Are You Leaving Yet?

I read an old saying today while surfing through the web… “fish, like house guests, start to stink after three days.”

I also read this today. “You cannot possibly grow if the sunshine is always being snuffed out by a storm.”

I think. I hope. I pray. I have learned my lessons from the above.

I love having house guests. I love spending time with house guests, showing them the sights of the city where we live, cooking for or with them, taking them out to eat, doing fun things together, such as playing games. (Come visit me, but don’t stay too long.) Usually, a week is a good time to stay; But when you have someone come into your home that brings negativity, depression and gloom, it’s hard for your house not to start smelling like a proverbial, rotten fish, after awhile – whether its a few short days or a few long months. It’s true too. A negative, depressed person, snuffs out the sunshine in a room and the gloom and despair starts to spread… slowly permeating its way through the corridors of the rooms of the house and the minds of the other dwellers. If there is always a storm of negativity – it becomes very hard to bloom without the sunshine of positivity.

So then you are faced with the conundrum…of how to tell your guest that they have overstayed their welcome. What you thought was going to become a lovely visit soon turned into a nightmare of fighting someone else’s demons and battles. The nightmare stay became an energy drainer, leaving you feeling worn out, depressed and sad. No houseguest should ever make their host/hostess feel that way.

So what do you do? Houseguest showed up, unannounced, on your doorstep. Their life is a mess. They promised they only needed to stay for a little while, but one week turned into a month, a month turned into 8 months. They start out by being productive, maybe even gaining a very part-time job that barely pays their cost of living. As time goes by though, you begin to notice, that they are barely moving, unless it’s from their bedroom, to the coffee pot, to the bathroom and back to the bedroom. The anger begins to set in because, why are you doing all the work, when they binge watch You Tube videos and Netflix? They begin to backtalk and sass when you begin to question their motives. (not even my teenagers got away with that). Then you finally get the nerve to tell them they can’t stay… but months continue to pass by.

Here are some tips on what to do.

  1. When they show up unannounced and you have other plans – DO NOT FEEL GUILTY for saying no and pointing them to the nearest motel. Help them all you can (like the good Samaritan, but don’t let them in your house. Even put them up at a motel for a few nights).
  2. Once you let them in your house – the laws are not helpful to those who are telling the houseguest to get out!
  3. Know the definition between a tenant, a lodger and a guest. A tenant pays rent for a private room, private bath, kitchen, private entrance, etc. A lodger is one who rents a room (they could also be called a boarder), a house guest is basically a free loader who has paid neither rent nor helped around the house.
  4. A house guest can always claim that are a tenant or a lodger, if they have ever paid any cash or helped out with house maintenance, babysitting, pet sitting, etc. If they can claim that – the host has to go through the eviction process.
  5. Stand up for yourself… Fight the fight if you have too. It’s sad but true… in this day and age, pretty much, don’t let anyone stay with you unless they have a definite plan, ie: going away to college in a few weeks, your new apartment will be ready for move in one month, etc.
  6. If you know they are going to be an extended stay house guest – go ahead and make documents that include the house rules, the expectations for living there, the arrival and the intended time of departure and a statement certifying that are indeed, a house guest, not a tenant or a boarder. I know it’s more like a lease agreement… but it covers your @$$. Hopefully, you won’t need to use it… but it doesn’t hurt.

How did the Golden Girls do it?

If you wind up being a house guest, always be grateful to your host. Offer to give them renumeration for the wear and tear you have put on their house. Keep a line of communication open and let them know up front how long you plan to be there. Be conservative with the utilities. Offer to cook every now and then. Your host is doing you a favor – Don’t be a “snowflake.” When it comes time to go… take everything with you and leave your room looking nicer than it did before you showed up.

Thanks for reading.

Let me know if you have ever had to ask an unwanted houseguest to leave and how did it go?


Positively, Debbie

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