Author Topic: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit  (Read 4873 times)

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tasryn

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Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« on: May 31, 2012, 04:17:24 AM »
I have been having an issue with a friend who lives in my home country (I am an ex pat) who comes to my country every year to visit family and usually visits me in the process and sometimes stays overnight. Last year when she came, she waited until the night before to say "We are coming-see you tomorrow!" When I asked who "we" was she informed me that her family member was driving her down and because it was a two hour drive from where she was staying with said family member to our house, naturally both of them would be expecting accommodation at my house for that evening. I was annoyed at an unexpected house guest and sad at the fact that I didn't get to spend quality time with my friend alone (the conversation changes to a more general nature when two of the three participants are people who don't know each other). The family member was sheepish and thanked me again and again for hosting her and brought a nice hostess gift because she knew there was an etiquette violation.

This year the same thing happened again. First she changed the date she was coming from a Monday to the previous Friday which wouldn't be such an issue as I'm not working at the moment as I'm due to deliver my first child within the next three weeks. But because we switched the guest room and nursery around (to put the nursery next to our bedroom) we had some furniture we needed to finish moving that weekend to make it habitable for guests staying on Monday to visit. Because we were given just 36 hours notice, we had to scramble to get that furniture moved which was difficult as we had booked friends to come in and help move the furniture that weekend. We also had to scramble to get groceries in and get everything tidy for their visit. Then the night before my friend tells me yet again that she is not coming alone-that the same family member would be driving her down and expect a place to stay.  She knew she was putting me out so she offered to just come for a day trip but I told her she was more than welcome to stay the night as she had a long drive to our place. She did not say she wouldn't stay the night. Once again she arrives with the family member and once again I don't get to spend quality time with my friend alone which I really wanted as I only get to see her once a year and I'd like to just have a one on one experience with her. She informs me upon arrival that she will not be staying the night as she has to meet another friend early in the morning back at her original location but doesn't bother to tell me this until the day of which means my husband and I put ourselves out cleaning, getting groceries in and moving furniture for nothing.

I just want to know how I can handle this situation in the future. Is there some way I could say that we'd like to host you but not your family member? Also, I find this situation irritating not just for unexpected overnight guests but just in general when you anticipate doing dinner with a friend and suddenly some random third person shows up and you don't get quality time with your friend. It's not so bad when you see said friend all the time, but my friends in my native country are people I see rarely and I feel protective of my time with them and don't want to entertain random third party people. However based on my age (early 30s) the friendship group I have seems like it's expected to bring uninvited guests to events, house stays, etc because it's the "more the merrier" and everything is so casual anyway that it's okay. Am I just being overprotective or snooty in relation to my friendships or am I right to be annoyed? Also, am I right to be annoyed at both the unexpected house guests AND the unexpected guests for dinner or just the houseguest scenario? Both annoy me because both involve me having an expectation of private time with my friend to have intimate conversation that instead turns into a small talk fest (I hate small talk) because me and the third party person don't know each other. I like quality time with my friends and cherish those opportunities but it seems like more and more those moments are hard to get because of the casual nature of relationships.

Iris

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Re: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2012, 05:45:25 AM »
I'm just posting to see what advice you get because I used to be in a similar situation and never worked it out.
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Kaypeep

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Re: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2012, 08:48:17 AM »
She's rude to spring guests on you, but then again she's a guest in your new homeland and maybe can't travel easily herself (getting lost, language barrier, etc.) so I might give her more of a pass for those reasons if they possibly apply.  Also, you want alone time with her but you have DH and she does not, so think that she may want the same thing but it's not happening for her either since you are married.  Also, it sounds like she comes to see you but do you ever go to visit her?  If not, then I think you have to accept that the friendship dynamics have changed with time and circumstance so you simply need to make the best of it.  OTOH, if you know she's coming to visit again, talk to her honestly ahead of time.  Ask her if there's a way she can come alone so that you can have one on one time.  Let her know DH won't be around either, and you'll have quality time like the old days (well, with a baby of course.  So see, dynamics are changing again and won't ever be what they used to be.)

The only problem I see is her not asking if she can bring a guest, and changing her plans once she got there by not staying over. Both of these can be remedied by having a stronger spine when she calls ahead.  Tell her it's not possible to accomodate guests, and reiterate her itinerary several times to confirm her plans.  I'd pointedly confirm and say "Are you sure?  Because last time you changed at the last minute and it quite put us out.  Please let me know for certain."

Jones

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Re: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2012, 09:37:45 AM »
How is she going to get to your home, and then back to Location A, unless she has someone bring her?

I admit, the lack of communication would drive me batty, and I might not let her come over anymore, but choose to meet her in Location A for an afternoon instead.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2012, 10:11:00 AM »
She knew she was putting out and offered to just come down for a day.  Instead you told her to come with her family member and stay the night? Why didn't you take her up on her offer if it would be a hassle for you to get things ready for 2 people instead of the 1 you were expecting? This situation calls for a polite spine and "I'm afraid that won't be possible" used liberally.

I think if that happens again you need to be prepared to meet her outside of your home or just for the day.  If you keep allowing her to bring an uninvited guest each time she comes to visit, it will become a habit with her. She managed to get there without her family member the first time she came to visit, so she can manage to get to you alone in the future.

Lynn2000

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Re: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2012, 10:22:22 AM »
I think you are right to be annoyed by the lack of communication, plans changing, and extra people being sprung upon you.

Next time your friend is planning to come, be proactive and confirm the plans with her several times. You can even say, as Kaypeep suggested, "I just wanted to make sure it's only you, because the last couple times you arrived with someone else."

At almost nine months pregnant, I don't think I would have scrambled to move furniture or tidy beyond the basics when she unexpectedly changed the date she would be staying with you. As long as the bathroom and the bed sheets were clean, I would have let her navigate around the extra furniture, or told her pleasantly that she could sleep on the couch since we hadn't scheduled the furniture movers until later. If she's going to be so flexible with her plans, she should be equal flexible with her accommodations.

I also wondered why, for example, your DH couldn't take the extra family member for a walk or a drive around town, leaving you and your friend home alone to chat. Or even taken the family member into another room and watched a movie with them. If it was only you, friend, and friend's family member I can see how you wouldn't want to exile the third person off by themselves somewhere.

It also might be better to try meeting her halfway next time--each of you drive an hour to a restaurant or park, DH and family member (possibly with your baby) go off to do something else, and the two of you can chat for a while. That way you don't have to worry so much about making accommodations for her.

I know these things can be tough, especially with a friend you don't get to see too much--you don't want to give them a cold reception with a lot of rules. But it sounds like it's really irritating to you, and that there are things Friend could be doing that are more considerate of you. But, she may not even think of them until you say something.
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JenJay

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Re: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2012, 10:31:39 AM »
Would it be possible for you to pick her up and drive her back next time? I realize it's a long trip but it would provide not only a full visit with just her BUT an extra 4 hours of chatting time while you were in the car.

If that's not possible you're probably stuck with an extra guest because I imagine it's hard for her to find someone who can loan her their car for a couple of days. Maybe offer to split the cost of a bus or train ticket?

I would be annoyed if I purchased groceries to provide dinner, snacks, breakfast and possibly lunch for 2 extra people and ended up serving only dinner because they changed their plans last minute. She needs to know that's not okay.

NotTheNarcissist

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Re: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2012, 10:39:15 AM »
I would be upset as you are. Quality time trumps quantity any day. If you are close enough to your friend, can you open up to her & be honest & transparent in this matter? Personally I think it's a positive investment in the friendship, but I can see how some people may react defensively in that conversation.

tasryn

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Re: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2012, 04:08:29 PM »
Thanks so much for all the responses! This is very helpful. In answer to everyone's question, I actually live on a train line with a very good link (every half hour) to the major city where she was staying so the original plan was for her to get a train to my place and I would pick her up from the station. I gave her all the info she needed to be able to come alone. The major city she was staying in has a good subway system with direct links to the railway station and it's just a 90 minute journey to our place. I've actually made this trip on numerous occasions with no problem and even done it as a day trip. This is also an English speaking country and this girl has numerous friends and relatives and has lived here at various points in her life so using the train system is really no problem for her like it might be for someone with no previous experience of the country or if a different language was spoken here.

Because she came to visit me last time, I wanted to come and see her in major city but because she ended up booking her trip for so late in my pregnancy I wasn't able to make the trip down (my husband didn't like the idea of me going into labor suddenly and be traveling) but invited her to come up here and stay the night with the understanding that if she wasn't able to come all the way out this way, I would completely understand. She was always meant to stay the night and I didn't want to withdraw the invitation suddenly when the family member was coming as I did know she was coming a very long way just to see me (a four hour roundtrip in one day is a lot). I couldn't have my husband take her family member out as he was at work and I think that might have made it a bit too clear that I didn't want her there. She's a perfectly nice lady and always brings a hostess gift when she comes but surely she must recognize that showing up unexpectedly at someone's house two years in a row is a bit out of whack.

I know her viewpoint is that she doesn't want her family member (my friend) to have to take the train as it can be expensive if booked last minute (I did provide the info on how to book in advance and told her to do so as the cost of the ticket is less than half than if you book on the day and indeed my friend used this system to book a train ticket to another city in our country). If my friend was able to take the train elsewhere, I can't understand why she can't take the train to us. In the future, I think I'm going to have to just go see her in major city to regain control of the situation. Also, if she changes plans on me again I am just going to say I'm busy and can't get together. I actually was going to do that this time but my husband talked me out of it. I was annoyed as we had to move furniture (neither her bedroom door nor ours could be shut because of the furniture so the furniture really did need to be sorted before she came) and felt like it was a lot of effort to arrange furniture to be moved in 24 hours time. I've got a good game plan for the future though so thank you everyone!

TootsNYC

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Re: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2012, 09:48:57 PM »
Can you not simply tell your friend, the next time she announced that a visit is in the offing, "Listen, next time when you come, take the train. I really don't have room for your relative, and it changes the dynamic of the visit. I want you all to myself."

And do you have to *book* the train ahead to save $, or just buy the ticket? Anything you can do to make the visit less likely to include the relative would be good, like maybe buying the ticket and sending it to her or making a reservation in her name?


SuperMartianRobotGirl

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Re: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2012, 09:18:47 AM »
What makes this kind of thing hard, I think, is that it happens the first time, and you are polite and deal with it, and then they figure, "She didn't complain so it must have been OK" and it becomes normal and they figure it'll be OK in the future as well.

I think there probably has to be some level of directness here. Like next time you arrange things, specifically say, "I know the past couple of times you brought Jane with you, but I wasn't expecting her and I had to re-arrange things to try to accommodate her. I'm not prepared to have an extra person with you this time. Can I help you get a train ticket so you can make it here on your own?" Or whatever - offering to help in some way might lessen the blow. Once she knows you aren't OK with it, I can't imagine she'll bring an extra person again, but there will be hard feelings for a bit because at this point, after having brought an extra person twice, she might feel entitled to bring an extra person. It's hard to take away something someone sees as an entitlement.

BarensMom

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Re: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2012, 10:50:51 PM »
My DH has made it very clear to me that no strangers are to be in our home, so if a friend brought an unknown person to my house and expected to stay the night, they would be getting the phone number of the Motel 6. 

bopper

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Re: Invited guests bring uninvited guests for overnight visit
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2012, 03:48:20 PM »
The next time she wants to visit, say "Do you think we could just have it be you coming to visit this time? Familymember was lovely but I really would like to be able to chat with just you. The whole dynamic changes when others come.  I realize that FM probably offered to drive you to save on the train fare, but if it is money that is an issue I can pay for half."