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House guests, party guests, Ignorant hosts

2000 Archive

A few years ago, my roommate and I hosted a small party at our apartment, including some friends and some friends-of-friends. It was late, and the friends-of-friends were starting to get drunk and rambunctious, when the phone rang. I picked it up in the bedroom. It was a very close friend of ours, telling me that her father had just suddenly died. She was devastated, of course, and I spent a good half-hour on the phone with her, crying, trying to console her and helping to figure out relevant arrangements. I was absolutely heartbroken, too, as her dad and I had been great buddies.

My roommate came in to find out what was taking so long on the phone. When I told her what had happened, she was very shaken as well. After gathering herself (and consoling me!) she went out and quietly circulated word that we had received some bad news. Most of the guests offered sympathy and slipped out. The friends-of-friends, though, just said "oh, that sucks." and kept right on partying! They were saying to the other guests "Where are you going? The party's just starting! Woo hoo! Have another beer!" When we told them flat out that we were very upset and were in no mood for partying, they told us that we should "lighten up." We told them to get out, and apparently they never understood why they were not invited back.


This is about the incredibly crass behavior of the father of a childhood friend (let's call him Dr. G). His daughter (J) and I were friends from the age of 10, expat kids growing up together in an international community in a third world country. In our junior year of high school, he was transferred back to stateside at a good promotion. As is the custom in small circles, many of the families in our community held farewell dinners for my friend's family before they returned to the US. My parents also invited the G family over for a farewell dinner, primarily because of my friendship with their daughter. At the dinner Dr. G insulted my parents by boasting that all the dinner invitations they had received were due to people racing to kiss his a$$ because he was going on to an influential position!

Fast forward five years. I am invited to J's wedding even though we have not seen each other since our junior year of high school and have barely kept in touch. Even though I cannot go, I send a very nice and expensive gift (which I can barely afford) and sign for my entire family on the wedding card. Six months later, AFTER the wedding, J's dad returns to the third world on a business trip. He hand delivers wedding invitations to all the people he had earlier disparaged as brown-nosers and announces that he has brought an empty suitcase to carry back all the wedding gifts that he knows they want to give his daughter! My parents bought another very expensive gift for J (because she was my friend) and signed my name on the card. Unsurprisingly, we never received an acknowledgement of either gift.  Guests0228-01

I was at a friends house, and his friend John came over. John brought his girlfriend. They sat down, in front of them was a low glass table. This girl (very ugly, very fat, and very loud) took off her shoes, and plopped her manly feet on the table. I was a little bit shocked.


A joint surprise party was being held for the 40th birthdays of 2 people (a
man and a woman; they and their spouses are friends) in my neighborhood. I
got an invitation--it was to be a paintball party followed by a barbecue. (I
know, you're thinking, "Paintball? They're 40!" And believe it or not I live
in a very nice neighborhood. But I figured, maybe that's what they consider
fun.) I've played paintball and I'm...well, let's just say I'm not a teenager anymore. 

As I read the invite, it stated as follows--"please RSVP as soon as
possible--there are a limited number of spots for the paintball so only the
first 80 people who reply can come".

Come to find out, they invited 100 people--but only 80 can go to the party!
So if you don't RSVP soon, you're out of luck. I spoke to one of the spouses
and he told me, "Well, we figured that would make people RSVP quickly and we
wouldn't be stuck with empty spots. We have a waiting list though, in case
someone cancels."
Yeah, I'm sure people are going to sit by the phone and be a second choice!
Can you believe the sheer tackiness of this? Needless to say, my husband and
I declined! (And I'm not even 40 yet!)     Guests0411-01

My cousin, who is notoriously cheap, had invited my parents out to dinner as a thank you for all of the nice things they had done for her in the past years. My parents had managed a rental house she had owned. Their jobs were finding renters, collecting rent, and fixing anything that went wrong at the house. They did this free of charge for about 10 years. They were surprised at the invitation, but happy that she would spring for a meal.

The dinner day comes and my cousin picks a really nice, up-scale restaurant. They have a good meal and the check comes to the table. She makes no motion to pick it up or anything. Several minutes go by, and still nothing. She excuses herself to the bathroom, she comes back and the check is still sitting there. Finally after about 15 minutes my dad picks up the check and sticks HIS credit card in it. Now I don't know about you, but when I say I'm going to invite someone to dinner as a thank you that means that I'm going to pick up the check! Apparently not to my cousin, all etiquette is lost on her!     Guests0411-01

I was invited to go cross country skiing with a friend and his parents with some other mates when I was a teenager, and after talking with my parents about it I decided that I really didn't want to go cross country skiing in particular and I probably couldn't afford it. I left myself a little time to get back to my friend in case I changed my mind. I was meant to be going with his family and another that I played basketball with and they both had 7 seat people movers/vans.

Anyway, I had received a call from this friend to borrow my black leather shoes as he was part of his schools marching band, I said sure and let him borrow them. He kept them for a week (instead of the day as he had assured me), and I found them at my back door, as no-one had been home when he returned them. To my suprise, there was a note in the heel of one of the shoes saying that his 8 year old brother (7 years younger than us) had decided to invite another friend, and that it was only fair that his brother get to invite another of his friends. 

I couldn't believe it, I'd been disinvited and I was livid, I couldn't believe that 1. he would disinvite me 2. do it after I had let him borrow my shoes and 3. Do it with a note left in my shoes he had returned late and scuffed up. To add insult to injury, I talked to another friend who said that he had had a wonderful time skiing, I asked who with, and you guessed it, my friend and his family. I know he wasn't invited in the first place. So it turns out that I was replaced not by a 7 year old friend, but another of my aged friends that was part of our group many a grade earlier. This last friend had no idea that I had been invited so I asked if there was many people that went. He said there were a few (and named them), but they had room for at least another 3 people over the 2 vans. After that, I had words to this "friend" in front of the rest of the guys, quit the basketball team and watched their team and his friendships disband as one by one realized how much of a #^@! wit this guy was. Even though I didn't want to go, it is the principle of the thing. Your spitefully, Disgruntled.   Guests0417-01

Yeah, there are a few faux pas on the part of the friend but why on earth is the storyteller getting his knickers all in a twist about an invitation to an activity he decided he didn't want to do and couldn't afford?  EtiquetteHell Anti Burn Prevention:  Don't wait to RSVP hoping to get a better offer or decide at the last minute thus leaving the host dangling.

I have this "really good friend", or atleast she says she is. Her and I went to another city one weekend to visit another friend of mine and I met a guy. The long-distance relationship progressed and he was shortly after on vacation to my city for three nights.

This "friend" of mine OFFERED to have myself and the guy visiting me use her apartment for the entire time, so we would have some privacy. I was floored by her generosity, as she was normally more like scrooge. I graciously accepted and thanked her as much as possible seeing as she is so unpredictable. I tried to keep things mellow the week before his arrival so she wouldn't back out on me at the last minute.

So, he arrives as planned and the weekend went UNBELIEVEABLY well!! I should add my "friend" was not inconvenienced in the least, she spends every night at her boyfriends place anyway and we had stayed out of her apartment as much as we could during early hours. May I also mention, my "friend" said she wouldn't mind in the slightest if there were any "encounters" in her bed and even lit candles and put the radio on for us one day before she left and we came home. I was grateful to her and I offered to take her out one night ON ME!

So, a week later, she and her boyfriend have a fight, her boyfriend calls me to confide and ends up telling me that the entire time we stayed at her house all she did was complain about how much we were inconveniencing her and how ungrateful I was the whole time. She complained that when she came home one day, she found our box of condoms by the bed and went on and on about how she was disgusted and had to clean her sheets. I THEN find out that not only did she complain to her boyfriend, but she also complained to a lot of her friends, one of which, by the way, "hates" me for all of the crap I put her "friend" through that week. And this was NOT the first time she's pulIed this sort of stunt, yet this one was the worst! I was furious!! Needless to say, we are no longer friends.   Guests0418-01

Only 2 months after my husband and I were married, my husband's cousin invaded our living room for what was supposed to be a short stay. At the time, I was only 19 and my husband was 22. His cousin, was in his mid/late forties (Older then my parents). He came to stay with us after an online, turned live-in, love affair ended and the woman turned out to be "crazy."

All he brought with him were some jeans and tee shirts and his computer. He immediately set his computer up in my dining room and there he stayed, "chatting" for hours on end. He got up about every hour to stand outside our arcadia door and smoke cigarette and drink beer. He drank all our beer, ate our food, and never once did anything to help out around the house. I'd wake up at 3:00am to get a drink, and there he'd be, typing away.

What bothered me most was that I was 7 months pregnant, working full time, to support a man who was older than my own parents. He never looked for a job or a place of his own. He was there when we brought home our son, even though my husband and I had told him he needed to be out of our house by the time the baby came. And I was forced to hide in my bedroom to breast feed and heal from giving birth. He always had money for smokes and even beer, but none to help buy food or pay bills. By the time he left, 3 months had gone by. It put a huge strain on our marriage and ruined the little time we had together before being parents. Occasionally he still asks my husband and his brothers for money to help get him out of jams, even though he's supposedly living in another country. Talk about outstaying your welcome.


A little background. My father's parents live across the street from my parents. My father's mom (call her *C*) has always been a little oddly self-obsessed, but I don't think it can be put down to anything pathological. Every year, my mom is expected to put on a huge shindig for the 'big' holidays i.e. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving. She also used to do a party for my Dad's birthday but stopped when C started to claim that the same day was her birthday and take over the celebrations. C throws parties once every two years or so when her other daughter is in town. These inevitably involve a bucket of wings and pre-fab cake from the worst and cheapest fast food place in town. When C is invited to our parties, she always brings green jello salad with pineapple chunks. Always. In the same dish even. And spends at least half the meal talking about how much she loves to cook (she spends the other half of the meal talking about how she only married my grandfather, a lovely man, because she felt sorry for him, but that's another faux pas.)

Ok, so she's old and all. So it's more funny than evil. Except the year that my second brother was born.

My second brother was born two _days_ before Easter. It was a home birth and it was very difficult because it was breech (that is, my brother was backwards.) It was also my mom's fifth child, so she had four other young'uns hanging around in various stages of shock, concern, sibling rivalry. The next day C came by to see the new arrival and in the course of the conversation it became apparent that she still expected to be invited over to Easter dinner... I don't know whether my mom was just flustered or what, but somehow she found herself agreeing, preparing the ham, yams, veggies, three kinds of dessert, two kinds of rolls, all the usual stuff, and setting it on the sideboard just as C showed up Easter Sunday - bearing the usual green jello salad.     Guests0510-01

My husband worked with a man who had a wife and two horrible kids. I didn't really care for these people, but we occasionally went out them to be nice. We were out shopping one day about a week before my daughter's birthday party, I hadn't invited these people as it was only going to be for family, and they were at her party the year before and were horribly behaved. The wife bought my daughter a birthday gift so I felt obligated to invite them to the party. They showed up 2 hours early with another kid that I didn't even know. As my daughter was opening her gifts, these two little heathens were taking them away from her and opening all of the toys. They had done the same thing once before and lost or broke her toys before she got to play with them. When I got fed up and took the gifts inside so that my daughter could enjoy them later, their mother got very angry and spent the rest of the party glaring at me like I was some kind of evil person for not letting her kids play with my daughters new toys. I haven't invited them to a party since.   Guests0516-01

I have a guest from Hell story to tell you. I have a good friend (or at least I thought she was a good friend) that live a few hours away from me. She comes to visit me in New York City often, and also make a lot of business trips down here. Well, I had planned to have her come stay with me for one weekend because she was going to be in town for a trade show. The trade show was Tuesday - Friday, so she was planning to head to my apartment on Friday for some fun. The Monday before the trade show, she emailed me tell me that she would be at my apartment around 10 p.m. on Tuesday. Eek! I guess she decided that she was staying with me the whole week. I have a one-bedroom apartment that I share with my boyfriend. Basically, my friend would be invading my living room for the week. But, she was a friend, so I decided to deal with it. She did mention, however, that her company would pay for dinner one of the nights -- she would expense it -- since we were saving them money by letting her stay with us rather than in a hotel. I thought it was a fair deal. As you may know, apartments in NYC are VERY small.

That Tuesday -- the night she was supposed to arrive around 10 p.m. -- she was nowhere in sight. I waited until 11:30 p.m. and she finally called me to say she was meeting up with some co-workers for drinks and that she would just stay with them after. No problem, but it would've been nice if she'd called earlier. The same thing happened the next night, but she ended up showing up to stay. I figured we would go out to dinner on Thursday -- on her company -- since that's what she had mentioned (she mentioned it again when she got to my apartment at 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday). When I got home from work at 6:30 p.m., she had already gone to dinner across the street because she was hungry. Has she ever heard of a snack?

Not only did she NOT take us out to dinner, but she bragged the WHOLE WEEK about how she's making 6 figures. My boyfriend and I heard over-and-over how she's maxed-out her contribution to her 401K and how she can afford to buy clothes every week. She literally bought about $300 worth of clothes while she was in town. Now, I don't mind that she's making 6 figures -- good for her, but if that's the case, then she could've taken me out to dinner herself -- on her company or not -- as a thank you for the week-long hospitality. I got really sick of hearing about her money. My boyfriend is not one to notice these kinds of things, and he even said to me that she was annoying him about how much she makes -- before I said a word to him! Also, he doesn't make that much since he's a freelancer here in NYC. Well, he's just a really sweet guy. He bought her drinks all weekend, sort of expecting that she would get the next round and I would get the one after that. She NEVER offered to pay for any of his drinks. I took my appropriate turn at paying for a round, but she claimed she was "pretty tipsy already" when it came time for her round.

We made a late night stop at the grocery store for some ice cream after a night out and she let us pay for that too. Then, on Saturday, one of my boyfriend's friends had a really cute cocktail party. She's a painter, so she was having this party to take photos of some cute scenes to paint. She asked us all to dress up and served us kitschy cocktails all night -- it was really a lot of fun. This friend was nice enough to let my out-of-town friend join us rather than having us miss the party (she also has a tiny one-bedroom NYC apartment -- extra guests can be a tight squeeze). As is usually customary for a nice party, my boyfriend and I stopped to buy her a nice bottle of wine. My boyfriend chipped in for the wine -- my friend didn't offer a penny.

This friend of mine is also very comfortable with her body, which is great, but I don't need her parading around half naked in my small apartment in front of my boyfriend. My boyfriend is a photographer, so he is used to seeing naked women. He wasn't gawking at her, but he was very uncomfortable about it. It was rude. She was wearing these completely see-through boxers with no underwear to bed at night. Also, the night of the party, she was trying on some things because she hadn't planned on it and didn't bring the right clothes. So, I let her borrow some stuff. She had some leather pants on, and I offered her a beige tank top to go with it. She tried it on without a bra -- and you could see EVERYTHING. She looked down and realized this, but proceeded to go into the living room to get to the bathroom just to double check. So, my boyfriend's out in the living room with her walking around in a super thin tank with no bra. Ugh!

She is a really good friend -- or at least I thought she was. I guess she shouldn't stay with me for a whole week in the future!   Guests0308-01

My husband and I were living in a two-bedroom unit in high-rise building in our hometown when my husband accepted a contract job that would take us out of state for six to twelve months. This would mean maintaining households in both places during this time period, but my husband's employer would be giving him tax-free expense money to pay for the second place so this was not a financial burden.

However, we did want to have someone taking care of our place at home while we were gone, and we had a friend who lived several states away who had told us numerous times that he was interested in moving to our city. So we called up our friend and asked him if he would like to house-sit our place for the 6-12 months. That way, we'd have a house-sitter, and he'd have a place to stay while looking for a job and getting settled. (At this time, we believed this person to be a very mature, reliable, and trustworthy individual.) He agreed to come out and house-sit for us, and we told him we expected to be gone for six to twelve months and he could stay at our place until my husband's out-of-state job was over.

We sent him the keys, he came over and moved in, and all seemed to be going well until just before my husband's out-of-state job was over. While we were out of the state, my parents sent me and my husband a large monetary gift which we decided to use as a down payment for a house. So during one of our visits back to our hometown, my husband and I selected a house and set a closing date for almost two months later. We called our friend who was house-sitting for us and gave him notice of the move out date, and also asked him if he would be willing to pack up our apartment as a favor to us. We let him know that if he felt the job was too much for him, we would gladly get some of our other friends to help out. He assured us that yes, he would be happy to pack things up for us, that he felt it was the least he could do for us considering we would have given him six months of free rent by the move-out date, and that no, he didn't need anyone else to come over and help. He was confident that he could get the job done himself. We also gave this friend most of our furniture from our old apartment, as we had bought a new set of furniture for our house.

My husband called this friend numerous times during the following seven or eight weeks, and was told that the packing was going "fine", although he did make a few comments to the effect that we had an awful lot of stuff. BTW, I don't feel that we had given him too much stuff to pack as at least half our personal belongings we had taken with us out of state. The day came for the closing on our house, and my husband and I took a few days off work and flew back into town for a long weekend of moving. We got back to our apartment in mid-afternoon after a long morning of business details regarding our house closing. We expected to find most of our stuff neatly boxed up, ready to be moved. Instead we found a disaster area. Not only was almost nothing packed (only about 2 or 3 boxes), the place was a mess. Including an entire closet stuffed full of newspapers waiting to be taken to the recyclers. And to top it all of, he had invited an out-of-town guest to visit him during this time, and was spending all his time running around entertaining this friend rather than helping to pack. (GGRRRRR!!!!! We HAD given him almost 2 months notice. Why couldn't he have had the friend visit him a different time?! Or at least work on packing during the previous 7 weeks!)

So, anyway, as we were getting back to our apartment at mid-afternoon, our friend and his guest were just going out "for a little while", but our friend promised us that "soon" to finish packing. Not wanting to make a scene in front of his guest, we didn't object at this point. Meanwhile, my husband and I begin frantically packing and cleaning up. Hours passed (at least 7 or 8 hours), it is now late in the evening, my husband and I have been working ourselves like crazy, it has become abundantly clear that we don't have a snowballs chance in #%*&!@ of getting everything done before our plane leaves on Sunday afternoon, and finally our friend and his guest stroll back in ready to "finish packing."

Of course by this time I am furious, but even so my husband and I confront him as tactfully as we can, telling him that we were disappointed that he had not kept his promise to us, and that we had really believed him to be more responsible. (The only thing that kept me from flying into a raving tantrum at this point was my respect for our friend's guest, who, after all, was merely an innocent bystander.) And our friend actually had the gall to be surprised that I was upset, as he protested, "But I WAS going to finish packing for you." I asked him just when he thought he was going to get it all done, considering my husband and I had been working many hours and were still nowhere near being done. He had seriously thought he could tackle the whole job in an evening!!!!

In the end, my husband and I had to take two extra days off work (with no notice), change our plane ticket, and pay two extra days on our rental car, all at great personal expense, to finish packing, cleaning, and moving. We realized later that just about the only things our friend had taken the time to do were the things that benefited himself. That is, he moved out all of his own personal belongings, the furniture that we were giving him. He even wasted half a day driving the whole closet full of newspapers all the way across town to a recylcer who would give him money for them. And this was despite the fact that we had asked him to simply take all the newspapers to the recycling bins in the basement of the apartment building, as there wasn't time to waste running around.   Guests0626-01

Years ago, we were invited to a Thanksgiving dinner at my brother-in-law's house. He was on wife #2, and her family would be there also at their rather small house. We arrived at the appointed time to find that there was no room for us. The kitchen table had been converted into the serving line, piled high with food, so no one was allowed to sit there. My brother-in-law and his wife's side of the family were camped out in the living room with TV trays and a big-screen TV so they wouldn't miss the football game, and there were no more chairs. I was told that I could take my flimsy paper plate, and go sit on my nephew's bed to eat this meal. They were also out of forks by this time, so I was eating my Thanksgiving turkey with a spoon! I couldn't believe how unprepared they were! If they had only asked, I would have eagerly brought more chairs and forks. I found out later that this was caused by several last minute guests on the wife's side of the family. Apparently, his wife's family kept adding on friends and relatives who weren't originally invited. One guy just got on parole, and that's why he was able to join us! Guests0215-01

House guests. A phrase that brings a feeling of nausea even after 12 years have passed since "Sally,Cliff" and their offspring came to visit. Sally and Cliff were friends of mine and my now ex-husband. We were living on the west coast having moved from the north 2 years prior. Sally and Cliff kept in touch with us by phone infrequently during that time. Although they weren't the closest of friends,we were fond of Cliff and he had married Sally and they had produced two children together.

Cliff called and told us that he and Sally wanted to try living on the west coast. He asked if it would be alright if they stopped to visit us when they came down and could they stay a few days? We were more than happy to have them as prospective guests. It was the perfect motivation to section off part of a large room to make a small guest room. We had about ten days to put up a wall and closet,furnish the room with a bed and cot for the little ones. All was done in ample time and I was very pleased with the results.

The family arrived tired and bedraggled from their long car trip. We fussed over the kids, fed them and tried to make them as comfortable as possible. After the kids were settled in,Cliff and Sally let us know of their finances. They had arrived at our home with less than one hundred dollars in their pockets, driving a car that the finance company was looking to repossess due to failure to make payments. They were fleeing from bill collectors and a bank looking to foreclose on a house they had bought the previous year. This would be a sad and moving story if it were not for the fact of Cliff and Sally being just plain stupid with their money. Unfortunately, I would not find this out immediately but over a very long month.

My first clue came when the next day, sally went shopping with their hundred dollars at a bargain store and bought herself some clothes and the kids some clothes and plastic novelty mugs. She now had fourteen dollars left. She had to have her cigarettes and diet soda every day. She would buy a Big Gulp and put some in the 11 months old bottle for his breakfast. She had no regard for my house. I had new furniture for the first time in my adult life and her kids would be fed and not have their hands wiped and have sticky fingers all over it. I was starting to go nuts. This woman wouldn't even change her kids diaper. She would call her husband to do it. She said it was"icky".

Neither one looked for work but immediately started contacting welfare organizations. Some suggestions they made while they were our "guests" were, their children sleep in my daughter's room because the baby cries a lot at night, couldn't we buy fast food more often for dinner and please stop buying 2% milk since their daughter likes whole milk. They ended up costing us about six hundred dollars that month that we couldn't afford ,in food,utilities and loans. They were slobs,leeches and if it were not for worrying about their children,they would have been gone in two days. A lesson learned.    Guests0725-01

Hi, My story is about Parents from Hell. Not my parents. Just people who are parents of small children. A surprising number of people might relate to this story: My husband and I invited a couple of good friends over for dinner. This invitation included their two children, then 3 & 4 years of age. We prepared a special dinner for the children. We fed them first and their parents installed them in plain sight on the sofa to watch a children's movie while the adults ate dinner. So far so good.

Then, the children's parents turned into - the parents from hell: The kids were quietly absorbed in the movie - or were trying to be - but mother was talking to them from the kitchen about what was going on in the movie. Mother bolted down her supper and joined the kids in front of the TV. That left three adults eating dinner - but not for long. Mother began talking to Father about the movie. Father hurried up and joined them. My husband and I sat there astounded. We didn't have to say a word to each other. We understood each other perfectly. THESE friends would not be invited back for a very, very long time. Truly, this incident marked the end of our socializing.      Guests0831-01

Hi, Here is a submission for your "etiquette hell" - it's truly unbelievable people can be so tacky. My Sister in Law, her family and her parents were invited to her neighbor's Bar-B-Que on Father's Day. The neighbors served up Filet Mignon and lobster. But the clincher was they charged each guest $20 a head, and everyone had to bring their own beer on top of it all. Oh, and only the Father's got to eat the lobster. The women had to go without because it was, afterall, Father's Day. Love your site!  Guests0905-01

I know that you can't go through life without meeting these people, but this dinner guest was by far, the worst one I had ever had. ``Steve`` was a busboy who I used to work with during my waitressing days. After I left the job, ``Steve`` remained behind, while I moved on in my career. Since then, ``Steve`` kept in contact with me, and one day, he called to tell me his Great Aunt had died. He also complained profusely about his job, and wanted to get out of it. Feeling sorry for him, I invited him over to my house for dinner.

When he arrived, he was wearing a crumpled white button down shirt with his tie askew, khaki pants, and old black running shoes. When he entered my house, he walked right past me, and began to wander around. He began pestering me with questions about how big was my house, how many bedrooms there were, did I live with anyone, where was my family located. He looked at my furniture and my stereo like a starving man looking at a steak.

When we sat down to dinner, I served him Pasta in large pasta bowls. He complained, ``Why are you serving spaghetti in bowls.. they're supposed to be on plates``. My other guest, Sidney, and I did not reply. Throughout the dinner, ``Steve`` stretched and lounged all over the table, laying his head down on the table for several minutes at a time, stretching himself out onto the two empty seats beside him and laying down, and for some reason, kept on making strange, scowling expressions. Throughout the dinner, he nodded off twice, and mumbled incoherently. Whenever I got up to take a phonecall, or to go to the bathroom, ``Steve`` would get up from the table, and walk around my house, wandering from room to room. He even went so far as to go into the family room, which is kept closed. He took the doorknob of the door and began to wrestle it. `What's in here, I wanna see this Place!!.`` he said. Luckily, when I returned to the table, he had already sat down.

During the dinner, ``Steve`` kept on looking around, and made remarks like, ``I could get used to this place`` and then smiled at me. The look he gave me made my skin crawl. As I cleared the plates and served coffee, ``Steve`` continued to make racial slurs at my friend Sidney. ``Steve`` placed two of his index fingers on his temples, and made his eyes go slitty like. ``WANT SOME EGGROLLS" he yelled and then burst out laughing. Needless to say, Sidney nor I did not find this funny, as Sidney is Chinese.

Afterwards, all three of us went into the Den to watch TV. As we sat on the sofa, I asked Steve if he would pass me a blanket.``Steve`` picked up the blanket next to him and THREW it at me. When I got up to go to the bathroom, ``Steve`` then sprawled himself out all over the sofa, with laid his dirty feet on the cushions. Sidney saw this display, and said, ``You'll have to move when she comes back`` ``Steve`` looked at him, smirked and said, ``Yeah, well, when she comes, I``ll just kick her off``. When I returned, Sidney looked very uncomfortable, and signaled to me with his eyes to get this idiot out of my house. I stated that I had to go and return some movies, and then Sidney offered to drive me. ``Steve`` said that he would come too, so we ended up driving the jerk home.

After we dropped this jerk off, (at a small little apartment in a seedy part of town) Sidney looked at me and said that when I was gone from the kitchen, ``Steve`` would get up from the table, and wander around. He even went through my CD collection, and stated to Sidney that this wasn't a house, this was a mansion, and interrogated Sidney, asking him if he lived here, and if I had any family in the area. Sidney told me that ``Steve`` acted like a drug addict he once saw, all fidgety, and nodding off, and he saw that ``Steve`` had angry red little dots all over his lower forearms. Sidney said that he saw it because at one point ``Steve`` rolled up one of his sleeves to scratch them. ` Sidney warned me that I better get a security system in place. Needless to say, I never spoke to ``Steve`` ever again, and my new security system is top of the line.


Several years ago, I was seeing a man whose family invited me to Thanksgiving dinner at their home in the country. We had been dating for about three months, so this was the famous "dinner with the folks" milestone; I was also living in a city hundreds of miles away from home, so the opportunity to actually spend a real Thanksgiving with a family instead of in my room with a TV dinner was greatly appreciated.

I bought a bottle of wine -- a relatively inexpensive but good wine. We arrived twenty minutes earlier than my boyfriend had told me we needed to arrive. He pulled the wine from my hand and announced to his mother "I brought wine!" (Oh, really? You bought the wine? Troubling clue number one). I asked his mother if there was anything I could do to help out. No, she said, everything was already cooking or done, the table was set. There was nothing for me to do. She was a little cool, but seemed all right. I'd met his younger brother before, he was amiable if a little flaky; his younger sister and her boyfriend seemed nice if not terribly interested in me, and his older brother and his wife were actually very nice. His father didn't bother to acknowledge our arrival from his perch on the Barcalounger in front of the TV. Mom shooed me out of the kitchen when I tried to help carry the food in to the table: "We can manage."

Dinner went well, though most of the family -- including my boyfriend -- talked around me. Only the older brother and his wife actually conversed with me. His father said nothing that I recall to anyone during the dinner, just shoveled food in. After dinner, his mother stood up and loudly and firmly announced that whoever did not help her cook would have to do the dishes (no dishwasher). Fine, I thought, my chance to help. A couple of us would be doing dishes. Younger brother announced that as he'd helped by tasting the food, he didn't have to do them. Boyfriend (bad sign #2) announced that he'd been "working around the house all day" (a lie, and an awfully vague one at that) he was exempt. Everyone then looked at me. "Since you didn't help with dinner, you're the one who gets to wash the dishes!" Mom said. His older brother, bless him, prevented me from feeling really singled out by pointing out that he had not helped cook, so would be doing the dishes too. Various people started protesting that he worked all week, he shouldn't have to wash dishes, until his wife said, "Why shouldn't he do dishes?" Sis's boyfriend, and of course silent Dad, said nothing during this whole exchange. That's when I, not always quick on the uptake, got it. The dishes were really women's work in this house; as the lone woman who had not helped with the cooking (for whatever reason -- not being there didn't excuse me), I was solely responsible for them -- despite the feeble lip service Bill and his younger brother paid to why they shouldn't have to do them.

While his brother and I were washing dishes, either Mom or Sis would come in every five minutes, and insist that his brother come watch football: "She can finish those up by herself." It was the most uncomfortable holiday dinner I've ever had. I was more than willing to help, but demanding that a guest wash, dry, and put away all the dishes and pans generated by Thanksgiving dinner for nine seemed excessive. I felt totally excluded, and embarrassed (and in retrospect, I don't think I'd committed any faux pas). It was indeed a harbinger: I quickly discovered later that my boyfriend had specific ideas about what women were supposed to do around the house. Bad sign #3: while doing all those dishes, his brother asked me, "Um, why are you with my brother? You seem too smart for him...". Joking, but not really. The relationship didn't last too much longer. I did write an insincere thank you note to his Mom, and even refrained from suggesting she get a damn dishwasher.    Guests0925-01

My freshman year in college, there was an international student in my dorm hall named "Jack." One day he saw someone riding their bike, and said "that’s a nice bike." The next day he came riding up on a new bike of the same model. A few days later he saw someone’s stereo system in their room and said "that’s a nice stereo." Naturally he showed up the next day with his own. What was funny was that he was on his bike with the huge box strapped to his back. Not to begrudge him his purchases – he (or his parents) clearly had the money to send him to the US for school, and let him buy what he wanted. It was just a funny sight.

When the dorms closed down for the winter break, all the international students had to find somewhere else to live. Knowing that my parent’s house was only a few miles from campus, Jack asked if he could stay with my family for the month. I asked my mom and we decided to be generous and let him stay with us. He was a reasonable guest, the main problem being his appetite. Whenever anyone went into the kitchen for any reason, he would follow them in there and get something else to eat. Not only did he not offer to pay for a share of the grocery expenses, he never even said thank you once the entire time he was there or afterwards. Six years later my mother still talks about what a rude houseguest he was. Needless to say he was not invited back into our home the next school break.   Guests0926-01

Several weeks ago my family was invited to child's birthday party. It was a standard birthday party invitation albeit a cutesy one in line with the party theme. Time, place, come dressed in theme attire, and please RSVP. I RSVP'd immediately that we would be delighted to attend. That was 2 weeks ago.

Fast forward to two nights before the party. I came home and there was a message on my machine that said, "Hi, we're so excited you're coming to the party on Sunday. I've decided your entrance fee is 2 packages of hamburger buns, 2 packages of hot dog rolls, and a bag of ice! Can't beat that can you? See you then!" No mention on the invitation that it was a potluck and the idea of an "entrance fee" to a child's birthday party? I called another woman whose children were invited and subtly asked if she was "asked to bring anything." Her response was, "Yeah, my entrance fee is 2 bags of ice, 2 2-liter bottles of soda, and a tossed salad."

The only valid reasons for backing out of an affirmative RSVP is serious illness (your own) or death in the family. In all honesty, I woke up the day before the party with a serious headache and sore throat and by the evening I was running a fever. The party is an hour from my house, so this is a situation where I cannot drop the kids off and come back for them!

This almost tops the party (same hostess) where I had declined the invitation due to a prior commitment. The hostess said, no, just show up an hour late, it'll be no problem--unfortunately I took her at her word. I showed up late as I had told her I would be, and since the ponies she had hired were about to leave, she announced that if all parents would chip in $50 the ponies could stay another hour! Needless to say, my kids DIDN'T get a pony ride!! And when I said, 5 HOURS later that I really had to leave as it was past my children's bedtime, she announced to the entire party that it was so RUDE to leave before the pinata, and then told her husband to go hang it up! This was at 8:30 at night and we had arrived an hour late at 3:30 pm--meaning other guests had been there since 2:30. How long are children's parties SUPPOSED to last? I'm guessing that's the last party invitation from the same hostess to which I'll ever RSVP in a positive manner!     Guests1002-01

My brother and his wife used to invite our family to their house for holidays. My sister in law is a great host and serves wonderful food for our large family (5 siblings). Three years ago, they hosted their last holiday for the whole family. The reason they no longer have all of us to their house is because of my youngest sister's husband, "Vern."

Vern is an interesting character. He thinks he is a lot smarter than he is. But, beyond that, he has some serious hygiene issues. He and my sister had a 3 year old son and an infant daughter. Their son had not been potty trained yet. One thing that Vern did was change his diaper on a rug in one of the bedrooms and smear things on the rug, left the dirty diaper on the floor, and didn't offer to clean the spots on the rug.

We ate the Christmas meal at 1pm. Then, that evening, we ate leftovers. Vern's son was ready to eat, so Vern went to the kitchen to fix his meal. He pulled a pan of homemade macaroni and cheese out of the refrigerator, reached in and grabbed a handful, then plopped it on the plate. My sister in law was horrified and immediately threw away the rest of the pan (Please remember the hygiene issues). The amazing thing was that he was not aware that he did anything wrong! Now, whenever we gather, we set up a diaper changing station, and we fix his plate. It's just easier that way. but my sister in law never invited the whole family to their house again. And I don't blame her!     Guests1128-01

My children and I visited my parents' home for Christmas. I have been dating a man for a little over two months and, after clearing it with my parents, invited him to visit us for a day during the stay there. He lives two hours away, but the day visit arrangement was fine.

On Christmas Day, he showed up, unannounced, with his two hungry children who he had picked up for visitation. The Christmas dinner had been put away hours before and my mother felt she had to drag all of the food out to take care of them. The children turned their noses up at the offerings, but loaded up on cookies and later started a wrestling/tickling contest on the sofa and over the glass furniture in my parents' home. I was mortified. I thought it couldn't get much worse, but Mr. Wonderful decided to exercise his parenting skills right there in front of everyone. He told his son if he couldn't correct his behavior by himself, he'd correct it for him. (Okay, the behavior was to pick up the kids on Christmas Day, let them open a couple of presents, stuff them in the car to drive for two hours to some stranger's house, eat a bunch of high-sugar treats and then have to sit still and watch TV while younger sister started up a tickle contest.)

It turns out Dad's method of correcting behavior was to force the boy to hit the floor and do 75 push-ups and for each sound the kid made in his own defense, he got 20 more. While he was doing the pushups, Super-Dad would ridicule him and tell him he was doing them wrong and to start over. I left the room I was so disgusted. Now, it turns out that this man cannot figure out why I don't want to see him again. Duh.      Guests1230-01

This past weekend I decided to go and visit a friend who lives 4 hours away in a small town outside Boston. She and her husband had just bought a house and she was 5 months pregnant(first child). My husband couldn't go due to work and considering I had been trying to visit her for several weeks I finally had the opportunity to "Vacation". The last visit we had was 3 months ago with the whole family. I have a daughter 3 and a son 6.

I offered to make her window treatments and I had just finished her bedroom sheer curtains. She was anxious to have them. My husband offered to watch our children but my friend said she would love to see them and besides they had just gotten a new puppy. I told her my kids are not really dog friendly (due to not having one and bad past experiences). I was willing to give it a try. The ride up was a dream, my children were so behaved as the last time.

We get there as planned and we even bought the puppy a gift in addition to the window treatments for my friend. Upon entering the house, the puppy freaked my son out and immediately started chasing him around the house. while my son screaming/crying for cover, My friend and her husband giggled a bit but soon yanked the puppy back and held him for 2-3 minutes just to have the same thing happen again. The dog peed on the floor and my son nearly did too. My 3 year old was startled, and reacted nervously by climbing up my chest.

After they screamed at the dog and I trying to explain to my children not to panic, things seemed to calm down for a while. My friend showed us our rooms and said "Oh this is going to be the babies room, the kids can play in here" I thought that would be fun for a little while. Leaving the room I happened to notice a dog cage in the hall. I asked if they ever use it and her reply was only when they went to work. OK. So the cycle continued, Puppy, chase, scream, yell at puppy, yell at son, stay puppy stay son.....My son started seeing a pattern, that if he walked around the dog or even moved to another room the puppy would get up and chase him. This didn't go so well. So my friend suggested to my children, to go upstairs and play in the bedroom. "close the door sweetie if you don't want the dog to come after you." She says. I in turn send them to the "cage" bedroom two more times, each time they got more and more fidgety and I started reprimanding them more for getting into trouble. They are not enjoying this at all. I did not expect my children to spend their vacation in someone else's room and entertain themselves. Nor did I expect my friends to put their puppy away, but I started to feel as if my friend felt fine by putting my kids in the bedroom.

My children deserved to spend time with me too. This started to infuriate me. So I suggested to go for a walk to the park to get out of the house. My friend took the puppy to a large grass field. I noticed she was trying to train her puppy. Then she started smacking it and hitting it. I asked if she thought that hitting was effective and she commented that she only does it because her husband trains the dog that way. Well, after coming home. I laughed to myself thinking there are three "puppies" in her home. Only our discipline styles were different.

Next scenario... Right before dinner, My friend reported that she had plans to go out to the movies with 4 friends that meet once a month. I asked Why she didn't tell me this when we spoke a week before. She said she wasn't going to go because she would rather spend the night with me but that her four friends were coming over anyway for a spaghetti dinner and then would leave for the movie. I haven't seen her friends since her wedding 5 years ago so I wasn't that upset.

After dinner, I cleaned up the dishes and started to get my children ready for bed. Remember the puppy hasn't slept and I was exhausted from the drive. Their movie started at 9:40 and when I came downstairs expecting to see just my friend, the girls were still sitting around the table. It was 10:00. I said, "you guys missed the movie". My friend said there was someone else coming over. Cut to the chase. We all went to the living room for them to talk about each other, and their lives mostly, and by 1:00 AM I was holding my eyes open with toothpicks. I spoke 2 sentences to my friend.

Next day....... I noticed her husband sleeping on the couch( he had gone out and didn't come home until late) Breakfast was fine there were only a few puppy chases only because my children were in the "cage". The worst is yet to come....I heard some banging noises from the "cage" so I raced upstairs to see what had happened. My 3 year old took the sliding closet door off the track. I reprimanded my children who were stir crazy and told them that this type of behavior was not tolerated. My son was so unhappy, and just then, my friend starts to yell at my children, telling them that they will never be able to come and visit again. Then I yelled at my children because I was embarrassed that my friend yelled at them. My friend went downstairs to see her husband. I walked in just as they were talking about the incident. Her husband said, "If I ever did that when I was a kid my father would have taken a stick to me." In other words I said " you think I should hit my kids?"Then my friend tells me my children are undisciplined and have no respect for me..........

Now my friend telling me this, I don't take criticism from my parents! but for some reason I hold my tongue. My children apologize for what they did and mind you this was the worst behavior I have ever seen in my children. Could I have convinced anyone otherwise???? Regardless. they were quiet for about 1 hour. Then they came out of the "cage" and the puppy saw my son. OH LORD! We were going to stay for lunch but I had promised my son a visit to my brothers who lived only 20 minutes away. My children were never so happy to leave. We left fast. My feelings as I drove away were "Just wait until you have children of your own..." and until then, I will never come and visit with my children again. It will be a while before I forgive my friend too.

There are so many more little instances I can't even count that just made this weekend a nightmare. By the way my children were back to normal at my brothers house. When I returned home I sent my friend a thank you card and then told her I prefer not to visit with the kids again. She was very upset and called me about this. I told her how embarrassed I was and she basically said her puppy was more behaved than my kids. Well that's all I remember now I want to forget. How do I know we are not welcome any time soon?...Well I left my sons sneakers up there and told her to keep them until I return. Her reply..."oh don't worry they will be in the mail" is a comedy and comedy is life.    Guests0525-01

My husband and I had become friendly with another couple and had them over to our home 2 times for dinners. (At the time they were in the middle of packing and moving so they said they would have us for dinner in return once they moved...fine.) We are not rich but we always make the effort to have nice foods and wine and a pretty table setting with linens, etc.for dinner guests. (This does not have to cost very much at all with a little thought and creativity). Well, we were eventually invited to their home for dinner. This consisted of a broiled chicken breast each, 2 sliced tomatoes and an already opened and half-eaten Sara Lee cake. That was it. Period. After one glass of wine each there was no more to be had. Instead of napkins of any sort we got folded up paper towels. There was no juice or soda...just tap water. These people are very comfortable financially. Whew..tacky!   Guest0114-02

As someone who entertains a lot, I've been perplexed over the years at the near total lack of reciprocity by our guests.   It's as if I had gained the reputation of the "Party Lady" and no one wanted to usurp my title.  I've concluded that some people are "Takers" but others are simply entertaining challenged.  So, your friends are at least making an effort and should be encouraged to continue with the hope that they continue to refine their hosting.  But I am loath to put anyone in Etiquette Hell because the food selection was  not up to a guest's expectations regardless of how much money the guest presumes the host has.

My husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last year with a big, pull-out-all-the-stops fancy party. We hired a fancy caterer, had a live band, and "black tie optional" was on the invitation. Wanting to encourage mingling and circulation among the guests, we decided to have lots of gorgeous little nibbles instead of a sit-down dinner. Among our choices were puff pastry stuffed with crab, wheels of baked Brie, puff pastry with spinach and feta, scallops wrapped in bacon, little tarts filled with roasted peppers and Boursin, and so on. Then among the desserts were cheesecake, a "Chocolate Eruption" cake that was fabulous, fresh fruit, and deliciously tart Key Lime pie. Very fancy, lovely food. In other words, along with our open bar, there was more than enough food and drink for each of our nearly fifty guests.

The party could not have gone more beautifully. I was silently congratulating myself the next day when I mentally counted heads and realized that two guests had never shown up--I had subtracted two from the final number I gave the caterer, figuring (sadly, but that's this day and age) that we would have a couple of no-shows and we didn't want to pay for them. So I felt a little smug that we'd paid for exactly the number of people we actually had.

Well, a few weeks later, after the photographs came back from our beautiful evening, I was showing them to a friend and she said, "I was surprised by how late the Chapmans, Loessers, and Finleys were." I said, "Yes, I noticed that too," remembering that these three couples had arrived more than an hour after the party had begun. "Well, you know why they were late, don't you?" my friend asked. I didn't, but she told me that these three idiot couples were late because they had gone out to dinner together before the party! What complete el stupido guests! My friend and I discussed it some more and realized that these three couples had really only nibbled from the dessert table once they'd arrived at the party--so all my feeling smug about having paid for the exact right number of guests flew out the window as I realized that my husband and I paid a hefty $30 per head (or $180 total) for these six inconsiderate people to eat only dessert. I was steamed!    Guest0115-02

 I have a few stories of house guests from hell for your website. Number 1 My family had a large home on a semi-large plot of land when I was growing up and we often found ourselves having people staying with us through out the summer. For the most part my family didn’t mind, as these were brothers and their families and old friends. Then one day we got a call from my uncle, my father's youngest brother, asking if my parents wouldn’t mind having his friends, a wife and husband, stay with us for a week or two so they could enjoy the fishing, as we lived in a community known world wide for its wonderful fishing and large catches of different kinds of salmon. T

hat first summer they were the best houseguests you could imagine and when they called the following spring my parents told them they were more than welcome to come and stay with us again in the summer. Well it started when they showed up with their 2 kids and 2 of the children’s friends. But as my sister and I were about the same age it wasn't too much to handle.

Well things went from bad to worse when the kids were constantly rude to my parents and often tried to cause trouble for my sister and I. The second problem happened when they announced that they were planning on spending the entire summer with us (we were only expecting them to stay for a week or week and a half tops).

One day my father decided to bring out his three-wheeler motorbike. As I have always been a bit of a tomboy I already had a fairly good understanding of how to ride it but I still never went above first gear (as they take quite a while to stop and they are easy to tip when doing a corner at a high speed). I did a few laps around the yard on the bike, with my father watching, and then they youngest of the 2 sons of our guests wanted to try. Well after a few minutes my father had to go answer a call from his boss inside (I had already went inside earlier) and he told the kids not to touch the bike till he came back outside. Well my father wasn’t in the house for more than 2 minutes when the whole house shook and there was the loud unmistakable sound of glass breaking. It ends up that the boys didn’t wait for my father to return and had decided to back the bike up and then start it up and drive straight at the side of the house. Well he destroyed the bike plus he broke 3 windows in our home due to the impact.

When my father asked the guests for some help to pay for the cost of the new windows they said not a problem. But the next day when my dad went to go pay for the new windows they told him they had to run to the bank so my father told them he would just pay for it and the guest could pay him back later that day. Well my father came home and the guest had went to a garage sale and bought my parents a used coffee maker (my parents had 3 that were always in plain view in the kitchen) and told him that the price of the coffee maker was more than enough to pay him back for the windows (the windows by the way cost my father almost 300 dollars a piece to replace due to the fact that they had to be ordered specially). But at least they didn’t stay longer than another 2 days after that. The next spring when they asked to come spend the summer again my father politely declined.

Number 2 About a year after my parents bought their home their friends bought a home themselves and sold their trailer. When they found that there was going to be about 2 weeks from when they were to be out of the trailer to when they could move into their home my parents offered for them, and their 2 sons to come and stay with us. This ended up ruining a 15-year friendship.

Their older son, who was in his late teens, was quite the troublemaker and had been in trouble with the law more than once. Two days before they were supposed to be able to move into their home their son decided to have a party in our basement (everyone else was out for the nite). Well someone took a knife to the wood panel walls, they drank all of my parent's home made wine, a lot of my mother’s jewelry went missing, plus there were stains all over my parent’s furniture. Things would have went better if the husband of the couple had not told my father "well you should have known better to have left (son’s name) here alone". Needless to say they stayed in a hotel till they could move into their home.      Guest0121-02

 You have to understand that I was brought up with "Miss Manners" as my mother. My mom was a wonderful woman who constantly championed the importance of good manners and empathy in dealing with others and I miss her advice immensely. Anyway, this concerns a member of the other side of the family.

Every year or so, we take a family vacation together and rent a house. The group includes our immediate family(husband & kids)and most of my husbands' family. There have been some problems in the past with behavior, but I tend to swallow my comments just to keep peace. This year we allowed our daughter to bring her boyfriend with her, as she is older now and all the other siblings and cousins are much younger than her. Since we use our relatives' vehicle, we called to ask for permission for "Mike" (we'll call him) to ride with us as his vehicle was not always reliable and there was room for him in hers'. She agreed but said Mikes' mother had to give a signed note relieving her of any responsibility of him. Being that he is 18, it is a moot point since he is legally responsible for himself. My husband said just ignore her.

Since it takes approx. 23 hours to reach our destination, we drive about halfway and get a hotel room. We decided to get 2 rooms, have "Mike" and our son room with us and have our daughters room with their grandmother. We offered to pay for her room, but were refused. She came over to see our room and immediately said how much cleaner ours was, it smelled better and there were no bugs. Naturally, we offered to change rooms. No, she would rather just keep the original room and b**** about it.

On to the vacation home, which since we arrive earlier than expected (totally our fault) is not ready. She proceeds to say she has a medical condition and must get to the house asap (she has a bladder problem which she will not get fixed) just so they will let us in. We arrive at the house, which is lovely and proceed to pick out bedrooms while waiting for the other relatives to arrive. Later that evening at bedtime we all settle in and only after we got home did my daughter tell me that my MIL had handed "Mike" a blanket and a pillow and told him that since it was so nice outside he could sleep on the deck! (with all bugs)

She complained about the food everyone bought, even though between me and my 2 sister-in-laws we bought over $400.00 worth of food and supplies and she spent maybe $75.00. She let "mike" and my daughter borrow her vehicle to go to a museum, then proceeded to caution them about how expensive gas had been and not to drive around too much, even though during the whole trip she paid for gas 1 time over the course of a 2100 mile trip, we paid the rest of the time. We split the cost of the house rental between the families, but she never pays her share, which I'm sorry, but I don't think that's fair.( the house we got this year was $1600.00 of which her share would have been about $275.00 since she is alone and the other relatives have more people in their families, we pay more than her because we feel for her to pay an equal amount would be unfair to her.) I guess she feels that since we use her vehicle (which is cleaned thoroughly and maintenanced by my husband and I at our expense) she should not have to pay for hardly anything. I'm not being greedy, I just feel resentful that I am essentially paying for most of her vacation and then I have to listen to her complain all the time.

We ended up driving straight through on the way home (24 hrs) to put an end to the misery and complaints. My kids said that my MIL was constantly rolling her eyes and sighing anytime any of them said anything to her. As a kicker, a few weeks after we got home, we were having a pool party to honor a relative of mine that was visiting. "Mike" was invited and he handed me an envelope. I opened it and found a beautiful thank-you card and gift cards to a restaurant near our home for taking him on vacation with us. I took it out to show my husband (big mistake) and he showed it to his mother. Loudly (very loudly) she says, "Where's my gift card? After all you rode in my van!!!" I was mortified. She was deadly serious. I pulled "Mike" aside later and said "do not get her anything, she was way out of line" We paid for the bulk of the trip, put up with her bull**** and she acts like she was never taught manners in her life. Maybe it's me, but I expect common decency and manners especially from family members. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest!     Guest0209-02

 A newly married couple invited me and my husband to their home for dinner. I had just met the bride, but hadn't met her husband. My husband had never met either of them. When we sat down for dinner, the woman passed around a bowl of chili. We each took modest portions. As soon as everyone was served, the man commented that there was enough still in the pot for leftovers the next night. Promptly the woman took the pot away and put it in the fridge. My husband and I ended up going to McDonald's on the way home because we were so hungry!


I had a baby in November of 2001, and in my family the baby shower is generally thrown after the baby is born so that people that would otherwise not see the baby would be able to. We waited until February to have the shower because of Christmas being a hectic season. My aunt very generously invited my husband's family as well as my own, and my mother-in-law and two sister-in-laws attended.

I arrived at their house to drive them to the shower as none of them drive to discover that my mother-in-law is upstairs finishing up a bottle of rye. She is not even able to walk in a straight line, and is slurring her words. My youngest sister-in-law who is only 11, asked me to help her wrap the gifts as she was having problems, while her mom insulted her and told me that it was all a waste of time and money anyway.

So we get in the car to go to the shower and my mother-in-law insists that it is her job to bring wine to the she insists that I stop at the liquor store. I do not drink at all but I stop anyway just to make things easier on everyone. She gets back in the car with 4 bottles of alcohol, and says "One is for the shower, the others are for me". Ok, this is her decision, but she decided to open one there and starts to drink it from the bottle. So, we head to the shower and get lost on the way, but after stopping at a convenience store and getting directions, we make it there without any further problems.

We get into the house, where my mother-in-law stumbles and turns and tells my aunt (the host) that she should be nice to guests and not trip them. My aunt was probably 4 feet away from the woman and in no way could have tripped her. I introduce everyone and after visiting for awhile start to open the gifts. After opening the gifts, my mother-in law announces that she would have thought that my relatives should have spent more money on the gifts. For the next couple of hours, my relatives were insulted by my mother-in-law who then got sick on the carpet, but washed away the taste by drinking the wine she brought right out of the bottle.

As the guest of honor I should not have been the first to leave, but decided that I should get her home. I thanked everyone for everything, and said that it was so good to see them all...when my mother-in-law announced that I was lying and that I hated them all...which is totally not true. She asked if she could take the rest of the wine home but was told that it was all gone, so she yelled that my relatives were all just a bunch of lushes and that they should be ashamed of themselves, and that she would never let them see my child again. I took her home and on the way she told me that she was so glad that I was part of her family, because it looked that I needed some good wholesome family values in my life. It was all I could do not to laugh as I come from a great family, who (by the way) has forgiven my mother-in-law and were very tolerant of her.      Guest0219-02

My story could be titled "The Christmas Party from Hell". As a newlywed I threw parties for most major holidays and had gotten a good reputation for them. Until...the ill-fated Christmas party. This particular year we decided to invite a childhood friend of my husband's with whom he had recently become reacquainted. We'll call him Tom and his wife Jane.

Tom and Jane are from quite different backgrounds than most of our friends and had little in common with them, but everyone seemed to be getting along until Jane began to get a little drunk. She then began to thrust her ample bosom in any man's face in her vicinity. She used these "props" to reenact a story in which she was nearly arrested while wearing a bikini top and very short shorts. Next she enthralled us with a graphic description of her Caesarean section as we tried to eat the chili I had prepared.

At this point people began to leave. I made my apologies to them as best I could and tried not to provoke anymore entertainment from Jane, but unfortunately things only got worse. We were subjected to tattoos in questionable places, red punch spilled on my beige carpet, and the topper of the evening, the revelation that her husband's nickname was "King Dong"; we could all guess why. The evening was all but a disaster, but the funniest thing is, the next day we received an e-mail from Tom saying what a great time he and Jane had and how they really don't get out that much. I wonder why!      Guest0220-02

  Here is a story about a person I christened "The Rudest Guest in the World." I recently had the extreme displeasure of having "Bill" at my house for the weekend. Bill and my husband have been friends for years, but since we live about 250 miles from each other, we only see each other about once a year.

My husband and I have been married about six years, so Bill had been to our home at least 6 times. NOT ONCE did he bring a gift. No housewarming gift, no "thanks for your trouble" gift, nothing. Mind you, when he would visit, he would sleep in our guest room, use our bathroom, partake of our food, the whole she-bang. Oh, and did I mention that he always complained about the bed in the guest room? Yes, supposedly it was "too mushy" for his liking. And he didn't say this one time, or even in a joking manner. EVERY SINGLE TIME he was in our home, he made the same comment. Classy, huh?

My husband and I purchased a house recently, and Bill was coming to stay for a night, as he had done SIX times before (bearing no gift, as I said, and of course, writing no thank-you note for our trouble). So Bill shows up with, guess what? NO GIFT. He proceeds to come into our home, put his FEET UP ON OUR NEWLY PURCHASED coffee table, and make himself comfortable. We go out to dinner, and it's snowing, so my husband is locking up the house, and I grab the snow scraper and start scraping the car. Bill GETS IN THE CAR and sits, like a king in a litter while I SCRAPE THE CAR. We have an uneventful dinner, and the bill arrives. We inform Bill that his portion is $35, and he opens his wallet, looks at his $53 (which I saw because he has one of those billfold wallets, and says, "I DON'T THINK I HAVE ENOUGH." Excuse me? So what, we're supposed to pick up the tab?!

Finally, he wises up and says, "Well, I GUESS I have enough, but I need to keep some money on me to get home." Newsflash: We have ATMS all over the place, but I guess Bill figured that we'd just make up the difference. And then I remember...this is the guy who gave us an $8.00 cheeseboard for a wedding gift. It was not on our registry. Our wedding was a very elegant, >$100 per head affair. The gift my husband gave Bill for being a GROOMSMEN was about 4 times as much. And the guy was/is doing just FINE financially.

When we arrive home he SHAKES OUT HIS snowy jacket on our hardwood floor, and walks away, figuring, I guess, that the maid (me) would clean it up. The next morning he showers in our bathroom and...I'm sorry to be so vulgar, but it's true...leaves HAIR in the bathtub. Short and curlies. EEEWWW!!! How disgusting. I cook breakfast and he comes downstairs and makes some comment about how the bed (we purchased a new bed for our guest room) is "so much more comfortable!" I said nothing, just continued to make breakfast. When he's done eating, he pushes his chair back from the table, LEAVING HIS PLATE, ETC. ON THE TABLE, and says, "I guess I'll take off now." Again, I guess he assumed that the maid (um, me) would clean up. Do you believe this guy?

He and his wife were in town a few weeks later and came by. My husband was showing her around the house and when they got into the guest room, Bill said, "They bought a new bed. Remember I told you about the old one?" "Oh, yes," says his wife. "He complained about that all the time!" Not only do we have ATMS, but we have hotels, which I wished I had told him to stay in. Do you believe this guy?!    Guest0315-02

As the graduation season comes to a close I am still fuming over what took place at a friend of mine's son's graduation party. I offered to help put on a rather large BBQ for him and spent many hours shopping for food, bringing in lawn furniture, stringing lights, preparing food, etc. and my friend appreciated everything I did. The rude people were the other guests.

I am known as a good cook and my contributions to our get-togethers are always the first to be eaten. Well, this time, I put a large kettle of food in the kitchen and went outside to help set up tables and whatnot. When I went back into the kitchen, I found 4 women who supposedly also came early to help set up, leaning on the island, laughing, talking, and EATING MY CASSEROLE!! It was more than half gone. I angrily said "You are not supposed to be eating that now. There won't be any left (I glanced into the pan) There isn't any left." The ring leader looked at me, food in hand (Yes, in HAND, no fork) and spat out "OH WELL!" All the ladies (?) looked at each other, laughed and continued with their conversation. I appreciate the value of laughter to diffuse a tense situation, but I despise it when people use it to deflect their own rudeness or insensitivity. Their message to me was not only were they going to victimize me, but also attempt to ridicule me for my very appropriate anger.      Guest0615-02

I teach at a school for rather wealthy children. At the end of each year, out of the kindness of their hearts, some of them host "parties" for the student body and staff. Well, the students enjoy the meal and conversation, some get carried away with the food, but nothing like the teachers. A sports teacher, in particular, apologies to all sports teachers, has arrived arrived at the party two years in succession, loaded his plate with food till it was falling of the sides and then, as the bell went for the beginning of the next lesson, proceeded to shout at the top of his voice at students who had just supplied all the food, to get back to class, spitting gobbets of cream cake and chicken all over the host and myself. Yeah!!! We had a good chuckle on the way out.      Guest0314-02

For my 25th birthday, my loving boyfriend decided to throw me a party. On the guest list was one of my co-workers, "Sheila." The day of the party, I worked the overnight shift (1:30AM to 10:30AM), then attended class from noon to 4PM. I was exhausted, but there was no time to nap - I had to take care of last-minute party details. The party started at 7PM, and the night went off without a hitch.

By 1AM, guests were heading home. Except Sheila... and a college friend, "Josh." Although I was obviously exhausted (yawning, nodding, even swaying on my feet) Blubber and Josh continued to stick around... and stick around... and stick around... until 3:30AM!! I tried everything to make it plain how tired I was, but they never got the message. On Monday, I found out why. Apparently, Josh and Sheila were "on the prowl" and hoped my party would turn into something more between them. [Insert aghast expression here] To make it worse, after their date the next weekend, each told me what a waste it was. My only consolation was that each claimed the date was the worst they'd ever been on. Jerks.     Guest0625-02

 When I lived in San Francisco, I don't think I ever got to take a vacation. Every friend from back home (Iowa), even friends of my parents and people I had not seen since college, were delighted to come and spend their vacations with me. Usually, I would receive an e-mail that said something like, "We were thinking the third week in June might be a good time to come out and see you!" I never followed up with an invitation to stay in my small apartment or made any offers to pick them up at the airport or act as chauffeur or tour guide, yet it was always assumed that I would be so over-joyed to have their company that all I needed was the date and time of their arrival at SFO.

The absolute worst was my old college friend "Shelly." She let me know of her plans in this same way, to which I replied that it would be good to see her again and I hoped we could get together for dinner one night during her stay. Shelly wrote back to let me know (using many exclamation points to demonstrate our shared excitement) that I had misunderstood her and she would be able to stay with me for a whole week!! I still don't know why I didn't make myself very clear and decline her generous offer. I suppose I figured she would be a low maintenance guest and it might be fun. I should have known better when I picked her up at the airport and she spent the 20 minute drive complaining about her flight.

Once I showed her my tiny apartment, she looked unimpressed and a bit concerned at my phone-booth sized bathroom. Then she asked what we would have for dinner. I explained that the cost of living in the city was kind of high, so I didn't go out to eat much. I asked if she would like to go to the Safeway and get some food for the week. She looked at me like I was crazy. I told her I had bagels and cereal for breakfast in the morning and implied she could help herself. I almost laughed at her shocked expression, so I asked Shelly if she was expecting breakfast and lunch and dinner? She replied, "Well, YEAH."

The next morning as I prepared to leave for work, I showed her where I kept the spare key to the apartment and set out a map and a Bart schedule. When I came home that afternoon, Shelly had not left the apartment all day and then complained about the noise of the city and how dirty and old everything seemed. I politely asked what she did all day and she said, "Nothing. I've just been waiting for you." Feeling guilty for assuming she could amuse herself, I called my manager and being used to such situations herself, she gave me the rest of the week off. The week dragged by, with Shelly complaining about the cost of getting around in this dirty old city and not understanding what was so "romantic" about it. She never offered to treat me to breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and she started out each morning asking what we were going to do all day. When I finally took her back to the airport for her trip home, she had the nerve to ask when I would be coming back to visit Iowa. Through clenched teeth I mumbled something about not having any vacation time left at work.      Guests1031-02

First let me say how much I enjoyed the site! Your stories about bad guests reminded me of something that happened just after I got married. My (now ex) husband *Mike* was living in a small town about 500 miles away. By the time I had moved there I was thrown into the middle of large circle of people I knew nothing about. I knew names and a few stories but very little about what else was going on.

One day he came home from work and very happily announced that his closest friend *Bob* and his family were in town. Unfortunately it was for Bob's FIL's funeral. He had invited them to dinner. I was looking forward to meeting them and knocked myself out by making a pretty nice dinner. That went well and everyone had a good time. They couldn't afford much for a place to stay so Mike offered to let them stay with us. Just a few days.. how bad could it be, right? We set them up in our spare bedroom.

First we had to go rent a crib for Bob's daughter. Surely they couldn't expect her to sleep with them. ($25 that we never got back). Second, Bob's wife could not possibly be expected to sleep on the air mattress we bought for them to use ($19.95)! So we put our bed in the extra room and used the air mattress. Bob's wife helped herself to all of the counter space in the bathroom. They bought several bags of groceries. Bob said he liked LOTS of coffee so he bought a large can. Little did I know that this bag would be the last... and they would burn through all of it in less than 48 hours. After that everything edible in the house became fair game.

Bob's wife started talking about having to pack up dad's things so they could get ready to sell the house. She asked if we wanted to help and how could we refuse? Just a few boxes of clothes and personal effects. So we went out there thinking we would box up some books and clothes. FIL's house would have had to be upgraded to condemned. It was a filthy, dilapidated shack that hadn't been cleaned in years.. literally. By the time we left, the "packing up a few things" had included several trips to the dump, 3 or 4 hours of cleaning God knows what out of every room.. in a house with no electricity, roughly 35 degrees outside.

Bob's wife wanted to get in touch with her old friends. We specifically asked that our number NOT be given out. We had just had it changed a few weeks earlier after receiving harassing calls from someone we knew from town. The second day there she had given the number to everyone.. including the person we had changed the number to avoid. So when they weren't chatting for hours, I was back to the harassing calls.

Our apartment courtyard was being remodeled at that time and the yard was nothing but dirt. I nicely asked that shoes come off at the door because of the mud. They "forgot". Two hours every evening spent vacuuming and sweeping. Bob and his wife liked to drink a lot.. not alcohol, just beverages in general. Every time one of them went for a refill they would put the glass or cup they had been using in the sink and get a new one. Dishwasher ran twice a day with nothing but glasses and mugs in it. Bob's daughter was a sweet and bright child of about two, who liked to "put things together". This meant picking up everything she could lay her hands on and look for somewhere to put it. Car keys in the candy dish, earrings down the heating vent, etc. It was a treasure hunt for weeks after they left.

Bob's wife liked to fake having amnesia when she didn't want to do something. Bob would say he was tired of the act and go to bed.. leaving us to sit there for hours while she wandered around asking who we were. Was this her place? Picking up stuff and asking us if we remembered when she bought it. I have a daughter? Who's is it? How did I get here? Who's Bob? This went on for nearly two weeks. I swore if another guest ever came into the house I was filing for divorce.    Guests1012-02

I have a couple of them for you: 1) One year my partner and I had decided to throw a very small New Year's party for just a few of our friends. Since up until that point we'd had few plans, and some of the people we invited had few plans, we figured that this was a way for all of us to get together, pass the evening pleasantly, etc. Obviously we wanted everyone to have a good time, so we went out and bought every imaginable kind of party snacks and drink with the exception of alcohol -- everyone we invited agreed not to drink because (A) it wasn't that important to any of us, and (B) one of the guests was a recovering alcoholic, and we wanted him to feel comfortable.

Well, this same guy, "Nick," called an hour before the party was supposed to start to ask if he could bring his friend "Suzie" with him. It seems that when we invited him, he'd forgotten that he promised Suzie that they'd go to the local bar to celebrate, and if he didn't provide somewhere for her to go, he'd have to go there with her. We didn't figure that one extra person would be a problem. We were obviously wrong. When they showed up, half an hour early, we were still scrambling to get everything ready, and they came in expecting to be entertained right then. One of us had to take time out to make sure they had everything they needed, etc. before we were ready. Even that we took in stride.

However, when she arrived, she loudly announced to us, pointing at her T-shirt with a picture of Dopey from Sleeping Beauty on it, "Don't worry, my little friend doesn't drink much." She was obviously angry when I replied, "He won't drink anything. There's no alcohol here." I haven't mentioned that she weighs approximately 350 pounds, in itself not a problem -- we have several friends who are overweight and carry themselves with a lot of grace and sensitivity. She didn't. She proceeded to walk past us and literally drop herself on the couch, breaking the frame. As a little time went by, we discovered she also had a hygiene problem, since her stained T-shirt also smelled. She insisted on talking loudly about things we didn't need to hear about and being the center of attention, such as her habit of stripping for the rest of the bar when she had a few drinks in her.

I think probably the final straw was when the pizza arrived -- which everyone but her insisted on chipping in for -- and she took the chips she was eating at the time, on her own plate, and dumped them back into the bowl with the rest of them. We've never had her, or Nick, back. And we sent the potato chips with them.

2) When I graduated from college, I had two graduations parties: one for family and very close friends (some of whom had never met my family), one for everyone else. I was never so glad that I separated the two. At the first, the graduation party for my family, my mother graciously hosted the party. However, my younger sister acted as if she were angry the entire time, prompting several guests to ask "what's her problem?" My older brother and his wife stayed in one corner, glaring at everyone as well. It took some time for my explanation that "oh, they're just like that" to be accepted and for everyone else to go on and have a good time.

As if this weren't bad enough, the graduation party for friends got a little out of hand. One guest couldn't stop talking about all the conquests that he'd had, describing his exploits in detail (he was someone I didn't know very well but thought he might be a better friend, so he'd received an invitation). Evidently, this spirit of open and honest communication must have made another guest very comfortable. He went on to make the rest of us very UNcomfortable, by describing how he'd given himself a Prince Albert. (I'm not going to describe this -- if you don't know and are curious, please investigate for yourself). Obviously there are some gifts one should choose not to unwrap -- or send thank you notes for.    Guests0922-02

My fiancé and I were invited by a college friend of his-Scott to the Florida Keys for Labor Day weekend. Apparently his girlfriend Kathy's sister owned a home in the keys and we were going to stay there for free. My fiancé- Mike and I are STOKED. All we had to do was pay for airfare and food. This should have been an omen. You get what you pay for.

We met Scott and Kathy in Philadelphia (we live in Baltimore) so we could fly to the keys together. And that's when the trouble begins... Scott and Kathy had been our guests and I thought she was a little strange but Scott seemed to like her. Anyway, once we get to her Sister's home, Kathy promptly loses her mind and her manners. She follows us around whining about how her sister will be upset if things aren't left exactly as they're found. What are we? Gorillas? I think we can put dishes away without her assistance.   The appropriate response would have been to ask her, "What can I do to help you?", and then busted butt to make sure every dish was cleaned and put away, your bed made every day, the living area tidied up, etc.   As a guest you are beholden to your host to follow  their house rules and if said hostess is spastic about cleanliness, do your best to be the best guest you can.

She slammed the door behind me as I was hanging my swim suit on the line- that was three feet outside the door. I open the door back up to hear her say to Scott "My sister has to pay the electric bill. I don't think it's right that they leave doors open". It was open for 20 seconds. I'd be more than happy to give her the nickel that it cost.   DId you offer to supplement the utility bill by offering $10?

One night I made dinner- steak, twice baked potato, steamed vegetables, and rolls. Never once did I get a thank you for dinner or buying all the items for dinner but she proceeded to put her head down on the table and eat with her head on the table! I couldn't imagine doing this at home. My mother would have killed me. The icing on the cake was- she caused us to miss our flight home. She was so obsessed with leaving dry clean towels (bear in mind, that no one was staying in the house until January so no matter how clean the towels were, they'd be musty by the time anyone else used them) that we ended up leaving 3 hours late for the airport. What should have been a 3 hour drive ended up being a six hour drive and we missed our flight. We ended up taking a flight back to Baltimore, renting a car and driving to Philadelphia to pick up our car and turn right back around to drive home. 

I have to admit that after this weekend from hell, that I lost my temper with her in the airport. I said quite a few things I shouldn't have but apologized later. One thing I learned- never go on vacation with anyone you don't know- WELL. Ever since then I have refused to visit them. If she treated us that poorly in her sister's home, what would she do in her own home? Our wedding is coming up and I am inviting them to our wedding. I would prefer not to but I know Scott would not come without Kathy. I can't deprive my future husband of one of his best friends just because I think his girlfriend is a jerk.      Guests0816-2   Regardless of how  poor a hostess Kathy was, you still owe Kathy and Scott a thank you note for the weekend AND a note to Kathy's sister.

My husband and I travel frequently, and have occasion to become friendly with some of our hosts, and to make referrals to others seeking similar travels. In the course of our trips we became friends with "Mark," who manages and operates a number of vacation properties.

One of the people to whom I referred Mark's properties is "David," with whom I'd corresponded about travel but never met in person. David eventually took a trip, hiring one of Mark's properties, and raving about what a successful trip he had. So pleased was David with Mark's management, that David seriously considered buying a property of his own and placing it under Mark's management. As an example of Mark's good management, David observed that when his wife soiled some high-quality (read "expensive") bedding in the property with sunscreen, Mark made him reimburse the cost of the bedding. Rather than being annoyed with Mark, David agreed that it was appropriate to pay for the damage caused and wanted Mark exercising the same care with his own vacation property.

A year later, my husband and I find ourselves staying in one of Mark's properties again, and sharing the anticipation of our trip with David, who would be staying with Mark the week prior to us. When we arrive, Mark is working hard to prepare his properties for the next guests' arrival.

After we settle in, over drinks and dinner with Mark and his assistant, we learn the true story of the soiled bedding from the prior year -- it was not stained with sunscreen, but with self-tanning lotion, which turned the bedding brownish-orange in spots and utterly ruined it. Mark used the money to purchase replacement bedding, to maintain the high quality of the properties.

After this year's vacation, after David and his wife departed, Mark discovered that David's wife TOOK the new sheets home with her, feeling it was her due since she had "paid" for them. The next morning, we saw a stinking, slimy heap of trash next to the property David had used the week before. It turns out that David and wife had also stashed a week's worth of trash in the property, not bothering to dispose of it properly. I just hope that Mark, who remains our friend, forgets that it was I who referred David to him...     Guests0705-02

Page Last Updated May 15, 2007