Alice, My Houseguests Are Horrible

Alice, My Houseguests Are Horrible

Ask Alice
Feb 3, 2015
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Allard Laban)

Dear Alice,

We live in a coastal town and often have houseguests to stay on weekends. There is one couple we invite regularly, (a close friend of my husband's) who always arrive without any food, wine or a hostess gift. They sit and wait to be served and don't offer to help in any way. They often stay longer than we would like and they sleep in past nine, when our household is usually up around seven, even on weekends.

This is not the way I was brought up to be and I find it enormously frustrating! What is today's etiquette or expectation for an overnight houseguest? I'd like to know if I'm being a stick-in-the-mud about this or if there is a new etiquette that I have just never heard of?

Thanks ever so,
The constant entertainer and provider

Dear Constant,

This was not the way your were brought up because it seems you were raised in a home valuing good manners. I wish I could say the same of your guests. Showing up for a weekend stay without so much as token of appreciation, allowing you to wait on them hand and foot and overstaying their welcome is plain ol' rude. And trust me, expecting the basics of good guest behavior does not a stick-in-the-mud make.

I wonder why you keep inviting them to stay? It seems to me that one of those weekends would be just about as much as you can stand. You say these are close friends of your husband, so I'm guessing that perhaps he feels obligated to keep extending them these invitations.

If you must go ahead with these invites, try this: the next time they are planning a visit, tell them ahead of time what you're planning to serve for dinner the night they arrive but that, after that, you'll be "taking the weekend off." Don't ask them to do anything— simply make it clear that you won't be cooking or planning activities during their stay.

See what they say. It may be that they decide not to visit after all and you'll be off the hook. Or maybe, just maybe, they will surprise you by taking the initiative to take YOU out to dinner while they're there. It's just possible that they haven't felt like you needed or wanted any help because you seemed to be an effortless host. Either way, you'll be spared another weekend slaving over these guests.



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