Should I let my friend crash at my place?
November 5, 2016 12:56 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine has been bouncing from place to place after moving out of her last apt (with roommates). She had asked to crash with me (I live with my boyfriend) for two days and then at the last minute said she was going to stay at her other friends' place - which I was happy with. Now she just let me know her place fell through and wants to stay 4 days with us. Should I nip this in the bud and tactfully suggest airbnb?

I've known this friend for about a year and she has no problem asking for favors. I personally prefer not to ask people for favors because I don't like to inconvenience others. For example, I would have just gotten an airbnb or rented a room instead of trying to crash with friends - especially since she has a job.

I was thinking about saying that it's not just me, but my bf also lives here and we use our spare bedroom as storage for our business .. but she has been here and knows we have ample room. My boyfriend is fine as long as it's less than a week but I have a feeling letting her stay will lead to more and more requests from her since she isn't shy about favors. What should I do and if you think I should say no, how do I tactfully put it?
posted by soooo to Human Relations (18 answers total)
"Sure, but after that we need the room back because we use it for our business." Then learn how to say no.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 12:59 PM on November 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

My answer would really depend on knowing more information. Is she at the tail end of a successful apartment search and just needs a week or so covered overall before moving into a new place? Or, is she just happy to bounce around and take advantage of hospitality with no real plan for aggressively getting a new apartment? If it's a one-time help a friend in a pinch situation and they know how to be a decent guest, no problem. If it's likely going to be situation or request that repeats, I'd hesitate to get on the list of friends who are willing to indulge this. Just because you have the room doesn't mean you have to say yes.
posted by quince at 1:16 PM on November 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

"No, that won't work for us."
posted by VioletU at 1:16 PM on November 5, 2016 [16 favorites]

I'm a favor-asker. The fact that you are not a favor-asker doesn't mean there's anything wrong with favor-asking per se, you just need to be more clear when you respond to her request.

If what you really want in this situation is for her to not stay with you, just tell her it's not possible (the fact that you have the room is not her concern, maybe you have other plans, maybe you just don't want overnight guests, that's all okay). If what you want is to have her stay this time but not ask again, be clear about that "We can put you up this time but in the future we can't handle overnight guests because we need that room for our business."

I do worry sometimes about hosting people who don't otherwise have a home base because I am often concerned that if they can't find another situation they'll try to extend their stay with me. If you feel like this may be opening the door to that, then you can also just say no in the Miss manners approved "I'm sorry we can't host you" way.
posted by jessamyn at 1:16 PM on November 5, 2016 [8 favorites]

I have a feeling letting her stay will lead to more and more requests from her since she isn't shy about favors.

Say no. It will be embarrassing for a moment but then it will be over; she will find another solution and you will still be friends. Say yes and you will be letting yourself in for prolonged annoyance, perhaps rising to the level where you will have to tell her to go and you may no longer be friends. The easy way out is often the worst in the end.
posted by languagehat at 1:20 PM on November 5, 2016 [17 favorites]

You don't want her staying with you. So say no. "I'm sorry, we can't."

By the way: it is worse to say yes, while thinking less of the asker, considering her rude for having asked, and resenting her, than it is to just say no. If she's a decent person, she won't want to inconvenience you, and didn't realize it would be an inconvenience. If she's a selfish "taker" then she doesn't care about your convenience, only about saving lodging $, and you're better off without the entanglement of her staying. Either way, say no, since you do not actually want her there.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:23 PM on November 5, 2016 [18 favorites]

I'm comfortable both hosting friends and asking if I can crash. However, in this situation, I'd also be leery, unless your friend proactively told you their plans for moving on after the 4 days. If she's the type to be boundary-pushy and argue for more time, definitely say no.

From your question you don't seem to want to do this, so you have two scripts to choose from:
* If you don't want them to ask again: "I'm sorry, that won't work for us." It's the same code as invitations - if a personal invite is declined without suggestion of another event, it usually means not to ask again.
* If this is a bad time, but you'd be open to another week: "I'm so sorry - that week is really bad for us. How about from x-y instead?" (or some other variation of "we'd love to host you sometime")

IIRC, airbnb has some pretty nice referral deals, so if you have one of those available, you can say something along the lines of "I've used airbnb and had some great experiences - let me know if you want a referral code for $50 off"
posted by Metasyntactic at 1:29 PM on November 5, 2016

I'm sure you and them are all very nice people.

The thing is, humans are mammals, and mammals are territorial.

When you let someone move into your space, these things happen:
- They will settle in, and start denning, and become very difficult to move out
- You may be reluctant to set boundaries because you don't want things to get weird
- When you set boundaries, and things get weird, now you are uncomfortable in your own home
- landlord tenant rules kick in, they acquire rights, and it's not even your own home any more

For these reasons, sharing living space is very special type of favor. It's not like lending somebody a power tool. You can't just write it off or walk away.

So, my advice is to give a gift of cash or an airBnB certificate.

Here are a couple of very nice people who didn't say no, and became unable to extricate themselves for three years, and for eight years.

If she's already been bouncing from friend to friend, then you are right to be concerned.

Best of luck. Your generous instinct is admirable.
posted by metaseeker at 2:08 PM on November 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

You can accept, but try to have hard boundaries about time and what your expectations of a guest are. We have had friends move to our town and stay a few weeks, and help with cleaning, cooking, being really great to have visit, and we have stayed fast friends. On the other hand, there have been some who we tried to help a bit after falling on bad luck, and a few weeks dragged into months before they moved in with their parents. Use your good judgement, it can really depend on the guest.
posted by nickggully at 2:14 PM on November 5, 2016

You asked for specific wording. Here it is, courtesy of Miss Manners :

"I'm sorry, that won't be possible."

My addition: say it, then pause, sigh, and feel the inevitability and sorrow and compassion fully. If conversing in person, look her in the eyes and maybe place a gentle touch on her arm or shoulder. Then, inhale, and move on to another topic.

That is, if she asks again.
posted by metaseeker at 2:25 PM on November 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's unclear what your answer was when she asked you the first time. If you said yes then, it's a bit harder to say no now, except that she is changing the length of the stay. If you said yes before, then perhaps offer the first two days again, but tell her the other two days won't work for you and your bf. It's accommodating, but not too accommodating.
posted by cecic at 3:41 PM on November 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Can you say something like 'Well, how about you come to us for Tuesday and Wednesday nights? It's the best that Bloke and I can offer right now. Let us know what you think.'

Define visit length specifically
Remind her that your space is a shared one with your partner, who is also part of the decision making process
Puts the ball in her court about whether those boundaries are understood
posted by honey-barbara at 4:55 PM on November 5, 2016

I am not someone who asks for favors and have never asked to stay at someone's place, but I have taken a friend or two up on an offer when I'm visiting from out of town etc.

I think people who ask for favors are usually used to hearing no a lot.. and don't find it weird/offensive/awkward. The one thing would be if she thought you were "better friends" which is a thing too, but this sounds like kind of a lackadaisical drifter type who I am sure is used to hearing no esp if they complicate the plans or etc.
posted by shownomercy at 7:01 PM on November 5, 2016

Before considering it, maybe read this first (an askme from today from a potential future-you)
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:09 PM on November 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

This might be an "ask vs. guess culture" thing where she is ok with you saying no and expects that as a possibility, which is why she sees no issue with asking. If you don't want her to stay with you, just say, "No, sorry, we won't be able to make that work, but it seems like there are some Airbnbs around." I wouldn't give an excuse, because some people (askers, not guessers) may think that's the real reason and if they can come up with a solution to it, your answer will change.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:24 PM on November 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Someone who is bouncing around couches like this hears 'NO' constantly. It will not be memorable coming from you in particular.

You're not related, you've known this person for a year. If they want to blow up the friendship over something like this then I'd say good riddance.
posted by bradbane at 9:08 PM on November 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

"No, that won't be possible" is what you want here.

What raises flags for me is a combination of her "bouncing from place to place after moving out of her last apartment" (why did she move out? Not just what she says is the reason, ask those former roommates!) plus that starting out with asking you for two days and now its up to four (which tells me it might be a pain in the butt to get her back out, no matter how short of a stay she initially agrees to). And too: what do the other people she's been mooching off of have to say?
posted by easily confused at 4:32 AM on November 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

You have to assume that she's asking in case it would be okay with you and that you will only say yes if it is, in fact, okay. Not that she's asking because she doesn't think you will say no.

So if it's not actually okay, just say no. I'm sure she would have been thrilled with a yes but if it's not something you want to do it really is better to just say no. Just say it isn't convenient right now and suggest air bnb.
posted by Polychrome at 2:39 AM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older How do I do retirement?   |   New relationship after traumatizing one -- How To... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.