on excursions, distanced yourself socially and instituted a “no phones at our table” rule. If necessary, you should have escalated a bit to group ostracism to gain compliance. Instead, you seethed inwardly and appeared to give up after each initial objection. You “niced out”. As to the follow-up trip, you don’t have any obligation to set the record straight. As rude as Betty is, she is probably known for her behaviors and if you took the time to look around at those who regularly populate her world, you might find a few eye-rollers, folks heading for literal and metaphorical exits and a few testy people, as well. Don’t correct her social narrative or attempt to police her conduct when it doesn’t impact you or the group significantly. But I think you’d be much more content implementing natural consequences and stronger objections on an “as needed” basis in order to deal with her and letting time and choice of traveling companion for other events do the rest.

    • Aleko March 18, 2018, 5:23 am

      All of this. Cathy and OP should simply have said, ‘Betty, don’t make a noise (blowdrying or phoning) in the bedroom while we’re trying to sleep’. The group should collectively have said ‘Betty, if you want to talk on your phone, take it away from the dinner table. Betty, don’t pester Susie (or anyone else) about religion. Betty, you ARE using your oar wrong which is why you are hitting Jane: either be more careful or give up your oar to someone else. Betty, if you are late for the van again, it WILL leave without you.’

  • dippy March 15, 2018, 9:20 am

    I guess you won’t be inviting her along anymore!

  • pennywit March 15, 2018, 9:45 am

    On a wilderness hike, ladies like Betty get left behind for the bears.

    And then later that night, somebody rings your doorbell. You answer, and there’s Betty looking disheveled and put-out. Attached to her is a note that reads, “Please keep this one. We don’t want her either. Signed, the bears.”

    • Michelle March 15, 2018, 11:05 am

      Haha, this was pretty funny.

    • Melissa March 15, 2018, 1:20 pm

      Now that made me chuckle 🙂

    • NostalgicGal March 16, 2018, 7:48 am

      Oh man that was a good laugh. Thank you.

    • Marozia March 17, 2018, 4:40 am


  • Semperviren March 15, 2018, 10:46 am

    What is the protocol for getting in this group? I think you need something in place so someone cannot sell their “spot” to just anyone without group approval. Life is too short to travel with impossible people.

    • Devin March 15, 2018, 2:50 pm

      If it’s an officially organized and managed group, I’d ask for a ‘no refund, no transfer’ policy when group trips are booked. The person who offered their spot at half price must have known Betty ahead of time should have checked with the group to make sure they wanted a novice (never rafted before) on their trip. I wonder if the person who skipped out over sold what kind of ladies trip this was. Spending extra time on hair and make up, sounds like Betty thought they were glamping (glamorous camping) instead of adventuring. No excuse for her bad behavior though, adults can express their frustration without sounding like a bigot.

      • Semperviren March 15, 2018, 11:46 pm

        Yeah, it sounds to me like someone had to drop out, tried to recoup at least part of her payment, and the organizer put forth her friend as a candidate without a whole lot of evaluation as to whether she was really a good fit for the group.

        I don’t know how official the structure is, but boy, I’d either be making very clear to the organizer how I felt about this person’s behavior and suggesting some kind of protocol about that kind of thing in future, or reconsidering my participation. That is behavior I just would not be okay putting up with.

  • pennywit March 15, 2018, 11:09 am

    Betty was telling Susie that Susie’s religion doesn’t believe in the true God and they don’t know the truth. That Susie’s religion breeds terrorism and there is only one true God.

    I know, I know this goes way outside the bounds of etiquette, but I know a lot of people who would very, very coldly tell Betty some variation of “You need to shut up now.” And theyd’ probably (and I don’t joke) slap her if she kept it up.

    If I were driving that car, I’d probably pull over and tell Betty that we aren’t going anywhere until she apologizes to Susie and promises to keep a civil tongue in her head. And if she can’t … then I would tell her she’s welcome to walk rather than be a passenger in my car.

    • staceyizme March 15, 2018, 12:02 pm

      Your solution sounds very good provided that a) Betty didn’t pay to ride with the group- unlikely! and b) she isn’t in imminent danger (no, you can’t drop her off on the side of the road anymore than you can leave an incapacitated person who is drunk or high without seeing to basic safety concerns first). I do think that you can turn around and take her home if the episode happens early in the trip or pull the car over and drop her off at a reasonable place (bus station, police station, fire station) if she keeps it up. If you do employ such an option, a warning is due at the start of the trip. “For reasons of driver and passenger safety, anyone who is guilty of bullying, persistent loud or course speech or those behaviors outlined in the email we sent out will be ejected from the car at the nearest safe stop. No additional warning will be provided. No refund of transport fees will be given in the event of such an occurrence. Your continued presence in this vehicle constitutes your agreement to the policy. The driver is the final arbiter of whether any such instance has occurred.” The agreement of the group should be required and the plan outlined in writing, in advance, without referencing anyone specific, and disseminated via email before any trip where it may prove helpful. That keeps it a level playing field all around.

    • lakey March 15, 2018, 12:31 pm

      “pennywit March 15, 2018 at 11:09 am
      Betty was telling Susie that Susie’s religion doesn’t believe in the true God and they don’t know the truth. That Susie’s religion breeds terrorism and there is only one true God.

      I know, I know this goes way outside the bounds of etiquette, but I know a lot of people who would very, very coldly tell Betty some variation of “You need to shut up now.” And theyd’ probably (and I don’t joke) slap her if she kept it up.

      If I were driving that car, I’d probably pull over and tell Betty that we aren’t going anywhere until she apologizes to Susie and promises to keep a civil tongue in her head. And if she can’t … then I would tell her she’s welcome to walk rather than be a passenger in my car.”

      When I was growing up it was considered rude to discuss religion and politics in social situations, except with people you were very close to.

      I know people of both political persuasions who are as obnoxious as Betty. When they are being unpleasant you start out with niceness. “Let’s talk about something less controversial.” If that doesn’t work you become more direct. ” Stop it.” If that doesn’t work, repeat it more forcefully. Most of the time if you speak up, things get better. If you are too “nice” and suffer in silence, the anger and resentment build up, things only get worse, sometimes to the point of a blow up.

      You ended this post by saying that you were driving a group to an event and Betty was part of that group. If Betty was as nasty as this, why are you still associating with her? After the way she treated Suzie, weren’t you afraid she’d start insulting you other riders? Life is too short to shut yourself up in a car with someone who acts like this.

      • lakey March 15, 2018, 12:33 pm

        “you” = “your”

        • pennywit March 15, 2018, 7:14 pm

          No, I said that IF I were driving a car with someone like Betty in it.

          • lakey March 16, 2018, 10:20 pm

            pennywit, my comment went under yours, looking like it was a reply to yours. It was supposed to be a reply to the OP. I must have hit the “reply” button under your comment. I couldn’t understand why the OP wanted to drive Betty around after the way she had treated Suzie in the car during the trip. Sorry.

    • Dee March 15, 2018, 12:33 pm

      Yeah, I wonder if these “ladies” are quite young, because I can’t imagine a mom putting up with such bad behaviour for long. If you’ve had to stop the van for the kids to make them behave it becomes automatic with adults. I’ve blurted out “play nice!” to friends without thinking just because they triggered my “mom” mode. After a laugh they did behave better.

  • Lady Phoenix March 15, 2018, 2:14 pm

    HOnestly? I would have dropped this club. No one showed any backbone—even after harassing one woman and assaulting another one with her oar. Absolutely spineless and terribly managed.

  • Semperviren March 15, 2018, 2:55 pm

    Also, OP, how did you end up driving this woman somewhere after all this?

  • Sara March 15, 2018, 4:11 pm

    The thing that shocked me the most? That you were still associated with her after that trip!

  • Mrssaint March 15, 2018, 4:33 pm

    How could betty have helped it if she snored?lots of people who snore don’t even know they do, but seriously–you played loud music and picked up and dropped the end of her bed? How childish is that? From now on you better get a signed disclosure slip from all your members stating where they snore or not!

    • lakey March 16, 2018, 10:23 pm

      Heh. A disclosure slip wouldn’t work. Snorers always think they don’t. I shared a hotel room with my younger sister. It was really bad. Her husband must be a saint.

    • Ergala March 17, 2018, 7:52 am

      Most people know they snore. I know because my fiance has told me as did my ex-husband. I even had corrective surgery and it didn’t fix it. However if you snore as loud as Betty apparently did you need to warn others. I know I do. As for what they did to wake her up, I can’t say as I blame them!!! My ex-husband snores so loudly that there were many nights I had to go sleep on the couch. I finally got fed up with waking up with a sore back and neck. NOTHING would wake this guy up, so I resorted to giving him a swift kick under the covers. That would make him roll over into a better position and he’d stop. When that stopped working I took sleeping medication to help me sleep hard enough and deep enough to not be woken up by his insane snoring. It was so loud you could hear it outside the bedroom window with it closed. Imagine being in the same room. There were options for him to reduce the sound but he refused to do any of it citing if it was keeping me awake it was MY problem to remedy. I did….divorce papers.

  • Bea March 15, 2018, 6:36 pm

    What…everyone just fell silent while a woman was harassed over her religion?! No. Every single one of you should have told her to be quiet. She should not have been catered to, you have a time to leave, you leave when that time arrives. You tell someone who is being loud at the table to take it to the other room. This group severely lacks leadership!

  • Rebecca March 15, 2018, 11:09 pm

    Alarm bells as soon as she asked the OP to switch rooms so she wouldn’t have to room with someone she doesn’t know. Good grief. If you can’t share a room with someone else in the group that you don’t know, that tells me this isn’t the kind of group for you. I’ve been in clubs like this. They work well for people who are adventurous and interested in getting to know other people. Not for clingy people who need to be glued to their one friend in the group (and it doesn’t even sound as though OP was a friend, just an acquaintance).

    And as soon as she launched into her attack on Susie, other members needed to step in. Wow. As an athiest, I can respect other people’s religious beliefs but start trying to convert me and you’ve crossed a line. and no longer get my respect.

  • Barbara Foster March 16, 2018, 9:15 am

    I agree that the group seems terribly wishy-washy. The only time they took any action was with her snoring, ironically the one thing that Betty couldn’t directly prevent. (If you travel with other people, consider investing in a good set of earplugs. They eliminate a lot of friction.)

    Otherwise, I think Betty should have been read the riot act. No personal attacks, political, religious or physical, on other participants. If she can’t behave like a civilized human being, she should be shunned. Certainly I wouldn’t have volunteered to drive her anywhere afterwards!

  • Hannah March 16, 2018, 12:34 pm

    The only person I truly feel bad for her is Susie. Imagine having to defend yourself against, and then endure with politeness and close-proximity a woman like Betty. But then to top it off, have none of your so-called “friends”, come to your aid. Betty sounds terrible, but it doesn’s sound like the rest of you are cupcakes either. You were totally complicit with this woman’s horrid behavior! And it sounds like there were at least 12 of you there– not ONE of you stood against this woman? Those are some bad statistics.

  • kingsrings March 16, 2018, 10:27 pm

    I was so lol over the snoring part! I wish I could have been there to see that happen. Sounds like something out of a comedy! Next time on these overnight trips discuss ahead of time who the snorers are and where they should sleep where they won’t disrupt others.

  • NoviceGardener March 19, 2018, 4:20 pm

    This would have been my breaking point: Betty brought up politics and religion out of the blue with one of the gals, Susie, who is a legal immigrant from another country. Susie told her several times she didn’t want to discuss it. Betty was telling Susie that Susie’s religion doesn’t believe in the true God and they don’t know the truth. That Susie’s religion breeds terrorism and there is only one true God. This sounds like real bullying (and also like Betty isn’t playing with a full deck, frankly).

    My instinct would be to see if I could subtly pull Susie away from the group, and provide her with friendly chat/hugs if she wanted hugs/distraction with local wildlife/a bit of peace and quiet. Not the easiest thing when you’re in a moving van, but you can always say something to the driver like “Hey, can we stop at the next safe point? I could really use a pee.”

    Or if that isn’t going to work, “Hey Susie, could you help me check over my last journal entry? Not sure if I got all the times and places right. Give me a hand here would you?”

    At this point, I would hope that someone with a stronger spine than mine would really take Betty to task, because she sounds like an absolute nightmare. I can forgive most of the nuisance/noise stuff (with difficulty) because maybe she’s just not used to bearing other people in mind when living in a group. But her constant, wilful rudeness and selfishness (bullying, disrupting mealtimes, timekeeping, hitting her rafting partner on the head and then blaming her) is almost unforgivable.

    [As for the loud snoring thing, I can only hope OP is exaggerating, because if I reached the point where I was playing loud music next to someone, and lifting their futon and dropping it, and they weren’t waking up, I would be worried for them, and would be seeking medical help.]

  • sunnydi84 April 10, 2018, 8:16 pm

    OP here. I will address some of the great points previous posters have made. I probably should have clarified some points in my original post.
    So, I guess none of us spoke up on what Betty said to Susie because it was so out in left field and it was a kind of ‘did I really hear that? ‘ moment. This has NEVER happened before in any of our group travels and it just kind of catches you off guard and is something I’m not used to. And quite frankly, I don’t know how to react to it, as it NEVER happens. Yes, someone or I should have spoken up at the time. I wish I would have. A few of us, myself included, did speak to Susie after we got out of the van to see if she was OK. (She was. She was just mad and trying to calm down.) We did hug her and apologized for Betty’s behavior. I also did tell Betty later that evening when we were in our room that it is never a good idea to talk about religion or politics with people unless you know them well and know their stance on these topics. I also told her she hurt Susie’s feelings. She just basically said, ‘oh well, she needs to know’. I told her that the way she did it was out of line, unkind and uncalled for. She just stuck to her guns and never apologized to Susie or anyone else.
    We were in the tour van when the conversation happened and there was no way to ask the tour driver to just pull over and kick her out. That would have been a huge liability for the tour company. Had it been my own personal van, you bet I would have pulled it over in that instance.
    When Betty was blow drying her hair with the door wide open, I did get up and tell her we were still sleeping and I was going to shut the door. She just laughed and said ‘oops!’ or something like that. No apology or anything.
    So, there was some drinking going on and that is why we got a little crazy trying to wake Betty. She wasn’t drinking, but we were. We probably should/could have handled that differently too, but when someone is making your vacation miserable, you really don’t care at that point.
    Lastly, the later time when I was driving different ladies and Betty to an event: the leader asked me to drive. I had told no one about the incidents of our trip and Betty’s bad behavior. They weren’t there and that is just gossip IMO. So, I said I would drive, as I have a large vehicle, not knowing who was coming. If I had said I’m taking everyone but Betty, I would have had to tell the story of her bad behavior on the trip to explain why I wasn’t taking her. I would have liked to have not taken her, but I didn’t want to have others wonder and get involved in something that didn’t concern them. SHE is the one who brought up the snoring/sleeping incident in the van on the way there. I just kept silent and let her speak. I had told some of the ladies previously about the beautiful house, the amazing views, hiking and some of the other fun things we did. So, she was basically making a fool of herself.
    I hope that clarifies some things. And, yes, we could have handled a lot of this far better than we did. Live and learn. But, Betty will NEVER travel with us again and I keep my contact with her to the very bare minimum now.

  • sunnydi84 April 10, 2018, 8:26 pm

    OP again. This is just a group of friends who enjoy hiking and traveling. Susie was a friend of friend who went on this trip. Susie was fine. Someone dropped out and Ann was just going around asking anyone and everyone if they wanted to come. I have since talked to Ann about this. That this doesn’t work and the person HAS to fit with the group and be someone we all know well. Betty & I were acquaintances at best before this and I didn’t want her to come at all. Ann knew her through me and they were also acquaintances. We have planned subsequent trips and it is made quite clear now that if you cannot go for any reason, there are no refunds and the group will find your replacement. Like I said, live and learn.

  • Saitaina Malfoy December 29, 2018, 5:21 am

    I’m sorry, but while some of Betty’s behavior was obviously rude…so was yours. You’re complaining because she snored? You DO realize that’s an involuntary action and often quite an embarrassing one when confronted with? Here’s an idea, buy earplugs or learn to deal with it. It is not okay to attempt to wake someone up (and do…what, they’ll just start snoring again in a few moments), nor confront them (yes, confront, because your tone did not indicate in any fashion this was a polite conversation) about something they cannot control.

    Also, leave her there? Yes, she may be rude by being late but abandoning a fellow member would be far ruder, especially if it is a location she is not familiar with. Why on EARTH would you think that was in any way appropriate or acceptable?

    Sometimes, when someone is failing in their manners, one has to stretch a bit further in theirs to make an even more enjoyable for all, and that means not getting angry at little things like a hair dryer and makeup (maybe she wanted to feel pretty for herself), or bad conversation choices. You bean dip and if that doesn’t work, you ignore. It’s really NOT that difficult.

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