The parallel post to my previous post about traits of a good house guest is, of course, those on the opposite end of the spectrum, the not so good house guest. I have no idea of the number of parties David and I, or I, before I knew David, have hosted, nor do I know how many people have spent a night or longer in my home. I am fortunate to have lots of friends, many of whom I love more than people to whom I am related. But, there have been some occasions over the years when certain family members, or people who accompany a family member, or friends have been incredibly boorish when in my home. The worst, absolute worst, experience David and I have had involved someone who, at the time it happened, had been my best friend for 50 years! The offense that occurred resulted in the end of our friendship. Thankfully, none of the other insulting things that have happened in our home compares to this one; otherwise, I would lock the door and never let anyone in again! Here, in no particular order, are traits of a bad houseguest, based on true stories in David’s and my lives:
– throws a temper tantrum and kicks in the walls, requiring repairs to be made;
– curses at David and me during dinner, insults another person who is present at dinner, then sulks in the guest bedroom for the duration of the visit (what’s wrong with apologizing when one reveals one’s true nature to everyone?);
– destroys my property, including priceless family heirlooms, due to carelessness and thoughtlessness;
– is loud, loud, loud upon waking up in the morning, ensuring everyone else is wide awake well before we wanted to be woken;
– turns on the TV (without asking), usually to watch a sports related program;
– brings a DOG to my house without asking (knowing the answer would be “NO!” because my cat will hate your dog!);
– consumes way, way too much alcohol, leading to a variety of very stupid behavior;
– acts as if I am the maid, housekeeper, or servant, instead of the host;
– does laundry without asking first;
– has poor table manners, including leaving the table while everyone else is still eating, burping loudly, and complaining about the food;
– expects me to lock the cat in my bedroom because they don’t like cats;
– never offers to help, pay for any activities, and generally speaking, is a mooch; and
– is full of negativity the entire duration of the visit.
Ick! Thank goodness these people don’t come to visit often or better yet, more than once. David and I prefer the type of people who, instead of wreaking havoc wherever they go, self select and tell us, “Well, I’d really love to visit you like we planned, but my wife hates everyone, including you, so I will have to see you when you come to my town.” (True story. Sad, but true.) After reading these posts, I hope you recognize yourself in the first, but not the second, one. (Don’t worry, Roger, you are the best house guest in the whole world!)
As I noted in the prior post, we only extend invitations to visit to people we think we’d find to be good guests. But, sometimes, especially if they are, for example, the significant other of a well known friend, or perhaps a child, there is a bit of a gamble involved. Yet, one expects that the well known person will moderate the situation. This seems to be true of more than 50% of the bad guests scenarios we’ve experienced. To Melissa’s list I’d add, acting as if one is in one’s own home by talking on the phone, watching TV with their feet up, or taking a nap while everyone else is engaged in some conversation, or activity. That is not being a part of the group and indicates a lack of respect for everyone else. I’ll never forget, no matter how hard I try, when the husband of a cousin of mine (of whom I’m not fond) took a nap in a recliner, fully reclined, in the, very full, den at my parents’ house after a Thanksgiving meal. We had to try not to bother him as he slept with his size 13 feet propped up. Rude, Rude, Rude. Not showing respect and appreciation in any form is bothersome. But, those who cross one or more of the lines Melissa and I noted better be pretty special to ever warrant extending a follow up invitation. I’m not even sure in these incidents we would to be in the position of visiting with them in their homes. Live and learn.