Alice, Houseguests Decided Not To Come After I Laid Out Some Caveats

Alice, Houseguests Decided Not To Come After I Laid Out Some Caveats

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Ask Alice
Apr 11, 2016
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Allard Laban)

Dear Alice,

My husband’s two cousins and their spouses and kids (8 in total — 4 adults and 4 kids) came over for a family wedding and asked to stay with us. I was more than willing and accommodating, but they were coming at a time when we had work and my kids had school and I wanted to be up front about our schedule prior to them arriving. I also wanted to let them know of some house quirks so that their visit is comfortable as well as my own.

We only had one queen bed and obviously that wasn’t enough to house 4 adults and 4 kids under the age of 8. We also have a very small water tank and it only services 4 hot showers at most at a time. With 12 people needing to shower I was a bit anxious. Finally, I get up each morning at 5:30 am and so I go to bed by 10 pm. Last time one of the cousins didn’t arrive to our house until after 11:00 pm and we had to stay up to wait for them.

In light of all the above and the chaos of the wedding, I decided to email them indicating that we were glad to host them, but wanted them to be aware of certain things and I listed some of the issue like splitting showers with some showering Friday night and some Saturday morning so that everyone can get a hot shower.

I let them know that Sunday night we go to sleep early as kids have school and I have work so we won’t be able to stay up late and their kids need to keep the noise level down. Finally, I asked them what time they would be arriving Friday night as we would have worked all day and be tired. We want to stay up to receive them but we don’t want it to be too late.

I guess my husband’s cousins were insulted by my email and didn’t stay with us and my husband is angry with me, indicating that my email basically made them feel unwelcome.

I just wanted to be upfront and give them a heads up so there are no surprises or expectations. My friends said that it is them that are wrong as they should realize that two families is too many people to stay at someone’s home when they have work and that I have nothing to apologize for as it is my house and I can do whatever I want.

I just want to hear from an objective and professional third party. Was I wrong?

Signed,
Upfront Hostess

Dear Hostess,

This feeds my fantasy for an objective third party to settle my own disputes. In my fantasy, this third party is a robot that spits out indisputable verdicts based on irrefutable universal truths...in my favor, of course. Okay, back to business. I do not think you were wrong to email your husband's cousins. Your email sounds totally reasonable to me assuming that the tone was friendly but laying out your caveats.

It seems plausible that the cousins didn't think your email was rude, but instead realized that having two families stay at the same time was too much of an imposition or simply that they'd have more fun staying elsewhere given your provisos. Even if that's not the case and they felt put off by your email - well, tough cookies. Not turning your family's routines upside down to accommodate guests isn't rude. Hosts shouldn't go about as if their guests aren't there, but asking guests to stagger showers and be mindful of when your kids need to go to sleep is fair and fitting.

Love,
Alice

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