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I have this long time friend, living in another city. We usually kept in touch when, from time to time, he came to the city I live, or when I went to the city where he lives.

It went all smoothly until the meetings were short visits, but, since recently I re-started living alone in my house, things have turned differently. He asked me if he could be my guest when he comes to my city, and I initially accepted, as I thought that it was no big deal for me: I have vacant rooms and nobody else in the house.

Things proven to be different:

  • despite I asked him if he had any preferences for breakfast and being answered "nothing special", every morning he asked for a cappuccino (I never had a coffee machine for making cappuccino).
  • when it's time for his favorite soap opera or TV show, he monopolizes the TV, not even asking if I have something else to watch
  • when I offered him a copy of the keys so that he was free to go out and enter the house whenever he pleased, he refused stating "I won't be back too late"

This goes on for all his stay, which is around a week. All in all, I feel treated like hotel staff, without even being paid as such, and I have lost all pleasure in hosting him.

Therefore I would like to decline his requests to stay at my place, while still enjoy spending some time to see each other. So far I have attempted to indirectly decline them, i.e. "that week I cannot, my sons are coming to visit", to which he simply objected "oh, it's no big deal for me" or "oh, well, I can reschedule to another week".

How can I politely decline his future requests?

  • 3
    How close are you to this friend? And how would you judge his character? Logical and thoughtful or more rash and hot headed? – Robin Jun 4 '18 at 12:22
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    Is he visiting specifically to see you, or does he have other business in your city and just stays with you for convenience? Also do the answers to this question help? interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/7315/… – Em C Jun 4 '18 at 12:25
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    very similar question: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/q/13216/8077 – Kaspar Scherrer Jun 4 '18 at 13:02
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    I don't understand your first point. Does he have amnesia every morning and honestly asks if you have cappuccino or is he complaining or do you then get it for him or how exactly is this an issue? – Raditz_35 Jun 4 '18 at 14:12
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    Have you tried talking to him about those issues before? Have you made sure to thoroughly laugh at him when he asks for cappucino every day even though he knows there is none for example? – Mark Jun 5 '18 at 9:58
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In general for these kinds of situations it is best to remain positive and kind, but firm and resolute.

Make sure you let him know all of the things you enjoyed about his visit, that you consider him a good, dedicated friend, and as many other positive things that you can think of. Make it clear that your message isn't coming from a place of anger or irritation, but is instead a friend informing another friend of an important change.

You can focus on yourself for the part of the conversation where you are informing him that you are no longer comfortable with him living with you, by framing things as simply "Living together has really been messing with me. I hope you can forgive me, but..." and then telling him that he is no longer welcome for shared living situations.

In my experience I have found that so long as people do not feel they are being attacked, targeted, or scolded they will respond in a civilized manner to just about everything. When I talk to people about such things they will often remember that it was I doing them a favor in the first place, and so long as you retract that favor politely they have no cause to be too upset. I have been on both sides of this situation as well, and it is understandable of course either way.

It is important, I think, to focus on the "unavoidable" nature of the situation. Even if you think otherwise, try to phrase it as if it is neither his fault, nor your fault, just the way things are, and they didn't work out, but of course you are both still friends, and you are happy to hang out. Just not sharing the same living space.

87

I'm going to take a different approach from Onyz's answer. Are you sure your guest is actually being malicious?

Cappuccino for breakfast is not that special for people used to drinking coffee, I would make sure you clearly conveyed you don't have the ability to make coffee in your house and you are not willing to, I get the feeling you haven't actually had a conversation about how you feel about this. I also don't drink coffee, but I've also been requested this before and have learned to make sure I mention I don't have supplies to make coffee before inviting guests to my house. It's also a simple enough thing that your guest could buy their own machine to make coffee if they wanted.

For TV I would assume I'm fine watching what ever I want unless some one told me otherwise. It sounds like you simply haven't conveyed your interest to watch something else on TV. Since it is your house, you have ultimate control over what ever goes on there, so when your guest is watching TV and you know that you are going to watch X show, or going to do Y thing with the TV (even if it isn't scheduled) you should let your guest know, "Hey I'm going to watch/do this X at this time, just letting you know". Make sure not to ask, its your house, you define the rules. This is typically what I've done and what other hosts have done for me, and I've never felt personally insulted or angry by this.

For the keys I would see that as them being polite, but clearly you don't know if you'll actually be available and you don't necessarily want to be responsible for letting them in every-time you aren't there. Instead of getting angry about this, I would simply state the facts "It may be the case that you aren't going to be out, but I can't guarantee that I'll be here every time you need to come in, so I would prefer that you have these keys" and hand them to them with out taking a negative response. I've refused similar items in the past and this is how people dealt with me, and that made it clear that It was necessary for me to have the item with out devolving into argument.

If you still wish to not continue hosting him for the reasons you stated, if they are a relatively close friend I would mention how you felt in your stay rather than effectively lying to them first about how neutral your experience was with them. In my experience not tackling these issues results in permanent harbored ill will to the friend in question even when you never host them again. The conflict you perceived was never resolved and they probably didn't realize you thought something bad was going on. You want to mention how you felt about certain actions, make sure you are open to the possibly the way you perceived the intentions of another individual was not correct. Once you've moved passed understanding the positive or negative intentions, if you still feel the same way you did before, then you can go onto talk about how you think it would be best they didn't stay over but you are still fine to hangout.

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    I don't think the OP is suggesting that their friend is being malicious. I do think they feel their friend is being inconsiderate. (Your answer is spot on, otherwise, in both analysis and recommendation. +1) – jpmc26 Jun 5 '18 at 8:47
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    Technical note: many coffee machines can't make cappuccino. So maybe the OP can make coffee, but not cappuccino – Mario Trucco Jun 5 '18 at 12:17
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    Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice what can be safely explained by ditzyness. – Mindwin Jun 5 '18 at 16:59
  • Also: When asking about preferences for breakfast, the friend may have just assumed OP meant food-wise (cereal/toast/eggs/etc) and treated drinks as something that are just there. As for the key thing - the friend may feel uncomfortable with being given a key to a house that is not theirs, or at least family's. One way to mitigate that is to just have a key (humorous keyring optional) that you can just hand him saying "here's the guest key, in case I have to make an emergency milk-run while you're out!" – Chronocidal Jun 6 '18 at 13:32
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The fact that you ask how to do this nicely indicates that you want to keep this person as a friend. I would recommend that you also give that decision some thought. My life has gotten a lot better once I started surrounding myself with people who treat me well and allowing people who treat me poorly to drift on by.

There are two things at play here.

  1. The way your friends actions make you feel.
  2. What you're gong to do about it.

If you share how you feel before jumping to what to do about it, the process feels more collaborative and is less offensive. It also has the benefit of eliminating any confusion about what brought this about. This tactic is super important in long-term caring relationships. You gotta express how you feel so the other person can try to avoid making you feel bad.

"When you repeatedly ask for fancy coffee beverages that I'm not equipped to make, it makes me feel like a bad host. It also makes me feel like you're treating me like a hotel worker, not like a friend."

"I find your behavior regarding the television discourteous. This is my home, you are a guest. A courteous guest would make an effort to accommodate my use of the TV first and at the very worst would not monopolize it every time."

"When you won't take a set of key's you're putting responsibility on me to accommodate your schedule. That reinforces the feeling that you're treating me like a hotel and not like a friend and host."

Now is the point where you engage your friend in the conversation, they get to understand how their actions make you feel. You do them the courtesy of allowing them to apologize if they wish. They can choose to modify their behavior or they can take it as a lesson for the future. They now never need to wonder "Gee, why doesn't anyone invite me to be their guest anymore?"

And depending on how that goes the next phase can be less offensive: "I hear that you're sorry, I really think you'd be happier in a hotel or Airbnb that can really cater to your needs. You should do that from now on."

2

"Hi [friend]! It's been nice having you stay with me when you're in town, but I wanted to let you know that for personal reasons I'm going to take a break from having regular houseguests, aside from my sons. There's a great hotel [here] and [here] that are really affordable, you should check them out. I'd love to meet up for a drink or a meal with you whenever you're in town, so make sure you give me a call when you're here next, I'll look forward to it!"

This has worked for me in the past. If questioned on why, just politely repeating that it's for personal reasons should suffice.

  • Welcome to Interpersonal Skills! Hey, thanks for the answer! Can you please explain exactly why you think that this is a good idea? Why do you say to take this course of action? What’s the thought process behind this answer? As this currently stands, this is essentially a “Try this!” answer. We require that answers provide some sort of explanation for why they are suggesting this solution, and unfortunately, at the moment this answer doesn't appear to do that. – Kaspar Scherrer Jun 6 '18 at 14:14

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