How to deal with friend that invites others along?
July 23, 2014 4:09 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend i've known for almost 6 years now and recently we started taking weekend trips to a comic convention every March since we only see each other twice a year. She's invited someone she's friends with and her 3 year old daughter to come with us, i've never met her and i really don't want to spend my weekend with someone's fussy 3 year old. How do you handle something like this?

The convention isn't until March so she very well could changer her mind about the whole thing or something could come up but my friend seems pretty certain she's going to go with us.

If someone new comes into the picture i can't be myself around them until i get to know them, so i probably will be really quiet the whole time if she comes. I don't want to be at the convention, her daughter get fussy, tired, and bored after an hour and want to leave. She probably goes to bed early too, we don't and what if she can't sleep because she's somewhere new?

I just don't know how to deal with all of this. My brain keeps wondering what if this happens, or what if this. Maybe i'm being mean about all this but, i did book the hotel and got everything all set so we'd have one close enough to the convention and maybe it's because i don't have my own kid but i guess i don't understand why you'd bring a 3 year old to a comic con.
posted by earthquakeglue to Human Relations (84 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Did you book the hotel knowing this person was coming along and now you're changing your mind, or did you book the hotel not knowing this person was coming and now your friend is changing the situation?
posted by jacquilynne at 4:13 PM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd ask her where her friend plans on staying.

On preview, jacquilynne's question is a good one - I read it as you'd booked it for two people.
posted by winna at 4:15 PM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I booked the hotel before i knew her friend was coming at the beginning of June so i only booked it for the two of us. I don't know if hotels frown on bringing in more people then you said or not..
posted by earthquakeglue at 4:19 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

3 year olds can't be left home alone and it's pretty expensive to hire people to watch them for a weekend. Are you sure she could afford to leave the child behind?

Is the other person coming to care for the child?
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:20 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would rather sit at home in the dark staring at the wall for 3 days in a pool of my own filth than have to deal with an unknown (or known, tbh) toddler at a fancon weekend, especially if I was expected to share a room with them.

If they plan to all shove into the room that was originally booked for you and your friend, I would tell the friend that she and her friend and her friend's child can share the room you've already booked (and split the cost between the 2 of them) and get your own single room, if you can afford it. Otherwise I would just cancel because this sounds agonizing.
posted by elizardbits at 4:22 PM on July 23, 2014 [43 favorites]

Is the other person coming to care for the child?

The other person is the child's parent.
posted by elizardbits at 4:23 PM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Are you saying that you're going to be staying in the same room with a 3-year-old? Because that would be a total dealbreaker for me, and I am a parent and I generally think 3-year-olds are charming.

If you have separate rooms, it doesn't really matter when the kid goes to bed. Part of the deal of being the parent going on a trip with a kid is realizing that you may not be able to do all the things that everyone else is doing. You may have to leave things earlier, and you won't be able to stay up late and party. As long as expectations are clear that you and your friend won't be working around the kid's schedule and preferences, it may not be a big deal.

But expecting someone to share a hotel room at con with a small child they have never met is crazy, and you should not feel bad about setting a reasonable boundary and saying no to that. Especially if the group is expected to hew to the activity and bedtime needs of the child.
posted by jeoc at 4:26 PM on July 23, 2014 [31 favorites]

Yeah, you can't be expected to add a person and their toddler to your hotel room. So that gives you an out for the actual lodging.

As for the con, have you asked what the parent and child are going to do while you're there? Have you talked about it with your friend ("I'm concerned that she'll get bored and want to leave"). Perhaps your friend will reassure you that if/when the child gets fussy, it will be the parent's problem, not yours.

If your friend pushes back in any way (even if she's just rationalizing) I'd just cancel. It was a little presumptuous of her to invite this person and her kid along without asking.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 4:27 PM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

ah, sorry, reading comprehension. The point still stands about why she would bring the child - it's pretty hard to leave your child behind unless you have money to burn or family nearby.

They won't be able to stay in your hotel room, that's all. Hotels don't allow you to bring extra people without paying for them, in most cases, and it doesn't make sense for two other adults to stay in a room with a mom and a 3 year old.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:28 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would definitely want to cancel if I had to spend a weekend in a hotel room with two strangers, regardless of the age of one of them. I think it's weird and mean that your friend arranged this without checking first. Are you sure the +2 are planning to stay in your room?

Looks like it's going to be a long assertiveness lecture here, but they're all correct. This doesn't seem workable for you and you should tell your friend so now when the others can still make their own housing arrangements.
posted by parkerjackson at 4:29 PM on July 23, 2014

I'd be frank about this. Tell your friend that you only get to see one another a couple of times a year and that you really value your time with her. Explain that you're sure her friend is lovely and the kiddo is cute, but that having additional people around changes the dynamic considerably, and you don't get the same kind of one-on-one time with one another. Tell her that if she wants to put together some other kind of group trip with a larger amount of friends at another time of year, you'd be down for that, but that you'd prefer that your friends trips stay a twosome.

As for this specific situation as it stands now, I also don't think that a 3 year old will be happy for long at a comic con. They're crowded, very (over)stimulating, and probably not super interesting for a kid that age after the initial colors and costumes fascination wears off. Not to mention that gory costumes could really freak a kid out. At a minimum, tell friend that you think it would be best to have additional friend and kiddo get their own room so that things like nap times and early bedtimes don't hamstring your adult hang-out time. Ideally, this wouldn't be a trip that's constructed around the needs of the toddler, but instead one where additional friend and toddler can hang out for what makes sense and retreat to their own plans and space for toddler needs.
posted by quince at 4:29 PM on July 23, 2014 [15 favorites]

With your update, this is way out of line. Hotels DO in fact frown on bringing more people than you originally stated.

But aside from that, this is a totally unreasonable thing to ask and you should say no.
posted by jeoc at 4:30 PM on July 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

Have you discussed that the friend & daughter are staying in the same room? Because I would think the automatic assumption is that they are not. And again, if the daughter gets fussy after an hour and wants to leave, the automatic assumption would be that the friend and the daughter would leave, and you and your friend would not. Are these actually conversations you've had?

I think it's perfectly fair for you to decide you're OK with meeting up with this friend at the conference, but you're not OK sharing a hotel with a toddler, and that they would handle their own transportation if need be, and all that, but you will need to have that conversation.
posted by brainmouse at 4:31 PM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh and yes, in my experience hotels will absolutely charge you more for more people staying in the room.
posted by elizardbits at 4:31 PM on July 23, 2014

Yeah, this is a deal breaker in my opinion, and you need to have an honest heart-to-heart with your friend to that effect. This is your trip as much as it is his, and you two need to agree together if you are going to invite anyone else to join you. Otherwise, he can do his own damn trip. And I say this as a father of two wonderful and amazing kids.

My wife and I did a backpacking trip a number of years ago, and the group was all close friends. One of the friends invited his former manager (?!) to come along because -- well, it doesn't really matter why, but he invited her without asking any of the rest of us, and then he backed out of going. But his former manager still insisted on coming along, and without him as a minder/go-between/babysitter, she all but wrecked the trip for the rest of us. So in my own personal experience you are well within your rights to say, "No, that won't work for me."
posted by mosk at 4:31 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have trouble imagining any sizable group of people would think you mean for booking a room for 2 adults and then not being happy with the addition of one more and a young child. This would be totally bogus in my circle, the kid-less and kidded both. I agree with winna's reply: ask your friend where her friend is staying, 'cause it shouldn't be with you.
posted by dness2 at 4:32 PM on July 23, 2014

Response by poster: To answer everyone's question so far yes, my friend thinks everyone is going to stay in that one room so they can split the cost. I don't know why she thinks hotels would be okay with bringing in more people but she does. The hotel we're staying at (The Double Tree) seems really nice i just don't think they'd want us bringing in more people and i don't have the money to pay extra for more people. But i was planning on replying to her email either tonight or tomorrow so i'll bring all this up then.
posted by earthquakeglue at 4:36 PM on July 23, 2014

It depends on exactly what you're against.

But you can absolutely say that the FoaF and her kid will need to have their own hotel room and transportation to the con. This can be of the form "It will be neat to meet FoaF and Kid, but I'm not comfortable sharing a hotel room with them, so they need to get their own hotel room. And since I know I have more staying power at a con than a toddler does, they'll need to get their own car to get to and from the con." (If you typically walk, taxi, bus etc to the con, leave off the stuff about cars.)
posted by jeather at 4:38 PM on July 23, 2014

To address specifically the issue of your friend inviting a friend, I do think it's inappropriate. It sounds like this is a special time for the two of you to spend together. I would be hurt, in your position. However, the issue of the 3 year old might actually help make it OK, assuming they will not be staying in the room with you (because they clearly can't stay in the room with you!). Reason being, 3 year olds just can't spend a day at a comic con. They can't, they won't, and it wouldn't be fun for a mom to try to make them do it. So my guess is that she'll actually be taking the child off to do other toddler-friendly activities during most of the time (and that the child will go to bed around 6-7pm, and the mom will be stuck in the hotel room babysitting for the rest of the night).

This practically means that you'll be spending most of the weekend alone with your friend. But I think you need to know a little more about what's going to happen, expressing very reasonable concerns about what the mom's plan is for when the toddler doesn't want to stay anymore (because the comic con won't be toddler friendly) and when the toddler will go to bed, maybe pointing out that she'll be left out of dinner because she'll have to supervise in their hotel room (which of course you don't really care about, but you'll be asking to make sure this is the case). This would be to ensure that your friend wouldn't expect that you two would also leave the convention when the toddler wants to leave, and that the toddler isn't one of those toddlers who actually is allowed to stay up until all hours of the night and goes out to bars with its parents. Because if I were you in that situation, I'd just tell your friend that you're sorry, it doesn't sound like you're going to be able to make it to the convention this year.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:39 PM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

If it is a double room, aka two queen beds in one room, then occupancy up to 4 people is usually okay by hotels in general. This is a common room sharing arrangement between young adults going to comic cons, to save money. That said, it will absolutely cost more to have 4 people in the room, even if they think they have successfully sneaked in.
posted by elizardbits at 4:39 PM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Call the Doubletree reservation line and ask how much they charge per person, per room. Ask if they allow 3 adults and one child in that room. If so, get the cost. Most likely, the price you got was double occupancy (2 people), with 2 double beds.

Then you have to lay out that you don't want to share a room with a 3rd adult and a child. Can you afford your own room? If so, book yourself a room and tell your friend she can split that one with her friend and child.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:40 PM on July 23, 2014

With your update, I'd make it clear that there will be no room sharing with extra friend and toddler. The cost savings are not worth having a weekend dictated by a toddler's needs. I'm pretty shocked that 1) your friend though it would be ok to invite them along without consulting you and 2) that they think that staying in a room with a toddler should be a given. Don't muddy the waters by pretending that it's the hotel's rules you're concerned with. Be clear that a toddler has lots of needs that require separate lodging. Period.
posted by quince at 4:41 PM on July 23, 2014 [38 favorites]

As per your follow up, your friend is being incredibly dense. Inviting surprise tagalongs is bad enough, but expecting adults to happily play roomies with a toddler they don't even know? Please. You have my permission (if you care) to wonder what she is thinking if you want, but it comes with the admonishment to still say a flat no. Your hotel room is not a crash pad or hostel, especially not for strangers with children.
posted by dness2 at 4:44 PM on July 23, 2014 [11 favorites]

Can you call instead of email? Because tone can go really wrong in an email and I wonder if the lack of tone in your communication so far has contributed to the problem. If the conversation had happened over the phone instead of an email she probably would have realised from your reaction that what she was asking for was outside your expectations.

I have kids, I have brought them to cons, I like being around other people's kids. This, however, in not appropriate behaviour on your friend's part so don't feel you are weird for having normal expectations.
posted by saucysault at 4:45 PM on July 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I wouldn't blame the hotel. Sometimes with conferences, they do enforce an "extra person" fee up to 4 people, but most hotels don't do that anymore. You should call and confirm the additional fee if you must go this route. I think it's perfectly reasonable (and not child-hating at all) to refuse to share with the mom and kid.
posted by parkerjackson at 4:47 PM on July 23, 2014

I'd bail so fast it would make your head spin.

"Dahlia, you know I think you're a hoot, and I love our Fancon weekends together, but there's no way I'm sharing a room with three other people. I don't know your friend Cornelia and I don't want to have a kid in my room. If your friend wants to tag along and get her own room, I could probably deal with it, but it won't be as fun because I'll be self-conscious around a new person. I value you as a friend but this is really a lot to ask."

Honestly, that's a lot of chutzpah there. So rather than have your own bed, you'd have to share? Fuck that noise.

Also, I got roped into this once, and it will never happen again.

Two of my friends and I were going to a wedding in Islamorada. I reserved a room for myself. The other two friends asked if they could join. I wanted to be nice, so I said yes. Then they each brought their kids. Michi, I've known and adore and I wouldn't have been fussed, it was Natalie, the obnoxious spoiled brat that made it unbearable.

So we watched cartoons in the afternoon, and put up with a temper tantrum because no one wanted to swim in the rain. Then she sat around and said, "I'm the cutest of ALL of you!" Her mother Evelyn thought it was cute.

So we go to the wedding and we eat and drink and dance. Evelyn wants to stay at the party and would we mind very much if we took Natalie back to the room? So the rest of us went back to the room and the kid continued to be obnoxious. Finally she falls asleep. Great. Evelyn comes back at around 3:30 AM with some other chick who's too drunk to drive and who was probably going to be gang raped if she hung out any longer. That chick pukes all over the bathroom and passes out. Evelyn makes a half-assed effort to clean it up, and then SHE passes out.

Did I mention that I slept on the floor so each mom and kid could have a bed? Yeah. That.

So the cherry on the shit sundae, that's the part where we split the cost of the room 3 ways, and not 5. That also went for the breakfast check, where everyone was charged the same. I sucked it up and learned a lesson.


Seriously, there are so many reasons this will go wrong, SO MANY!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:55 PM on July 23, 2014 [57 favorites]

The hotel is unlikely to charge you extra. But I wouldn't let them stay in my room. Put your foot down.
posted by interplanetjanet at 5:00 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a three year old. I love him to bits. When we travel, we swallow hard and pay for a suite, or an adjoining room, because sleeping in the same room as him is simply impossible. There is no way on this green Earth that it is appropriate to bring a stranger AND their three year old child into a shared hotel room without consulting you. You need to have a frank conversation with your friend that this is not what you signed up for. It's a pretty shitty thing for your friend to have done, and I'm kind of pissed off on your behalf.
posted by ambrosia at 5:08 PM on July 23, 2014 [17 favorites]

Ha, I don't even want to share a room with my own toddler, much less someone else's! No way, no day would I be agreeing to this. I would laugh, like you thought they were kidding, and give them the number of the hotel so they can arrange their own accommodation. What an absolute nerve expecting to cram three extra people into your room, a child to boot.
posted by Jubey at 5:13 PM on July 23, 2014 [13 favorites]

Yeah, okay, I wanted to give them benefit of the doubt because that's such a ridiculous request. Please say you are not comfortable staying in a hotel room with a stranger and her toddler, and they will need to find another plan. There is absolutely nothing wrong or rude or inappropriate or bad with you making that decision and letting them know.
posted by brainmouse at 5:15 PM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

There's no way this won't be a sh*tshow. Just from the information you've shared with us, it's clear that your friend and her friend both lack basic common sense and courtesy; the whole thing will only get worse if you let this happen.

I'd ease into it by calling her up and asking "so how did it come about that Phyllis wanted to come?" and let her talk so you can get a sense of what on earth happened here. Maybe she will explain that she didn't know how to say no or something, and you can explain to her exactly how and why to say no. In any case, it's a conversation that should happen on the phone, not by email.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:29 PM on July 23, 2014 [9 favorites]

Another vote for saying to your friend that you're already uncomfortable with the idea of staying in the room with her kid and friend too. Would she please book her own room for her kid and friend?

And then hopefully she'll feel guilty and consider changing her plans. Or not, but at least your discomfort is dealt with early on.
posted by lizbunny at 5:33 PM on July 23, 2014

I will also add to my opinion that when you say no, to stick to no even if your friend says that her friend won't bring her kid. Because she will anyway, and then you will be feeling like Ruthless Bunny. Stick to the message that you will only share a room with one other adult and you hope it's her like you planned.
posted by dness2 at 5:35 PM on July 23, 2014 [11 favorites]

I think fingersandtoes might have the best approach here -- talk to your friend (rather than email or text) so you can hear the sound of her voice and understand how this ended up happening.

Is she kinda peeved that her friend invited herself and her damn 3 year old along and just can't say no?

In that case, magnanimously offer to be the bad guy. I mean, who cares if this friend of a friend who you'll never meet unless you agree to this bullshit hates you? She can tell her friend that she talked to you, and you said no and since the room is in your name, what can she do, shrug. Sorry.

Is she super-thrilled that her friend can come and bring the 3 year old and just isn't thinking through the consequences of inviting a 3 year old to a con, or sharing a room with 3 adults and a 3 year old?

Then you need to make it clear that you aren't able to share your room and conference experience with a stranger and a 3 year old, and that while you'd be okay with meeting up with them during the con if they get their own room, it's really not possible for them to stay in the room you've already booked. You're not comfortable with strangers, and you can't share a room with a three year old given the schedule of a con.

Don't blame the hotel, because if it's a double room, that would be fine with at most a minor up-charge from the hotel for the extra people.

Reiterate a lot how excited you are to see her and to attend the con, but that you just can't share with these extra people.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:45 PM on July 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

If I were in your situation, I would be dreading the trip. I think it would have been rude to invite another friend, period, without consulting you, but to invite that friend + their young child to share the room is kind of ridiculous. It sounds like this invite just happened, so it's best to nip it in the bud now.

The hotel might object or charge you a fee, but I wouldn't use that as a cover for your true feelings. I would just say to my friend, "I really don't feel comfortable sharing a room with Friend 2 and her child. This trip is my time to cut loose and hang out with you, and the things that I want from this trip are probably going to be incompatible with sharing a room with Friend's Kid. I think the hotel still has rooms, though, so Friend 2 can book a room for her and Kid and we can spend time with them whenever it works with the things they want to do on the trip."

I agree with dness2 and jacquilynne that you should stick to your guns about it being just you and your friend in the room. This is not an inappropriate boundary to set.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 5:46 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Where will your friend and her daughter be staying? There is not enough space in this room for all of us."

There is a chance your friend will back out in order to grab a different room with her friend and toddler (I personally think 3 year olds are quite nifty, but this is totally bad behaviour on the part of your friend). There is nothing much you can do about this, and your friend owns this, including whatever fallout there is.

However, there is not much you can really do if your friend stiffs you for the room deposit, or decides to get mad at you because you won't bend over backwards to cram four people into a two-person room.

The best way to approach the situation is to be frank: "I will feel uncomfortable sharing a room with 3 other people. There is not enough space, and on top of that I won't really enjoy myself because I don't know these people very well. They need to find their own hotel room. Let me know what their decision is."

Like I said, this is an irritating situation (an uninvited guest), and your friend owns it. There is nothing you can do to make the situation less irritating; several of your choices can only make the situation more irritating (accommodating your friend's insensitive request).
posted by KokuRyu at 5:49 PM on July 23, 2014

You need to lay down the rules with your friend, she has overstepped the mark to include a 3 yo in your accommodation without asking first. It is likely she doesn't understand the requirements of a three year old (forgive me if I am wrong). Bottom line is, three year olds are high demand, and it is unreasonable for your friend to think you should all be sharing a room.

Also you need to phone your friend about this (don't email) to get an accurate picture of what is going on here. At this stage you don't know what was offered to the mum or the "arrangement" between your friend and the mum for the weekend. Otherwise you might wind up with a situation like Ruthless Bunny had, where you end up babysitting, as the mum sees the trip as an opportunity to get crazy while she has a helping hand there. You might also end up in a situation with a very upset mother (and child) who didn't understand what the weekend was about in the first place due to lack of information from your friend, whereby the needs and requirements of her toddler ruin everyones time there (including the mum and toddlers).

Assume the best of them, that they are lovely people, and deal with this in a way where you want everyone to have a comfortable and enjoyable weekend. This means no sharing of the room. If you all end up going it will probably involve you meeting up with them at some stage during the event but chances are it will be for just a short time here or there, possibly a lunch or breakfast and certainly not at any point during the evenings. I'm sure there are other more suitable activities the mum will want to take the kid to, and you can ask your friend directly what all of their plans are for the duration of the trip.
posted by Under the Sea at 6:00 PM on July 23, 2014

I think that everyone is in agreement that you are in the right to ask where the friend will be staying with the 3 year old. You are under no social obligation to share a hotel room with a stranger's toddler. I'm a mother of 3. I love children. I even love other people's children and I still would not do it. Toddlers go from sweet to awful in unpredictable cycles. They don't sleep when you want them to sleep and they get into everything, including your favorite lotion. Also, I would not bring a toddler to a comic convention. People in costumes freak small children out. The whole plan is insanity.

A polite out-

Hey, I'm really not comfortable with sharing a hotel room with someone that I have never met and their small child. I'm sure they are perfectly lovely people and maybe we could all get together some time soon for a more kid friendly event (you are bullshitting here, you will never, actually have to do this)? I'm still excited about going to Comic Con and sharing a space with you but I understand if you would rather share space with a cute toddler (once again, you are full of shit here and that is okay). Please let me know if you still want to come with me or not as soon as you know so that I can make adjustments as needed. Hope to see you!
posted by myselfasme at 6:03 PM on July 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

To answer everyone's question so far yes, my friend thinks everyone is going to stay in that one room so they can split the cost.

hahahaha holy shit oh god no

Suggest they share (and pay for) the room you've already booked, and get your own.

Speaking as a parent of a six year old, I can't really imagine proposing that to another person, let alone two people.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:07 PM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Is it at all possible that your friend just naively assumed you'd all room together and the mom didn't even suggest/want that? Maybe mom would be horrified to know that your friend was trying to stuff them into your hotel room. I'm trying to give your friend the benefit of the doubt and hope she is just a dope, because this is so incredibly insane that I refuse to believe someone--a friend--would knowingly foist this situation on you.
posted by gatorae at 6:08 PM on July 23, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I really appreciate all your helpful answers so far. I'm honestly not sure what she was thinking. I'm not sure if she just didn't think this all the way through or if she really thinks this will work. Nonetheless i'll talk to her and try and get some answers out of her.
posted by earthquakeglue at 6:20 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Suggest they share (and pay for) the room you've already booked, and get your own.

Disclaimer: I'm a jerk.

Why on earth should the OP have to book another room when none of this is her fault? I'd tell them to get another room and if they can't that is their problem.
posted by winna at 6:25 PM on July 23, 2014 [6 favorites]

Yeah but then OP has to pay for a double room on their own instead of having a presumably less expensive single room.
posted by elizardbits at 6:47 PM on July 23, 2014

That is absolutely insane. I don't know what your friend is thinking, not to mention your friend's friend. I have an almost-3-year-old, and I would not dream of having her share a room with random other adults. (It's hard enough when her father and I have to share a room with her!)

That being said, I think it could be reasonable if the friend of a friend stayed in a separate hotel room with the child. Obviously not ideal for you, but at least the child's parent would be doing her own thing and going back to the hotel early and looking after her.
posted by barnoley at 7:00 PM on July 23, 2014

If practical budget-wise, I'd propose splitting the cost of two rooms three ways (133% of planned cost).

This seems to me like the best friendship-preserving option. I'd still be legitimately annoyed, but the extra cost split three ways seems relatively small. For a relationship I cared less about, or if this generous compromise wasn't accepted, I'd either abandon the trip or get my own room elsewhere.
posted by pseudonick at 7:06 PM on July 23, 2014

Response by poster: I can't pay for half of a second room, that's too much money.
posted by earthquakeglue at 7:11 PM on July 23, 2014

Jesus, don't pay a cent more for anything!

What your friend has done is nuts, and rude. I'm willing to accept that she is normally polite and not nuts, but in this case, she was. There is no way it is normal to just unilaterally invite a second person and her toddler to share a hotel room with another adult!

I'm with fingersandtoes - call her up and ask her what gives. Forget lying about the hotel policies, it's irrelevant. Just say that you don't want to share with an extra person you don't know plus a kid, that you won't get enough rest or enjoy the Con that way, and that the friend needs to book her own room.

This doesn't need to be a big deal, and if your friend makes it one (as opposed to being embarrassed for being so thoughtless), then you'll have learned something useful about her.
posted by Salamander at 7:17 PM on July 23, 2014 [8 favorites]

I can't pay for half of a second room, that's too much money.

That is totally understandable. "I really look forward to comiccon with you, and I'd like to meet your friend, but I'd be really uncomfortable staying in the room with two strangers. Can they make their own hotel arrangements?"

Minor point, you wouldn't need to pay for half of the second room, only 1/3 of the second room. So if rooms were 200, you expected to pay 200/2=100. If you got two rooms you'd pay (2*200)/3=133.
posted by pseudonick at 7:38 PM on July 23, 2014

No, there is no paying for part of another room for total strangers, what, why on earth? what? no, not allowed, good day sir

this is almost a wicker man situation frankly
posted by elizardbits at 7:51 PM on July 23, 2014 [34 favorites]

Minor point, you wouldn't need to pay for half of the second room, only 1/3 of the second room.

The OP is under no obligation to pay for any part of this stranger's room. I would not get into splitting the cost of two rooms any number of ways, as it implies that the two rooms are going to be shared between the three adults, which would imply there's some reason (babysitting!) that the OP would be in the stranger's room some of the time and that the stranger could be in the OP's room.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned here at all is what the travel arrangements are. OP, if you are traveling separately from your friend it doesn't really matter, but otherwise consider if you will be flying/driving/etc with a 3 year old in tow.

You need to talk to your friend and find out more about what's going on. Maybe their friend would be happy to get their own room and mainly wants company for the traveling part. If you are going to be traveling separately, this might be a barely noticeable change in plans. Find out if the mom is even planning to attend the comic convention with the 3 year old, and if so find out if they will be expecting your friend to hang out with them all day.

You might also want to ask if the mom is familiar with comic conventions, it's possible that they have horribly misunderstood things and think it's going to be the sort of event designed to be wonderful for 3 year olds.

If there's still some sort of push to put you in a vacation situation you don't want, say "I don't want this sort of vacation" and "that won't be possible" a lot. Be prepared to cancel the room if you really don't want to go, and do cancel it, don't try to have them use the room and pay you back.
posted by yohko at 7:57 PM on July 23, 2014 [14 favorites]

I think you have gotten really good advice and I do not think you need any more reasons for why you do not want to do this, but just in case I have one more for you. It is true many, many parents give their three-year-olds 5:00pm dinners and 7:00pm bedtimes and snacks and don't overstimulate them by going for hours at a time to large events, and I am one of them.

However, it is not unusual to see a young toddler still out and about much, much later, in say Las Vegas, or swimming in the hotel pool at 10:00pm. Do not assume that accompanying toddler might not be around much, I have seen some crazy things in the past few years. It has boggled my mind when we call my sister-in-law and her child is still up hours after ours are asleep. If your friend tries to convince you it will be no big deal or that the toddler won't be around much - DO NOT LISTEN, because you just never know. Epic meltdowns might be in your future. Or just, you know, whining and fussing and uncomfortable situations, at any rate, stick to your guns. Note: Not a toddler-ist.
posted by dawg-proud at 9:14 PM on July 23, 2014 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: yohko: We're driving separately as my friend lives 4 hours away from me so we're just meeting at the hotel like we did this past year.

I know they have a convention there where they live in the spring and her friend and the 3 year old go with her to that but i think it's only a day long. So i'm not sure if she's ever been to one that lasted all weekend before or not.

I guess i'll try and be nice about it at first and if that doesn't work i'll just have to put my foot down.
posted by earthquakeglue at 9:46 PM on July 23, 2014

I guess i'll try and be nice about it at first and if that doesn't work i'll just have to put my foot down.

I'm not totally sure what you mean but just wanted to reiterate some of the good advice from above: your best bet is to be very clear and explicit about what your boundaries and needs are from the get-go. The sooner the better, if the hotel is likely to sellout.
posted by JenMarie at 10:28 PM on July 23, 2014 [15 favorites]

I guess i'll try and be nice about it at first and if that doesn't work i'll just have to put my foot down.

Putting your foot down is being nice, especially (as JenMarie notes) that time is of the essence, and other arrangements will need to be made. Of course, you don't have to be angry or point fingers or accuse your friend of being rude or not thinking this through; you just need to state your position clearly. You can still remain pleasant and polite while you do it.
posted by scody at 10:48 PM on July 23, 2014 [19 favorites]

The situation your friend is trying to put you in is making my chest hurt with "Oh god no." and I have a kid. On no planet would I share a hotel room with someone and their 3 year old, especially if I don't know them. That is just nuts. The child WILL have to go to bed earlier and will probably need naps and that absolutely WILL affect what you can and cannot do in your room in the evenings. Hell, it will probably affect how much time you get to spend at Comicon. AT the very least having a 3 year old there will dramatically change the tone and nature of your weekend. If the kid is a light sleeper you'd be fucked. Seriously. The child would very possibly have a bad night's sleep because there are 3 other adults in there, moving around and existing and (god forbid) talking, so then you run the risk of having a very over tired, grouchy kid the next day. As a parent I wouldn't do that to my kid, nor would I want to impose so hugely on someone else. My kid is 7 and sleeps through everything, but I STILL would never do this. I'm just sort of floored that this has even come up. And I agree that comicon is not the sort of place I'd want to bring a 3 year old. Jesus.

Tell your friend in no uncertain terms this is not a situation you're willing to have happen, that you will NOT be sharing your room with someone you've never met and their child, nor do you have any interest in having to share your bed. Her friend can come if she insists but they will need to get their own room. But even so you frankly you'd prefer if it was just the two of you for the weekend because you only see each other twice a year and this is supposed to be sort of special you two time.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 5:58 AM on July 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

I ran into a similar situation last weekend actually. In this case, the child was older (6-7 years old). I knew the mother and she was asking to share a room with us and said she'd be bringing her kid. I consulted the other two ladies sharing the room with me (who know neither this woman nor her child) and they were not okay with sharing with someone else's kid in a room with one bed and a sofa bed.

I was the one who had to tell her "Sorry, you and your kid can't stay with us. There just isn't enough room." I gathered from her reply that she was annoyed that we said no and I did feel bad about her not being included (all other rooms were booked), but I definitely made the right decision. We had a fantastic weekend, drank lots of wine, and were chatting into the wee hours. That would not have been possible with a child there. Had we said yes, we definitely wouldn't have had as good a time and I think we would have been resentful of the child being there, no matter how well behaved she was. And that likely would have tainted what was a kickass weekend.

Just say no OP. And please let us know how it works out.
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:06 AM on July 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

In any case, if you were to split a room with a stranger and a baby and the original friend, you should only have to pay for 25% of the room. You would only be getting half of one of the beds. Assuming the mom brings a normal amount of toddler stuff, you'd probably only be getting 2% of the actual room in the end. (I love children. I have three children. They have lots of crap.) But do not do this.

(You could also say you would love to have them but you were planning to have all the space of your half of the room because of the enormous 7 foot wide papier mâché Game of Thrones Dragon costume you are currently making for the con. Or whatever you're into, so long as it's very large. I'd consider making and wearing such a costume to get out of staying in a hotel room with strangers. I am a little afraid of confrontation. Your dragon costume would tragically fall apart right before the con, of course.)
posted by artychoke at 11:35 AM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: artychoke: I'm afraid of confrontation too, probably why i feel like i'm beating around the bush when i talked to her earlier.

When i talked to her a little earlier she said they would be staying with us in the same room if that's okay. She then went on to say how quiet the 3 year old was and that once she fell asleep she wouldn't wake up, and that she went all day at the last convention they went to(but that only lasted from 10-6). She said the mom was trying to get her off of naps so she'd sleep longer at night without waking anyone. I tried explaining to her that most toddlers are going to get fussy and we won't be able to get very loud if she's sleeping or something. She said she was going to ask the other girl if she wanted her own room and get back to me. Either way i still don't think she's listening very clearly, or she's listening but just isn't hearing me. I think i just need to talk to her again and just tell her i can't stay in a room with a toddler the end.

You'd think after knowing me for 6 years she'd realize not to randomly invite people unless i've met them before and i'm comfortable with them. I guess she keeps doing it because i never got upset over it until now.
posted by earthquakeglue at 11:51 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

She said the mom was trying to get her off of naps so she'd sleep longer at night without waking anyone.

Oh lord no.

So in addition to being saddled with a toddler, you're going to be saddled with a cranky, sleep-deprived toddler?

You are going to have to put your foot down and tell your friend that no, it's not okay with you that they stay in your room because she's clearly not listening and not thinking about how this is going to work.
posted by winna at 12:07 PM on July 24, 2014 [9 favorites]

You need to somehow say no, you are not okay with that. You can either risk making your friend mad by saying absolutely not or risk continuing to let your friend call the shots and then end up hating said friend because she assumes you are fine with bringing her obnoxious kid to school every day because you didn't say no three years ago. As a totally theoretical example. Me, I'd probably end up in a dragon costume babysitting a stranger's three year old. Learn from my mistakes... Maybe write "Do not be an artychoke!!" big on a piece of paper and stare at it when you're on the phone.
posted by artychoke at 12:24 PM on July 24, 2014 [7 favorites]

I think next time you really need to lay down the law. When she said "They would be staying with us in the same room if that's ok" that was your opportunity to say "No. I'm sorry. It's not ok." Instead you just used half answers and tried to meekly respond to her (in my opinion totally unreasonable) prediction about how a toddler (yeah, they're TOTALLY predictable) will behave. She's clearly the pushier one in this situation, and will keep being all "No, but quiet toddler. No, but will sleep all night. No, not fussy, totally fine, no worries, k bye!!!"

I understand how you feel, I dread confrontation so much too. Even reading the instructions I'm giving you freak me out. But this is a situation that could very easily ruin this big trip for you if you don't speak up, and then you'll be extremely resentful, not only against the uninvited guest and her child, but your friend. It's worth saying something just to save the friendship.
posted by dithmer at 12:25 PM on July 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

No amount of not sticking up for yourself is going to make this right.
Tell your thick and inconsiderate friend that the answer is no and the discussion is over.
posted by whuppy at 12:29 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your friend is being sneaky aggressive about this. Asking if it's ok and not listening to the answer, trying to explain your concerns away, saying she'll ask the other girl want she wants as if this matters. She's making you feel like the bad person by saying no when she has no standing to even ask. If she is lovely in other ways, you can choose to overlook this but for your own dignity you need to recognize the lousy position she is putting you in and the bad character trait this reveals. You cannot be "nice" with this friend in conflict situations (because she doesn't hear you). It goes against your nature, but you simply must be strong and firm and not let her bully over you. Sucks to be her if it's so complicated, but it was an unreasonable idea in the first place. Trust your instincts on that.
posted by dness2 at 12:38 PM on July 24, 2014 [7 favorites]

Don't wait for her to get back to you. Call her or text and say, "I've thought some more about this and I think your friend should definitely get her own room. I'm not ready to share our room with someone I don't know and a toddler."
posted by quince at 1:06 PM on July 24, 2014 [10 favorites]

I wasn't going to comment because so many people have said what needs to be said, but since you're having a hard time being firm, maybe one more voice will help: this is a bad idea and you need to put your foot down, no wishy-washy sidestepping that could be misinterpreted. Like artychoke said, "You need to somehow say no, you are not okay with that."
posted by languagehat at 1:25 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I tried explaining to her that most toddlers are going to get fussy and we won't be able to get very loud if she's sleeping or something. She said she was going to ask the other girl if she wanted her own room and get back to me.

Two points:

1. Whether or not your friend is convinced that toddlers can get fussy, etc. is irrelevant. You know that toddlers will get fussy, etc., which is why the only relevant point is that you don't want to share the room with a third adult and a toddler.

2. The decision does not hinge on what the other woman wants; it hinges on what you want. And you do not want to share the room with a third adult and a toddler.

At best, your friend is being totally clueless about understanding your boundaries and preferences. At worst, she understands your boundaries and preferences, but is passive-aggressively disregarding them. You have to defend them, because either way, she won't.
posted by scody at 1:44 PM on July 24, 2014 [13 favorites]

You are not being mean. You've got nothing to regret. Your friend should regret agreeing to this/orchestrating this before consulting you, especially when YOU booked the hotel room.

And this "confrontation" is better to have calmly, over the phone, maybe even with a script, than at 2am in a hotel room where a toddler is trying to sleep and you're just trying to have a good time and you didn't pay for this bullshit and WHAT THE HELL ALREADY. Or, even worse: over and over in your head for months afterward, while no one else cares anymore.
posted by gnomeloaf at 1:45 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Even if you were wrong about toddlers being fussy -- either in general, or even about this one in particular -- you would be perfectly in the right for not wanting to share with one.
posted by jeather at 2:31 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

If she still insists on ignoring your preferences make sure that you cancel the booking if it's in your name, or ask the hotel to transfer it to her name and CC#, because what I really think is going to happen is that you will show up on the day of the comic con and they will act like it's all settled, you're all going to share the room and it's too late for anyone to reserve something new. Don't let them take advantage of your good nature.
posted by elizardbits at 3:02 PM on July 24, 2014 [9 favorites]

We're driving separately as my friend lives 4 hours away from me so we're just meeting at the hotel

When you let your friend know that you aren't going to share your room with mom and toddler, you might want to point out that friend can still visit with them on the drive and you don't have to all share a room for the three of them to travel together. (Unless this would be a problem for you for some reason, if it is you need to talk with your friend about that.)

Your friend will probably want to spend some time with mom and toddler at the convention, so it might still be a different sort of trip than you were expecting, but unless you were expecting your friend to avoid much interaction with other convention goers that might not make much difference. Think about if that will work for you.
posted by yohko at 3:24 PM on July 24, 2014

Unbelievable that your friend has taken your issues with this and decided that the other woman should get the say in whether or not YOU share YOUR room with her. You say you only see her a few times a year? Sounds like a few times too many... I gotta say if it were me, I would be cancelling altogether. If she's prioritising this other tag along woman and her kid before the trip even starts, are you really going to get any quality time with her anyway, and at this point, do you care?
posted by Jubey at 5:11 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I hate confrontation too. I do. But scody's right - you're not the one in the wrong here, your friend is.

When you talk to her again, remember: You've. Done. Nothing. Wrong.

People who violate social conventions (as this friend is doing) get away with it because polite people have no easy way to say, "What the hell?!?!". "What the hell?!?!" is not polite. So polite people try to work their way around to a polite "No." But the person who is violating social convention doesn't hear the polite "No", either because they can't (they don't recognize the polite No) or won't (they don't want to recognize the polite No because it's not convenient to them).

This means you really have two options:
1) Have the Ruthless Bunny Weekend from Hell, stranger/toddler edition. Potentially resent your friend for a really long time afterwards.
2) Be REALLY uncomfortable right now, but tell you're friend what you're really feeling. "I don't want to share a room with your friend and her toddler. I was really looking forward to spending this weekend with you and bonding with you, and I won't be able to do that with other people I don't know around. I'm really sad/disappointed/upset that you offered this invitation to your other friend without asking me."

Either way - your friend has put you in a bad position with bad feelings as a result. Cons are costly. I wouldn't pay to be at a con when I knew i had a really high chance of being miserable.

I have found, for me, in situations like this that being honest works out better in the long run. If people KNOW unequivocally what I want, we can have an honest conversation. Then I either can go to the con and know I will be spending money to enjoy myself (sans toddler) or that I can stay home and avoid spending money when I would have been miserable.

Oh, and I've had friends, when I say no to things like this, say things like, "Why are you making it a big deal?" or "Why are you causing drama?". You're not making a big deal, you're stating your boundary ("I do not want to room with a stranger and her kids, and I'm disappointed you invited them"). You're not making drama - if anyone did, she did by starting this whole conversation.

1) Don't let her put this on you. You're not being unreasonable and you're not creating drama.
2) The polite No probably won't work here, because she's being socially clueless, and the polite No only works in non-socially-clueless situations. You need to be more direct.

Good luck.
posted by RogueTech at 6:30 PM on July 24, 2014 [11 favorites]

Favoriting scody's follow-up so hard. This part especially:

2. The decision does not hinge on what the other woman wants; it hinges on what you want. And you do not want to share the room with a third adult and a toddler.

A therapist said to me once, "Who cares what they want? Decide what you want, and then nobody can manipulate you into doing otherwise."

I think that's very wise advice. Good luck! You need to step out of your comfort zone on this one, but the first time's the hardest, it gets easier with practice and then you'll have that skill for life. Huzzah!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:52 PM on July 24, 2014 [9 favorites]

I am, TBH, after your latest follow up, wondering whether you're even invited at all.

Maybe you're just supposed to pay a disproportionate share of the room and then drop out, leaving them to it.

Maybe that's not your plan but even with no ulterior motive they are still making you their bitch. I'd get fairly angry about that if I were you.
posted by tel3path at 8:00 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I am, TBH, after your latest follow up, wondering whether you're even invited at all.

Maybe you're just supposed to pay a disproportionate share of the room and then drop out, leaving them to it.

What? What ulterior motives?
posted by earthquakeglue at 8:10 PM on July 24, 2014

The MO of having you subsidize their costs for a hotel.
posted by tristeza at 9:00 PM on July 24, 2014 [7 favorites]

Loads of good posts on the inadvisability of sharing your room with a woman you barely know and her toddler, and how your friend has some nerve in just inviting them along without consulting you, AND expecting you to foot the bill for the room. Put your foot down and say NO.

On your follow-up, it sounds as if your friend is stonewalling you when you raise your concerns. This is not acceptable. If your friend gets pissy if you tell her you do not want to share a room with a stranger and a small child, then she is not really your friend at all. I would tell your friend "absolutely not. The answer is NO, I will not share a room with this woman and her child, nor will I pay for them." Then stick to your guns. If your friend gets angry, or, worse, gets angry AND threatens to end the friendship...well, now you know what kind of a friend she is (NOT such a friend after all) and where you stand with her.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:08 AM on July 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

On behalf of everyone who has seen a beloved doormat taken advantage of time and again: Please take heed of the unanimous and unqualified opinion here and stand up for yourself. We're all counting on rooting for you.
posted by whuppy at 8:07 AM on July 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, really! You've been great help. I plan on talking to her sometime today so i'll post back with how things went.
posted by earthquakeglue at 8:18 AM on July 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't know, call me a drama queen, but her continued "Oh, it'll be fine" comments and her refusal to listen when you tell her it isn't something are comfortable with... yeah, I'd be pulling the plug. Now. I mean, jesus, she isn't going to tell the other woman that she can't stay in the room YOU booked, she is going to ask the woman if she WANTS to get her own room. It is insane. Your friend is being either very clueless or a huge asshole. Like others above, I can definitely see a scenario where they agree to get a second room but OOPS! the hotel lost their reservation! Guess they'll have to stay with you!

When you talk to her you need to be crystal clear.

"I'm sorry, I won't be sharing a room with someone I don't know and their toddler. Nothing you can say will convince me of it. I would hate to have to cancel our visit over this, but that is what I will have to do if you continue to push the point. I'm frankly still pretty shocked and disappointed that you invited her without mentioning it to me before hand."
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 8:20 AM on July 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Question: is other friend of hers her new best friend? I'm half starting to side with people that you aren't so invited anymore, that your friend is more concerned over spending the weekend with her NEW friend than with you. Hell, you can say that to your friend you know.

"We hardly get to see each other, this was supposed to be our weekend for the two of us to hang out. I'm feeling like you are less concerned over seeing me and more concerned over including your other friend whom you get to see regularly."
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 8:29 AM on July 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Steel yourself to back out and miss the con. It sucks, but it won't suck as much as if you cave and have the horrible weekend with a three-year-old.

Hopefully your friend will convince her buddy and child to stay home and you can have the weekend you planned on, but be prepared to walk away from the whole thing if she doesn't.

This is what you need to say, "I want my own bed and I don't want to be in a room with a stranger and her child." Be firm. Don't be nasty, but your friend is taking advantage of you by trying to wheedle you into this. How quiet the kid is, how nice her friend it, it's all good, except that you never agreed to it. If that's the weekend she wants to have, she can have it. You can call together to switch the hotel reservation into her name and credit card, or you can cancel and she can make her own reservations, but you need to stubborn on this.

If she's upset with you over this, it's all on her. She has a LOT of nerve trying to get you to buy into this. And not taking no for an answer is SUPER disrespectful of your feelings and your needs, and she's not apologizing, is she? Think about it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:24 PM on July 25, 2014 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: PuppetMcSockerson: I don't know how good of a friend she is to her, i know they've known each other awhile and occasionally do stuff together from what she's told me. There was never a specific invitation to come to the comic con with her. We've know each other for so long now that we just talk about something and make plans to do it, we don't invite each other it just happens (does that make sense?) If there's a movie we ask if the other wants to see it, but besides that we don't really invite.
posted by earthquakeglue at 4:12 PM on July 25, 2014

Dying to find out what happened earthquake glue - I sincerely hope you cancelled.
posted by Flowerpower at 1:37 PM on August 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

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