Author Topic: Is there a polite way to say this?  (Read 3400 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

TeraNova15

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 314
  • I aim to misbehave.
Is there a polite way to say this?
« on: June 17, 2013, 12:10:41 PM »
B/G I attend a large sci-fi fantasy convention every year with a large group of people from my hometown. People also come from all over the world and there are some really awesome people I see every year only at that time of year. There is always a lot of drinking and talks of "Let me know if you ever want to come visit <place I live> between everyone. We also keep in touch via Facebook throughout the year

Well "Jane," a convention friend who lives in the Carribean is getting divorced from her husband and looking to move to the area I live in. It makes sense for her to do so on many levels, and she has the benefit of at least knowing a few people once she gets here. Jane will be coming up for several weeks in July and plans of hopping around between "convention buddies" so she doesn't overstay her welcome at any one house.

You can probably guess where this is going, while several of our mutual friends have extended their hospitality for the majority of her stay, she doesn't have a place for the 1st 3 nights and has asked if she can spend those nights with my husband and I (and yes we have in the past said "If you ever want to come visit blah blah) so she's not really out of line in asking. However for some reason I really don't want her to stay with us. I'm not afraid she's do anything to my house and I know if DH & I had ever wanted to visit her she would have said yes without hesitation. I just for some reason really don't want to have a houseguest. In fact I have every reason to believe she will be a model houseguest from what mutual friends have said. I've just been extremely stressed lately and the idea of having someone that I ultimately don't know terribly well in my house is just driving me bonkers.

But ultimately, I don't want to be a jerk, its only for a few days, and she's having a hard time herself. Is there any good way for me to tell her I don't want her there? Or should I just make good on my "If you ever need a place to stay"?

DaDancingPsych

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1843
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2013, 12:18:02 PM »
I assume that etiquette would say that you have made no solid commitment, so you could tell her no. If that is your decision, I would simply tell her that that wonít work for you at this time. Keep in mind that if you decline it could ďtaintĒ the offer from her end should she ever relocate again.

Personally, I donít make that sort of open-ended offer unless I mean it. I have never been in a situation where I feel comfortable welcoming guests, so I donít offer. (Maybe someday I will have a guest bedroom and that would make me feel more comfortable with guests.) However, if I did make such an offer, I would make every possible effort to welcome that individual. I try to honor my word whenever possible.

heartmug

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2324
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2013, 12:21:16 PM »
I would suggest that you do let her stay for 3 days.  Make it clear that "you are welcome to stay for the 28th, 29th, and 30th, but you need to have another home to stay at on the 31st because we will be unavailable."  Since you are not worried about her as a house guest and made the open ended invitation, keep your word and it might turn out better than you expected.
The trouble is not that the world is full of fools, it's just that lightening isn't distributed right.  - Mark Twain

cicero

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 17527
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2013, 12:53:06 PM »
just say no.

say it kindly, with a smile, but you don't have an obligation here imho. You didn't say she could come on X date for three nights. You said "if you're ever in the area let me know". she let you know - and it's not suitable for you. You don't "owe her" anything - she is an adult, and she can come at a different date, or stay at a hotel, etc.

And if you can, and want to, try to soften the "blow" - "oh, i'm so sorry, we won't be able to host you. But I would love to meet you for breakfast on Sunday", or "we won't be able to host you, but we are having the gang over for BBQ on friday night - please join us for dinner", or "we won't be able to host you, but if you need some patio furniture, we have an old, perfectly functional set in the garage".

            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools

gellchom

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2139
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2013, 01:18:12 PM »
Is there any good way for me to tell her I don't want her there? Or should I just make good on my "If you ever need a place to stay"?

Answering your second question first:  You don't have to let her stay, although having made the offer, it would be nice if you did.  But you do seem to be very uncomfortable about it, so don't.  She probably wouldn't even want you to if she knew how you feel.

As for your second question, "Is there any good way for me to tell her I don't want her there?" -- I don't think so.  It's a kind of hurtful thing to hear: "I don't want you."  But why would you want to say it anyway, especially to someone you seem to like?  It's completely unnecessary.  Just tell her you're sorry, but it's not a good time for you all to have house guests, so you won't be able to host her, but (if you like) that you'd love to see her while she is in town.  You don't have to explain that the reason it's not a good time is that you don't feel like it.  If she asks what's going on -- and that wouldn't necessarily be rude or pushy of her; she could be, for example, concerned that someone is sick or something -- you don't have to elaborate, just say something like, "Oh, we're all fine, thanks, it's just not a great time now.  I'm really sorry." 

I would also offer to help in some other way with her relocation.

wolfie

  • I don't know what this is so I am putting random words here
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6856
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2013, 01:22:17 PM »
You have every right to say no, but I have a feeling that there will be consequences if you do so. If you are the only person not helping this woman it won't go unnoticed and should you ever need help you might discover that people are too busy to help you out. If you could I would try to suck it up and host her for 3 days.

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13650
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2013, 01:29:52 PM »
I like cicero's idea of offering 'stuff' to help her with her relocation, if you have any items you'd like to give her.  It would definitely help soften the blow of telling her she can't stay with you.

I'm going to throw out an 'out-there' suggestion:  Do you have or do you know anyone who has a camping trailer that you could borrow/rent for cheap?  I know a number of people who have hosted family and friends by having them stay in the trailer in the driveway.  It's kind of a win-win:  Everybody gets their own space and the guest(s) can fix their own breakfast and/or lunch in the trailer.  Then they get together for whatever activities and for dinner.  The guest would also have bathroom and/or shower privileges, unless the trailer was completely equipped.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

cwm

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2427
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2013, 03:05:45 PM »
But ultimately, I don't want to be a jerk, its only for a few days, and she's having a hard time herself. Is there any good way for me to tell her I don't want her there? Or should I just make good on my "If you ever need a place to stay"?

Yes, she's down on her luck. Yes, she needs a place to stay for a few days. And yes, if you had gone to visit her neck of the woods she may have let you stay there. But I see it that you aren't up for hosting, for whatever reason. And you have to take care of you before anything else. If it would be too hard or stressful, mentally or physically, to have a houseguest then it's not impolite to not have a houseguest. And you don't have to give any reason. A simple "Oh, it really isn't a good time for me, sorry, it won't be possible. But if you need any help settling in later, let me know, I'll see what I can do to help you out." And if anyone tries to ask why you can't, just say that it's personal.

Try to leave your tone as light as possible if you talk on the phone, and make sure this girl knows that it doesn't have ANYTHING to do with her or her situation, that it's completely on your end that you can't host her at the moment.

To me, the "If you're ever in the area call us and you can stay here" doesn't constitute an absolute promise of being able to stay, it's more of an invitation if it's possible and convient for all parties involved. What would Jane do in this situation if you were going out of town? Or if you were in the process of rebuilding your kitchen/guest bedroom/bathroom/whatever? It would be the same situation. You wouldn't be able to host guests.

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4107
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2013, 03:17:17 PM »
I think others have given you some advice on how to respond to the request, but I have to say, if you don't want house guests, you really shouldn't issue those broad invitations unless you are prepared to follow through when there is no reason not to.

My dad's family does this all the time - they all offer up invitations to visit, offers to lend things, offers of favors that they have no expectation of ever being called upon to provide.  It drives me nuts when my dad does it with regard to what I think of as my things - for example telling an uncle and his family of 4 that they when they go on vacation in my school city they should just use my apartment (dad pays for it so he's not offering something that I purchased myself) while I'm visiting home for the summer.  Not cool, but when I protested it is all "it'll never happen, why are you getting upset." If they had ever actually asked to use it though, I feel my dad would have been obligated to allow it or done some serious backtracking since he offered it and had no reason not to let them other than "I don't want to"


Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28357
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2013, 03:40:47 PM »
I think others have given you some advice on how to respond to the request, but I have to say, if you don't want house guests, you really shouldn't issue those broad invitations unless you are prepared to follow through when there is no reason not to.

Absolutely. You can't claim the benefit of being hospitable by offering accommodations, if you don't actually plan on doing it.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

MindsEye

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1104
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2013, 03:43:58 PM »
fact I have every reason to believe she will be a model houseguest from what mutual friends have said. I've just been extremely stressed lately and the idea of having someone that I ultimately don't know terribly well in my house is just driving me bonkers.

If you have been really stressed out then and don't feel like you will be able to be a good host because of that, I think that it fine!  I understand where you are coming from... right now is a super busy time at work for me, I have been starting work early and staying late, and the last thing I would want is to come home to a houseguest.   Because all I have wanted to do lately when I (finally) get home is to play with the kitties, mix up a gin-and-tonic, and de-stress in front of some mindless TV. 

Can you just tell her "I'm really sorry, but right now just isn't a good time for us to have you stay here."  If you want, you can also say that your schedule is really hectic right now and that you are under a lot of stress. 

Do offer her other assistance, though... maybe help her find a place for those three nights.  Do either you or your husband have priority accounts (like Mariott Points) that you can use to help put her up in a hotel or something? 

cwm

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2427
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2013, 03:47:46 PM »
I think others have given you some advice on how to respond to the request, but I have to say, if you don't want house guests, you really shouldn't issue those broad invitations unless you are prepared to follow through when there is no reason not to.

Absolutely. You can't claim the benefit of being hospitable by offering accommodations, if you don't actually plan on doing it.

See, from how I read the situation, at any other time OP wouldn't have a problem hosting guests, it's just that right now isn't a good time. She's been stressed lately, doesn't want a houseguest. I see this as taking care of her mental health, just as much as offering a broad invitation but having someone to call and stay during a particularly bad outbreak of chicken pox would be a bad idea. It's not that she doesn't ever plan on doing it, it's a matter of timing. And for me, excessive stress of having a houseguest is not "no reason not to", it's a perfectly valid reason not to.

lowspark

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3845
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2013, 04:09:18 PM »
I agree that you don't have to host her although it would be really nice if you could.

But as others have suggested you just let her know that those dates won't work for you. "I'm sorry, but I won't be able to host you during the time you're here due to a prior committment." No more explanation is necessary.

Saying "Let me know if you ever want to come visit <place I live> " doesn't mean you are absolutely obligated to host that person no matter when they come. It means you'd like to host them if the situation is such that you can. In this case, you can't, regardless of the reason. And the reason isn't something you have to elaborate on.

bah12

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5115
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2013, 04:13:19 PM »
I don't think making an open ended offer for a place to stay means that there won't be times that just don't work for company.  I think that as long as you are sincere that you'd be open to let her stay at some point should the opportunity arise, then you weren't wrong to offer it.

It seems that the issue is that the timing is off.  And I do  believe that it's not fair to you or a potential houseguest for you to feel obligated, stressed out, and burdened by a visit.  I don't think you should agree to something that you aren't in to.

I think you can just say. "I'm sorry, but those particular dates don't work for us."  That should be enough.  If for some reason you feel like you need to give her a more tangible reason, then site work commitments or some not-too-detailed version of whatever has you so stressed out.

TeraNova15

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 314
  • I aim to misbehave.
Re: Is there a polite way to say this?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2013, 04:41:14 PM »
I think others have given you some advice on how to respond to the request, but I have to say, if you don't want house guests, you really shouldn't issue those broad invitations unless you are prepared to follow through when there is no reason not to.

Absolutely. You can't claim the benefit of being hospitable by offering accommodations, if you don't actually plan on doing it.

See, from how I read the situation, at any other time OP wouldn't have a problem hosting guests, it's just that right now isn't a good time. She's been stressed lately, doesn't want a houseguest. I see this as taking care of her mental health, just as much as offering a broad invitation but having someone to call and stay during a particularly bad outbreak of chicken pox would be a bad idea. It's not that she doesn't ever plan on doing it, it's a matter of timing. And for me, excessive stress of having a houseguest is not "no reason not to", it's a perfectly valid reason not to.

This. At another time I would have no problem hosting her, and in fact would probably take a few days off to show her around town. But very long story short right after I experianced a death in the family I've found myself working in the neighborhood of 70 hr weeks and my house has been in shambles. I see my husband for maybe an hour at night and a few hours on the weekend. Right when she's asking to come is when my weekday evenings free up again and I was looking forward to spending a little time with DH before he has to leave for a 2 week conference. Instead my first day off in over a month will need to involve getting my house ready for guests and she will be in the house when I get home for the evening, and even if she's not intrusive I was looking forward to some introvert time to decompress and shut out the world for a few hours without the feeling that I should be "doing something".

But as I said she always been very nice and I don't want to turn my back on her since she's not having the best time of it either. If I knew for a fact she was a "oh don't worry about me, you won't even know I here" sort I'd have zero problem with her staying. But if it turns out she wants "nerd girl time" (like we do at the conventions which is always super fun) or if she's a wreck because of the divorce I don't know if I have it in me to be supportive.

But as some have noted, there are reprocussions in my social circle if it comes across as though I'm being mean or saying no "for no reason." I don't feel the need to lay out to my friends that I'm hanging on by a thread. I've seen a couple of ways to nicely say "I can't handle having you here right now." I'll sleep on it tonight and see how I feel in the morning. I do keep coming back to the fact that its really only 3 nights/2 days she's asking for.