Open Thread

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This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.


  1. AG

    Houseguest help, please!

    I have a dear old friend who has business, though more accurately business-relating socializing, in my city about once a month. He lives about two hours away, and asks to stay over, even though he keeps late hours and my husband and I do not.

    That’s fine, but his visits are increasing in frequency, and rather than coming in for one night, he’s hinting at staying for two or three night, whole weekends. It would be different if he were coming to see us, but we’re not the main reason for his visit. He’s here to see industry friends.

    We’re feeling slightly like a hotel. Also, our guest room is my office, and his visits can be disruptive to my work schedule, even though he’s a pretty polite guest (save his late nights).

    So we asked him to pick one night a month for his business visits and we’d welcome him, gladly, but we couldn’t do multi-night visits each and every month. Because he’s not coming to town for us. We did say if he came to town to see us, and not his other purposes, that was a different matter and he’s welcome for as long as he’d like. Like I said, he’s an old friend.

    He got quite upset at this request and now I feel very badly. What’s the etiquette on repeat, every-month houseguests who come to town for another purpose besides visiting with you? Thoughts?

    • Elizabeth

      There is no ‘etiquette’ when someone is clearly taking advantage of you. Good for you for drawing some sensible boundaries. Your friend is just upset that the gravy train has ended. A normal person would have apologized for making you feel taken advantage and would have done something nice to smooth things over. Instead, it sounds like he got angry and defensive at some true accusations – not good. You don’t owe him free lodging. I’m not sure where his sense of entitlement came from. In the future, just say “Sorry, that doesn’t work for us, maybe we’ll see you next time.” etc.

      • Vanna Keiler

        I agree with Elizabeth: it is clearly a sense of entitlement when one takes advantage of gracious hosts’ generosity and then feels “put out” when the free services run dry. Quite frankly, friends do not take advantage of friends’ kindheartedness and generous spirit and push the limits of a “friendship”. This individual sounds rather cold – I can’t imagine wanting to host this person for one more night, let alone evening. As Elizabeth pointed out, this person needs a hotel, not a friend’s home where his comings and goings will be noted and his use of their home will be substantial, inconvenient even. Good heavens! Take the opportunity of his current indignation/disdain/anger/upset to distance yourself from this person, dry up the friendship, and rid yourself of this moocher (sorry, not mincing words here).

  2. Cat

    I think you’ve done fine with how you addressed it, because yes, his staying with you while in town is not to see you mainly, but to conduct business, and his late nights related to this and the guest room also being your office does not make it easy.

    Maybe he could claim the cost of the hotel as part of business expenses and get reimbursed?

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