Author Topic: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest  (Read 10874 times)

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gellchom

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #60 on: May 29, 2013, 08:39:18 AM »
We have a LOT of house guests, sometimes for months at a time.  Believe me, I understand that it can be a lot of work and disruptive to one's schedule.  And it is nice of you to offer to host.

But however nice of you (general you) it is, once you take on the role of host, you still have the duty of being hospitable.  Yes, of course you set reasonable limits on what you can provide and how flexible you can or want to be.  But you do need to do it nicely, without making your guests feel guilty.  It is not so easy to be a houseguest, either, as I'm sure your own experience tells you.  It's analogous to giving a big dinner party.  It's a lot of work, and it's fine to choose not to do it.  But if you do it, you do it graciously and with an open hand, not begrudgingly.

I think you were absolutely fine to ask him if he could stay to pet sit.  I even think your train ticket offer was fine.  But I don't think it's reasonable to get so offended by his ultimate refusal, no matter how lovely your home and city.

I also understand your feeling about the change of plans.  But I don't see where he did anything so terribly wrong.  He doesn't know your schedule.  Maybe he thought he was helping you out, even.  In any case, I do think that your response was rather harsh.

I agree that this visit sounds doomed.  Whatever this guy does or says, he will be wrong.  Like, the cutesiness -- I hate it, too, but if the OP weren't irritated, she wouldn't have reported it.  Likewise the mismatch in phone/text preferences.  That's just not a big deal.  It feels like just a matter of adding to the list of grievances against this guy.

I'm not talking about huge guest misbehavior here.  Of course it's different, and your response is different, if the guy threw parties or burned up your couch, or tried to insist that you take three days off to show him around (people who live in resort areas complain, perhaps "bragplain"  :), about this a lot).  The duties of hospitality do have limits.  And of course guests need to be considerate and try not to disrupt things.  But they aren't mind readers, and in any case there is bound to be some disruption.  A gracious host tries very hard not to let guests feel bad about that.  Think back to when you've been a guest and heard your host say, "Oh, don't worry, it's no trouble!" about something.  But ... of course it was, at least a little.

Hosting houseguests isn't for everyone.  It IS disruptive to your schedule, it IS work.  That's just the way it is, even with the least demanding, most reasonable guest.  You really have to be able to do it with a very generous spirit and a go with the flow attitude.  It is FINE not to be comfortable with that and not want to do it!  Just don't host.  But it's not okay to offer to host and then make your guests feel uncomfortable and guilty.  That's what my family calls "giving with one hand and taking back with the other."




rashea

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #61 on: May 29, 2013, 09:00:52 AM »
I think the OP got cranky about a few things, and that led to being cranky in a few unreasonable places.

Calling vs. IMing. Having a preference is fine, but if he wanted to talk on the phone, why didn't he just call the OP. Why demand she do it? Was this a long distance call? This is a case where I always wonder if somehow the phone lines don't go two ways.

Pet sitting. I don't think it's at all unreasonable to ask. And it's okay to be disappointed that it didn't work out, but not upset. I actually don't see the OP being that upset, just a bit disappointed.

Changing plans. This irritates me for the OP. I don't care that now someone else will handle the driving, maybe the OP was really looking forward to seeing this friend and now instead there is someone else there and that changes the dynamics. It also makes it feel more like the friend was looking to just crash at her house instead of visit.
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rose red

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #62 on: May 29, 2013, 09:16:09 AM »
I agree that this visit sounds doomed.  Whatever this guy does or says, he will be wrong.  Like, the cutesiness -- I hate it, too, but if the OP weren't irritated, she wouldn't have reported it.  Likewise the mismatch in phone/text preferences.  That's just not a big deal.  It feels like just a matter of adding to the list of grievances against this guy.

I agree whatever the guest does is doomed in the OP's eyes.  Almost everything has been said, but I like to comment on the breakfast wording.  I can understand rolling your eyes at the cutesy way he wrote it, but I wouldn't have noticed it much if the OP used his phasing once to let us know his exact quote.  The way she repeated and empathized it several times bugged me and told me there is almost nothing he can do to redeem himself in her eyes if even one silly word is now being nit-picked and made fun of.

And I also agree it was a communication problem first.  The guy thought the OP was being generous by offering a free room with no strings (which was generous!)  Then out of the blue, she ask him to pet-sit.  Even after she dropped it, the guest feels guilty and wonder if she's really fine with it.  Now he thinks he shouldn't bother her and arrange for another ride, not knowing that's causing more problems.

Perhaps the two of them should sit down and clear the air instead of letting it stew.  Even if he turns out to be a jerk, well, at least you know.  But it may surprise you if he lets you into his head, and you into his.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 09:18:11 AM by rose red »

Gyburc

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #63 on: May 29, 2013, 09:19:09 AM »
 I can see why the OP offered to pay for the ticket change. If I suggested to someone that they could stay for an extra couple of days, and they replied 'Crap! I've already booked return tickets!' my first assumption would be that they would be happy to stay as long as the ticket issue could be fixed.

The breakfast issue would annoy me, too - but then, I think that OP's friend's behaviour would just rub me up the wrong way in general. Maybe that's also happening to the OP.  :)

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Unusual Banana

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #64 on: May 29, 2013, 10:36:00 AM »
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I would definitely have been annoyed by the way he expressed his desire to communicate by phone instead of by "interwebz". He implied that talking on the phone is objectively better than online messaging, which it's not, and he showed no consideration for your preferences (which might have differed from his own).
I disagree.

Once it had been established that he was going to stay at OPís house, itís understandable that he would want to actually firm up arrangements in a real conversation vs. texting, FB, or emails.  They are supposedly friends Ė what would be wrong with having a conversation?  (Aside from the cutesy language) I see nothing wrong with that.

Just because some people love to text these days and hate to talk on the phone doesnít mean that a phone conversation is ineffective.  Quite the contrary; itís faster, more personal, and conveys tone whereas  the other methods usually do not.

There have been times when someone keeps texting and Iíve typed ďcall me Ė we need to talkĒ.  That doesnít mean I have an attitude or that Iím a bad person.  Iím not understanding why itís such an issue in this situation.

I didn't say there was anything wrong with having a phone conversation, I just said that the way he told the OP he wanted to have a phone conversation would have annoyed me.

"All this back and forth on the interwebz is driving me crazy" followed by "telephone >> interwebz" disparages "interwebz" communication and kind of makes it seem like he thinks it should have been obvious that a phone conversation was needed, when it's not obvious because lots of people don't mind making arrangements like that through Facebook messages and some of us even prefer it.

I also said that talking on the phone is not objectively better than online messaging, but that doesn't mean it's objectively worse. They each have advantages and disadvantages.

I wouldn't be bothered by "call me - we need to talk" because that doesn't imply that phone calls are necessarily better than texting, just that you need to handle whatever they're texting you about over the phone. Although if you always made me call you instead of calling me yourself that would annoy me if you didn't have a good reason for it.

bah12

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #65 on: May 29, 2013, 02:01:04 PM »
I don't see the houseguest's requests of talking on the phone and going out to breakfast as inconsiderate.  Talking on the phone is a perfectly reasonable request when trying to work out logistics of a stay/favor, etc.  And I wouldn't expect someone not from the bay area, who hasn't been told about any plans or time restrictions the OP may have had, to understand that asking her out to breakfast that morning was so outrageous and imposing on her schedule.

Yet, he did communicate in what I consider an irritating way and I don't  necessarily blame the OP for being irritated with it.  I still think that while it's her right to be cranky, she is being overly cranky for the situation (as I understand it). 

I also don't see the houseguest as imposing on her at all.  He sent out a request to several people asking for a place to stay and the OP offered him that place.  He did not contact her directly, he did not talk her into the stay.  He asked for a favor and was offered one with no conditions.  And, again, while I don't think the OP was out of line to ask him if he could pet sit, I think the exectation that he should, for the reasons that she's giving (him being unemployed, the desireable location, and the fact that she's doing him a favor) is unreasonable.  I also think that the expectation that he would know he's messing with her schedule when he asked her to breakfast is also unreasonable.  And her response was definitely not warranted.  Like him, she could have communicated that it wasn't possible in a nicer way.

To me, there is a huge difference in giving someone a place to stay and hosting them for a visit.  And what she is giving him is the former.  That means that aside from a place to sleep, she owes him nothing.  I think it's nice if there's coffee and snacks available or if she could spend some time with him, but she doesn't have to.  He's not visiting her.  She didn't invite him.  So, I'm not seeing this HUGE favor that some are.  And if having him stay really is such an inconvenience or too much for her to handle given everything else she has going on (plans with friends, an upcoming trip, etc), then I really think the best thing would have been to never offer her place to begin with.  And I hope she considers that in the future.  She's not being fair to herself or to her guests if she's offering something that isn't really in her heart to give.

Surianne

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #66 on: May 29, 2013, 02:08:53 PM »
Great summary, bah12, I agree with everything you've said.

DottyG

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #67 on: May 29, 2013, 02:09:53 PM »
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Just because some people love to text these days and hate to talk on the phone doesnít mean that a phone conversation is ineffective.  Quite the contrary; itís faster, more personal, and conveys tone whereas  the other methods usually do not.

There have been times when someone keeps texting and Iíve typed ďcall me Ė we need to talkĒ.  That doesnít mean I have an attitude or that Iím a bad person.  Iím not understanding why itís such an issue in this situation.

I agree.  When you're trying to take care of something that has a lot of details, it's often easier to talk on the phone.  If necessary, it can be followed up by an email just confirming what you talked about.

There have been times when someone will be emailing me at work with stuff, and I've finally just picked up the phone and said that it'd be easier to just talk about the situation instead of the back and forth emailing.  I see this as the same thing.

Surianne

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #68 on: May 29, 2013, 02:13:21 PM »
Quote
Just because some people love to text these days and hate to talk on the phone doesnít mean that a phone conversation is ineffective.  Quite the contrary; itís faster, more personal, and conveys tone whereas  the other methods usually do not.

There have been times when someone keeps texting and Iíve typed ďcall me Ė we need to talkĒ.  That doesnít mean I have an attitude or that Iím a bad person.  Iím not understanding why itís such an issue in this situation.

I agree.  When you're trying to take care of something that has a lot of details, it's often easier to talk on the phone.  If necessary, it can be followed up by an email just confirming what you talked about.

There have been times when someone will be emailing me at work with stuff, and I've finally just picked up the phone and said that it'd be easier to just talk about the situation instead of the back and forth emailing.  I see this as the same thing.

Definitely.  I haaaate talking on the phone and even I will suggest doing it in a case like this  :D

Nemesis

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #69 on: May 30, 2013, 11:49:17 PM »
OP, you have double standards.

While you claim that there is no harm in asking him to petsit, the same can be said that there is no harm in him asking you if it was okay to go for breakfast with him and his friend before he comes over. To me, it is fine to be of either of the camp: (a) The side that feels that it is okay to asked, and is also okay with being asked, or (b) the camp that feels asking is rude, and therefore would not do so either.

From your posts, it appears to me that you feel justified in asking him about petsitting (which requires him to change his plans to stay for extra 2 days!), and yet feel that he is imposing on you when he asked about breakfast and changing plans to meet for about an hour. This give me the impression that you have a sense of entitlement.

I'm just pointing out that if you don't think that asking him about petsitting is rude, then him asking you about breakfast is not rude either. You didn't push him to say yes, and he didn't push you to say yes. As far as I see, you are both behaving in a similar fashion. So if you think he was rude, then you were rude too. If you don't think you were rude, then he isn't either.

Also, your annoyance at his "unsolicited advise" with regards to petsitting suggestions is unwarranted. If you ask someone for a favour and they couldn't do it, one of the graceful ways of rejecting is to offer an alternative solution. He was trying to do that. It was a very clumsy attempt, but I didn't see any bad intentions there.

katycoo

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #70 on: May 31, 2013, 12:27:39 AM »
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he may not be able to enjoy all the  "cool things to do" on his extra time in SF if they cost money.

He was in SF to attend a conference.  I donít know what kind of conference he's attending, but most conferences Iíve attended include lodging and meals in the package Ė not free, of course.

It amazes me how some people will go out of town (especially to a pricey place like SFÖ..similar to NYC or Las Vegas) and not be able to pay for lodging and meals/other expenses and incidentals.

Iím not saying everyone should have money to stay at a 5 star hotel, but there are B&Bs, and people who rent out safe, clean rooms to people on a short term basis.  In some cities the YMCA/YWCA also rents out rooms for a few days. Going on Facebook asking to stay with someone is not the best route, and is actually flying by the seat of one's pants.

However, I agree with this concerning the OP:
Quote
And if she didn't want the bother that comes with someone coming and staying with you, she didn't have to reach out and respond to his request in the first place!

He never said he couldn't afford those things.  If I had to go to another city, I'd rather stay with a friend, but if none offered or were abe to accomodate, I'd happily stay at a hotel.  Its just that I like to see my friends and would enjoy staying with them more.  There's no expectation attached to that.

The money saving is a bonus, but only a small part of the preference.

perpetua

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #71 on: May 31, 2013, 02:06:55 AM »
OP, you have double standards.

While you claim that there is no harm in asking him to petsit, the same can be said that there is no harm in him asking you if it was okay to go for breakfast with him and his friend before he comes over. To me, it is fine to be of either of the camp: (a) The side that feels that it is okay to asked, and is also okay with being asked, or (b) the camp that feels asking is rude, and therefore would not do so either.

From your posts, it appears to me that you feel justified in asking him about petsitting (which requires him to change his plans to stay for extra 2 days!), and yet feel that he is imposing on you when he asked about breakfast and changing plans to meet for about an hour. This give me the impression that you have a sense of entitlement.

I'm just pointing out that if you don't think that asking him about petsitting is rude, then him asking you about breakfast is not rude either. You didn't push him to say yes, and he didn't push you to say yes. As far as I see, you are both behaving in a similar fashion. So if you think he was rude, then you were rude too. If you don't think you were rude, then he isn't either.

Also, your annoyance at his "unsolicited advise" with regards to petsitting suggestions is unwarranted. If you ask someone for a favour and they couldn't do it, one of the graceful ways of rejecting is to offer an alternative solution. He was trying to do that. It was a very clumsy attempt, but I didn't see any bad intentions there.

I agree.

Furthermore, there's an element of surprise coming across here from the OP that the friend didn't want to petsit because she has a 'beautiful house in an upscale neigbhourhood' implying that the friend should have been grateful to stay there and do her a favour simply because her house is so beautiful. There's also a sense of 'but he's unemployed, what else does he have to do?' coming across in the postings, which has irked me somewhat.

About the only thing I can see that the friend did wrong - and it's a really minor thing - is if he wanted to talk on the phone he should have picked up and called himself rather than asking her to foot the cost of a phone call.

Otherwise, I think it's all on the OP.

Curious Cat

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #72 on: May 31, 2013, 07:14:04 AM »
How is it a double standard to be annoyed when he didn't ask her if he could change the plans he TOLD her he was going to, at the last moment none the less. Hardly the same as asking him to petsit long before the date.

secretrebel

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #73 on: May 31, 2013, 07:50:10 AM »
Every now and again a thread comes along that really polarises opinion. The first few posts in this one all seemed to be on the side of the houseguest and it wasn't until the second page that anyone supported the OP.

To me the chain of events seems to be
Guest asked a group of people for a favour (to stay in OP's city)
OP agreed to host Guest and then subsequently realised that there was a way that this favour could actually be to their mutual advantage and suggested he extend his stay and petsit
Guest was ambiguous about whether he would be willing to petsit and cited cost of train tickets as a reason
OP offered to pay cost of tickets if that was the only issue
Guest rebuked her for the mode of communication she had used, demanded that she phone him and then declined to do her the petsitting favour and offered unsolicited advice.
OP made other arrangements for the pet and continued plans for Guest's arrival including picking him up from the station.
Guest changed plans to be picked up, arranged to be picked up by someone else and then go out for breakfast which affected OP's plan (she would not be able to give him the house key and she had plans for later on that morning that meant she could not wait for him).

So, the OP's original question was "is it reasonable to be irked" by this. I think it's perfectly understandable and it seems that the guest has not been appreciate of her accommodating him. There's still time for him to demonstrate appreciation and gratitude but this has got his stay off to a bad start.


saki

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #74 on: May 31, 2013, 09:32:11 AM »
Something I'm curious about is how long the petsitting would have been for.  The OP - unless I'm missing it - hasn't said exactly, just "a few days" or "several days".  I think the first response assumed two and so have others but I don't think it was ever stated. 

I think, overall, there have been a few miscommunications here rather than rudness.

While I do think it's pretty common (though unwise) to give an excuse rather than say 'no' outright when asked to do a favour, I can see why the OP didn't understand that her friend was actually saying that he didn't want to do it.

Similarly, I can understand why the friend thought that he might be saving the OP effort by getting someone else to pick him up.  I don't think he's at fault for not knowing that the OP had plans that morning.

I think, overall, the lesson from the OP in this is that a) it's worth being aware that people do make polite excuses all the time and it's worth considering that before assuming that they literally mean what they say (I realise that this is annoying) and b) that it's unfair on yourself and others to make a martyr of yourself i.e. do things that you don't want to do and then blame them for not understanding what a sacrifice you made, if you don't want to do something (like rearrange your plans to fit in with someone else), don't and make that clear.