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I have a friend who is very intelligent but terribly absent minded who sends the odd gift out every couple of months and then announces every year that he will be coming over from the United Kingdom (I live in New Zealand) for x number of days and never thinks of asking me if it will be alright. He claims that he has to come out when he can get leave from his job (he has more than enough money to retire) and doesn’t really know when that will be. Unfortunately when he gets here, he is sloppy and makes a lot of mess, particularly in my bathroom and I get exhausted with him in the process.

He seems to get more and more absent minded each time he comes. As a person who has to watch her pennies I find this infuriating. Although he buys the odd meal, I have asked him to contribute something towards my groceries as he eats like a horse and any leftovers are demolished by him pretty quickly which is annoying for me as I often make enough so I can use that with a meal the next day. I think he also thinks by sending all these gifts (some still have price tags on them and can be quite useless) he thinks he is entitled to stay here.

Last year my parents went to the United Kingdom and as his house is a bit of a mess they didn’t stay with him but they had arranged with him to show them around some of the landmarks as my father has (he has stayed with them often too) but my friend couldn’t spend much time with them because had to do some DIY for a friend and only spent a couple of hours with them. I was horrified as my parents have been great when I may be at work or whatever.

I feel this friend is a bit of a freeloader as we have given him some very nice hospitality etc over the years but he couldn’t even take the time to be there for my parents when they had already organized it with him when they went on their own trip. Mum is pacifying saying it’s ok but I feel frustrated as he announced the other day he is due over again sometime in August.


I want my friend to ask me before he decides he wants to come over rather than just announcing he will be here in August.

How do I prevent an absent minded friend from inviting himself to stay with me every year?

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    Just to be clear : you want him to ask you if he can come, is it because you just want him to be polite, or because you don't want him to come over anymore and you feel that you can only say no if he asks ? – MlleMei Feb 18 at 9:40
  • As Mile said. If he ask to stay with you would you say yes? Or you want him to stay on an Hotel from now on? – Juan Carlos Oropeza Feb 19 at 19:35
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It really does sound like this friend is a bit of a freeloader and quite inconsiderate.

My initial reaction and the suggestion that I am going to give may seem to be a bit direct, but I believe that with people who can't see how annoyed those around them are, as this friend seems to be, need this kind of no B.S., no beating around the bush type of response. I would also suggest that you can send any of your thoughts to your friend via an e-mail, that way you can think out your response, choose your words carefully, and you don't have to deal with the confrontation of a voice call where things may get heated.

Gifts

With regards to the gifts, if you believe that he thinks that the gifts are his 'entrance fee' to stay at your house, then the gifts have got to go.

What I mean by that is that you need to clearly tell your friend that you do not want him to send you gifts. I would explain that they aren't things that you have any use for, and while you appreciate the sentiment, you don't really need anything from him, his friendship is gift enough.

Visiting Without Invitation

The next time your friend announces that he is coming to visit and is staying with you, I would suggest you challenge his assumption. You could make up an excuse as to why this person can't stay at your house, maybe you have another person staying, or you brought in a roommate. But honestly I think it's best to tell the truth. If you don't want him to stay with you then tell him that, you have every right not to tell him why.

I might suggest that you outline exactly how you have been feeling, with exact actions attached to these feelings. For example: you said 'he is sloppy and makes a lot of mess, particularly in my bathroom and I get exhausted with him in the process.' I would reframe that and say to him 'The last time you stayed here, you were inconsiderate of the cleanliness of my house, particularly my bathroom, and it really makes me feel exhausted having to clean up after you for the time that you are here. Having you stay here is much less enjoyable then I want it to be we seem to have different values.'

Staying for Free and Eating your Food

This clearly is annoying to you, and really should not have to be tolerated As a guest the expectation should be to at least attempt to pay your own way and appreciate the generosity of your host.

I would set clear boundaries right away, before the friend even gets to your house. If you are comfortable, tell your friend that you want to see them, but you just don't have the money in your budget to pay for the extra food that another person eats (like, seriously, if you normally pay only for yourself, then your grocery bill is now doubled!). It's not accusatory, but if he wants to stay with you, he needs to either buy and prepare his own food, or pay you for half of the groceries when he stays.

The Bathroom

Yuck! I hear you. Messy house guests are the worst!

If you decide to invite this friend into your house again, I would state some very clear ground rules for the duration of the trip. This person is a guest in your home, and as such, your home and your rules should be respected. I would simply set up a list of expectation that you have of your friend, and tell them to him on the first day of his visit (or previous if you feel comfortable with this). This can be a tough conversation, but it really is important for your sanity.

Brutally, I don't have time for rude friends, and no one should have to put up with being mistreated.

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