Author Topic: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest  (Read 10908 times)

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TomatoBunny

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #30 on: May 28, 2013, 04:56:20 PM »
I have to agree with Curious Cat and OP's perception of the pet-sitting issue. OP asked Friend to pet-sit. Friend didn't say no, he explained that his return ticket was already purchased. This was either an honest problem "if you pay to switch the ticket for me, so I'm not out money to help you out, I would be happy to pet-sit for you" or an attempt to excuse why he can not do it "ooooh, I've already booked the return ticket, so sorry" I don't see how the OP is supposed to know which way Friend meant it without further clarifying, which she attempted to do. I think Friend got aggravated at the OP for asking because he meant the latter while the OP was thinking the former.  Friend then further compounded the issue by trying to justify why all these other people would be better to pet-sit. It seems to me that Friend fell into the JADE theory that is always talked about here. If Friend had simply said no, or even just used a better excuse that couldn't be countered (such as having an appointment/plans for when he returned home), then this part could have been avoided.

I think everyone got all worked up about the pet-sitting misunderstanding and it colored further communication. Really, if the pet-sitting thing is removed, then we're left with Friend unexpectedly going out for breakfast instead of meeting up with the OP as planned. If Friend doesn't get a key or into the house when he wants.. then isn't that just poor planning on his behalf, because the OP gave him a time to do so and he changed the plans on his own?

OP, I think your note was a bit.. um... rough?.. with the last line, but I don't see what was wrong with the core message of; "No, I was waiting for you to get here and then I have somewhere to go."  I suppose you could have said; "If you want a key/to get inside the house, then you need to come here now, as planned, or you will have to wait until I return at [time]."

bah12

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2013, 04:59:44 PM »
I know no one else responded because he told me no one else responded.

As for hiding the key:  I thought initially of trying it, but then thought better of it.  Too risky.  We have people coming through this neighborhood casing the houses (a thing I have personally observed, and which we are cautioned by the police to be aware of).  There isn't a good place to hide it.  I don't even have a mat in front of the house (wouldn't want to leave a key under the mat if I did, as that is so cliche). 

Anyway, the guest arrived.  I gave him his key, some clean towels, and the password to our WiFi, and I made him a pot of fresh coffee.  Then I left to meet my friend for our longstanding plans. 

What I was reacting to before with the "I guess I should never ask for anything" was the number of people who told me I was flat out wrong to inquire about petsitting (which, BTW, has already been resolved.  Long resolved).  I can't understand why, if I am doing a giant, huge favor for someone, I can't inquire about the possibility of their doing me a favor in return.  Evidently that was a giant faux pas on my part.  I dropped it immediately as soon as I learned that he didn't want to do it. 
I live in an upscale neighborhood in one of the top tourist destination cities in the world, convenient to mass transit, a beautiful, quiet house.  So when I think of offering someone to petsit, it's not as if I am asking them to stay in a hovel or an undesirable location.  Once someone drove from another state to stay here and was thrilled to get time in SF for free in exchange for feeding a few pets.  No one is obligated to petsit for me, but if someone is excited about traveling to my city and excited about staying in my house, it crossed my mind that it might suit both of us for him to extend his stay a few days.  It's not bait and switch, because he still gets what he wants (staying in my house for free) without having to do anything in return for me.
I think that what people are reacting to is the bolded and I really think that if you are going to evaluate why you were irritated this time and why your guest reacted the way he did, you should take into account what some are trying to tell you.

You did not drop it immediately.  You're right in that it was ok to ask (almost always is).  But when he said "oh crap! I already bought my tickets", that is when you should have dropped it.  To go on and ask him how much it would cost to change, was effectively arguing with him.  He was trying to be nice by not bluntly saying "no."  And this is the very reason why we often tell people not to offer excuses...just so that the excuse won't be countered with something else.

The other thing I think some of us are reacting to (at least I am) is the other part I bolded.  Even though you live in a desireable area and there's a lot to do and your friend is unemployed, etc, this is still a big favor to ask.  And I think if you were to communicate it in such a way that recognizes that asking anyone to change tickets and stay anywhere an additional couple of days (that wasn't previously planned) is a big deal, would lend more sympathy.  Again, it's ok to ask the questions, but it's still a lot to ask and you should recognize that. 

As for the bait and switch...I don't see that way completely, but do see how some people would see it that way.  Effectively, he asked for a free place to stay and you offered it to him with no conditions.  He agrees and then you come back and say "Hey, since you're going to be here and staying at my house, why don't you just extend your stay for a couple of days and petsit for me."  It's not a classic bait and switch, because he still had the option to say "no", especially since the petsitting and the free place to stay didn't really overlap.  But it does put him in tighter spot, because it's presented as "I'm doing you this favor, now you owe me and here's what I'll take."  Think of it this way, would you have asked him if he had been staying with someone else or did you really see it as no big deal because you were already doing something nice for him? 

veronaz

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #32 on: May 28, 2013, 05:04:22 PM »
I can't understand why, if I am doing a giant, huge favor for someone, I can't inquire about the possibility of their doing me a favor in return. 

I wonder if this is part of the disconnect.  To me letting a friend crash at my place is pretty normal, casual and easy.  I'd never consider it a "giant, huge favor". 

Petsitting in my head is a much bigger favour because I'm actually *responsible* for living beings, and asking him to change his train and any plans he may have is also a very substantial favour.  But you see it as a great thing you're offering him, because you feel that your neighbourhood and city are wonderful.  He may not see it as a bonus but as a significant inconvenience and is shocked you'd try to get him to do a reciprocal favour without including it in your original offer of a place to crash.

It does feel like a bait-and-switch to me.  I think that you're overreacting to this because you see letting someone crash as such a huge favour.  In the future, it's probably best not to offer to let someone crash at your house if you see it as something that's a large bother.

POD.

And if you're doing someone such a giant, huge "favor", then don't expect free services in return (such as pet-sitting, house cleaning, or whatever).

As far as the food/meals, all that should have been worked out in advance.

OP's description of her beautiful house and upscale neighborhood sounds like she feels her friend should feel honored to stay there and care for her pets.  That may have been the case for someone in the past, but it doesn't mean everyone feels that way.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 05:11:57 PM by veronaz »

CakeEater

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #33 on: May 28, 2013, 05:38:12 PM »
Here's my take.

Friend wasn't annoyed at all the messages, or email rather than telephone. He was feeling guilty that he wasn't doing you the favour, when you were doing him one, and probably because he just didn't want to. Nothing wrong with that, but it made hime feel guilty.

That's why the stream of suggestions for others who could do it, even though you know they're unsuitale choices. They weren't real suggestions, they were distractors. "How about him, or her, or her - I'm not the only one who can do it - there's all these other options - don't look at me!'

I think countering his excuse of the expensive tickets with a solution of paying for the tickets was completely reasonable - he sounded regretful and like that was the only reason, after all. And if it had been, then all would have worked out perfectly.

I don't see where the OP was expecting the favour done in return, just that she's asked, which is fine, in my opinion. I can also understand the friend's point of view, though. If I just didn't want to do the favour, I'd feel pretty guilty, knowing that you were doing me one. That's why he kept bringing it up - he was feeling guilty.

Changing plans for being picked up is also annoying, because you probably had things you would have done this morning, but you cleared your schedule to do this job. Even if not doing the job now leaves the time free, it's still disconcerting to have plans changed like that. And if you refused the chance to do other things you woud have preferred to do, and now it's too late - that's super annoying.

Plus you sound annoyed at your friend's cutesy language. I am too!

BarensMom

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2013, 06:38:28 PM »
Side question:  Who did you get to watch your pets?  I'm in the SF Bay Area and could use a recommendation for Baren.  It should include massage, BTW. ;D

It was okay for you to ask for a tit-for-tat favor.  Your friend should have been clearer in his rejection.  As it was, you weren't able to be perceptive enough to realize that he didn't want to do it, therefore when you offered to pay to change the ticket, he went into attack mode.  You didn't lay on the guilt, you went and made other plans.

The changing plans on you at the last minute is rude and I don't blame you for being a bit cranky about it.  Your response to that was perhaps a bit on the snarky side, but that's understandable since he was being inconsiderate of your schedule.  As for letting his friend come in, unless you also know the person, I would've told him not to let a stranger (to you) into your house.

Next time, I think friend will have to suck it up and stay at a hotel, because it sounds like he's clueless.


menley

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2013, 06:58:21 PM »
Can someone explain to me what "mansplaining" is supposed to mean?

DottyG

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2013, 07:01:08 PM »
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mansplain

But I agree with a previous poster that this really is kind of a sexist term to be using.


baglady

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2013, 07:23:23 PM »
This whole situation feels like a bright, shining, supersized example of "What we have here is a failure to communicate." There are assumptions being made on both sides that kept OP and her friend from getting each other's messages. (That may be why friend wanted to get off the Internet and onto the phone, because you can't read tone of voice online.)

OP assumes that friend would be delighted to spend a couple of extra days in San Francisco in exchange for a little petsitting. But in reality he may be all kinds of uncomfortable at the thought of staying in someone's home when that someone is out of town. Especially if that involves interacting with their pets. And since he's unemployed, he may not be able to enjoy all the  "cool things to do" on his extra time in SF if they cost money.

Friend assumes that meeting OP over breakfast with other friend, instead of their original plan, is no big deal. He had no way of knowing that she's got standing plans on Tuesday, or isn't budgeted for breakfast out, or any of the other factors that made this unworkable.

I also wouldn't assume that friend got no other bites because he's a problem houseguest. San Francisco is a pricey place to live and many people don't have the space for one.
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nuit93

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #38 on: May 28, 2013, 07:28:13 PM »
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mansplain

But I agree with a previous poster that this really is kind of a sexist term to be using.

And I don't see how it applies in this case...

bansidhe

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #39 on: May 28, 2013, 07:43:15 PM »
I asked about this, and the houseguest said he'd already booked his train tickets and it would be expensive to change.  I asked how much it would be to change, since I might be willing to pay that.  The houseguest then got cranky, saying that "all this back and forth on the interwebz is driving me crazy" and demanding I call him.  "telephone >> interwebz." 

There is certainly fault on both sides here. I can't really blame houseguest for asking you to call, though he shouldn't have "demanded" it. I am also driven crazy when people try to handle somewhat complicated issues by sending e-mails back and forth when the whole thing could be resolved with a three-minute phone call. It's inefficient.

I don't think I would have asked him to petsit. When you've already agreed to do someone a favor with no strings attached, then later attach strings, the recipient of the favor is put in an awkward position. If he doesn't want to or can't provide the return favor requested, he feels guilty. If he can and does provide it, he's likely to feel resentful and as though he's been forced into it. It would have been better to say right up front, when offering to put him up, "I can let you stay at my place free of charge if you petsit for me for xx days."

Keep in mind that you think your city is wonderful/exciting/etc., but your houseguest is there for a conference, rather than as a tourist. He may not be all that excited about the city itself and is just in need of a place to stay.
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sammycat

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #40 on: May 28, 2013, 07:52:29 PM »
Huh. I'm not really seeing where a bait and switch ever happened.  If I was unemployed someone had offered me a free two day vacation in San Francisco AND offered to pay to have my train ticket switched I'd be in heaven, not having a tantrum. Assuming that is that I didn't mind pet sitting (which I wouldn't). If I did NOT want to let sit though I'd just say "no unfortunately  I'm not very good with animals" or "no I have to be back in my city for xyz"

I would definitely be annoyed by the lack of consideration for your schedule and unless things improved drastically from this point on I would not be inviting him to stay with me again.

I agree with this, and I think people are being way too harsh on the OP.

I don't see anything wrong with thinking/saying, "hey since you'll be here anyway, maybe you'd be interested in staying for a few extra days for X reason".

The train ticket costs thing could also have been read as the friend wanting to stay but not wanting to ask outright for to be reimbursed and hoping that OP might offer to cover the costs (which she did). As it turns out, that wasn't the case, but I think jumping all over the OP for simply making the offer (or assumption that the former could be the case) is a massive overreaction.

I think OP has every right to be irked about the morning plans, as it comes across as "you're good enough for free lodgings, but not good enough to consider when I want to make (other) plans".

I think that depends on the norms within any given social/family circle.  When I see someone post on FB that they are coming to the city where I live, I assume that if their plans are firm enough to let people know that they'll be around, then their plans also already include accommodations. So I would respond to see when they might be free to get together, but would not offer a place to stay unless further communications indicated that they were looking for that.  (And of course any offer would depend on how close we are, how many people are involved, timing, etc.).

Similarly, if someone did post on FB that they were looking for a place to stay during a planned visit, I wouldn't assume they were difficult guests.  I would just see that as their social norms being different from mine, and would offer my place if various factors made that a reasonable option.

Same here.

Calypso

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #41 on: May 28, 2013, 08:09:31 PM »
Heck, I don't even know this guy and he's already setting my teeth on edge with his cutsy-poo "interwebz" and "brekkies"......urgh.

DH, you were fine to ask about the petsitting and fine to try to clarify the point re his train ticket. I don't think it was your responsibility to translate "I already made my train reservations and it would cost to change them" as "no, I don't want to." If he doesn't say it straight out, you've done nothing wrong to ask, IMO.

And, he was wrong to leave you waiting on him while he went out for "brekkies."  :P

However, you *do* seem a little overwrought at the moment....whether it's from irritation from this guy or something else. I hope things get more pleasant over the course of the day. (You're in my time zone, so now I'm hoping he buys you dinner or something equally gracious and makes you feel ok to have been generous with your place).

gramma dishes

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #42 on: May 28, 2013, 08:13:43 PM »
I agree with Sammycat.

But I also think it took a lot of nerve for him to inform the OP that his 'pick up' person would be wanting to come in the house.

No.  Letting a friend stay in your house in your absence is one thing.  But they don't have carte blanche to invite all their other friends in, especially since you won't be there.

JoieGirl7

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #43 on: May 28, 2013, 08:21:42 PM »
I think you need to change your attitude.

1. The thing about chatting online instead of calling---you might be just one of several people he is trying to communicate with.  It sounds like nitpicking to me for you to upset at him for not wanting the back and forth.  For some people it can be very frustrating to keep taking turns on chat or the like to figure something out.  I also don't think that him asking you to call is a reflection of anything you did or didn't do.  I don't think you changing this or that was the source of his wanting to do things on the phone but rather that it would be quicker and easier on the phone.

2. It makes no difference whether you pick him up or someone else does it.  What matters is how he is going to get in your house.  So, when he said he was going out for breakfast and invited you, your response should have been "I have plans.  Could you come round the house and pick up a key before you go out I have to leave soon."

I just don't see that anything he did was really all that annoying.  Maybe you are a person who has a need to have their exact expectations met, I don't know.  Maybe you are mad at him about something else and it is bleeding into this situation?

Someone's change in plans does not have to lead to you rescheduling your morning.  There are other ways around it.  And failing that, you can always put it on the other person.  You could have gone hiking and had him catch up with you later on in the day.  He would have had to occupy himself somehow until then but that would have been his problem, not yours.

BarensMom

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #44 on: May 28, 2013, 08:36:37 PM »
2. It makes no difference whether you pick him up or someone else does it.  What matters is how he is going to get in your house.  So, when he said he was going out for breakfast and invited you, your response should have been "I have plans.  Could you come round the house and pick up a key before you go out I have to leave soon."

I just don't see that anything he did was really all that annoying.  Maybe you are a person who has a need to have their exact expectations met, I don't know.  Maybe you are mad at him about something else and it is bleeding into this situation?

Someone's change in plans does not have to lead to you rescheduling your morning.  There are other ways around it.  And failing that, you can always put it on the other person.  You could have gone hiking and had him catch up with you later on in the day.  He would have had to occupy himself somehow until then but that would have been his problem, not yours.

One has to understand the logistics of getting around the Bay Area, especially the time/cost involved.  Living here, I understand the OP's frustration about "friend" changing plans at the last minute and his assumption that OP could do the same.