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Guest Scrooge. What could I have said to the scrooge??

An old friend recently asked if she could come and stay for 2 weeks with her son. My husband and I are mere pensioners and my friend knows that. Every hearty meal I would cook, she would offer to add her own rice or pasta from her car. Although, I coudn't decline this offering, I was surprised when she left 2 weeks later without offering to pay for additional expenses.

On the last day she asked me if there was anything I needed from the shops? I told her $9 of milk, she waited while I fumbled, found no money in my purse and handed her my credit card for payment! Once she got home she got stuck into the milk, asking first, mind you, but I can't just say "no"! I know she wasn't penniless as she was using my computer to buy books on ebay!

I will never have her back again, but was there something I could have said earlier to avoid feeling so used?

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  1. I am stunned by her behavior.

    I guess I would say, in the future (not to her because she is never coming back!) "We're on a pretty tight budget. We're happy to have you visit, but if it's an extended trip, we'd need help with the extra food expenses.

    Most folks offer before they arrive - Can they cook dinner a few nights? Buy the groceries? Take you out?

    Goodness. And supplementing with rice or pasta? That stuff's almost free. If she'd supplemented with steaks or wine, I might be a bit more amenable...!

      1. Traditionally guests aren't expected to provide for their own meals when visiting, even though many guests are polite enough to at least take their hosts out for a meal as a thank you while they visit. So if you wanted them to kick in, you may have needed to say something when they first asked. How exactly I'd approach that would depend a bit on how they approached the issue of inviting themselves to stay at your home (which is already problematic behaviour on their part). Were they basically using you as a hotel because you live in a place they wanted to visit or did they come to visit you?

        Here's a sort of generic approach: "Hubby and I would be delighted to have you and Son come and stay, but I'm afraid our fixed income doesn't really stretch to providing meals for others for that long. Would you be able to split the cost of groceries while you are here?"

        It's the sort of thing that's hard to actually say -- nobody wants to admit they can't afford something -- but when you have rather clueless guests like these, your choices are limited. You can say 'no' to the visit, you can let yourself be taken advantage or, or you can ask them to chip in.

        Personally, I'd probably go for 'no' next time they ask, now that you know what kind of guests they are.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jacquilynne

          I'm not sure what you mean by "traditionally"- but 2 weeks and grabbing cheap staples from the trunk of a car?

          I've lived in a tourist destination all of my life and wouldn't put up with that from anyone- even family, unless they were in some kind of desperate situation.

          To the OP- has old friend always behaved like this?

        2. I would have stopped cooking so many hearty meals for her, for starters, and said "I'm making ___ for Husband and me, what will you two be doing?"

          Honestly, unless someone was in dire straights, I wouldn't agree to host them for two weeks in the first place.

          1 Reply
          1. re: LeoLioness

            Same here. I would have a nervous breakdown if I had to edit my routine to include guests for a whole two weeks. Having a nephew over for the weekend gets me upset!

          2. Two weeks is a long visit for a friend (with son!). Isn't there an old saying: what starts to stink after 3 days? Old fish and friends who overstay their welcome. I might have considered saying something like "Oh no, I am low on cash until my check next month and need to buy food for us all for the next few days. I am so sorry, could you possibly contribute? I would be very grateful." I just can't imagine asking to stay with a friend for two weeks and bring my kid unless I was in dire straits myself, ie homeless.

            1. When I was a kid I was occasionally invited to stay with friends at their familes' shore homes (long weekends or a week . . .never two weeks). My parents always sent me with enough money to treat the host family to at least one pizza dinner, a pound of fudge or saltwater taffy and a "nice" gift for the friend's mom.

              I would never dream of inviting myself, let alone self and son, to someone's home for two weeks. If I was invited to spend a week or so with a friend, now that I am an adult, several dinners would be hosted by me. Not knowing the economic realities of the friend, even if restaurant dinners were not possible, I certainly wouldn't watch my host fumble for milk money: I'd use my own credit card for that.

              1. Wow. I think the other posters gave you good words that you could have said. I just can't imagine being the guest in this situation. Perhaps there was a reason she needed to be out of her house for two weeks, that she didn't want to share with you? But even still. If I wanted to visit someone, I'd ask "I'd love to come and visit you, when would be a good time?" and then leave it to them. I can't think of any circumstance where I might visit someone longer than a long weekend - except perhaps if I were driving and it was a very long drive, and a short visit would mean driving there just to turn around and drive back. But I'd probably max out at 3-4 days visit. Regardless of the financial situation of the host, a dinner out (and probably a lunch and a breakfast) would be on me. A visit that long - presuming I was welcome - I would probably offer to do the grocery shopping the second week and cover the cost. She was way, way over the line. And either she knows it and doesn't care, or she is completely clueless. Either way, I would have a few words on the ready if an opportunity to point out her rudeness arises!

                1. The entire snafu is wrapped up in your words " I can't just say "no"!

                  As long as you choose to silently endure this abuse, you will be available to any/all potential leech guests as doormat/free hotel. Even though you are "mere pensioners" [your words again], until you grow a backbone, you are open to this happening and happening again. It's never too late .......

                  I had an absoslutely horrid mother-in-law who taught me the necessity of the following phrase because, until I learned to repeat it as often as necessary, she rode roughshod over my polite upbringing.
                  IT'S NOT POSSIBLE (caps for emphasis, not shouting), repeated as often as required.
                  BTW - this phrase is never to be used with an explanation, it is to be repeated as often as necessary, verbatim. One cannot argue with "It's not possible" but arguments/pleadings/etc can ensue when you give reasons.

                  You do not owe your old friend any explanations other than "It's not possible". And knowing what you know about her style, I would not be the least bit shy about saying this should the occasion ever arise again.

                  Begin to practice saying this to your cat/dog/person who telephones asking for #$%^&#. It becomes easier and easier until it rolls off your tongue with ease. You'll find yourself smiling inwardly at your strength.

                  Chalk this nasty two weeks up to experience -- it is never too late to learn.

                  By the way - your "old friend" is not a friend. She may be a long-time acquaintance, but friends do not treat friends this way. I wish you strength and peace.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Sherri

                    Sherri, back in a previous life when I was a psychologist, this was one of the premier things I tried to teach my clients. Just saying No, or It Isn't Possible, or some other Null that served the same purpose; and No Explaining Why. Just stick to your guns, offering no excuses.

                      1. re: JMF

                        Yes! Explanations can turn things into a debate when in a case like this, it's your decision to make.

                        1. re: JMF

                          The universal widget of etiquette as taught by Emily Post since the 1920s: "I regret it simply won't be possible." Or something similar - the key is that there is no offering of a reason why and thus no implied or express invitation to negotiate.

                          1. re: Karl S

                            "Honesty is such a lonely word....." Billy Joel

                          2. re: JMF

                            It has always amazed me how difficult it is for most people to simply tell the truth. Why is there some form of shame in being honest or truthful, even if it's about a short coming?

                            In this example if you couldn't tell a life long friend of your financial circumstances with regard to their request, then how good of a life long friend is it?

                            Just say no, just be honest and truthful, you will quickly learn who your true friends are!

                            1. re: JMF

                              Lordy, JMF, where were you when I needed you back in the 60s when I married the first son of an overbearing, manipulative mother? This one was a tough lesson to learn, especially the hard way, but it has served me well over the years. Hope that it helps our OP.

                          3. Well, I'm of the opinion that if you don't set the ground rules BEFORE the visit, now why are you surprised?

                            Although you said your friend knows you & your husband are mere pensioners, how does she know? Is it only that she knows you're retired or that you had a conversation with her in which you revealed this piece of information to her? Did you discuss terms of the visit beforehand or did you assume she would just chip in?

                            What I'm getting at is, unless you had an agreement that expenses would be paid or purchases would be made to compensate for the use of your food, etc. you can't expect your friend to read your mind. I agree that morally, she should have offered you something other than starches from her trunk, but when you don't set an agreement, she becomes your guest in that you take on the role of providing for her needs while she's visiting without expecting anything.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Cherylptw

                              I see her so called freind as nothing more than a moocher,poacher. Call it what you want.Lesson learned.

                            2. No normal decent person invites themselves over for a night, let alone two weeks. Just say "I cannot do this". No explanation is owed to this person.

                              Or just say "screw off", this is not a friend.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: sal_acid

                                The friend asked the OP, the OP agreed...that's different than just showing up at the door and staying two weeks. The OP should have said no.

                                1. re: sal_acid

                                  I disagree with "No normal decent person invites themselves over for a night".

                                  I have a friend who is three hours away. She has always said "Come and visit! Come and stay!" Normally, we can't. But it turned out, we wanted to be in her city for a semi-work thing. But didn't want to pay the $200 - $400 a night hotel room if we didn't have to.

                                  I emailed and asked "You know how you always said..." I made it clear if it didn't work, if she had other plans - that was fine. FINE. She said they could. So we went, brought hostess gifts and took our friends and their friends out for a very fun tasty dinner. Left the next day.

                                  The next year, we hoped to stay for two nights, out during the day. Again, made saying no very easy and okay. She said yes. We brought breakfast (nice bagels and smoked salmon) enough for us all, for almost 7 days (only staying two.) Hostess gifts and, took them out to dinner with their friends and, gave them some fun treats we happened upon.

                                  We are so grateful to have a calm happy place to stay - and to be able to visit and catch up as well. My friend now loves to be able to say what she would like us to bring (we come from a town with different food choices than hers and we always ask.) And we know there will always be at least one, maybe two dinners out for us all to relax and catch up, that we are happy to pay for.

                                  So I've gotta say, I think I'm a decent person, sal acid. Not all "Um, can I?" guests are awful.

                                  1. re: happybaker

                                    The different there is that you've actually been invited and you're just accepting the offer by suggesting a specific day.

                                2. I am pretty straight forward with others. If I was feeling financially stressed about paying for all of the meals, I would have asked her to go to the store and purchase what was needed. I really would not have hesitated to ask her. This puts the issue squarely on her.

                                  I don't understand why you would be fishing in your purse for money for the milk? She *finally* offered to go to the store. You should have just requested she get the milk...and maybe a few other things! If she actually asked you for money for the store-you could have told her that you would really appreciate her "contribution" as "of course", as she would " understand" it has been a bit of a financial struggle to host 2 extra guests for two weeks.

                                  1. Clowdy let me tell you this, although you and your husband are "mere pensioners" I can tell from your story, you have a heart of gold! (Even though gold prices are through the roof I do not encourage you to try and trade it in!!)

                                    I don't know that he circumstances were that brought your friend to stay with you.......but for whatever reason it was you did the "friendly" thing and opened your home to them. What happened over the two weeks happened, don't look back with regret, just know you did the right thing by your friend, who seems to have been in need.

                                    Next time (if there is) as Jacquilynne mentioned earlier just be sure to explain your abilities and limitations. Your home is always open, but your refrigerator might not be without some help. Never be afraid of just telling the truth.

                                    But please don't look back with sadness, be proud of being the generous and good friend you are! Live and learn my friend.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      I absolutely agree with this reply. Of course no one wants to be taken advantage of, but having been generous on this occasion is nothing to be ashamed about. You expected these guests to be reasonable - they weren't. You continued to give them the benefit of the doubt that they would eventually do the right thing - they didn't. You were gracious and you held up your end of the bargain you didn't know you were making. You have learned a lesson but please don't let it poison you for the future. When you open your heart and home to people, it can turn out to be wonderful or, as in your case, terrible. Don't assume it will always be bad. Most people are entirely decent. Lesson learned, unfortunately, but next time will be a different lesson - guaranteed.

                                    2. Clowdy,

                                      I think my ILs were staying with you! Oh the stories I could tell......

                                      Until one has experienced this type of mooching, you cannot imagine that someone would have the nerve to be such a taker.

                                      With a true mooch, no amount of boundaries will stop the behavior. I thought I had all the bases covered with my ILs yet they would get me every time. (My dear husband made the decision to stop the madness.)

                                      Don't beat yourself up too much. Preventing a future visit will solve a repeat performance.

                                      1. To call this woman Scrooge, I think is unfair. Unfair to Scrooge that is. He came to see the error of his ways and changed. This woman appears to not have a clue.

                                        1. My parents were missionaries in the '50s, stretching every single penny, and lots of people always just assumed they could "stay with the preacher" for long free stretches. So Mom always said a gracious "Well, of course!" and then warned us that for a couple of days our family of eight would be on beans and rice for all meals...guests usually lasted for 24 hours on that regimen, and suddenly thought of another place they just had to visit...and then we went back to Mom's regular, glorious "make-do" cooking. (She didn't feel the tiniest twinge of guilt, bless her, and we still all love beans and rice!)

                                          1. The whole thing is very strange. I mean, why does someone have staple groceries in their car and need a place to stay with a friend for two weeks? It sounds like some kind of personal crisis, in which case, that might explain her not offering any contribution. (note: rice and pasta are both things you can get for free on public assistance). Does she work? Did she lose her job? It seems odd they would just show up and expect to stay for a full two weeks without any further explanation.

                                            The ebay thing could be a side venture to make money. Many people use ebay like the stock market, buying and then selling things they obtain at a profit. Folks have entire basements and garages devoted to eBay businesses and some don't even need to keep a regular job because they are able to get by on the reseller thing.

                                            I guess I'm most surprised that they were there for two weeks and you didn't find out what circumstances drove them to your place. And, as someone else pointed, why were you fumbling in your purse when she asked if you needed anything from the store?

                                            I'd chalk it up to you having been very generous to a friend that was probably going through a rough time. But I wouldn't do it again.

                                            1. WOW. Thank you all for your responses. I really love the "Its not possible" statement. I will need to start practicing that on my animals. In answer to many peoples questions. The woman (who I can't easily call 'friend' anymore), had packed up her house to travel around the country.

                                              The reason that she had food in her car was that her child has behavioral problems and not doing so well at school. Her plan is to take him camping while educating her child herself. While here, we had to deal with these problems too and when naughty he would never apologise to us even though I stated to his mother that it would be the right thing to do. Therefore, much of it had to do with lack of discipline.

                                              The books she was buying on ebay were travel books for herself. She had money but it was how she was willing to prioritise it which became the issue.

                                              As for trying to cook for ourselves, we did try that, only to be met with a child saying that our dinner smells so yummy, and I believe I am too kind to not offer him any.

                                              She also rolled in asking my husband and I for a number of favours. Her camping trailer lights were faulty, so I completely rewired the trailer for her and my husband fabricated brackets for her solar panels and batteries. These tasks took us days and saved her a bunch of money, let alone a huge fine for faulty lights.

                                              For my husband and I, we could not ask anyone to do a favour like that without a gift of gratitude, however, not everyone is like that. Her thanks were far and few and between hints for us to do something else on her vehicle.

                                              Her child did damage to our house and broke some tools ( I had told him not to touch the tools), but nothing was offered to replace or repair. Yes I should have been sterner with her.

                                              So I didn't add this to my first post because it wasn't about food, but I do believe that I need to harden up quite a lot!

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: Clowdy

                                                Didn't you just have the fortnight from Hell! There are so many things wrong with your visitor that I won't even start. Likely, she'll wear out her welcome with various 'friends' after more episodes of this nature and, one hopes, will settle down to tackle the problem with her child. Certainly the running away solution is not getting proper results.

                                                Meanwhile, you have the perfect opportunity to practice "It's not possible" on your animals so that a repeat performance will not be possible! Godspeed, Clowdy.

                                                1. re: Clowdy

                                                  Btw, as a matter of tone, notice the difference between "I regret it's not possible" versus "I'm sorry. It's not possible"? Regret offers less of a chance for manipulators to try to guilt trip you than Sorry. (The most persistent will persist, of course; and you merely need hold your own like a serene stone wall.)

                                                  1. re: Clowdy

                                                    Wow, that is beyond the pale. I'm with jrv--you truly have a heart of gold. I think I'm a nice person, but I think I would have kicked this pair to the curb within a few days: a mooch with a troubled/destructive son to boot would have sent me over the edge.

                                                    The fact that she not only did not contribute anything, but "her thanks were few and far between"? Please practice "It's not possible" early and often on your animals.

                                                    Welcome to CH Clowdy. I hope karma returns the favor you and your husband did for this ungrateful woman and her son.

                                                    1. re: Clowdy

                                                      Too bad you don't know who her other friends are so you could send them links to this thread as a heads-up. It sounds as though she has a well-developed schtick for mooching and getting others to do what she wants, and is encouraging her child to do the same.

                                                      Stop letting it eat at you because you can't change what happened. Just move forward with your new "it's not possible" tool. Easier said than done, though. This would keep me up at night trying to figure out how to tell her off.

                                                      1. re: Clowdy

                                                        Well, chalk it up to a kindness that you didn't have to give, and hopefully it will come back to you in another way when you least expect it. The guest has some serious issues and now so does her child. It's all too bad. Don't beat yourself up about it, just be ok about saying no if it ever happens again.

                                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                                          I promise you you have not heard the last of your 'friend'. You have been put on her list of 'chumps for the taking'.
                                                          Cut her loose from your life ASAP!
                                                          When we visit family it's a long way to fly and my wife and or I do stay a couple of weeks to make the expense worthwhile.
                                                          We have a little tradition: The day we arrive we and whoever in the family is available go to their grocery store.
                                                          We know what we all enjoy eating. We do a nice big shop for at least the first week and my wife or I pay. The beginning of the next week we do the same. We always make sure to buy some 'extra nice goodies' they might not buy themselves so they can enjoy them when we've left. Canned lobster etc.
                                                          I make some of the dinners. We eat out at least once a week somewhere nice. We go out to lunch. All paid for by me or my wife.
                                                          Our family/friends end up with more food in the house than when we arrived. LOL
                                                          This is 'standard operating practice' when ever we visit. and our friends and family knows this and have become used to it. No: "You don't have to pay for this". I used to say: "Thank you. I know I don't HAVE to pay for this but I'd like to". Makes for happy relaxed visits all round.

                                                        2. re: Clowdy

                                                          At this point i say put it behind you, obviously refuse to ever have her over again- or do any favors she tries to manipulate out of you-and move along knowing that you are a deeply generous and giving person, but that is not the same as a doormat and you deserve better treatment.

                                                          What goes around comes around. She will discover at some point that kharma is a bitch.

                                                          1. re: Clowdy

                                                            I bet her son will remember you as the nice people who took them in and fed them for two weeks... I doubt anyone else will make them feel as comfortable for so long (kids pick up on feeling unwanted pretty quickly). So chalk this one up to experience and remember that you did a kindness to a child who does not have proper guidance or a stable home. Your good and generous nature had a purpose even if taken advantage of by his mother.

                                                          2. The other side of lengthy guesting happened for us after Katrina hit New Orleans.

                                                            We had lived in NOLA and had friends there. So after the storm, for over six weeks we had company from there. Different groups, not large ones, but good friends who needed a place to regroup.

                                                            For six weeks, I learned that with more than one man at home, I would have no left overs. I learned to size up meals and maybe not make them as fancy/detailed as I would normally.

                                                            The rice and beans also came in handy, with sausage, meat, bacon ends, etc as seasoning.

                                                            It didn't matter all that much what the food was, the guests just needed the stability of a nurturing place.

                                                            Totally opened my eyes as to different levels of hospitality and what guests need.

                                                            A hammock in the back yard under old trees was probably the most needed thing.

                                                            Food was just sustenance.

                                                            1. This makes more sense now. Your friend's child has serious behavioral problems and her solution to that is to take him "camping" and attempt to home school him while subjecting him to numerous changes in his living situation by crashing with different friends and basically living out of her car? Your friend has significant issues, the least of which is her sense of graciousness and politesse. I feel badly for that child, his needs are not being met. Something is very wrong there.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Kat

                                                                I have to admit that my first thought after reading the original post was that someone was attempting a flame. Even the follow up a few posts above would fit that pattern by offering very unusual explanations that only serve to beg for more questions from us.

                                                                But I'm going to assume that this is a real story. The visitors are clearly people in dysfunctional and troubled circumstances. If what I'm picturing is true then I would only be glad to have been able to provide some kind of basic hospitality for the two weeks. Now that they're gone I would forget the whole subject and just hope they don't ask to return.

                                                                1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                  Don't worry. Mommy and her brat son will be dropping in for another couple of weeks 'on their way back' having decided where they were going didn't suit the brat and his "sensitive" nature.
                                                                  This isn't the end. It's the beginning.
                                                                  Seen it a dozen times.
                                                                  "I was wondering. You and me and my son all get along so well why don't we stay with you for a few months? Your spare room is empty after all. Don't worry about what your husband thinks. I'll deal with him".

                                                              2. "...was there something I could have said earlier to avoid feeling so used?"

                                                                Short of saying, "lady, you're killing me!,"no.

                                                                You did the right thing: you shared what you could. Just be glad that you gave what you gave, even though it wasn't easy, even though this poor woman is apparently clueless.

                                                                Your pocket book will recover. She may never.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                  She'll call you again for another 'favor'. "That is not possible. Goodbye and please do not call me again". CLICK
                                                                  Don't worry about her. She'll simply take you off her Rolodex.

                                                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                                                    Definitely a good approach to the next time she wants to drop in. I like the "It's just not possible" suggestion above. It reminds of Bartelby the Scrivener's "I would prefer not to." It's unassailable.

                                                                2. I would have blunt out said "No prob, but I can't really afford to put you up so you will have to kick in." but I am pretty blunt in general :-D
                                                                  Used to live on a lake, got very tired of the non-stop guests who would eat a weeks worth f groceries over the weekend and drink all my booze on top of it, so I just started telling people either the above or just NO when they called or dropped in.
                                                                  When I visit friends always bring them some wine or what they like, and if for a weekend or more will go et the fixings for a nice dinner and cook/clean up as a thank you. I find I get lots of invites and always get asked back, "You must come next long weekend" etc when I am leaving.
                                                                  TO have a friend one must BE a friend.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: crazee

                                                                    That's my general approach, too. One can be blunt and honest while being nice. I mean, we are talking friends here, right? "I'd love to have you, but just so you know, things are a bit tight so we'll have to share food expenses" or some such thing.

                                                                    So many situations like this can be avoided by just being clear and blunt and forthright. Not nasty, just straight forward.

                                                                  2. Without knowing the circumstances of her request to stay with you, I may be missing something important with my answer. But I would have told her I was not in a good position to have house guests at that time, but would love to see her while she was in town. Maybe even offer to book a hotel for her if she's unfamiliar with your city. No one is obligated to take in 'temporary boarders' just because they ask.

                                                                    1. My home is MY castle. Seldom is anyone invited to stay (other than close family). You did a kind generous thing by helping fix her vehicle issues. I am sure that the child will remember being fed and safe at your home. We all have to set personal boundaries in our lives. It is ok to say no. I learned when I let both my adult kids stay here in 2012 (they were both preparing to launch off ..one out of state one abroad) that it is best to have minimal expectations of people you allow to stay in your home. You did a nice thing for your friend. Next time be kind to yourself and tell her no it is not possible for you to stay here.

                                                                      1. Thank you all for your responses. As I said in my last post, we will definitely be using the "its not possible" in the future. If guests who are traveling about about with camping gear & probe me to stay longer, I will suggest the local dam down the road that has free camping.

                                                                        We are also the type of guest that never leaves a house that we are visiting without ensuring that we have given more than taken. That is also why we are always enthusiastically invited back too. It just baffles me how some people are not like that.

                                                                        My husband and I have decided that if there are any future requests to do any work for anyone, we will tell them we can do it, but there would have to be a slab of beer in it! If they prefer to spend 4 times as much for it elsewhere, then we are not forfeiting other things we can doing for ourselves for nothing.

                                                                        1. I've never expected guests to chip in for food I'm making at home, and yes I've lived in popular tourist locations for most of my life, and we are not rich. I hosted Thanksgiving almost every year too. It just wouldn't even occur to me. Nor do I expect people to take me out as repayment.

                                                                          I can't think of anyone I'd want as a guest for 2 weeks though and unless they were in a dire situation I'd have told them no. I don't understand why, if you needed them to chip in, you didn't say something before they ever showed up? A simple, "look we are on a limited budget and can't afford to feed to extra people for two weeks" and some arrangement that they either contribute food, money or make their own meal plans should have been part of the conversation. In the fact the first night you could have told her, lets make a budget, meal plan and go shopping together for your stay.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: rasputina

                                                                            What do you all bet that had she told her 'friend' "yes you can stay for a couple of weeks but we will need to figure out what your share of the groceries will be as soon as you arrive and then we need to go shopping" that the 'friend' would have suddenly found out she had 'other sudden commitments' and wouldn't be able to stay after all?

                                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                                              I think 75% of the problems described on this board could be solved by being assertive.

                                                                          2. My grandmother used to say "Guests & fish should both be thrown out after 3 days".