I have a story about someone who is, in fact, a good friend, but I would think twice about inviting them over as a guest again. Not because they are needy or greedy: rather the opposite. It was quite uncomfortable, and I am curious what my e-hell peers have to say about the matter.
See, I am from Europe, and my boyfriend lives abroad – which is a good 300 km away. When he comes over, he sometimes brings a friend because we do share a social circle. This was the case on this occasion. My boyfriend and the friend arrived, and we had a fabulous day in the city.
Naturally, as they came from afar, they were both going to stay the night. Since we are all students, I let house guests sleep on the couch in my own room usually. This friend did not feel comfortable with that, however, and insisted he’d find a bed and breakfast. I fully respect his wish not to share a room with me and my boyfriend: I can see that someone would want to sleep alone. However, I did not want to push the costs of a bed and breakfast on his narrow student budget when this lad has traveled so far to see me. So I made sure he could stay in the room of a housemate who was away, and, since he did not want to sleep in their bed and threatened me with sleeping on a bench in the park, I put up an air bed in the room for him. The blankets and pillows we had to put there secretly since he not only refused those, he told me I was being patronizing for giving him bedding. Naturally, he declined any food from my kitchen. In the end he did sleep in our house, but made no use of the blankets and slept under his own coat.
I like to think that, with the means I have on hands, I am a respectable hostess. And I am sure he only wanted to be polite; but his declining all my hospitality really gave me a lot more work than a “yes, please” would have. I would have loved to entertain this mutual friend of me and my partner’s but I felt very unable and I think I won’t invite him over again soon. 0817-14
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I think you should have let him go with the bench in the park. This young man seems to have a lot of criteria and I am surprised he did not pre-book a suitable room. Stay strong sister.
I think just the opposite: that this young man had very little criteria, that he would have been happy anywhere he chose to stay, but that the hostess kept foisting hospitality on him that he did not want. I think both parties acted unreasonably: the hostess for continuing to insist on certain amenities that the young man clearly did not want to accept and the young man for continuing to decline those amenities when he could have simply accepted them graciously at the beginning and then chosen whether or not to use them.
I do wonder what countries the parties involved hail from, as it sounds like there may be some cultural differences playing a role here.
‘but his declining all my hospitality really gave me a lot more work than a “yes, please” would have.’
No, your insistence that he stay with you and not at a bed and breakfast have you a lot more work than a yes please.
This. If he wanted to incur the cost at a B&B, I would have let him. Maybe he wanted the alone time and budgeted for it.
Agreed. Part of etiquette is not making assumptions about the financial situations of others. Maybe this guest had money for a bed and breakfast. Maybe he didn’t want to stay with this poster and her boyfriend for whatever reason. Maybe he is just strange. Whatever the reason, he is an adult and can sort his own accomodations if he chooses to.
Maybe he wanted to hook up with someone, and not let you know about it, so he claimed he was going to a bed and breakfast.
Maybe he was going to hook up with the person running the bed and breakfast.
In either case, if he stayed with you, he couldn’t do that.
Sometimes it’s possible to be too insistent with hospitality. When your guest mentioned staying in a bed and breakfast you could maybe have asked if he was sure, offering the alternatives – but in the event of him declining your offer it would have been better to accept his choice. The poor man may have felt bullied into sleeping arrangements that made him uncomfortable.
I have to agree. It’s fine to make sure that the person is welcome. If he still wants to get a bed and breakfast, that’s his decision.
I’m with you.
He just wanted to do his own thing and stay somewhere with no strings attached. I’m not sure why the OP was so insistent with her hospitality. If he couldn’t afford the B&B, he wouldn’t have said he wanted to book one.
Not the same situation, but it made me think of…..
When people would visit my parents house, and decline my mother’s offer of a chair as they were “quite comfortable, thanks” sitting on the arm of a lounge chair. No! You do not sit on the arm of someone else’s lounge chair! Especially when alternative is being offered! Ditto a coffee table! Or someone else’s bed!
I believe I would have just let him go to a B & B. I, too, think he may have felt bullied into staying.
It was kind of you to ofer but I don’t think he gave you the extra work, I think that you chose to push him and that resulted in the extra.
another tim, you could simply say
“[housemate] is happy for you to use his/her room – we can let you have pillows and a sleping bag, or if you prefer, we have an airbed”
If he still says he doesn’t want it then you’ve taken reasonable steps and if he choses to go to a B&B instead that is up to him.
I think part of being a good host is graceully accepting whn someone says ‘no thanks’
This sounds really odd… is it possible that he might have had some kind of issue, maybe with germs? (Yes, I know a bench in the park isn’t free of them either, but maybe that was just an excuse to get out, without having to reveil where he really wanted to go… who knows what went through his head.)
Other than that, I honestly have no idea what might have been his problem.
What an uncomfortable situation for everyone.
If I were in the position of your guest, I, too, would have felt incredibly uncomfortable a) Sleeping in the room of a person I don’t know, and b) sleeping in their bed – clean linen or not. This isn’t because you were rude, and it isn’t because HE was rude. It was simply a case of you making assumptions about his finances and putting him in a difficult position. I am a very private person, and have always hated sharing accommodations with people I don’t really know – I hated residential school trips, Guide camps, etc. When I went to Uni I commuted from home instead of living in Halls of Residence or student housing. A lot of it has to do with how clean these places are (let’s be honest, student housing is NOT nice) and a lot of it has to do with my various anxieties.
Staying in a guest house/hotel/B&B gives me (or the guest in this story) an element of control – these are ‘regulated’ places, and if there are problems, as a paying guest you can reasonably expect them to be resolved. So you feel a lot less anxious about the ‘state’ of the place. It’s also not full of personal items.
As the guest, I’d hate to be in a situation where someone I don’t know MIGHT come back to their room, find something missing and automatically blame me or accuse me of theft.
Perhaps I’m overly pessimistic, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
In future, I recommend that you offer hospitality, and if said hospitality is declined, you accept that you have made the offer in good faith and respect their decision. They won’t think you’re rude if THEY choose to turn down your offer, so your conscience can rest easy knowing that they have made a choice and it is no longer your concern.
Not that I think you did anything wrong, but I identify somewhat with the young man in the story. While recognizing this is my own issue, even so, I have a hair-trigger guilt reflex when people go out of their way for me even a little bit, and it can actually be quite panic-inducing, because all I can think of is how I can’t possibly repay their kindness (and in my head, just hosting them back sometime is not sufficient; like I said, I recognize it is not logical thinking). I’ve tried to train myself to override it, so I can at least act somewhat typical in regards to accepting hospitality or kindnesses like gifts or unasked-for favours, but just because I force normal behaviour on the outside doesn’t mean I’m not still losing it inside.
Anyway, just providing a possible alternative perspective. Like I said, I don’t really think you did anything wrong or unusual.
Next time someone says they want to stay in a hotel, just take them at their word. You weren’t pushing those costs on him; he was voluntarily assuming them. Also it’s probably best to assume that most people don’t really want to sleep on a couch in the same room where you and your boyfriend are sleeping in a bed just a few feet away. I realize that that sleeping arrangement is totally in-line with your circumstances at this point in life, so it’s not a rude offer, but turning down the offer is not really “declining hospitality,” it’s just “having reasonable boundaries.”
His original choices were to share a room with you and your boyfriend (AWKWARD!) or to sleep in some stranger’s bed, which I would have also declined because that sounds gross to me. The cost of a B&B would be preferable to both of those choices.
Next time, let him make his own choices about where to stay.
Why is it gross to sleep in a stranger’s bed with clean linens, but not a B&B where multiple people have slept? Sounds about the same to me. I’m not being snarky; I just honestly want to know.
I think at least partially it’s a matter of….accountability? If I walk into a hotel room, even for a little B&B and not a large chain, and there’s something wrong, I can complain to a manager/owner. I can take it to Yelp. I can ask for my money back. If I’m staying with a stranger and there’s something wrong…it’s infinitely more awkward because they’re doing me a favor by letting me be there in the first place, and it sounds ungrateful to complain.
Personally, I’ve felt weird sleeping in friends’ beds with clean linens with no concerns at all about hygiene. It just feels like an invasion of their space. A bed is so very personal, and I wasn’t raised to give mine to guests. When I had sleepovers growing up, both me and the guest had sleeping bags on the living room floor. These days when I have friends stay, I have a nice futon that I dress up with sheets and blankets. But my bed is mine.
That’s a good question. I feel a B&B would have hygiene standards that would not be available in a private home. Sheets would be washed in hotter water and things like that. (Maybe my head is in the sand!) Also, as Samantha said, a bed in a home is more personal and sleeping in one does feel like an invasion.
This is what I call the “Anti-Snowflake” and sometimes can be more trouble than the real one.
guests who refuse to tell you what they’d like to eat (Oh, whatever), meaning you have to try to decide what they might like.
Who ask for a ride somewhere but won’t tell you what time – “just whenever you get ready”.
Won’t pick a restaurant, or a movie, or anything. All this does is put the burden on me to make all these decisions.
He did say what he wanted, though – he wanted to stay at a B&B, until he was badgered into staying with the OP. Maybe he’s a snowflake, but his original plan put all the burden of that snowflakery on himself. OP’s insistence that he stay with them put it on them.
Some people think that this is good manners; never blatantly stating a preference for anything (allergies and medical needs excepted, of course). I actually saw this advice in an old copy of “Miss Manners’ Guide To Raising Perfect Children” from the 80’s, and it was about precisely this situation. Miss Manners advised the reader (presumably a parent) to tell the child that staying at someone’s house as a houseguest was like a game of concealing one’s own preferences from the host, while making the host reveal his or her preferences, and what options are truly available. So, a question like, “What do you like to eat for breakfast?” couldn’t be answered straightforwardly, but with a vague response like, “Oh, I like everything, and it’s always fun to try new things,” and then there was a whole run-around until the hypothetical child chose something……and that was just breakfast. If every decision required a whole back-and-forth like that, then the whole visit would be exhausting for everyone involved.
I hate being a houseguest. Its not that I don’t appreciate my hosts’ hospitality, but I get very uncomfortable. I don’t even like Bed & Breakfasts because they are too much a ‘personal home’ of the operators. I would much rather just spend my money on a hotel, motel or even hostel – truly I am much more comfortable in these spaces. When I travel I budget accordingly for my accommodations.
I’m not having of Bed and Breakfasts either. When we spent two weeks in Ireland, those are the only places we stayed and I didn’t mind those for some reason. Probably because the standard Irish breakfast is what I normally would choose to eat plus it was interesting to experience a different culture and we only stayed at each B&B one night. But in the United States, I have only stayed in one (happened to be in a lighthouse). I just prefer to eat breakfast when I want to, eat what I want for breakfast (not stuffed French toast which seems to be standard fare) and not have to make conversation with strangers. Plus I can come and go as early and as late as I want. I definitely prefer hotels when traveling around the United States.
Agreed, here. Once in my life I tried the AirBnB thing, and I was horrified and uncomfortable the whole time, even though my host was wonderful. And that’s when I WAS paying someone to use the space. Hotel, motel, or hostel is much better.
I could never use Air BnB ever! I don’t care how little money I have, I’m not paying any amount to share lodging space. I have used VRBO with some friends, but to me that is different because you are just renting a private home, not sharing that space with the owner or any other strangers!
My daughter rents apartments when traveling in London, Paris, Ireland,Scotland using AirBnB. She’s never had to share the lodging space with an owner/host. It’s all in what you choose to rent. The flat she and three friends rented in London last summer was delightful.
Good to know. All the references I’ve heard involve you staying with the host. Glad that is not the only option.
I used AirBnB several times, always travelling with other people and renting a full apartment. I usually saw the host twice – when he/she handed over the keys and gave the relevant information and when he/she collected the keys. The appartments were always clearly not their homes, but something theoy lept for renting out – clean, but somewhat impersonal.
Only once I rented a room from someone who was away, her roommate was in residence. I wasn’t feeling very comfortable with that, although I didn’t really have any complaints, the room was perfectly clean, with most personal stuff hidden (I didn’t go around opening closets and so on), and the roommate was friendly and kept mostly to himself. I had my reasons for choosing this particular place, so I was satsfied.
I meant kept, not lept.
Some people, myself included are often just not comfortable staying in another person’s home.
I would much rather stay at a hotel and have a private bathroom and know that the sheets were laundered prior to my using them. I also would not feel comfortable staying in someone’s place that I did not know. I would be worrying about making the bed, and cleaning up after myself, things you don’t have to do if you stay in a hotel.
OP, there are many reasons why your friend may not have wanted to stay the night at your place. Regardless of what those reasons were, you were pushy to insist he do it anyway. It’s not much different from the guy who insists that everyone have another drink “because he’s good host”. Your friend offered to stay at a B&B; after one more attempt to assure him of the sincerity of your welcome, you should have let him make the arrangements he preferred (his finances are none of your business).
You said “And I am sure he only wanted to be polite..” Maybe he thought the same about you. You did say “Naturally…they were both going to stay the night.” Did you (or BF) specifically invite him to spend the day AND NIGHT or did your boyfriend throw out a casual I’m-going-to-see-OP-why-don’t-you-come-with-me; the “and night”‘ being an assumption? There you were, the two of you, both insisting on having things YOUR way because you thought the other was only being polite. You say it’ll be a long time before you invite him again, as though that’s a punishment. After being detained in your home, virtually against his will, he may be thanking whatever-powers-he-believes-in that he won’t have to fight that battle again.
I’ve always been a pretty independent person who’s had a really hard time asking for (or receiving) help. I would assume that they were offering just to be polite but didn’t really want to help me. In reading a book called the 5 Love Languages, it helped me realize that some people genuinely express their love for others by offering their time and assistance. So even though I’m not entirely comfortable being waited on by friends, if I decline I’m not allowing them to show me that they care for me. Which is more impolite than declining their help in the first place, at least in my mind.
Seems this guest of yours is in need of a perspective change.
I don’t know. Pushing your version of hospitality on someone who has clearly stated other preferences seems very un-loving to me.
Is it so difficult to accept that some guests really don’t like sleeping in other people’s homes? Once you’ve double-checked to make sure he wasn’t just being polite, you should have let him make his own arrangements. He’s an adult; he knows what his budget is, and he might have been looking forward to not having to clean up after himself.
And I thought it was weird when a friend brought towels with him to visit us instead of using our spare ones. But previous posters are probably right – he didn’t want to stay there at all for whatever reason and felt forced into it. Pretty strange, though that once he’d given in to staying he wouldn’t just use what was available. Only reason I an think of for turning down bedding is allergies or the house is too hot.
Oh, towels.. I no longer assume there will be sufficient towels when I stay over with friends. Twice now (ok, same friend’s place) there’s only been three towels for the house and 9 people (special weekend long event, mostly poor college students). And we all wanted showers.
I keep the spares in my luggage as an in-case, but they’re there.
The backstory is complex and unnecessary but years ago the big boss at the law firm where my mother worked happened to spend a short night at my house in Remote City on his way to the airport. He was expected and welcome and we told him so repeatedly but I could tell he felt uncomfortable. The general impression was that he had a horror of inconveniencing us in any way. He left the house quietly before dawn to catch his plane. Later that morning we discovered that the dear man had not even turned back the bedspread to use the pillow in the guest room, let alone gotten between the sheets. I bet my mom somehow talked him into staying with us but he really, really didn’t want to. It fits her MO perfectly. And it took me over 30 years to realize it!
I’d factor a few things into this man’s behavior. Do you have pets? I have pets and I love them. I grow accustomed to dog hair on my couch and the like. I keep it clean and I do not entertain so I’m perfectly comfortable with my surroundings. If someone had to unexpectantly spend the night I would do what I could to up my hospitality but I wouldn’t blame him or her for saying “no thanks”. My living conditions are not disgusting but then again, they are MY living conditions, my animals, my whatever.
That being said, I do not enjoy eating food when a certain friend prepares it because her living conditions allows her cats the run of the kitchen. We all have our limits to what we can stand.
Regarding the bedding – was it clean for him or was he given the bed of the unknown roommate with their unwashed sheets? My in-laws used to frequently host people for holidays but didn’t find it important to wash the sheets of the beds between visits. So at Christmas time you’d be climbing into the sheets, last used by whoever crashed there at Thanksgiving. Their sweat, drool or maybe worse if a couple used it. The pillows with their smudged make up or nose hairs. No thanks!!
Maybe he was a germ-a-phobe. But maybe you aren’t as clean as you think you are.
My sister does this! I hate it! She once offered me her spare room, and one of her friends had slept in it a couple of nights previously. Since this friend had only stayed one night, she didn’t think she should change the sheets for me. Eurgh. I was revolted. I refused to stay unless the sheets were changed (She had asked me to do her a favour and offered me a bed to ‘sweeten the deal’ so I wasn’t exactly being unreasonable). She thought I was being dramatic but it’s horrible to expect me to share the same pillow cases her friend put her perfumed and made-up face on. Guests should ALWAYS ALWAYS have fresh linen. The only exceptions are when it’s the same guests on a second occasion (i.e. they stay one night, then stay another night a few days later), or when the people staying in the bed are in a relationship – I wouldn’t have a problem being given a bed my Fiance had slept in (for example). Although the circumstances in which a couple are separately occupying a guest bed would likely be strange indeed. I don’t think I’d mind over-much if it was my sister or mother that had slept in the bed either. I draw the line at non-related people though.
Fiance and I are like you: We have a Cat who has ‘claimed’ the guest bedroom (in the way that cats do) and most of the time our guest bed is covered in Cat hair (although we have covered it with a blanket, so the hair is confined to the top layers). I wouldn’t DREAM of expecting a guest to sleep in that Linen. If I were expecting a guest, the linen would be changed, the room hoovered and cleaned and the door shut. I haven’t actually changed the linen on that bed for over a year since no-one ever stays in it and I don’t see the point in subjecting fresh linen to the attentions of my Cat. You said it perfectly when you said: “My living conditions are not disgusting but then again, they are MY living conditions, my animals, my whatever.”
When I first read the story I thought OP was really the rude one, but then I remembered that in certain other societies, it’s customary for one party to aggressively push a favor onto the other, and for the other to refuse just as aggressively, until one or the other relents. (“It’s late and I’m tired, I think I’d better head home now.” “OH! Let me drive you home.” “No, it’s fine, I can walk.” “No, no, no, no, no — I insist on driving you!” “No, really…” “NO! I insist!” “Well, OK. Thank you.”) This can drive people crazy, even if they know this is the norm. 🙂
I can see where signals might’ve gotten crossed, if it was a cultural misunderstanding. But I really don’t think the “Non-special snowflake” was rude.
I think that you shouldn’t have pushed to “save” him from the costs that he was more than willing to spend. Who knows why he didn’t want to sleep anywhere you offered him or use your bedding, there are too many ideas floating around my head. Instead he felt that he couldn’t say no to you due to your insistence and was uncomfortable for everyone in the end 🙁
I’d invite him again but let him spend the night where he wants to!
OP, you don’t know the reasons why this man was so insistent on being allowed to choose his own accommodations. He asked nothing of you in that regard, but you refused to listen to his needs. Maybe you (and your housemate) are a sloppy housekeeper and the accommodations were less than clean; maybe he had bad experiences before when in someone else’s home overnight. You don’t know but you definitely dismissed his needs and pushed your own without thought to his feelings. While your intentions were good I think you are the hostess from Hades. I wonder what your boyfriend thinks of this situation. His opinion isn’t part of this submission; does this mean you haven’t even asked him for it, to try to understand what happened?
Seems a rather odd sort of friend. He must have known you did not have a guest room and, if he was uncomfortable staying with you, making an advance reservation at a hotel or B&B would have seemed sensible.
I don’t think I would invite him back.
I can’t stand it when someone attempts to bully me into staying with them. If I am visiting far enough away from home to need to stay overnight somewhere, I am counting that as a mini-vacation at the least, and I want my own time, space and privacy. I love hotels and motels and I don’t like being made to feel like I am being a bad visitor by refusing to stay. Honestly what is wrong with these people who cannot let you do your own thing? One of the best times my husband and I had was visiting friends in Iowa, four hours away, and they lived on a farm where we set up our tent in the massive yard and camped more or less at the same time. All the wonderful conveniences of indoor plumbing lololol with the freedom from causing a fuss for them and thoroughly enjoying every single minute of our visit.
Leave your friends be if they do not want another mother watching over their budgets and lodging.
That’s a bit harsh. The OP was not bullying, at least not intentionally. And it certainly isn’t “mothering” to offer hospitality.
I’ve struggled with both sides of this. I was raised Southern. We show hospitality. I was raised to never be a rude houseguest. Combine that with low self esteem I always feel like I’m bothering someone. It tooka while but I have learned to take social cues, remain polite but firm and accept that no means no.
I was raised by a Southern mother, and a father who adapted to the way of the South wholeheartedly. I do understand and appreciate etiquette which is why I love this site. Bullying is something I am also terribly familiar with and yes, I feel bullied when I say no, thank you, I AM FINE with my own plans, and the insistence that I accept ”hospitality” I DO NOT WANT continues nonetheless. And without fail these people also feel free to make their opinions known on every topic, whether it is their business or not, which only a mother has the right to do lololol.
As a guest, I strive to take into consideration every result my behavior may have so as not to disrupt the household and to be appreciative and helpful. In no way am I rude, even when I didn’t want to be there. It’s not harsh when it has taken all your life to develop a polite spine, albeit a still fragile one, and bullying ”hosts” refuse to respect MY wishes.
It sounds like your guest really wanted to stay in a bed and breakfast. Why pressure him into a less comfortable night at your place? I’d be annoyed if I’d planned a comfortable hotel or B&B stay as part of my trip and had ended up having to sleep in someone else’s bed, on a couch, or on an air mattress to avoid offending my friend’s girlfriend. It was nice of you to offer, but not very polite for you to insist.
When he mentioned the B&B I would have mentioned the possible alternatives, and then let him make up his own mind.
The OP in this story is coming across as strangely insistent and the guy may have felt uncomfortable and forced into staying
If a guest says no, accept it, don’t just keep throwing options at him. The guy wanted to stay at a bed and breakfast. Where there’s privacy and perhaps a little time for himself before jumping into being social again.
I think it might be possible that the reluctant house guest suffers from body odour, profuse sweating or other bodily issues that might make them fear using other peoples’ furniture and bedding.
Snoring. It’s better if I don’t share a room with anyone, because apparently I can get a little loud.
He told you what he wanted and you rolled over him and gave him what you wanted. Now you are upset because he didn’t make you feel the way you want to feel.
I will agree that for whatever reason the guest didn’t want to be a guest (phobias, pets in the house, smoking in the house, etc) and should have been allowed to depart if that was their choice. One can try too hard to be a host as well as be a guest… If the person comes again, or someone not unlike them, you make the offer and they decide they would rather not, let them. It’s not a mark on you if your place is reasonable, you are reasonable, and they decline.
When I visit my family back home, I usually stay with my cousin and her family. The last time I was there, though, the bathrooms were so nasty I didn’t want to be in there, let alone take a shower there. Also, privacy was nowhere to be found. So the next time I go for a visit, I will book a room at a hotel. I know my cousin will probably be offended, but I can’t help that. When I travel, comfort takes precedence over all. In future, please respect the wishes of your guests and potential guests. Not everyone is comfortable in other people’s homes.
I’m thinking that if I was the guest, I would assume that OP and her boyfriend, who don’t live close, had some “activity” planned for their night together, and no way was I going to prevent that, or worse, hear it. I would have definitely wanted to stay somewhere more comfortable and I think the guest should have been allowed to make his own choice. BUT — what’s with him calling OP “patronizing” for offering him blankets? And refusing their food? What was that all about? Am I the only one who noticed that?
He may have been already exasperated when he was offered the blankets. After all he had (his likely point of view) already pressed the bed room and the air bed upon him. Perhaps.
As to the food. These days far too many poeple have allergies or intolerances. Or perhaps he was simply not hungry. I do hope though, he offered up an explanation, that is missing in the OP.
*sigh* I rather feel for the guest. I would prefer to take a hotel when visiting my home town, but that would upset just about everyone else. As long as I can stay at my father that’s all right, but I forsee having to justify my need for privacy and time alone in the not that far future. He is not getting any younger.
I get this man didn’t want to be the third wheel.
Not to be presumptuous, but if you and your bf hadn’t seen each other in awhile, he may not have wanted to stick around for your, uh…”reunion” shall I say?
But, refusing pillows and blankets, and sleeping under his coat seems a little TOO far in the other direction.
I would find it incredibly awkward and uncomfortable to be sharing a room with a couple. I can’t imagine anyone feeling comfortable with that arrangement!
I also much prefer my own private space when it comes to sleeping accomodations. I don’t like sharing bedroom or bathroom space with others. I would only feel comfortable with accomodations at someone’s house if I had my own bedroom and bathroom. Even if I have to pay for a hotel it’s still worth it to my psyche to be comfortable.
OP although these sentiments may seem foreign to you, it could be the way your guest felt, too. Respect that.
I would prefer to sleep in a B&B where I can wake up on my own schedule and not worry about hearing someone else’s bodily noises or they hearing mine in the middle of the night….or worry about waking them up if I have to get up and go to the bathroom. Sorry OP but I think you were the rude one in this situation. I would have felt incredibly uncomfortable and I wouldn’t have slept well at all.
A little ‘left field’, but I wonder if the friend wanted to stay at a B&B rather than in the student accommodation so that he could ‘sneak’ out and do something that night? Maybe he wanted to check out the nightlife in the area, or meet up with an internet friend, or just have a drink with a random stranger (and y’know, if they get along well he might have liked more privacy…).
Yes. There are many reasons, all legitimate, many personal, none requiring explanation that one might go to a B&B instead of staying with friends. No reason to fight him on it.
I can get where this post is coming from.
I don’t know this man so I don’t know. He may have been perfectly fine arranging his own accommodations, had the money saved and just preffered sleeping elsewhere, in which case the insistence on taking care of him were just unnecissary and were probably annoying and uncomfortable on his end.
And I’ve also known people who practically have a martyr complex. Somewhere, somehow, they’ve gotten it into their heads that if anyone puts forth the slightest effort for them or their existence has the slightest disruptive influence on someone’s life it means that they’re terrible selfish people. They honestly will put themselves through completely unnecisary trouble and efforts, which causes people who like/care about them (or just have basic human decency) to push harder to keep them from doing so, creating a tug of war.
For instance, I work in admitions at the hospital and there are people with serious medical issues who have to be forced by loved ones to come to the ER. Their health and well being is literally in danger, but they don’t want to be a bother. And they are terrible patients because they will downplay their symptoms and not say anything if there is an issue. Staff basically have to watch them like a hawk and do twice the work figure out the issue since they spend the whole time lieing.
Even though you shouldn’t, it does get really annoying when someone is being pointlessly self sacrificing, as they wind up harming themselves far FAR more than they are helping you and you wind up feeling responsible for their wellbeing since they won’t be.
I hear you about pointlessly self-sacrificing people, but in this story, I think the host is that person. Reading it reminded me a bit of being on vacation with my mom. Our family was headed for a nice, low-key trip to the ocean, and she started fretting about cooking. Cooking? We thought we could just have sandwiches. But she insisted that she needed to cook, and then she played the martyr afterward because she had done all the cooking.
I love my grandmothe, mother and sister but they’re the same way. Especially my sister. They will refuse help when they have visitors and then complain about having too much to do. That’s not how it works. My mother has gotten better but my sister has to make everything harder than it has to be.
In defense, I don’t play the martyr but I genuinely don’t want to inconvenience anyone. I don’t want anyone to worry about me either. Still working on it.
I can totally understand where the man is coming from. The first thing that occurred to me is that he might walk or talk in his sleep and not want to distress or embarrass anyone. My husband takes medication that sometimes causes him to say extremely weird (and hilarious) things if he wakes up in the middle of the night. Additionally, I spent several months in unpleasant living conditions that took me well over a year to recover from, and in that space of time I felt unsafe no matter where I was and could not control reflexes if I was woken suddenly.
Weird story, though.
This sounds like a culture clash (not necessarily ethnic or regional culture, just individual), or a love language barrier, or both.
Some folks prefer to stay in hotels when they visit family or friends because they don’t want to inconvenience others, and they perceive even the slightest effort as an “inconvenience.” But sometimes, they just prefer to stay elsewhere because they want privacy.
Some folks are insulted at the idea of a visiting friend/family member staying at a hotel instead of at their home, because they perceive it as a reflection on the quality of their hospitality. Or they may just be emotionally invested in the whole “slumber party” dynamic of having an overnight guest — they have been looking forward to having the person there for late-night bull sessions, casual breakfasts in the a.m., etc.
Without knowing what was going through the guest’s mind, I think OP should have respected his decision to arrange his own accommodations. It’s obvious he was uncomfortable — for whatever reason — with OP’s insistence that he stay with them and her over-the-top efforts to provide accommodations he simply did not want.
Reading a lot of the comments makes me suspect now that the OP is not the housekeeper/cook she thinks she is. One person’s clean is another’s filth, that’s why you don’t bully people into staying with you just because you asked them to. You don’t know their standard of acceptable and as a friend they hopefully won’t be telling you unless you force them to in order to get out of the house. As for food, who knows what was offered/cooked, and the same with the blanket; if it reeks of pet urine or something, would you want to cover yourself up when you didn’t even want to stay to begin with?
The friend must work harder on developing his polite spine!!!
I think that’s a little bit of a leap to make, especially since you got the impression from people’s comments. The OP didn’t mention any pets, so why assume that the blankets had a strong animal smell? I do think it’s notable that he expressed his desire to stay at a BnB after spending the day with OP and her boyfriend, but then again it’s possible that A) it was mentioned before, but the OP’s narrative just makes it SOUND like it was brought up later, or B) that it was always his plan, but he got distracted with merrymaking and didn’t think to bring it up until later.
Sometimes people are just weird or neurotic. I have a horror of causing inconvenience to anyone, and after nearly five years with my boyfriend, I’m still worried that “making myself at home” with his family or family friends is presumptuous and rude. Seriously, last summer or the summer before, I had a bad dizzy spell while talking to his father and his friends (they’ve known Will nearly all his life, so they are essentially extra aunts and uncles to him and treat me like family). All I had to do was ask for a glass or water or excuse myself to sit inside, but I didn’t want to be a bother. And yes, I finally did ask for some water!
My point is, we so often jump to accuse the LW of doing something wrong themselves. I know we’re conjecturing about the pickiness of the guest, but it still doesn’t seem right to imply that the OP has a filthy home.
The comments were what led me to start thinking why would the friend be so adamant about not eating her food or using her blanket. Thinking about the hospitality well-meaning people have offered to me that I do appreciate but was unpleasant to endure – that’s also what has me wondering about the state of her home and food. It doesn’t have to be animal fur on a blanket, it could’ve been something else, my point being that what can be generously offered may still have issues that the person offering it is not aware of. Just as your home can smell and you don’t smell it, certainly things about a blanket could be unpleasant without the owner knowing it.
Completely agree with you the other Elizabeth. Juliet that’s a bit assuming not to mention rather rude.
lololol starting to wonder if these topics hit too close to home for some people.
Wow Juliet. First the OP is a bully, then everyone who shows hospitality expresses their opinions on everything, now the OP is filthy and lets her animals, of which there is no mention of, relieve themselves on blankets. Forgive me but I’m suspecting that you were certainly not brought up with southern manners.
I wonder if this is a cultural and/or mental health issue for the friend?
It sounds like there are at least two countries represented here; in one culture it can be acceptable to immediately take someone up on an offer or flat-out ask for something; in another someone is supposed to INSIST that their guest take something and the guest is supposed to repeatedly refuse in order to avoid being greedy or demanding.
Or, I wonder if friend grew up surrounded by EXTREMELY passive-aggressive family or friends who would offer hospitality and then got upset when he accepted? (I might or might not struggle with this myself. I always assumed the minute I left someone else’s house that they must be carrying on and on about what a horrible, demanding, messy guest I was because that’s what I saw my mom do every time company walked out the door.) If this was the case, he might have felt anxiety over accepting the OP’s offers.
Not saying I have no sympathy for the OP; just some possible explanations that came to mind!
It sounds like both parties were a bit at fault here.
Telling a host that they are patronising you for giving you bedding is rude, and refusing any of the host’s own food also sounds a little extreme, so I think the guest does sound a little on the difficult side.
On the other hand, it sounds like the OP was overly pushy, and from the tone of the post, perhaps more concerned with the idea of being a good host, rather than actually being a helpful one.
When the guest first said they would get a B&B, I would have said something along the lines of “are you sure that’s what you’d rather do? It’s really not necessary, we’re happy to put you up here.” If they still said they’d go to a B&B, I would’ve offered to help them find one nearby, and asked them to join us at the house the next day for breakfast or lunch.
On a side note, a bit of clarification would be helpful in regards to this bit of the story : “So I made sure he could stay in the room of a housemate who was away…” I’m assuming that means the OP called the housemate and asked them, but I have heard the phrase used to mean something along the lines of “I figured”.
In the unlikely event it was the latter meaning, I’d be pretty annoyed if my room was being offered willy-nilly to random houseguests. Even if it was the far more usual former meaning, I still think it puts the housemate on the spot and isn’t really a fair request. Many people, myself included, would much rather a stranger didn’t stay in their room, but if called at the last minute, would feel obliged to acquiesce, for fear of seeming prissy and unreasonable. If I were that housemate, my agreement or refusal would depend on how confident I was feeling in my polite spine that day.
While visiting her city overnight for a shared activity, I accepted the hospitality of a friend I met online.
I was a bit apprehensive because I don’t like relying on others for the creature comforts that have become rather necessary for my well being as my body ages–hard to sleep at night, usually bring my own pillow, extra blanket.
But, no! I threw caution to the wind. I thought–I’m being unreasonable–be open and accept what she has to offer.
Well, her home was rather on the humble side, worn furnishings, things in need of repair. But, that’s not a failing of hospitality. However, when I asked for a glass of water, I was handed an old plastic cup that had been sitting on the fridge ledge for the water. She filled it up with water and there were oily streaks across the water and things floating in it.
I don’t know if she just couldn’t see it?? I really wasn’t sure what to do. It was very late at night and after traveling and going to the activity, I was really exhausted but trying to be cheery.
I was provided with some food which was very nice.
And when she saw that I wasn’t drinking the water I had asked for, I was given a “fancy glass” and told as much.
But, again, no harm, no foul.
What really got me was when I was led to the guest room. First of all, there was no door, just a blanket hung across it on a hook. I even got over the shock of that–but what did it for me were the sheets.
They were filthy. There was hair all over them and I don’t think it was cat hair–it was like a man’s leg hairs. (Nothing more personal than that–it wasn’t that horrible, but bad enough!)
And there were pillows in pillow cases that were then in shams. And they were like slabs of rubber and so filthy that my fingers felt oily from touching them.
The towel I was given didn’t look dirty but it did not smell freshly laundered either.
I was so fortunate that my first flight that day was very cold because I bought a blanket at the airport! This blanket, I laid out over the dirty sheet and as much of the oily pillows as I could. I had actually packed some of my clothing in my bag in a large pillow case so I used that also to cover a larger area.
I then slept in my clothes–all of them, including my long duster–crying myself to sleep and taking a sedative to stave off having a full blown panic attack. I only got about 2 hours of sleep. In the morning, I used my scarf as a towel to wash up and used the suspect towel I had been given as a bathmat on the floor. The bathroom really wasn’t very dirty.
But, those sheets and those pillow cases! I don’t think they’ve been washed in years if ever!
And in retrospect, my friend made some comments about how her friends were kind of hoity toity and insisted on staying at a local hotel a few miles away. Well, now I can understand why!
This person is not a bad person–not by a long shot! She is interesting and fun to be around–a great friend! But, I don’t know! I don’t know if I could ever bring up that the sheets were so dirty that I was so uncomfortable.
But, the next time someone says “Oh, you can stay with me!” and I haven’t actually seen where they live and how they live, I will be staying at a hotel!
Thank you Kay_L!! Your story encompasses EVERYTHING I have experienced, down to being given a glass of water WITH FOAM ON IT.
It’s quite possible he was concerned about germs, but didn’t want to say anything about it.
Denying himself bedding? Sounds kinda phobic, to me. Not that I’m trying to “armchair diagnose,” just that it could be an explanation.
Such people either avoid the thing, entirely, or else take it upon themselves to do the cleaning, so they can be sure it is done to their own comfort-level. But it would be really rude for him to wash the bedding BEFORE using it, so he went with the next best route, in his mind.
Just my theory.
But who cares why he did what he did? He tried mightily to get out of having the LW dictate his sleeping arraignments , going so far as to say that he would sleep on a park bench!
Did the LW just laugh that off? He was trying to communicate something there– that he was really really uncomfortable either staying with the LW and her BF or in someone else’s room.
He was probably trying to be polite and found himself no match for the LW pushing her “hospitality” on him.
So what if he is a germophobe? Maybe he has skin problems. It doesn’t matter. He expressed his desire for a B&B and instead of respecting that the LW kept insisting on other plans.
I think she should take this as a dose of self awareness to help her take other people at their word.
I’m personally a wildly private person, and when I go visit friends, while I don’t mind a couch, I simply will not sleep in a public living space. What if people are up and moving while I’m trying to sleep? What if I’m inconveniencing someone by keeping them from being up and moving around? Its just uncomfortable no matter what for me– so if there’s not a closed off room for me to stay in, I get a hotel room. While it is a bit odd he did end up staying, but not using your bedding (make its a hygiene thing?), I can fully understand his wish to stay at a B&B instead. And your presumption that your accommodations were better seems a bit rude.
HOWEVER, it’s absurd and rude for him to call you patronizing over it when clearly your intentions were good. I’ll give you that one.
Yes, you should not have badgered him into staying with you. Maybe he is just more comfortable in his own private room. Maybe he snores really loudly, maybe he has to get up five times a night to go to the bathroom, maybe he didn’t get a wink of sleep because he couldn’t sleep with his Teddy Bear, who knows? Just accept it when people say no thank you.
This sounds just like my sister’s passive aggressive tactics. If we’re voting on a place to eat and she loses the vote she will literally order bread and water and stare off into space while picking at the bread, and sipping the water. It’s really frustrating to those who won the vote. So often times she gets her way just so we don’t have to deal with her.