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December 22, 2009 10:17 PM   Subscribe

How do you get your friends to respect your house...after they have a precedent that it's just a 'hangout place'?

I'm 17, and my house has always seemed to be the laid back, hangout place for my circle of friends. It's been established that we don't have to respect it (i.e. there are holes in the wall due to my older brothers anger fits) and we usually stay up all night. My dad goes to bed and enforces little to no leave-times...he's kind of withdrawn like that.

Nevertheless, it hasn't really bothered me much in the past. I stay up and hang out with my friends, they go home when they have to (usually in the early morning.)

Some of my best experiences have been shenanigans with my friends at 2am, smoking hookah in the back or playing DnD or just sitting around eating McDonalds and laughing. Honestly these have been great times in the summer that I would never trade anything for.

Lately, I've been wanting to go to bed earlier, around 10:30 or 11:00pm. Last night I told everyone I was going to bed. I went upstairs and tried to sleep...but all I could hear was laughter and noise coming from downstairs. Even without a host, everyone was having a great time in the hangout house. Tonight has been the exact same, and it's irritating me. How do I tell them to respect me?
posted by Taft to Human Relations (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Hey, I'm really tired. I hate to do this, but I'm booting y'all. Catch ya later."
posted by youcancallmeal at 10:18 PM on December 22, 2009


It doesn't seem like you've bothered to actually ask them, explicitly, to leave? They might have, perfectly honestly, not taken the hint.
posted by SpringAquifer at 10:20 PM on December 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Tonight I tried to be assertive but they honestly don't understand that I'm serious.

"Hey, I'm going to bed, you guys need to hang out somewhere else..." is what I said. They basically just stayed downstairs when I went up. They're still down there -_-
posted by Taft at 10:21 PM on December 22, 2009


Don't go upstairs until they're gone. Just stay downstairs and keep asking them to leave, getting progressively less polite each time you ask. Eventually, you may have to say, "Get out of my house right now," but they'll get the idea. Put away the food and toys, and kick them out.
posted by decathecting at 10:27 PM on December 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ask your dad to get involved if your pals won't listen to you. At the very least, he should be willing to be offered up as an excuse. "Hey guys, my dad is starting to get pissed off that people are here all the time..." that sort of thing.

Or you'll need to be more assertive and show them the door.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:30 PM on December 22, 2009


"Hey, I'm going to bed, it's time for you all to leave." Be more explicit.

Then, as decathecting says, put your stuff away, stand there, and stick to it til they're gone. You might also want to talk to them earlier, when you first start to hang out one day, if you don't think they understand what is expected of them. Tell them that, actually, they can't hang around once you've gone to bed. Sorry for the confusion the first few times, you do love the hanging out when you're not sleeping, but this is how it has to be. Then enforce it.

I remember doing something similar when I was 17, telling my friends they weren't allowed in my house when I wasn't there or when I was studying. It took one or two occasions with them sitting outside waiting for their ride before they realised I was serious but I did manage to make it stick. Just be really really excruciatingly clear about your intentions, possibly to the point of being rude if they're rude enough to ignore you first, and be consistent with your enforcement.
posted by shelleycat at 10:33 PM on December 22, 2009


No, no. You have to handle it.
Look, I'm sorry guys, you're going to have to go now. Come on, I'll walk you to the door.
Nah, I've got to get some sleep, and you can't hang here when there's no one up. I'm sorry. See you tomorrow afternoon. Nope, can't do that. You've got to go now.

They are going to be confused, because you are changing the rules. (Its ok to change the rules)
And they will resist and test the new rules. For tomorrow, let them know ahead of time that they have to leave at XX o'clock. Then stick with it. It will help if you can enlist your father's help. If only so you can say, 'look, my dad said no one in the house after xx. Otherwise you are not going to be able to come over anymore.' It always helps to have a partner in rule making. (That's one reason to have two parents in a family.)

Don't go to bed until they're gone tomorrow.

Good luck!
posted by SLC Mom at 10:35 PM on December 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


Yeah, or what they all said!
I am going to sit in the slow typist's corner now.
posted by SLC Mom at 10:36 PM on December 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks everyone.

Be more assertive, lead them to the door, wait until they leave to go to bed. Got it.
posted by Taft at 10:40 PM on December 22, 2009


I am a lawyer, but not your lawyer. I probably am not licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. This is not legal advice.

That said, I agree with decathecting, and add that if they don't leave, they're trespassing--call the cops.

SLC Mom: markedly well said.

(On preview: well enough for a best answer, even! Kudos.)
posted by tellumo at 10:53 PM on December 22, 2009


My friend used to take his shoe off and hand it to people. I looked at it and said: "What are you doing?"

He replied: "I'm giving you the boot."
posted by Ironmouth at 11:01 PM on December 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Why wait up with them until they decide to leave? It's your house, your sleep.

If they're slow going out the door, why not be slow letting them back in?
Use any excuse you want to keep them out of your house for a week or so. This may help break the habit they've gotten into. When they come back the next time, lay down the new rules. If that doesn't work...are you really sure you want to let them in and hang out with them?
posted by Paris Elk at 11:38 PM on December 22, 2009


You have to ask them to leave. If they don't leave, don't invite them back again.

The police, in my experience, rarely make a situation better and can often make things much worse. Especially if the cop got it in his head that you had been smoking something other than legal smoking herbs.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:29 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Calling the cops on your friends strikes me as an extremely abnormal thing to do.

These aren't strangers who started showing up one day; these are friends whose company and friendship Taft values and enjoys, and Taft's house is filling a totally normal role in a late-teens-early-twenties group of friends. I'm 28 and I don't think I know anybody who didn't have a friend's house like this, holes punched through the walls and all.

But something to know is that, at least in my experience, these situations are never permanent anyways. Yours is an admittedly shitty situation, but there really is a social precedent for this. Your friends are going to be annoyed that they have to change up their routine, and that they suddenly have to stop taking you for granted. Your house is such a sweet hookup, they can hardly be blamed for getting comfortable, and for being annoyed that there's suddenly rules in what want to be a sanctuary from rules. So no matter how gently you prod them out the door, there's going to be a little muttering, maybe behind your back. Or maybe they'll push back, and try to make you feel like a dick. Don't take it personally. This might be the first squat they have to stop taking for granted, but it will not be the last.

In these situations I've been you, but I've also (usually) been your friends. So if they are dicks about this -- even though they probably won't be -- I apologize on their behalf. Just roll your eyes and be cool because I guarantee they'll get over it shortly, as long as you didn't do something crazy like call the cops on them. I'll bet cash money that in less than a year one of them will have their own apartment, and at least five of you will be playing xbox all night and practically living there instead.

So for now, the above suggestions are right. When you told them to leave and then went upstairs and they didn't leave; think of that as your warning, not your ultimatum. If you want them out at a certain time, you've pretty much got to stick to your guns and shove 'em out the door before you go upstairs. Ultimately they're either going to have to adjust to your schedule, or they're going to have to find a new place to hang out super late. And it could go either way.

(By the way; I think every single time I've been in this situation, someone has said half-jokingly and half-confrontationally, "Sleep is for the weak!" Someone might say this to you. They are wrong. Sleep fucking rules. Seriously, I'd sleep twenty hours a fucking day if I could.)

This is your house. You don't have to defend yourself, plead your case or convince anybody. Don't bother engaging them if they want to get all childish and needle you on why. "I don't wanna argue, I just wanna sleep. I'll see you tomorrow. Take it easy, bye." Being tired is a perfectly legitimate excuse for being curt. If you're rude enough, somebody will probably apologize to you the next day.

They're lucky to have you, even if you do have to kick them out at 10:30. You rule, and you make me want to call everyone who ever let my worthless ass sleep on their couch. Because, in retrospect, people like me really start to realize what awesome friends people like you are.

So kick their asses a little and don't sweat it. And rock on.
posted by churl at 1:05 AM on December 23, 2009 [14 favorites]


Is there someone in the group that you can talk to about this and perhaps enlist his or her help? There's got to be one person who could understand the situation and help back you up the next time with a "Yeah come on guys, let him sleep" (and perhaps defend your point of view when there is the inevitable grumbling behind your back).
posted by witchstone at 6:06 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


All great points upthread.

The only thing I have to add is this: you're teaching them a valuable lesson in the unwritten rules of adult socializing. When the host goes to bed, or otherwise indicates that the party is over, you leave.

So not only are you doing yourself a favor by establishing boundaries and getting them to respect you and your house, you're also doing them a favor by correcting an annoying behavior pattern.
posted by jason's_planet at 6:35 AM on December 23, 2009


Don't call the cops on them! That is a terrible idea and would be absurdly passive-aggressive. The problem is that your friends don't yet understand that you are serious about needing them to leave, so you need to communicate that to them clearly, not call the cops. It sounds like from how you described your dad ("My dad goes to bed and enforces little to no leave-times...he's kind of withdrawn like that.") that you may not have had much of a parental model for assertiveness and clear communication. So see this as a good time to learn! Take churl's advice, and tell your friends:

"Dudes, it's great hanging out with you late, but sometimes I want to go to sleep and have the house to myself. Can you please start leaving when I ask? I really mean it."
posted by yarly at 7:03 AM on December 23, 2009


Calling the cops is the nuclear option. People assume that they have squatter's rights to a place just because they've been there a few times and had other people there to reinforce them. They're wrong, but FFS, you don't call in the heavy artillery unless knives and broken bottles are being brandished.

Try telling them before they come over that it's going to be over by 10:30. Not "around 10:30 or 11", not "that's when the negotiations begin", just 10:30. They will do one of the following: 1) respect your wishes; 2) not come over at all because you've set a limit and are therefore annoyingly parent-like, or 3) come over and then refuse to leave or give you lots of shit about it. If 3 happens, then stand your ground and then let them know later that they're no longer welcome. That will be a hard road to take, and some of them may cut you loose as a result. Those are the people who are not really your friends.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:21 AM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you're wondering what to say you can always use the old bartenders' last-call standby, "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here." Good luck!
posted by MsMolly at 7:39 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are any of these people homeless? or do they just like being at your house. If somebody's couch-surfing and really needs a place to sleep, they should be doing work around the house in exchange. Otherwise, this is an excellent opportunity to learn how to set boundaries and deal with confrontation, which are extremely useful skills all throughout life.

Gentlemen, the house is shutting down. It's time for everybody to head home. *jokes, ignoring, etc.*
No, really, the house is shutting down. It's time for everybody to head home.
repeat as needed.
If you have people at your house who would need a police escort to leave, this is pretty dire, and you should ask your Dad, brothers and/or a trusted friend to help. You're doing quite well for a 17 year old whose Dad is not paying attention in this matter.
posted by theora55 at 8:27 AM on December 23, 2009


Beforehand: "We'll have to finish up by 10:30 though" (if they ask for explanation: "I need to get more sleep and it's really not a good idea to have people hanging around without anyone who lives there")

Around 9:45: "Wow guys, it's almost 10 already."

Around 10:15: "Alright, time to start wrapping up..." and start with the putting away. More direct kicking-out is totally acceptable too - I feel like "putting things away" is a good "get out of here" signal, but so is going to bed. At least putting things away forces everyone into a different mindset, so they're less likely to just continue what they were doing - it forces a moment of reflection when people can notice that discomfort they're probably feeling about the idea of fighting back after you've said the night is over.

Also, at any point during the night if you don't think there's enough time to finish what you're starting by 10:15, say "Oh, I don't think there's time for (whatever)... Let's do something we have time to finish instead".

Repetition is key, especially early on, and it helps manage expectations to keep them aware of how much time is remaining. It's less disappointing to realize you can't start another major dungeon than it is to be told you have to leave in the middle of it, and it will generate much less resistance.
posted by Lady Li at 12:23 AM on December 24, 2009


I think it would be really useful to tell your friends BEFORE THEY COME OVER that they will have to leave at a certain time - if that's not possible, at least early in the evening. "Hey guys, you all have to get out of here at sundown tonight, so plan accordingly" etc.
posted by rebent at 11:55 AM on December 24, 2009


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