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Author Topic: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.  (Read 17056 times)

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still in va

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #45 on: April 19, 2012, 10:44:04 AM »
I was actually only responding to magician's post that to me reads like "This is the way we do things here and if you don't like it, you can stuff it." This goes against everything etiquette and hospitality stand for.

The problem is, a guest is a guest. Even if you don't like them but you agreed to let them visit, then you assume responsibility for being hospitable. If you do not want them to visit that should be stated up front. There is a fine line here, because zrys never told them not to visit, but instead imposed conditions on their stay.

Invited themselves is an interesting term, especially considering they never came. If I call my dad and say "Hey, I am in town next Saturday, can I stay at your house before I fly out." I am inviting myself, yes. But I guarantee you he would be far more offended if I didn't ask to stay at his house and instead stayed at the hotel and he later found out about it.

I had a friend stay at my house recently, who for some reason didn't like sleeping in beds. I think it was because of his days in the army. In response, I didn't tell him a bed is all I got, that's how we do things in my house, deal with it. I took the bed apart and moved it out of the guest room, so he could sleep on the floor for the duration of the stay. That's the sentiment I am trying to get at.

actually, if i called you and said "yo, Reason, i'm coming to visit your town and will be sleeping in your bathtub for a week", and you said "well, still, we don't have a bathtub, but i'll pay for your room at local hotel", then what you told me was i couldn't stay at your house.  you didn't tell me not to come to your town, since of course you couldn't tell me that i wasn't allowed to not to come to an entire town.

and you calling your father to inform him that you were flying in is a whole lot different than random friends calling to announce that they'll be staying with you.

i understand what you're trying to say, and as a PP stated, your view is certainly a valid one.  but the viewpoint of someone like zrys who doesn't have the same policy (or room) is valid as well.

and maybe we simply have different definitions of the word "guest".  to me, a guest is someone that i invite into my home.  not someone who informs me that i will be welcoming into my home.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 10:46:00 AM by still in va »

Lynn2000

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #46 on: April 19, 2012, 10:59:58 AM »
I was actually only responding to magician's post that to me reads like "This is the way we do things here and if you don't like it, you can stuff it." This goes against everything etiquette and hospitality stand for.

The problem is, a guest is a guest. Even if you don't like them but you agreed to let them visit, then you assume responsibility for being hospitable. If you do not want them to visit that should be stated up front. There is a fine line here, because zrys never told them not to visit, but instead imposed conditions on their stay.

Invited themselves is an interesting term, especially considering they never came. If I call my dad and say "Hey, I am in town next Saturday, can I stay at your house before I fly out." I am inviting myself, yes. But I guarantee you he would be far more offended if I didn't ask to stay at his house and instead stayed at the hotel and he later found out about it.

I had a friend stay at my house recently, who for some reason didn't like sleeping in beds. I think it was because of his days in the army. In response, I didn't tell him a bed is all I got, that's how we do things in my house, deal with it. I took the bed apart and moved it out of the guest room, so he could sleep on the floor for the duration of the stay. That's the sentiment I am trying to get at.

I do agree with some things in this post, but not all. :) For example, I think it's nice that you took the bed apart and removed it from the bedroom for the guest who prefers to sleep on the floor. But, I don't think that's required by etiquette. Dismantling and moving a large piece of furniture might be physically impossible for some people, or simply more trouble than reasonable people are willing to go to. I think it would be rude to insist that the guest sleep in the bed, if they would rather sleep on the floor of the bedroom; but in most bedrooms they could find room to sleep on the floor even with the bed still there, and the host might never even know, let alone be inconvenienced by it.

In the situation with your dad, I do think that's a perfectly natural interaction that a lot of people have experience with. But, you also have precedence and knowledge of your own and your dad's personalities and the layout of your dad's house to go on. In the OP, it sounded like people were asking the OP this type of question, with the strong expectation she would say yes, when they had never stayed with her before and did not even know what kind of home she had or how she felt about having overnight visitors, especially last-minute ones who intended to stay for several days. They were making some pretty big assumptions; whereas, it sounds like with your dad, you aren't making very many assumptions at all, because you know him and you know how the process works.

I don't really see the OP as imposing conditions on her guests, at least not unreasonable ones. It sounded to me like they wanted to use her home as a free lodging place for several days, without considering her preferences or schedule, and she was simply replying with her personal boundaries, that she is not comfortable with their plan. Etiquette does not say we have to allow others to freely use our possessions whenever they ask for them, in whatever way they want.

I do agree with the general idea that both host and guest must be accommodating to the other, though, and that insisting on certain points is a tricky thing with high potential to cause offense.
~Lynn2000

Decimus

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #47 on: April 19, 2012, 11:02:36 AM »
I tend to lean feel while a host has a duty to be hospitable, the guest has a reciprocal duty to accomodate to the host's household.  So if I'm an omnivore and visiting vegetarians, I shouldn't insist on being served a hamburger; if they do something I find odd or objectionable for me to do (say, using recyclable sponges instead of toilet paper) I should raise it and perhaps bring my own TP or not visit. 

If someone said he couldn't sleep in a bed, I'd offer to give him a blanket and let him sleep on the floor, but if he said he could ONLY sleep on a mattress on the floor, I'd probably say "I'm sorry, that's not possible" before I disassembled a bed.  Disassembling the bed for a guest would be a NICE thing to do, but "etiquette" doesn't require it. 

Twik

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #48 on: April 19, 2012, 11:50:27 AM »
I was actually only responding to magician's post that to me reads like "This is the way we do things here and if you don't like it, you can stuff it." This goes against everything etiquette and hospitality stand for.

No, etiquette does not mean that you have to disrupt your household, just because someone decided that YOU are going to do them a favour. The person requesting the favour gets to make the compromises.

Dismantling the bed was, frankly, beyond hospitality. If you're happy to do it, fine, but what will you do for the next guest that tells you that he can only sleep on a $5000 mattress?
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Reason

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #49 on: April 19, 2012, 12:11:03 PM »
I would say, "Sorry honored guest, everything in my house is yours, but I don't have a $5000 dollar matress."Which would be the truth :). Then I would most likely never invite them again.

A host that decides to grant guests access to their home is expected in most cultures that I can think of to show the guests respect (to various degrees), provide for their needs, and not to treat them as a second class citizen in their temporary home.

Etiquette of course does not require one to be a doormat. But it is also not a cart blanche to ignore the needs of those around you in favor of personal comfort.

Lynn2000

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #50 on: April 19, 2012, 02:03:01 PM »
I would say, "Sorry honored guest, everything in my house is yours, but I don't have a $5000 dollar matress."Which would be the truth :). Then I would most likely never invite them again.

A host that decides to grant guests access to their home is expected in most cultures that I can think of to show the guests respect (to various degrees), provide for their needs, and not to treat them as a second class citizen in their temporary home.

Etiquette of course does not require one to be a doormat. But it is also not a cart blanche to ignore the needs of those around you in favor of personal comfort.

For me, the bolded is where the disconnect is coming in, and it may well be a cultural thing that will never be resolved. :) I would never consider that everything in my house is at my guest's disposal to use as they will. Even if I knew they were reasonable people who weren't going to wantonly destroy or take things.

If they said they could only fall asleep with the TV on, for example, I would tell them they were welcome to sleep on the couch in the living room (where the big TV is) instead of in the guest bedroom; but I would not volunteer, or agree, to move the small TV from my bedroom into theirs, or let them have my bedroom (with its TV) instead. Or if they wanted to borrow some of my clothes--in some kind of emergency, yes, or maybe an item like a coat or hat if they forgot theirs, but I wouldn't give them leave to treat my closet as their own.

I would feel obligated to provide my guest with a clean environment and food they can eat (even if that meant buying things special); and to spend some time with them during the visit according to the plan we'd discussed beforehand. And certainly if they needed/wanted something that I hadn't anticipated, I hope they would ask me for it, and I would be able to accommodate them in some way, like if they needed an extra blanket (sure, use this one) or forgot their toothbrush (take my unopened extra/let's go buy one for you). But I would not in any way consider that they could use all of my possessions as their own. I don't think it's rude that you do this; I also don't think I'm rude that I don't. :)
~Lynn2000

magician5

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #51 on: April 19, 2012, 03:04:18 PM »
I was actually only responding to magician's post that to me reads like "This is the way we do things here and if you don't like it, you can stuff it." This goes against everything etiquette and hospitality stand for.

The problem is, a guest is a guest. Even if you don't like them but you agreed to let them visit, then you assume responsibility for being hospitable. If you do not want them to visit that should be stated up front. There is a fine line here, because zrys never told them not to visit, but instead imposed conditions on their stay.

Invited themselves is an interesting term, especially considering they never came. If I call my dad and say "Hey, I am in town next Saturday, can I stay at your house before I fly out." I am inviting myself, yes. But I guarantee you he would be far more offended if I didn't ask to stay at his house and instead stayed at the hotel and he later found out about it.

I had a friend stay at my house recently, who for some reason didn't like sleeping in beds. I think it was because of his days in the army. In response, I didn't tell him a bed is all I got, that's how we do things in my house, deal with it. I took the bed apart and moved it out of the guest room, so he could sleep on the floor for the duration of the stay. That's the sentiment I am trying to get at.

There's nothing stopping you from letting your dad invite you: "Hotel? I wouldn't hear of it! There's plenty of room for you right here." Seems to me that a proposal to stay in a hotel could easily be explained as a gracious gesture to avoid inconveniencing him - no rational cause for offense. It's a little like the almost universal tradition of being invited up on the porch on a hot afternoon, and you're supposed to decline a couple of times for propriety's sake and then accept a sit-down and a glass of sweet tea.

If my suggestion that "we don't do it that way here" is arrogant, I can see your logic, it is a very blunt statement, but to me the whole transaction is a thinly-disguised ploy to manipulate the proposed "host".  If I want to host someone, and assume all the decent responsibilities of a host, I'll do the inviting. I can live with a little "fishing for an invitation", but I won't be guilted into hosting someone or shamed when I (diplomatically) rebuff what amounts to an intrusion.

Maybe I'm just uncouth (I don't agree with that assessment) or maybe I'm too private (I decide how to define my private limits), or maybe I have too little regard for family or tradition (IMO there are family members who can stay anytime and also family whom I barely know and can stay somewhere bleedin' else, and IMO "tradition" to me is most often a term for "you have to do something that means nothing to you, just to satisfy some standard you don't espouse"). I have no problem living with any of those accusations.

I live in a BIG tourist area, and several times I've had to refuse being manipulated into being a free tourist hotel/restaurant to people I don't know and wouldn't like if I did know them - this would add up to an entirely different thing if I lived someplace less exciting and didn't feel taken advantage of.

PS - When I do host a guest, I let them know that "everything in my house" is indeed theirs, in a sense. I'm no doormat, but one of the most blessed things I got from my wife's family was their gracious, no-pressure "just go in the refrigerator yourself if you want something" reception whenever I visited them.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 10:47:32 PM by magician5 »
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artk2002

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #52 on: April 19, 2012, 06:00:54 PM »
NTN - threadjack but using a bin for the toilet paper is quite common in some places, especially Greek Islands and some parts of Cyprus.  The plumbing can't take the paper so there's a small bin.  That said in these places it's a separate bin from the usual rubbish bin and it's just for paper.I

It's a little weird to begin with but it's surprising how fast one adapts to it. 

Thank you Snowy. Thats good to know. I wouldn't call their town anything close to the Greek Isles, but that info helps to 'accept' the situation.

Some septic systems have trouble with paper. Many marine toilets can't handle it at all.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

whatsanenigma

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #53 on: April 19, 2012, 06:07:21 PM »
I was actually only responding to magician's post that to me reads like "This is the way we do things here and if you don't like it, you can stuff it." This goes against everything etiquette and hospitality stand for.

I could have quoted any number of things here, but I just picked this one.

My problem with that statement of "this is how we do things here" is that there are ways and ways of communicating it.  And this particular way seems unnecessarily harsh and blunt.

Another way to say it would be "I understand what your norms are and beleive me, I would love to accomodate you, I feel awful that I can't, but it's just not they way things are done here and we're not used to that, so I really do not have the ability to accomodate you but I am so happy to offer you what we do have, which is x, y, z...".

Same sentiment, different wording.

zyrs

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #54 on: April 20, 2012, 03:36:10 AM »
The only places in the house to place a blow up mattress (the tub is 4.5 feet long) in the house are in the kitchen, blocking access to the refrigerator or  in the hallway blocking access to the only bathroom because you would be lengthwise against the door.  The only bathroom is centrally located and is not soundproof. 

My wife gets up at 4 am to get ready for work and has to schedule vacation time months in advance so is unable to schedule vacation days with less than 48 hours notice.  Someone blocking access to the bathroom would need to get up at that time and stand around until she was finished, then get up the 2 hours later when I need to get ready since I am in the same boat with needing to schedule vacation months in advance.  Blocking access to the refrigerator would mean they would get woken up at 4 and 6 am again since we would need to get to our lunches.

When I talk to people about hotels, it's because they would be more comfortable.  They'd get a bed, private bathroom, maybe mints on the pillow instead of a air mattress with people having to walk over the top of them.


magician5

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #55 on: April 20, 2012, 04:48:26 AM »
Another way to say it would be "I understand what your norms are and beleive me, I would love to accomodate you, I feel awful that I can't, but it's just not they way things are done here and we're not used to that, so I really do not have the ability to accomodate you but I am so happy to offer you what we do have, which is x, y, z...".

Same sentiment, different wording.

You're a much nicer person than I am. Your phrasing would be even more effective. Unless, of course, the other party persists and either scrambles to find some way to work around your objection ("Oh, we wouldn't be a bit of trouble") or tries to guilt you into hosting ("But we're faaaaaamily!")
There is no 'way to peace.' Peace is the way.

Lynn2000

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #56 on: April 20, 2012, 09:46:36 AM »
Another way to say it would be "I understand what your norms are and beleive me, I would love to accomodate you, I feel awful that I can't, but it's just not they way things are done here and we're not used to that, so I really do not have the ability to accomodate you but I am so happy to offer you what we do have, which is x, y, z...".

Same sentiment, different wording.

You're a much nicer person than I am. Your phrasing would be even more effective. Unless, of course, the other party persists and either scrambles to find some way to work around your objection ("Oh, we wouldn't be a bit of trouble") or tries to guilt you into hosting ("But we're faaaaaamily!")

Personally, I find that my "niceness" level drops the more persistent someone is... The initial, "So, I'm staying with you guys for a week, starting tomorrow night, right?" will probably be met with, "Oh, I'm so sorry, there's just not enough room, let me get you the number for some local hotels, I hope we'll be able to have a few meals together." Perfectly clear 'no' in my mind, along with the other sentiments.

If their next response is, "But we always stay with family when we travel, and we really don't mind cramped quarters," I can feel my eyes narrow and my heels dig in. "No, I'm sorry, that just won't work for us. Do you want to hear about some local hotels?"

If they persist yet again--"Oh, we won't be any trouble at all, we're faaaaaamily, this is what our culture always does"--my response gets downright frosty. "NO, you CANNOT stay with us." Frankly I don't think it has anything to do with culture at this point, I've said 'no' twice and my tone indicates I really mean it, it's not just one of those pleasant social fictions like, "Oh, no, I couldn't possibly accept a lemonade from you, well, if you insist, it would be nice, since it's 300 degrees out..."

The callers are liable to get a swift 'good-bye!' if they keep trying to 'persuade' me. And if instead they get mad and say, "Well fine, you obviously don't want us to visit, so we're not even coming at all," I will probably think to myself, "Thank goodness!" Because they sound like really pushy, unpleasant people.

I think the point is, there are polite ways to say no, and there are blunt ways to say no, and there are rude ways to say no also. It's probably best to start at the polite end and move on to blunt only if necessary; and the rude ways should be avoided if at all possible, even if that's what you're really thinking. ;) But one never needs to say yes instead.
~Lynn2000

Lorelei_Evil

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #57 on: April 20, 2012, 10:43:50 AM »
I was actually only responding to magician's post that to me reads like "This is the way we do things here and if you don't like it, you can stuff it." This goes against everything etiquette and hospitality stand for.

The problem is, a guest is a guest. Even if you don't like them but you agreed to let them visit, then you assume responsibility for being hospitable. If you do not want them to visit that should be stated up front. There is a fine line here, because zrys never told them not to visit, but instead imposed conditions on their stay.

Invited themselves is an interesting term, especially considering they never came. If I call my dad and say "Hey, I am in town next Saturday, can I stay at your house before I fly out." I am inviting myself, yes. But I guarantee you he would be far more offended if I didn't ask to stay at his house and instead stayed at the hotel and he later found out about it.

I had a friend stay at my house recently, who for some reason didn't like sleeping in beds. I think it was because of his days in the army. In response, I didn't tell him a bed is all I got, that's how we do things in my house, deal with it. I took the bed apart and moved it out of the guest room, so he could sleep on the floor for the duration of the stay. That's the sentiment I am trying to get at.

There's nothing stopping you from letting your dad invite you: "Hotel? I wouldn't hear of it! There's plenty of room for you right here." Seems to me that a proposal to stay in a hotel could easily be explained as a gracious gesture to avoid inconveniencing him - no rational cause for offense. It's a little like the almost universal tradition of being invited up on the porch on a hot afternoon, and you're supposed to decline a couple of times for propriety's sake and then accept a sit-down and a glass of sweet tea.

If my suggestion that "we don't do it that way here" is arrogant, I can see your logic, it is a very blunt statement, but to me the whole transaction is a thinly-disguised ploy to manipulate the proposed "host".  If I want to host someone, and assume all the decent responsibilities of a host, I'll do the inviting. I can live with a little "fishing for an invitation", but I won't be guilted into hosting someone or shamed when I (diplomatically) rebuff what amounts to an intrusion.

Maybe I'm just uncouth (I don't agree with that assessment) or maybe I'm too private (I decide how to define my private limits), or maybe I have too little regard for family or tradition (IMO there are family members who can stay anytime and also family whom I barely know and can stay somewhere bleedin' else, and IMO "tradition" to me is most often a term for "you have to do something that means nothing to you, just to satisfy some standard you don't espouse"). I have no problem living with any of those accusations.

I live in a BIG tourist area, and several times I've had to refuse being manipulated into being a free tourist hotel/restaurant to people I don't know and wouldn't like if I did know them - this would add up to an entirely different thing if I lived someplace less exciting and didn't feel taken advantage of.

PS - When I do host a guest, I let them know that "everything in my house" is indeed theirs, in a sense. I'm no doormat, but one of the most blessed things I got from my wife's family was their gracious, no-pressure "just go in the refrigerator yourself if you want something" reception whenever I visited them.

POD to Magician 5.  With many of my relatives polite deferral will not work.  At all.  If they can't stay somewhere for free, they won't go and it's YOUR FAULT that "they can't go on vacation now".  It's to the point where I don't give out my address anymore to prevent people from just showing up. 

I have to be firmly in the blunt, but not rude, position on the NO scale.


Reason

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Re: When visitors take offense that they cannot sleep here.
« Reply #58 on: April 20, 2012, 11:14:28 AM »
Ok, I see your point. I think it very much depends on the relatives/friends doing the visiting then. I am fortunate enough not to have anyone in my life that would attempt to use me for a financial advantage.

If a friend or family member wanted to visit me, he/she would want to stay at my house to spend more time with me rather than to avoid paying for a hotel. But I still think that if I had to deal with a request to visit from someone I did not trust to be civil I would either refuse directly, or if I accepted the visit, then I would do my best to be sure they are comfortable. If they were not comfortable in a hotel, that would be a huge consideration for planning the trip. I would let them know that they would certainly be more comfortable in a hotel as the living quarters are cramped and if they come over I would give them the bed but I would most likely wind up sleeping in a bathtub. My opinion might change if this were a repeated occurrence and I had plenty of relatives/friends seeking to take advantage of me. But I do not.