Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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Thanks for the opportunity to share this outrageous story.

Shortly after my wife and I wed we visited her sister and family in another state. While talking with my new brother in law he warned me to beware of my wife's other sister, Anna. She hates all of her sisters' husbands. I thought this to be odd since I had met Anna several times and always got along well with her. Besides, Anna lived in Asia while we were in the USA. How much trouble could she be? I should have heeded his advice.

One day a letter arrived announcing that Anna had obtained a long sought after tourist visa and was coming to visit for two weeks. That two weeks lasted for six horrible months.

I work nights while my wife worked days. During the day time I figured it must be terribly boring for Anna to sit around waiting all day for her sister to come home so I took Anna out to lunch and/or engaged in idle chit-chat with her. Invariably, the following day my wife would storm into the room demanding, "What the hell did you say to Anna yesterday?" I'm at a total loss as to what I had done wrong. Anna, it seems, would repeat back everything I had said but would make changes and put a negative spin on it. I always ended up looking like a fool, an ogre, or worse. Before the first week was out I seldom spoke to her any more.

By the end of week two Anna had made friends with some of our friends. She manipulated one of them into hiring her to do clerical work at the local hospital. Bear in mind, Anna was in the US on a tourist visa and is not legally entitled to take work. When I asked how she could work without a social security number she revealed that she had lied at the Social Security Administration. The fell for it and issued her a SSN. I should have dropped a dime on her right then but she is the wife's sister. I held my tongue. Naturally, the task of bringing her to and from work fell to me.

Anna was in the midst of marital difficulties. Her husband, who worked full time in Saudi Arabia, had taken up with another woman there. As an aside I must say the lad was very brave, though stupid, to do such a thing in Saudi but I, by now, understood very well how he could have done it! Since Anna was rid of him, and also to exact her revenge, she took to giving out her phone number to men she would meet at bus stops. Her phone number?! That was my number! We had guys calling here at all hours. Further, she made frequent calls to 900 number dating services, at great cost. Eventually, they two of them patched up and are back together. What an unlucky guy.

Calls to 900 numbers were not the worst of it. Anna would call Asia daily to check on her businesses. These calls were always during peak hours and lasted 2+ hours. When I blew my stack over an $800.00+ phone bill Anna retorted that it would be cheaper if I changed my phone service. See? It was MY fault that her calls were so expensive! Fortunately, my wife stood by me on this one.

Anna complained about anything and everything...non-stop.

We had been married over 11 years at this time. Anna had never gotten over the way my wife and I had met. You see, my wife and I met through an agency which matched Asian women with Western men. She was, for want of a better term, a Mail Order Bride. Anna would go into frequent tirades on this topic. When I asked her if she didn't realize that she was, in effect, saying that her sister was too stupid to make up her own mind regarding how she wanted to live her life Anna went ballistic. Never mind that Anna had, by now, been living in our home and observing our day to day interaction for six months, she boldly stated, "All of the men who do this are murderers and rapists. Everybody knows this."

So I am a murderer and a rapist! That was it. Let the chips fall where they may. I told my wife, "If Anna is still here when I get home from work tomorrow morning I'm going to keep on driving. You got that?" Evidently, blood is not always thicker than water. Anna was gone.

Years later Anna's daughter married a very nice fellow. No freaking surprises here, Anna hates him too. Poor guy



My in laws were visiting us for a week. My husband and I and our children decided to make one of our two bathrooms "off limits" for showering to everyone but my MIL and FIL, so they would have exclusive use of it for bathing. We continued to use it for quick bathroom visits, hand-washing, hair-combing, etc. For their convenience, I asked them to please put used towels down the laundry chute, as well as any of their clothing they would like me to launder. About three days into their visit I gathered a load of towels to wash and realized that my MIL and FIL hadn't put their used towels down the chute, so I went into the bathroom to gather the used towels. But every towel was still in the linen cabinet, just where I had put them a week ago. I had heard them taking showers at least once every day, so I tried to tactfully ask where their used towels were, so I could wash them. "Oh, we've just been drying off with the hand towel and then hanging it back up again!" they replied, while looking at me as though using a clean towel were the strangest custom they'd ever heard of. The thought of them drying off with the hand towel and then hanging it back up for several days in a row (and my children then using that towel for their own hands after using the bathroom) just about made me sick to my stomach.



This is only a minor etiquette violation, but I was absolutely horrified as my friends and family are generally well-mannered, thoughtful, polite people and I am just not used to gross rudeness.

I am a graduate student, and our research lab was having a grand opening party to celebrate our founding (we were a brand new lab). Our department gave us some money to buy cheese, veggies, fruit, chips, soda, beer - usual party fare - and the party was going great. We'd invited a large number of people in the university, as well as asking people to bring friends who might be interested in our research topic, so when about 80 people showed up we were quite pleased.

The party was being held in our lab itself, which was two rooms: one room had a DJ (really a friend of ours who is a professional musician and volunteered his time for the party) and the other room, in which my desk and work materials are located, was set up as party central with food, drink, games, seating, etc. Things were going great until about halfway through the party, when I came back into my office from the DJ room to discover one of the guests ROOTING THROUGH MY DESK DRAWERS. After commenting rudely on a number of my smaller personal items, including insulting the lovely tea my boyfriend had bought me to drink while working, she pulled out the bag of candy I keep in the back of my desk drawer for low-blood-sugar emergencies and began snacking on it!!

I could not believe how rude this was! It's not as though we hadn't provided ample food and drink, and the desk drawers were firmly closed (I had packed away all my personal items in the desk drawers and rearranged the room so that we'd avoid precisely this problem!). It seemed clear that this girl had no idea that the desk was mine, since she continued happily invading my personal workspace and eating my food as I watched. I was too horrified (and polite!) to say anything, but I did politely suggest that she might like to try some of the delicious food we had provided for her at our department's expense! Eventually she moved on to the snack table and I watched my desk like a hawk for the rest of the night!

The worst part is, no one at the party had any idea who this girl was. We're still trying to figure out who invited her so we can warn them about her etiquette-challenged behavior!



The last 2 years, I've organized small, manageable birthday parties for my eldest daughter.  Each time, I have invited a limited number of children, as I can't afford too many, and knowing my luck, if I over-invited to accommodate no-shows, they'd all come!   So the year before last, I allow my daughter 4 of her kinder friends for a party at a fast food restaurant.  One little girl doesn't show - after her mother had said she would - we ended up including the younger cousin of one of the other guests, as I had to pay for it anyway.  Was a little put out - but I figured, we didn't know them very well at the time, Kinder had only been in session for a month.   

Roll on to the next year - first year of school.  This time, I allow my daughter 5 of her friends to come to our house for a pizza, ice cream and video pajama party.  There are a few changes in the guest list, but this one little girl who didn't turn up the year before was invited again.   I made sure the day before, to speak to her mother and confirm she was definitely coming - yes, she was.  Great.   The party starts - once again, this little girl is not there.  I think maybe they have lost the invite, and don't know the new address (we had moved), but upon speaking to one of the other mothers, I discover this was NOT the case, as this mother had called her for our address that morning!   I see her at school the next week, and politely tell her my daughter missed her daughter at the birthday party, and how it's a real shame when we don't have all the guests as it makes the party rather small.  Her response?  "Oh, we don't hold that much stock in birthday parties that aren't for family, we just usually keep it to their cousins (they have a large extended family), we decided to go to *local tourist attraction* instead".  I explain through gritted teeth that my daughter doesn't HAVE any cousins, and her brother and sister are only babies, and this is why I DO think inviting other children is important.   Make mental note to make sure little girl is not invited if my daughter has another party.


Hi, I love your website and have a story for you about a rude guest who was also an in-law.   My ex-husband "J" had a twin brother "B" who had been globetrotting for the last number of years.  He came to town and started staying with us on the weekends when he was not working.   My ex and his brother were very close and when B started coming over, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to get to know him a bit better.   My first impression of B was not positive one and it was when we had visited him and his girlfriend in Quebec.  We were going out to eat a lot and since B was on welfare and his girlfriend was a student, I suggested to J that we buy food and bring it over so that it wouldn't affect their budget too much.   We bought pate, crackers, fondue, vegetables and fruit as well as two live lobsters.  When we brought the food over, B's girlfriend said we didn't get enough other foods that went well with lobster and she had to go to the store for mussels and something else.   When dinner was finally cooked, I was handed half a lobster on a plate and waited for everyone else to be served.  They insisted I eat my lobster first so I contemplated which part I would eat first.  B told me I didn't know how to eat lobster and when I said I did, he took the plate from me and with bare hands broke it up and handed it back to me with a command, EAT IT.  Not to cause a scene, I gently pushed the plate back to him and said to him, This is yours.  Later, J told me that I was very rude not to eat the handled lobster although I disagree to this day.  Just for spite, I think that is why they only thanked J for dinner and HIS thoughtful idea.   

Anyway, we had prepared a lovely guest room for B and when he first arrived, we showed it to him.  He dropped his bag on the bed and that was the extent of the spare bedroom's use.   B took up residence in the living room, using the computer all day and when he wanted to go to sleep, just lay on the couch with the TV on all night.  B stated that he could not fall asleep unless he had a TV going.  I am a light sleeper and the TV kept me up all night.   B also had quite a bit of company being in from Asia and a lot of people stopped by to see him.  The house was like Grand Central Station with J and B offering these guests food and drink as well as cigarettes (besides helping themselves constantly).  J informed me that I must provide these items at my own expense and my wifely duty is to clean up after these guests who did not remove shoes at the door, threw garbage around, left half empty Coke cans everywhere (they would set it down somewhere and then got a new can), or replace anything they consumed.   We then found a small TV and placed it in the spare bedroom so that B could sleep there the next weekend.  He never turned that TV on, but continued to sleep on the couch and the living room TV was on 24 hours a day every weekend.    I started to get annoyed as I watched B take cigarettes and Coke from my kitchen and asked him if he would replace these items as they are not free.  He assured me that he would.  I am still waiting!   

One Sunday morning, I woke up and went to the only bathroom in the house to almost step into B's pants thrown in the doorway of the bathroom absolutely full of feces!  I moved the offending clothing to another part of the bathroom and for modesty's sake, covered it up, so there would be no embarrassment on his part if anyone else (guests) had to use the bathroom in the meantime.   I got myself dressed and went downstairs only to find B asleep on the couch wearing nothing but a robe all splayed out showing everything.  I instructed J, my husband to cover him up as people were arriving later and this was not appropriate for anyone to see.  J did not see anything wrong with this behavior but, covered him up anyway.   My husband did not mention the "accident" until later after I had put gloves on and was checking the pockets of the pants wearing a look of disgust on my face.  J while walking by, informed me that B had had diarrhea last night.  Wow!  Is that what that is?!!!!!   I also had to clean the bathmat which was full as well as the tub and toilet with the telltale stains.  I washed the pants and when I took them out of the washing machine, I had missed B's wallet located in the back pocket (which I was loathe to touch even with gloves on).  I threw the pants into the dryer and took the sodden wallet to B who became very upset that I had washed his cards and ID and proceeded to call me a number of names and asking me how stupid I could be to miss such a big item as his wallet.  I was so angry that I could not speak!   I avoided both of them for most of the day and waited patiently until it was time for B to leave.  

Other company had arrived by this time and he entertained them wearing the robe which he had thankfully tied up.  He started telling J to loan him a pair of pants to get back home in.  J told him to wear his own, knowing that they had been washed.  B started telling J that he could not wear them and another guest present at the time asked what had happened.  B told him with absolutely no embarrassment whatsoever that he had shat himself.   After B had left, J stood by his brother and told me that I should keep quiet about this incident and to continue letting B stay on weekends, whatever happens.  This resulted in an argument which I could not win and was one of the many reasons of the beginning of the end of my marriage. 



Hi, First off, I find your site very interesting and rather entertaining. I have a story about a few guests we have had in our house, though they may not be as horrific as some other stories are.   My father had been recruiting a man to work in his lab. Of course, the man needed to find a house to live in. So he and his wife temporarily moved into our house until they found what they wanted. Now, my room was the biggest room, so they automatically got it. Which meant that I had to share a room with my moody brother. His room was about half the size of mine, so I had absolutely no privacy. In addition, I was still in school, so I had to spend extra time at night to get my clothing for the next day. But this couple had a baby, so I had to go even earlier so as not to wake up the baby.   The icing on the cake was the behavior of the wife. The husband was off with my father, doing the type of things that newly recruited people do. But the wife was very introverted. She wouldn't talk to anyone, and was very sullen. My mother is rather talkative with other people, so she would try to initiate conversations, but nothing would come out of this woman's mouth. So my family not only had to endure two extra people in our house, but they didn't interact with us, so it was extremely awkward.   Another recruitment for my father had also stayed with us before, but he had a 2-year old, so this kid would run around and be generally noisy. And my mother had to chauffeur them around to find a house as well. In addition, recently they moved back to Scotland, so our work was for nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!



First things first, a little background, I am a seventeen year old girl who does extremely well in school and doesn't have time during high school to work because of my study/extracurricular habits. During the summer between my 11th and 12th grade years I got a job at a local theme park just for the experience. I had also just recently moved to a new house. During this summer, my old neighbors, who I am very close with and have been babysitting for them for going on six years now, decided that they were going to add a second story on to their house. They have a twelve year old daughter who used to frequent my old house often when we lived next to them. During their construction they had asked if their daughter, Erin, could stay at my house for a few nights while they were tearing off their roof. I said that it would be okay if I didn't have to work and that I would call them with my schedule. 

After a few weeks of working NON-STOP until 11 PM every night, I had 4 days off work. I called the parents and they shipped their daughter over to me for what was supposed to be one night. My boyfriend came over that night and we all went to a park to walk my dog. After I had spent MY hard earned money on a drink for Erin, she proceeded to SPIT it on my boyfriend. (Just to mention, Erin is almost 13 yrs old! She's not a baby) She offered no apology. Luckily my BF is cool and calm, so he didn't get upset at all. Finally we took my BF home and returned to my house. She said she wanted to go online. By this time it was almost midnight. I said she could go on for 45 mins then she had to go to bed. I was dead tired because I worked earlier that day. I feel asleep 15 mins after that. I woke up at 4 AM and she was still online! I told her to shut the computer off and go to sleep. She did. 

Then the next day her Mom asked me if Erin could stay for 3 more nights. I said that was fine because I love her mother and know how stressful it is for her to have Erin running through a construction zone. I told Erin she needed to get in to the shower and put fresh clothes on. She was starting to stink. She refused, so I just ignored the fact. Then later on she begged me to take her to a movie that she's already seen THREE times in theaters. I finally give in. I have to shell out 15 bucks for us to see this stupid movie. Then we get home and she goes online and doesn't go to sleep until 4 AM again. 

The next two days she showered once, but put on the same dirty clothes. She brought at least 4 clean outfits with her. By this time she made my room a mess, and it was starting o smell. The last night she was at my house I said we could go rent a movie. She picked out one movie that was completely unappealing to me, so I suggested that we try to find something that we both might like. She sulked around for 45 MINUTES in the movie shop telling me that I was cheap because I would only pay to rent one movie. She had 10 bucks with her she could pay for her own movie, but she didn't want to. We finally, after an hour, picked out a movie. The next day she went to open a new box of cereal that had her favorite actor on it. She tried to eat the WHOLE box before I took her home at noon so she could keep the box, that, yes, I paid for. I told her that that was rude and that she was not to eat the whole box of cereal, because that's what I eat every morning before work. I finally got this brat child home, and I never plan on inviting her to stay at my house again. 



This story happened to my group of friends a few months ago. Two of our friends had their birthday on this particular month, so we decided to treat them to a fancy Italian restaurant. We made our reservations, sent out the emails and we all decided to foot the bill for our own meal and pay tips, tax and the meals of the birthday guys. So every one is on time except for "Roy". Everyone keeps wondering where Roy is. We had our cocktails and appetizers and ordered our meals. After one hour and a half later Roy shows up. He orders a house salad with shrimp, a soup and a some pasta. We continue to have a delightful evening. That is until the bill arrived. I took the bill and divided what we decided to pay in equal parts. And I then added the numbers for each person. Roy had two cocktails , added shrimp to his salad (which included a fresh made dressing that was extra, and the shrimp was also extra), his soup and pasta added up to a 47 dll. bill (the equal deal part included), so as I am collecting the dough, Roy hands out a ten dollar bill with a smile, and says nothing else. Then I just utter, I am missing 37 dollars. Yet Roy acts as if he hadn't heard a thing. Many of the other guys had to foot the bill for what was left and we both had to pretend nothing happened with our guests of honor. Guess if we have invited him again.



Many years ago, when my husband was still in high school, my BIL (Jack) lived in a large city several states away.  MIL and DH decide to take a trip to see Jack over the summer, which of course entails numerous phone calls and arrangements to be made with Jack, Jack's roommates, and Jack's employer in order to ensure that MIL would get the most out of the trip.   One problem: MIL decides to show up at Jack's house early!  That's right- she shows up, out of the blue, on Jack's doorstep days before she is supposed to arrive.  Jack and his roommates are quite flustered, since they didn't have the house clean, and they were all due at work within the hour.  Jack brings in his mother's things, (while my DH is about to die of embarrassment- he thought they were coming at the pre-arranged time), explains that he has to go to work, and leaves.  MIL sits there for a few minutes, then tells my DH, "He didn't even offer me a Coke," gets her things, and leaves.  Yes, she made DH get the bags and drove off, never to return.  Jack was left with a week of non-paid vacation he had taken for his mother, but she was so offended at his lack of hospitality that she decided to go to a local resort town and have a different vacation entirely.  This happened years ago, but I hear the story from her at every family gathering, always culminating with, "Can you believe he wouldn't even offer me a Coke?" 



I have been friends with Sara since college. Over the years we have both married, bought houses, etc.  Sara and Jim (her husband) live in City B three hours away from us; therefore, visits usually last a weekend, and we alternate visits from City A (our home) to City B with each couple having equal turns to be the host.  Background: I am a notorious neat freak. We have a room in our home that is used for guests only, and while there might be a little clutter in the living room, I make sure that the bathroom, guest room, kitchen, and dining areas are spotless.  I always leave guest towels out, and the guest bed always has clean sheets.  On with my story…

After nearly 2 years of this handy and enjoyable visiting arrangement, we got a dog.  Dog is well-behaved, and we have a strict set of guidelines for Dog at our home (not allowed on furniture, no table scraps, no jumping on people).  No matter where he is, Dog follows these rules. Sara and Jim, both dog-lovers, visited us for a weekend.  They absolutely adored Dog and had a great time with him.  It didn’t surprise us that they got their own dog, Puppy, just weeks later.  Things were fine, until it was our turn to visit them in City B.  Up until this visit, we had always stayed in their guest room and they had been decent hosts.  Do you see where this is going?

The dogs got along just fine.  However, Puppy is very pampered. So pampered, in fact, that he now got the guest room.  Sara and Jim had given Puppy the guest room and queen-size bed, and asked us to sleep on a single bed in a finished room in the basement.  We chalked this up to Sara and Jim being overly worried first-time puppy parents (Puppy was allowed to wander between the guest room and master bedroom at night, and would often end up sleeping in bed with Sara and Jim anyways).

However, this continued for several months and Puppy became rather large (much bigger than Dog). At our house, Sara and Jim had a lovely guest room with clean sheets and towels. At their house, DH and I were relegated to the single bed in the basement.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the quality of Sara and Jim’s hosting got worse.  The final time we stayed in the basement, we had to sleep on dirty sheets that slid down halfway through the night, so we were sleeping on bare mattress. In addition, the weather had turned cold and the basement was freezing. Sara and Jim had not given us extra blankets, any towels, and had neglected to clean the bathroom (full garbage can, short & curlies everywhere, etc.).  Puppy still had the nice guest room.

DH and I wondered if this was Sara and Jim’s way of saying they wanted to end the friendship. No, that wasn’t it, as Sara and Jim always invited us there (we would never invite ourselves) saying they loved our company and Puppy liked playing with Dog. Perhaps Sara and Jim didn’t like our hosting capabilities and they were having sweet revenge? No, I am known in our circle of friends as THE hostess, and I go out of my way to make guests (overnight, dinner, whatever) feel extremely welcome.  Could we be bad guests?  This final possibility was examined at length. DH and I discussed it, and decided that we were not bad guests since we always cleaned up after ourselves and Dog, and never overstayed our welcome.  Other friends reassured us that we were not bad guests.

After the last basement stay, I was very upset and DH was livid.  Over the phone, I politely mentioned our discomfort to Sara. I nicely explained that DH and I were simply too big to fit into a twin-size bed, and that we were very cold last time.  Sara was apologetic, and insisted that they wanted to remain friends and it wouldn’t happen again.  I mentioned that DH and I could easily stay in a hotel in City B; Sara refused this offer, saying that she and Jim enjoyed having us at their home and visits wouldn’t be the same if we were at a hotel.  At our last visit, we were allowed to stay in the guest room, where it was warm and comfortable.

Puppy’s pampering has come back to bite Sara and Jim in the butt, however. Having a 15lb. puppy sleep in your bed is adorable. When Puppy grew to 80+ pounds, it wasn’t so comfortable. Sara admitted that she often sleeps in the guest room during the week, since Puppy has taken her side of the king-size bed she shared with Jim.  Since Puppy is accustomed to sleeping in the people bed, it is very difficult to kick him out at 2am, and Sara finds it easier to just surrender and stumble half-asleep to the guest room.

We remain friends with Sara and Jim…I can’t wait to see what happens at the next visit!



A few months after my husband and I bought our first house we decided to throw a big party for all our friends to celebrate.  My brother-in-law invited a few of his friends, which we didn’t mind, since we know and liked them. 

One of brother in laws friends showed up with her 5 month old puppy.  Being the owners of 3 dogs (and not small ones) this made for a lot of dogs in our house!  While unexpected the dogs did have fun playing together. 

By 1 a.m. I was exhausted and decided to go to bed.  We have a dry bar in the basement and there is no smoking on the first floor of our ranch house, so the few people left were in the basement.  I left my husband with the remaining guests.  I got to our bedroom to find not only a small pile of coats (which I planned to move to the couch) but 2 people sleeping in MY bed under a pile of coats and under the covers.  I went back down to get my husband to try to rouse the couple. 

After about 30 minutes of trying desperately tying to get the couple out of our bed (they were very drunk) the boyfriend (who we had never met) proceeded to vomit all over the bed!  At this time the rest of our guests joined in our effort to get them out of the room.  We managed to get them onto an air mattress in the living room floor only to find out that their puppy, which had been locked in the room with them, had peed all over our rug.  So I ended up washing the sheets and mattress pad, making the bed and mopping up dog pee at 2 in the morning when all I wanted was some sleep.

Now I have no problem with people staying over when they have had too much to drink.  At the time we had 2 futons, 3 couches and an air mattress.  They could have slept on any one of them.  But they climbed into our bed without even asking.  The next morning they got up and left without so much as an apology.  We have since told my brother-in-law that his friends are no longer invited to our home.


A few years ago my husband, my cousin (visiting from out of state) and I offered to help “X”, one of my husband childhood friends, move from Detroit to Chicago.  X arranged for a rental truck and tow dolly for his car and we were going to use my station wagon to move his clothes and computer. 

When we arrived Saturday morning at least half of X’s belongings were not packed, let alone in the truck.  My cousin and I ended up packing his belongings so we could get on the road faster.  After a few hours of loading his stuff in the truck and into our car we hit the road.  As luck would have it, as we arrived in Chicago our car died, barely making it to his front door.  We also pulled into town to discover that he had chosen Puerto Rican Independence Day as moving day and he was moving into a Puerto Rican part of Chicago.  This made travel very difficult as there was a large parade through town and many streets were blocked off.  It took the tow truck over 3 hours to get to us, which gave us enough time to move all his belongings up 3 flights of stairs to his new apartment in 80+ degree heat. Not to mention he had forgotten to get the keys from the landlord, so one of us ladies had to break into the apartment from the balcony window.

We were lucky enough to find a repair shop open on Saturday.  What was unlucky on our part was the part needed to repair the car wouldn’t be available from the dealership until Tuesday, at the earliest.  We were unable to call anyone at the new apartment to come pick us up, because the phone hadn’t been hooked up yet.  After hours we were able to get a hold of friends that also came along to help who graciously came to pick us up.  So, after moving X’s belongings for hours and hours of waiting at the repair shop we arrived back at the apartment to find that there was no hot water to get cleaned up.  He had forgotten to have the gas turned on.

The next day my husband had to go home with another couple so he could go to work on Monday (and not lose his job).  My cousin and I decided to make the best of our time in Chicago, a city neither of us had been to.  X let us stay on his couch during the time our car was being repaired.  We did have a wonderful time seeing the sights and were able to get the car back on Tuesday afternoon. 

But during the entire time we stayed X never once offered to take us out to dinner as a thank you for all our help, he didn’t even buy pizza on moving day or offer to pay for some of our gas during the move.  The one night we went out to dinner he insisted we split the tab.  He didn’t even buy us a single thank you drink.  And the entire time we were there we were forced to take cold showers, because he could never remember to get the gas turned on.  I know we probably should have gone to a hotel, but we were both poor college students at the time.  We had enough money for gas there and back and meals.  My parents were loaning me money to fix the car.

My husband took over the lease on X’s old apartment and was paying him back his security deposit in payments (money was tight).  X called him nearly every day about the money until his security deposit was paid back.  Since that security deposit was paid back nearly 5 years ago my husband has not heard from X a single time.  I am not to upset about that though!



The food arrived at the table and my father in law was already circling the table with his eyes, studying everyone's plates to see what he might be able to scam for himself. This was after he polished off both entire appetizers plus the decorative lettuces and mystery greens they were arranged on.

I had just finished my salad and was starting on my fish when I could feel him staring at me from across the table. He asked me if I planned to eat it all. As if it were some enormous meal that I'd look like a complete hog if I actually ate every bite. Jokingly I replied that I would try, and the rest of the family laughed and joked about his premature (or immature) left-over claim staking. This man has the most annoying, greedy food obsession I've ever known in anyone. I may as well ask him if there's anything he'd like off my plate before I might be allowed to dig into it!



Jeanne, the more I read the stories on your site, I find more things to write you about!  This one is a lot tamer than many of the horror stories on your site, but I felt it one worth sharing.

I have a cousin I'll call Freddie the Freeloader (with apologies to Red Skelton and the character he created).  Freddie is the son of one of my uncles on my mother's side.  We are about the same age, but our relationship was never a good one.  I have always considered him an oafish, selfish individual who was abusive towards me, even after he grew out of behaving the way "boys" are alleged to act.

His father, I am amazed to say has tolerated Freddie's sleazy ways:  Freddie for a long time lived off his father, even though he had held various jobs in his years after college, and apparently even stole from him.

Freddie also hasn't done too well in relations with the opposite sex:  his wife is a mail-order bride from Southeast Asia.  My uncle told me she was an extremely nice woman (much younger than Freddie) when he met her for the first time, has a job of her own and tolerated what he considered Freddie's dismissive and sometimes mean treatment of her.

Well, I haven't seen Freddie in nearly a quarter century, but I recently got a message on my answering machine from him.  Freddie says he and the Mrs. are traveling to my city to be at a friend's wedding and could they stay there?  He then called every day for three days, until he finally gave up.

I had been warned that Freddie would do this;  he had asked his dad for my phone number, and apparently said he knew I was living in that particular area and would just stay there because he and the Mrs. didn't want to spend the money on a hotel.

Now at this point in Freddie's life he has a job that makes nearly three times what I do--that, on top of his wife's income, they make six figures easily!  And if he looked at or some other website, he would have found that there are nearly a dozen reasonably priced hotel chains in my city--in fact, within spitting distance of my house!

Considering I live in a tiny home with room enough for me and my pets, and that there is no guest room of any kind, I would have said there was just no place for him to stay--that would not have stopped him, as I know what Freddie is like.

I told my mother to pass along to my uncle (whom I adore and admire greatly) that he and the wife should get their own place when they come out, and that I didn't take too kindly at the notion that I would just open the doors to them, after not hearing from him in any way for 25 years, and that his treatment of me, while forgiven is not forgotten.



This story is about the invitation we received by a couple we know for a barbeque.  First off, the invitation.  The usual:  the date, place, time, etc. and then goes on to say "Please R.S.V.P. for seafood, $5.00 per person." 


While I can understand R.S.V.P.'ing for seafood, as seafood can be quite expensive, I cannot understand why they chose to charge all their guests for it.  (There were hamburgers, hot-dogs, and chicken there as well - so it's not like it was just the seafood).  My thoughts are:  If you can't afford to have seafood at your party -  then don't have seafood at your party!  Don't get me wrong, $5.00 isn't an expensive amount, but it was so….. tacky.

My other gripe about the party:  This couple invited more people than they could comfortably handle.   And while I think it's a nice gesture to ask the host if they need any help with anything, I don't think the hosts should work you like a slave, as they did one particular person (my DH), who was just there to enjoy himself like everyone else.  Oh, and DH and I had to go out and pick up said seafood.  Apparently the hosts didn't factor this in - that the seafood actually had to be picked up.  

Again, if you have to work your guests like slaves at *your* party, then your party is too big. 

I was so annoyed.  So ultimately, I: 1) paid for my seafood, which I will never do again, unless I'm in a restaurant; 2) never really spent time with my husband, as he was their slave boy; and 3) will feign a migraine next time there is a party. 

Why did we put up with all this you ask?  It was the in-laws. 



I've got a pretty good "rude guests" story for you. It happened five years ago, but it's still kind of upsetting for me.

My eighteenth birthday occurred shortly after my high school graduation, so my mother decided to have one party for both. I went to a boarding school (although I didn't board), so most of my friends lived very far away. There were nine of them living in my area, though, so I decided to invite them as well as a few family members. We were going to have a barbecue, have cake, and go swimming. I hadn't had a real birthday party in years, so I was excited. I bought cute invitations and sent them to the nine friends I thought would be able to make it, and then waited for the RSVPs.

I waited a very long time.

Eventually, I ended up calling each one of my friends a couple of days before the party. All but one told me they couldn't come and they all used nearly the same excuse, but most of them said, "Oh, I have a gift for you! We'll have to get together later and I'll give it to you." Needless to say, that never happened. The only girl who was able to make it could only stay half an hour, as she was leaving for a trip that day--of course I wasn't upset about that, but it would have been nice if she had responded to my invitation!

My mother ended up inviting a few of her friends who had kids my age to fill out the guest list. And my friend brought her mother and little brother (who was very cool), and the two of them stayed. So it was still a fun party...but I was sad and embarrassed that my friends apparently had so little regard for me that not only did they not want to come to my party, but they wouldn't even call me themselves to tell me that! I've lost touch with all of them over the past few years and have very little desire to make contact again--understandably, I'm sure.



This is a variation of the "dinner/party organizer springs the bill on the participants at the function" category. It happened about 5 or 6 years ago while I was in college.

I was dating "Jim" at the time, and we had a mutual friend "George." We all attended the same large college to some extent or another. I didn't know George that well but he seemed like a pretty nice, fun guy the few times I was in a social setting with him.

Eventually, George graduates, or at least moves back to his hometown, a city which is about a 4 to 5 hour drive from where Jim and I live. Apparently he had a business, or got in on a business, and it was successful enough that year for him to buy a nice house and want to throw a party to celebrate. Jim and I and a bunch of George's other friends, a good number of which also live in our area, received an email invitation for a weekend party. Friday evening would be a Luau-themed party at George's new place, and Saturday everyone would go to "Steve and Joeys," an entertainment complex which to me is basically an arcade marketed towards adults. Nowhere in this invitation did it say anything about an expected "donation for expenses" (oh, you can see where this is going), just the usual "bring your favorite drink ingredients if you desire," and a general promise to "take care of" his out-of-town friends who could not afford a hotel for Friday night.

Boyfriend Jim is interested in going, and he convinces me to go with him. I didn't have anything planned for that weekend, no impending exams, and I was feeling up for a road trip, even though I'm really not crazy about spending more than an hour or two in a car. I was worried about money since finances were tight, me being a poor starving student, but Jim said he'd take care of everything. I was never comfortable with taking handouts, even from boyfriends, but I thought it would be a fun weekend so I looked forward to it.

The drive up was uneventful, but it took a bit longer than expected, and by the time we got there it was around 10 or 11 p.m. The invitation had said the party would go till the wee hours, but it was nearly dead. There were about 5 people milling about, only one of which I knew. I was hungry since we skipped dinner (the invitation said there would be plenty of food), but there were about three small slivers of BBQ chicken which had been sitting at room temperature all evening and nothing but crumbs left of the chips and other party treats. I had a bit of chicken and one adult beverage (most of the drink ingredients were also used up), socialized as much as I could, and made the best of the situation. After a while, we ask our gracious host George where we should crash for the evening, assuming he would just give us a spot on a carpeted floor to lay our sleeping bags, or if we were lucky a guest room would be available. Turns out he had an arrangement for us to stay with some friends of his a few blocks away. I thought it was kinda weird but at least we got a bed. His friends turned out to be super nice, and they had plenty of room for guests, but I felt like I was imposing, since I had never met these people before and they also had an infant to take care of. My boyfriend knew I was hungry because my stomach was growling loud enough to hear across a quiet room, but I offered to go without since it was so late, and since I didn't want to obligate him to pay for my meal, even though he had a high-paying job at the time. I later broke up with him for being unsympathetic to the point of social (and relationship, of course) dysfunction and a cheapskate to the point of scamming a friend or two (not me, fortunately) out of money he owed, despite having more than enough money to cover things. He has since matured and now he his happily married and treats his wife like gold, which I am happy about. Oh, the flawed characters I've dated.

Saturday morning was nice. We spent time just talking and lounging around with our hosts, who even offered us some snacks so we had something to eat, since Jim was used to not eating regularly and didn't think to go out for breakfast. (I brought the subject up, but didn't want to push it since again, I didn't want to obligate him to pay for me.) We proceeded to the adult entertainment establishment, and I had significantly more fun than I had at the previous night's party, since more people were there that I knew, and I had more of a chance to meet the people I didn't know. It was boring after a while since everything in the place required money and I was bent on saving the $10-plus-change I had on me in case of emergency (it also had to last me another week until my next meager paycheck), and I also didn't want to beg for money from my boyfriend or anyone else. At least he was having fun, as I didn't begrudge him spending his money left and right. I noticed that everyone else in the group was significantly more well-off than I was, but I didn't let it get to me that much since they were older and more established for the most part.

Lunchtime finally came around, and Jim reassured me that he would take care of my meal, and I offered to pay the tip if one was expected. No problems there. After everyone was done eating and engaging in leisurely conversation, George politely calls everyone to attention...and proceeds to explain that since the party cost him a significant amount of money (certainly not in food and drink supplies), it would be nice if everyone could give him a "donation" of $10 or so per person. !!! Now, I would have been completely ok with this if he had specified it in the original invitation instead of springing this on everyone as a surprise after a relatively fun weekend, and after a number of guests had traveled a good ways to be there. It was apparent that everyone else was caught off-guard by this request. For some reason, I felt obligated to pay, but the $10 I had would not cover this request as well as the tip and the rest of my week, so Jim offered to take care of my "share," even though I expressed my opinion to him that perhaps neither of us should honor George's cash-grab. If his business was doing so well, shouldn't he have had enough money to finance his modest get-together? It also got to me that I wasn't sure whether his friends had been compensated with so much as a thank-you from George for putting up a couple of strangers for the night (although I had thanked them profusely in person).

Afterwards, I discussed it with Jim, who didn't seem to think George's request was odd at all. Not wanting to make a big stink about it because of their friendship, I decided to let it rest, although I have not since had any contact with George. I wish I still had George's email so I could send him a link to a similar story at, or perhaps a Dear Abby column wherein she admonishes such behavior. Perhaps it was wrong of me to accept the invitation, thus burdening others with my poorness despite the gentlemen's' promises to "take care of" me, but the cash-grab ruined what could have been a memory of a fun weekend celebrating the success of a friend.



I had a guest from hell stay with me one summer. "C." was a friend from grad school whom I hung out with fairly regularly. He was a bit of a control freak, but as long as you were willing to deal with that, he could be fun. For example, he would call and ask if you wanted to go to X movie and Y Italian restaurant. If you wanted to do that, you could go and have a great time together. However, you could NOT suggest a different movie or a Chinese restaurant or even a DIFFERENT Italian restaurant, or he would totally freak out and try to bully you back toward his original plan. So, I learned to either go along with what he wanted if that sounded like fun, or just didn't go at all if I was in the mood for something even slightly different.

After graduation, C. called to say he was visiting various people over Memorial Day Weekend, and asked if he could stay with me for a couple of days. I told him that was fine. I asked him what he wanted to do when he was in town, and he said his only request was to go to Wrigley Field and see a Cubs game. So I went out and bought the tickets (at inflated scalper prices, since the game had long since sold out.) Then, a week before he was scheduled to show up, he called from his girlfriend's house to tell me that, to save money on tickets, he had bought them to arrive on the Thursday morning before the weekend, and to leave on the Tuesday evening after - effectively turning his 2-day visit into a 5-day visit. I warned him that I didn't have any extra vacation time at work, so that he would be alone on the non-holiday days, but that I would help him plan things to do while I was at work. He accepted this cheerfully. I planned all sorts of activities for him when we both had time off - baseball games, a BBQ party with a large group of friends, sightseeing, movies - all of which he enthusiastically approved over the phone. I had neglected to consider, however, what hosting a control freak taken out of his comfort zone and out of control over all events might be.

On Thursday morning, C. showed up at my office directly from the airport. I sent him out with maps to museums, stores, parks, and other points of interest, and asked him to let me know if he wanted to meet for lunch. He returned in 45 minutes to sit in my office ALL DAY, because he was bored. He whined to me constantly, even while I was on the phone with clients, about the fact that I was neglecting him. As you may have inferred from earlier comments, I lived in Chicago at the time. It's not like there wasn't anything to do or see. And I had specifically warned him that I wasn't going to be able to accommodate his new schedule.

Things rapidly went from bad to worse. At the baseball game, C. never offered to pay for the expensive baseball tickets I had bought for him. I had planned on giving them to him as my gift, but I thought he would at least offer to pay for them. Instead, C. TOLD me to buy him some expensive souvenirs from the park. When I refused, he pouted and said I wasn't a good host. Pardon me, but I think there is a difference between a host who has specifically asked her guest to come visit and participate in particular activities, and a host who has been begged to put someone up for free for a weekend. A host of the latter sort is certainly in no way bound to fulfill a guest's every whim, when they are already doing the guest a favor.

For the rest of the weekend, C. whined constantly about rest of the activities I had planned. Each day, I would offer several options, he would refuse to choose, and when I picked one, he would decide halfway through it that he would have preferred one of the other options. And then whine about that. I asked him why he had told me on the phone that he was looking forward to these activities, only to turn up his nose at them now that he was here. He told me that he was only pretending to be enthusiastic on the phone to make his girlfriend jealous about how much fun he was going to have without her. He spent one beautiful day glued to my couch watching a marathon of the show "Homicide" - and then bitched at me because the channel with "Homicide" shared a space with another cable channel on my cable system, and it switched over at 5:00 and deprived him of ANOTHER 12 hours of "Homicide." I was seriously considering Homicide myself by that point.

He pouted because, after going to THREE video stores, the movie he wanted to watch was not available and he had to watch a secondary choice. He insisted that I walk with him a mile and a half to the nearest McDonalds (I had no car) because he wanted a hamburger RIGHT THAT MINUTE, despite the fact that we were going to a BBQ (with hamburgers) in an hour and I had offered him any number of snacks that were on hand in my apartment to tide him over. And then, when we got to the BBQ, he said he wasn't hungry and accused me of not telling him we were going to have hamburgers there. You know, except for the 12 TIMES I had told him that when he was insisting on going to McD's.

C. was from New York, and said CONSTANTLY that nothing in Chicago could EVER be as good as its equivalent in New York. He was bored. He was too hot. He insisted on sleeping in the nude in the middle of my living room. He insulted my boyfriend continuously, for no reason, to his face. He was condescending to my sister (who was my roommate at the time). He had a loud, hour-long fight with his girlfriend, long-distance on my phone, at 1AM, the night before I had to go back to work (and never offered to pay for it, of course). He asked when I would be coming out to visit him...HA!


Page Last Updated May 15, 2007