You're Killing Me Smalls
August 3, 2019 7:23 PM   Subscribe

Help! I talked to my friend and told her she should come out to visit me in October. We didn't set any dates since she wasn't sure she could get any time off work. Next thing I know, she's booked a flight and is planning on staying for eight days. That's way too long for for my introverted husband and I. How to politely tell her her visit is too long? Details after the jump.

I love this friend, she's wonderful, but she's not independent when she visits. In other words she flies in, doesn't rent a car, and depends on us to drive her around and feed her. Normally that's fine because she's always kept it to about three days. I was totally unprepared for this. What do i tell her?
posted by WalkerWestridge to Human Relations (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can you tell a white lie? If so, tell her you're planning to go out of town for a family event on the fourth day.
posted by Dolley at 7:36 PM on August 3, 2019 [7 favorites]

Just tell her you’d love to see her but that you’re only available for houseguests from the dates of xxx to xxx. Don’t give her a reason that she can argue around and then mention xx wonderful place that you’d love to take her to. Be enthusiastic, because after all, she is your friend and you do want to catch up. Can’t wait to see you!

She’s being really presumptuous that you’ll a) be available at all and b) want to entertain a houseguest for that long. The fact that she booked a flight without even checking is her problem, not yours. Be enthusiastic but don’t budge on the dates and if it means she has to suck it up and rebook a flight, then that’s a lesson learnt and next time she will check first.
posted by Jubey at 7:54 PM on August 3, 2019 [18 favorites]

Is there a way for her to be independent? Is it possible for her to drive or use public transportation? Do you live someplace where there’s a lot for her to do? I think how you can handle this depends on the answers to those questions (though I would personally suck up letting her stay - not saying that’s a great idea).
posted by FencingGal at 7:55 PM on August 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Tell her quick! Usually you can cancel airplane tickets for no fee within 24 hours and get a full refund. (And then just buy a new ticket- usually the same price)
posted by raccoon409 at 8:00 PM on August 3, 2019 [21 favorites]

What kind of person books a trip without checking with her host re the dates??

"I'm so excited you're coming but it just won't work with that length of trip! Work is going to be crazy in October and I want to concentrate on you while you're here. Best would be if you come in Friday night and I can take you to the airport Sunday afternoon. Or, if you want to spend some time on your own in [nearby city] I'll give you a ride to the hotel."
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:47 PM on August 3, 2019 [19 favorites]

I‘m a little bit speechless- I visit friends and family for that length of time but I start by agreeing suitable times for visits. And because it is understood that people have work and other commitments (looking at all the retired family members who are more busy now than they ever were working) I hire a car, we spend some time together when it’s convenient for my hosts and share some meals but I go off and do my own thing quite a bit as a rule. Adult visitors should not need babysitting.

So explain to your friend whatever you and your husband are comfortable with as outcome. If your friend being much more independent makes 8 days manageable great, if not lead with, ‚I really wish you’d checked dates with me before booking the flight because we have prior commitments and can only accommodate you from‘ be generally happy and positive about seeing her and take it from there. If you value the friendship give her a chance to process and ask some questions but don’t negotiate. She‘ll have to adjust her expectations and that may take a bit of time.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:34 AM on August 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh goodness. "I'm so happy you're able to come! Unfortunately, we can only host during xxx dates. Let me know what you decide!"
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:52 AM on August 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

I had someone who sort of did this to me where they planned a longer trip than just staying with me and didn't basically tell me they had other plans for some of the time. Relieving once I figured it out! If this situation were me, I think I'd be basically presuming that is what your friend is doing and responding appropriately as others have suggested.

"Great, but we're not free to host that entire time. We'll be here and available from XX to YY date and will be happy to have you stay with us. If you need suggestions for what to do with the rest of your time or where to stay I'm happy to help."

Because, yes, it's a minor faux pas to purchase flights without checking dates. And in most cases, staying more than 3-4 nights is considered "too much" for a casual friend visit if it's not an international trip, or you're not best buds, or this isn't a planned summer vacation thing. And your friend must know that when they stay with you, you're actively HOSTING not just giving them a guestroom while they explore the city. As such saying you are "unavailable to host" can mean a wide range of things and you don't have to get more deep into it.
posted by jessamyn at 11:25 AM on August 4, 2019 [4 favorites]

I think one thing to remember is that there are different cultural understandings around travel and hosting. Frequently, longer flights are cheaper, because they can come and go midweek. It’s not uncommon for people visiting in our circles to book the cheapest flight they can get and then announce “oh I’ll be there for more days”. It isn’t rude of your friend to do this, particularly since you’re the one who invited her out - it’s jusf a different understanding,

I’d see if she can change the flight, but if not, I think you’re on the hook for hosting her and making it clear it can’t happen like that again.
posted by corb at 1:32 PM on August 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

I would say you absolutely do not have to host her for eight days. Pick the three days you want, tell her those are the days you can host. Don't lie, because then she has an opportunity to start negotiating with your excuses (if you're going out of town she can just stay in your place while it's empty!). Don't give reasons, as that invites a negotiation as well. You're just presenting facts: these are the days you can host.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:23 AM on August 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I agree with most advice here about being direct and telling her the current doesn't work - but one other option would be to negotiate the terms of the visit to make it viable within the current length.

Something like: "We are excited to see you, but we can not be active hosts for 8 days b/c of (work/time/life/family). We can do stuff with you from Day 1 to 3. You are welcome to stay, but from Day 4 to Day 8 we will be (working/lifeing/familying) without you. You can sleep in the guest room, and we may end up having the occasional coffee or drinks, but please rent a car and make plans for yourself during that time."
posted by RajahKing at 10:20 AM on August 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

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