Author Topic: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.  (Read 5824 times)

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Calistoga

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2014, 08:08:33 PM »
He was by no means stranded here, just didn't have anywhere better to go as far as I know.

DH went and jumped him off and he drove his car to our house and spent the night- apparently he'd been at a booty calls house but she wouldn't let him stay the night.

I'm not entirely clear on his living situation TBH, but he's been a couch surfer as long as I've known him. Never "on the street" homeless but rather "Constantly living at a relative/friends house" homeless. I think he may be renting a room from his ex girlfriends grand mother right now, but he has a lot of relatives and friends that he bounces between and as far as we all know, he's never without a place to sleep.

And yeah, there's an underlying problem here that I'm not really sure how to handle. Most of it isn't really an etiquette issue- because of his past bad behavior he has been made to understand that he can stay for a night or two occasionally but beyond that he can't stay with us. He used to drop by all the time without warning and stay for dinner, DH explained that he needed to call before hand to ask because some times we aren't up for company at the end of the day.

I guess there is an overarching question of how much this guy counts as a guest and how much he should realistically be able to expect in terms of lodging and meals.

EllenS

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2014, 09:11:28 PM »
He is absolutely not entitled to have any expectations that you will be willing to host him, but I think if you invite him to stay over - and invite means "agree to host him", then you are obligated to treat him like any other guest.

The place to draw the boundary is on the doorstep, not once you have invited him in. If you say, "well, yeah you can stay over but...." and put a lot of conditions on it, like unusual expectations for meals, or whatever, then you are just making a weird situation any wierder.

He's a guest, or he's not. You and DH just have to be on the same page on that and decide.


Luci

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2014, 09:58:33 PM »
You did quite well.

You were polite, helpful, welcoming, offering food, and yet put a boundary of how much you would/could do.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2014, 10:12:59 PM »
He is absolutely not entitled to have any expectations that you will be willing to host him, but I think if you invite him to stay over - and invite means "agree to host him", then you are obligated to treat him like any other guest.

The place to draw the boundary is on the doorstep, not once you have invited him in. If you say, "well, yeah you can stay over but...." and put a lot of conditions on it, like unusual expectations for meals, or whatever, then you are just making a weird situation any wierder.

He's a guest, or he's not. You and DH just have to be on the same page on that and decide.

I think I disagree. I think that doing a favor for someone by allowing them to stay over when they ask is different from a guest I invite.

I'll go out of my way for a guest to assure they are comfortable. Some one crashing on my coach gets a pillow and blanket and needs to get out when I say.

veronaz

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2014, 10:17:23 PM »
As long as you offered a sandwich……..something…….you were okay.

I think your husband’s cousin kind of has a ‘lodging/meal’ credit card with a high limit, so to speak.  He has no permanent place to live because he doesn’t have to – others allow him to couch-surf so there is no incentive for him to get it together.  (This is different from someone going thru temporary tough times, striving to improve their situation.)

My sister and BIL allowed a family of four to periodically eat/sleep with their family for a few days at a time.  The couch-surfing family had a nice car and lived on husband’s disability.  At least once a month they would get a call…….this went on for several months until sister and BIL learned to say “No”.


TootsNYC

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2014, 10:22:26 PM »
He is absolutely not entitled to have any expectations that you will be willing to host him, but I think if you invite him to stay over - and invite means "agree to host him", then you are obligated to treat him like any other guest.

The place to draw the boundary is on the doorstep, not once you have invited him in. If you say, "well, yeah you can stay over but...." and put a lot of conditions on it, like unusual expectations for meals, or whatever, then you are just making a weird situation any wierder.

He's a guest, or he's not. You and DH just have to be on the same page on that and decide.

I think I disagree. I think that doing a favor for someone by allowing them to stay over when they ask is different from a guest I invite.

I'll go out of my way for a guest to assure they are comfortable. Some one crashing on my coach gets a pillow and blanket and needs to get out when I say.

I think I'm w/ Hmmmm on this. I do think that offering supper was required, given the time of day. But there are degrees of "people in my house," and Cousin Couch Surfer isn't really quite a full guest.

m2kbug

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2014, 10:44:14 PM »
He is absolutely not entitled to have any expectations that you will be willing to host him, but I think if you invite him to stay over - and invite means "agree to host him", then you are obligated to treat him like any other guest.

The place to draw the boundary is on the doorstep, not once you have invited him in. If you say, "well, yeah you can stay over but...." and put a lot of conditions on it, like unusual expectations for meals, or whatever, then you are just making a weird situation any wierder.

He's a guest, or he's not. You and DH just have to be on the same page on that and decide.

I think in this situation, the fact that this person has a very high likelihood of taking advantage long-term, and may even advance to theft if allowed to snuggle in too comfortably, it is very smart to be rigid about what was is offered and where the lines are.  There wasn't a full meal for two+unexpected visitors, but food was offered.  This person is like the bad stray cat.  He'll keep coming back and then pee on everything.  Don't feed the strays. 

She offered a reasonable amount of hospitality.  The guy wasn't going to go hungry and had a warm place to sleep with all the amenities.

wolfie

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2014, 10:53:39 PM »
LOL. Re-reading it I totally see that. Sorry guys!

I'm not heartless, I won't make him sit in his chair and starve, but I'm very wary about extending any extra courtesy to him because he has such a terrible habit of biting the hand that feeds him. Pun intended.

Under normal circumstances- as in, when we can afford it and when I know he's planning on wandering by, I'll extend the meal or plan ahead to makes something that feeds a lot of people, like tacos or mac and cheese or soup. But I feel like if I scramble around to do it at the last minute I'm creating the belief that there will always be food to be had and he'll just keep showing up looking for pork chops.

This update makes things a lot clearer for me.  Since you did offer him something, and he chose not to accept, you were fine.

POD.
I would also be unavailable more often.

One other thing I was unclear on - was his car running properly after DH went to get him? It sounds like it might have been, in which case he was not truly "stranded" at your house?  That makes the sandwiches offer even more reasonable, if he had the option to leave.

My car needed to be jumped over the weekend too and they recommend you leave the car running for a while after to help recharge the battery so he was stranded somewhere for a while. But it sounds like this guy has other issues too.

cicero

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2014, 05:16:38 AM »
As of right now, he doesn't have a home to be driven to, because he stole prescription medication and cash from the last people he was staying with on a regular basis.

I did tell him we had stuff for sandwiches and he said he didn't feel like a sandwich, so that was the last I said to him about food, because there was nothing else that could be knocked up quickly except for cereal.

There was no money to order pizza with. There was no money to go through the drive through.
OK - so in a *normal* situation, as PPs said, i would offer something to the guy, or stretch the two meals into three, scramble eggs, etc.

but you are talking about someone who steals from the people he mooches off of? yeah, i would make him a sandwich "to go". i would personally not allow this person to be in my home, at all. in a snow storm situation, i might drive him to a homeless shelter so he isn't actually sleeping outside but that would be it. tough love, baby.

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EllenS

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2014, 07:07:21 AM »
He is absolutely not entitled to have any expectations that you will be willing to host him, but I think if you invite him to stay over - and invite means "agree to host him", then you are obligated to treat him like any other guest.

The place to draw the boundary is on the doorstep, not once you have invited him in. If you say, "well, yeah you can stay over but...." and put a lot of conditions on it, like unusual expectations for meals, or whatever, then you are just making a weird situation any wierder.

He's a guest, or he's not. You and DH just have to be on the same page on that and decide.

I think I disagree. I think that doing a favor for someone by allowing them to stay over when they ask is different from a guest I invite.

I'll go out of my way for a guest to assure they are comfortable. Some one crashing on my coach gets a pillow and blanket and needs to get out when I say.

I think I'm w/ Hmmmm on this. I do think that offering supper was required, given the time of day. But there are degrees of "people in my house," and Cousin Couch Surfer isn't really quite a full guest.

I can see that, and I'm not saying OP should iron the bedsheets and put out the fancy towels, but I do think there are certain minimum obligations of hosting - and if you agree to have someone in your home, you are their host.  The guy did not break in.

One obligation - you do not eat or drink in front of a guest without offering them something.  OP met that, and I think that obligation continues if she hosts him in future.  Another would be that you do not intentionally make your guest take the leavings, or a second-class meal.  A drop-in and there's not enough to go around, is one thing.  But if OP were to get up and make bacon and eggs for breakfast, it would be rude to make just enough for her and DH, and tell Cousin "here, you can have a cold bagel."

If they were to open a bottle of wine with dinner, it would be rude to only offer Cousin water.  If they are sitting at the table, you don't tell Cousin he has to sit elsewhere.  That kind of thing was what I was envisioning.

I don't think she needs to do more than the minimum, but there is a minimum.  And if that is too much for you to do, then you should say "no, you can't stay over".

TurtleDove

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2014, 09:43:47 AM »
If I were the OP, I would not allow this person in my house.  I agree that since he was "invited in" the OP was right to offer him a sandwich, but I simply would not put myself in this position again.  He won't freeze.  Don't be an available couch.  This person is ridiculous.

Winterlight

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2014, 10:14:44 AM »
I think it's time to stop letting him mooch. If he's a known thief I wouldn't be willing to let him come for dinner, much less stay over.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2014, 10:19:04 AM »
He is absolutely not entitled to have any expectations that you will be willing to host him, but I think if you invite him to stay over - and invite means "agree to host him", then you are obligated to treat him like any other guest.

The place to draw the boundary is on the doorstep, not once you have invited him in. If you say, "well, yeah you can stay over but...." and put a lot of conditions on it, like unusual expectations for meals, or whatever, then you are just making a weird situation any wierder.

He's a guest, or he's not. You and DH just have to be on the same page on that and decide.

I think I disagree. I think that doing a favor for someone by allowing them to stay over when they ask is different from a guest I invite.

I'll go out of my way for a guest to assure they are comfortable. Some one crashing on my coach gets a pillow and blanket and needs to get out when I say.

I think I'm w/ Hmmmm on this. I do think that offering supper was required, given the time of day. But there are degrees of "people in my house," and Cousin Couch Surfer isn't really quite a full guest.

I can see that, and I'm not saying OP should iron the bedsheets and put out the fancy towels, but I do think there are certain minimum obligations of hosting - and if you agree to have someone in your home, you are their host.  The guy did not break in.

One obligation - you do not eat or drink in front of a guest without offering them something.  OP met that, and I think that obligation continues if she hosts him in future.  Another would be that you do not intentionally make your guest take the leavings, or a second-class meal.  A drop-in and there's not enough to go around, is one thing.  But if OP were to get up and make bacon and eggs for breakfast, it would be rude to make just enough for her and DH, and tell Cousin "here, you can have a cold bagel."

If they were to open a bottle of wine with dinner, it would be rude to only offer Cousin water.  If they are sitting at the table, you don't tell Cousin he has to sit elsewhere.  That kind of thing was what I was envisioning.

I don't think she needs to do more than the minimum, but there is a minimum.  And if that is too much for you to do, then you should say "no, you can't stay over".

I think it's your phrase "treat him like any other guest" that I disagree most to.

A guest I invite to stay will be offered a full breakfast the next morning.
Someone asking to crash on my couch (especially if it's a repeatable request because of their own poor judgement) will most likely be told they need to leave by a certain time and be given a cup of coffee as I usher them out the door. Maybe it sounds hard hearted but I dealt with a couple of "friends" in my early 20's who seemed to repeatedly need a place to crash either because they got into a fight with their on again/off again relationship, they drank too much and couldn't drive, or they just assumed they could show up in town and I'd be happy to host them. I wasn't going to through them out on the street but I wasn't going to treat them like any other guest.

TurtleDove

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2014, 10:22:48 AM »
I think it's your phrase "treat him like any other guest" that I disagree most to.
I agree with Hmmmmmm.  A guest is someone I invite to my home.  This person invited himself.  Yes, the OP and her DH said, "sure," but the interaction was initiated by the couch surfer, not by the OP and her DH. The couch surfer is not a "guest."

veronaz

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2014, 10:34:23 AM »
I think it's time to stop letting him mooch. If he's a known thief I wouldn't be willing to let him come for dinner, much less stay over.

This.

There is a bigger issue than whether to serve him dinner.

OP - It's past time for him to take your names off his list of places to crash.  Otherwise, it will go on and on.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 10:35:54 AM by veronaz »