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An old friend of mine recently moved to my neiborhood. When he
first made the move we asked him over for dinner several times.
Everytime my husband has asked him over he asked,''What are you
making?'' before he says yes. We have since quit asking because he
is so high maintenance and we usually just don't want to deal
with him. Now he calls us almost everyday at exacly 6pm and asks
us what we are doing for dinner. I know he is on his way home
from work at that time and it is so annoying to me that he is so
blatantly trying to take advantage of our hospitality. So far I
have been dealing with it by saying ''Why what are you doing?''
Then he says he is going to eat at KFC or some other take out and
I say ''Oh I can't come with you. I don't have a babysitter.'' I
pretend like he is asking me out so he might get the impression
that it is inappropriate to invite himself over or beg for food
from us. For a while we just didn't answer the phone but then he
would call both of our cell phones and then just show up if we
didn't answer. The thing is I really like him and I don't want to
make him feel bad but I also want him to start acting like a
grown up and not one of my kids who just show up and open the
fridge looking for leftovers. He also drinks out of my cup
without asking. I guess he just feels really comfortable with me.
I like your tactics, here's another idea.
If you want to keep being tactful with a message, try saying, re
KFC or whatever, ''that sounds great, yes, thanks- do bring some
on over for us, I'd love to not have to cook tonight''. If he then
tries to get you to pay him back for the food, look really
dejected and say, ''oh, and here I thought you were offering to
treat us'' (you could add ''for a change'' to that sentence if you
want to drive the point home).
But if you just can't get through to him, why can't you start
being direct- he's acting like a kid who hasn't been taught good
manners or personal boundaries, so treat him like a kid who needs
limits set. So what if he feels bad, we all do when we realize
that we've been making a faux pas, it's part of learning:
''Sorry, I don't like to share my cup, I think you left yours over
there (or ''I'll get you one from the cupboard'')''.
''I'm afraid you're going to have to quit asking us to be your
regular dinner stop- we actually like dinner to be our special
private time together unless I've invited guests ahead of time
and have planned for that'', and optionally, ''I apologize if we
somehow gave you the wrong impression about how we do dinner here''.
People in our society need to stop being polite and start being
honest. If he is your friend, BE a true friend to him and tell
him what you're experiencing, and tell him you don't like it.
Tell him it makes you not want to invite him over anymore.
He probably is clueless. Yes, this will be awkward. Have the guts
and be the friend he needs. It will either push him away or he
will make a concerted effort to grow as a person and treat you
better. Either option is better than what you have now.
Awkward truth wins over uncomfortable silence
It sounds like you have a problem with boundaries. If I were in
your shoes, I would tell him when he shows up at your front door
that your family is busy and he can't eat dinner with you. Say
you'll call him to invite him over when your family has the time.
When he calls, don't be sarcastic, just say the same thing.
Hopefully, after several times he'll figure out that he's no
longer welcome. If he demands a response as to why he can't come
over every day, tell him he's too demanding and your family is
too busy to feed him. Say that if he changes, you'll be more than
happy to have him over once a month. Don't give him any advice on
what he should do for dinner since that's something he needs to
figure out on his own and you want to take the role of his mom.
And why do you like this guy??? Don't answer the phone, no
matter how many times he calls. Lock the door, and don't answer
if he knocks. Is he going to break into your house to have dinner with
you? You need to set up some boundaries.
Your post reminded me of a the classic room mate break up
scenario: You go off each other; have a fight, or there is
something new going on, and now you notice the glop of
toothpaste in the sink. Was it always there? Yes. Why didn't it
bother you until now? Hmmmmmnnnn?
OK, so nothing has changed and yet, somehow, everything has
changed. Now, your friend is only welcome once in a while and
when you invite him. My advice is: say exactly that. Tell him
that it has been OK and now, it is not.
I don't think that it is good to play games with people. You
will lose respect for him if you get away with it. Does it make
you feel good? Aren't you trying to have a good time in life?
Brutal straightforwardness is easier and nicer in the long run.
If he is using you with out genuine affection, he will drop off
your planet. Otherwise, this is a speed bump and will inject
some zip in the, until now, taken for granted calm.
Resentment can be turned around.
Whoa. I'm sure you'll get a lot of responses like this, but
your friend is WAY out of line, and also sounds very weird!
It's nice that you still want to be friends with him...but no
normal adult is going to call a family EVERY day and try to
invite himself to dinner, not to mention being picky about what
you're eating. You need to be very straightforward and honest
with him that he needs to cut it out. Obviously he's lonely and
not very mature, for some reason, and maybe you can make some
suggestions for him to deal with whatever the problem is, but
People treat us the way we ''let them'' treat us. If you want
this man to change his appalling behavior (I actually went YUCK
when you say he drinks out of your cup), you need to be
upfront. He's got some nerve to answer to your invitation to
dinner only after he's gotten the menu. He's probably one of
those who doesn't bring anything, either. He's a grown man and
really you can't worry about his feelings because obviously he's
taking advantage of you and could care less about your
feelings. Simply...DO SOMETHING TO CHANGE THIS...or it'll
forever be perpetual.
You have a few options. One, consider him part of your family
and make extra food every night. Maybe he can babysit once in a
while after dinner while you and you husband catch a movie or
something. Two, when he calls, tell him you can't that evening,
then invite him for a specific evening. I *hate* getting caught
off guard and always being on heels with certain people. So, turn
it around and invite him when you want him. Or set up one or two
nights a week that are your regular nights. Three, cut him off. I
hope he has some other redeeming traits, but you don't mention
them. If his likeable qualities don't outweigh this gross
etiquette transgression and his lack of social skills, then just
level with him, give him the boot, feel bad for a little bit,
then move on.
-- I'd be irritated to no end, too
Ah, a bachelor friend! And here you are, married with kids, and
thus making dinner every night. Did you perchance say, one time,
when he was over, ''No problem, come anytime''? You didn't do
anything wrong, some people are just clueless. You have to just
be straight up with him and say, since you are old friends,
''Dude, you can't just invite yourself to dinner every night! I
would be really mad if my kid's friends did that, and you are
acting like a 10 year old.'' Don't try to be cute by pretending he
is inviting you to fast food, it just encourages this weird way
of communicating. Invite him when you want to see him. And let
him take you and your husband out sometime when you do have a
this page was last updated: Nov 13, 2008
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