Alice, How Do I Keep My Relatives From Showing Up Unannounced (and Staying Forever)

Alice, How Do I Keep My Relatives From Showing Up Unannounced (and Staying Forever)

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Ask Alice
Mar 26, 2015
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Allard Laban)
Dear Alice,
My brother and sister-in-law live about 45 minutes away from my house. They often come unannounced, and stay overnight without asking if that's okay. We don't have a guest room, so they just sprawl about on the couch and all over the living room floor. When they come, they make a big deal about how tired they are and immediately take over the living room and don't get the hint that their unexpected arrival and impromptu sleepover are not cool. They now bring their infant with them, and all of the baby stuff that goes with her, and leave a huge mess. After their last visit, I found a poopy diaper wedged between the couch cushions! They ask for money, invite themselves to dinner and then ask for leftovers to take home, and get upset when they are not included in plans I've made for my own family. How can I tell them to 1) call before they arrive, 2) ask if it's okay to crash at my place, 3) clean up after themselves, and 4) stop mooching—all without creating a rift within our families?
Sincerely,
Had It With Hosting


Dear HIWH,

I gasped out loud when I read that these people — guests in your home —wedged a dirty diaper into your furniture and then left it there for you to find. Frankly, I'm surprised you were able to type such a restrained and calm question. If it were me, I'd be furious.

I think you need to worry less about creating a rift between your families and more about your own sanity. You need to stand up for yourself with these relatives. They obviously have no boundaries and will continue to take advantage of you (and your home) as long as you let them.

Get in touch with them today and tell them that while you love visiting with them, you need them to start respecting you, your time and your home if they want to be welcomed back. You mentioned they "don't get the hint," when you try to keep them from sleeping over. So don't hint; be incredibly polite but clear. You need to spell if out for them: call first and ask IF it's a good time for a visit then plan to make the (short!) 45-minute drive home because you simply can't host them overnight anymore.

Good luck!

Love,

Alice

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