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Being taken advantage of?

(16 Posts)
greenmossgiel Tue 12-Jul-11 10:49:10

Has anyone had a regular visitor who doesn't like to pay for anything whilst staying with them, even though they are much, much better off financially than their hosts? How have you dealt with this? (I'm feeling rather guilty at the moment for not making it possible for someone to invite themselves again for their regular free holiday in Scotland)!

grannyactivist Tue 12-Jul-11 11:05:08

I live in a large house in a beautiful seaside resort, so I very often have friends and family to stay. Sometimes I can afford to absorb the costs and sometimes I can't. If I'm in the latter situation I'm happy to say something along the lines of: I'd love to have you to stay, but I'm afraid I can't afford it at the moment. It then puts the ball in their court to decide if they're happy to make a contribution and if not to go elsewhere.
I have one relative who is just generally tight fisted and I actually tell her exactly what contribution I want.
From the tone of your post though, is it that you probably can afford to absorb the cost, but feel taken for granted?

greenmossgiel Tue 12-Jul-11 11:44:31

No, we can't really afford to absorb the cost of her stay, grannyactivist. Also, our cottage is tiny, so she's had to have our bed when staying and we slept on an airbed in the living room! The first time she stayed, was the year after her husband had died. She was very welcome at the time, because she needed to have a break, and we took her out and about here and there in the car. However the following year, she asked when she could come up again. She lives in the city and enjoyed our countryside. The same thing happened the following year. I was quite devious one day, and called in a the supermarket while we were out. I thought this may jog her conscience....but it didn't! That backfired a bit! She phoned earlier this year and I carefully skirted around the subject of holidays and didn't give her the opportunity to ask when she could come again. It's awkward, because I feel a bit mean-spirited. However, I'm giving myself a shake, because I do know that we cannot afford to have her stay, with food costs being what they are, as well as the cost of petrol to take her out. Her main conversations are about where best to put her money, so that she can make the most from it. She agrees that she's got more money than she knows what to do with! Oh dear....'it's an ill-divided world', as they say round here! Am I being a meanie though? hmm

Baggy Tue 12-Jul-11 11:52:13

greenmoss, you are not being a meanie! Could you be up front with her and say you are very sorry but you're 'a bit skint' and can't afford any extra expenses. She may have no idea.

greenmossgiel Tue 12-Jul-11 12:10:52

You may be right, Baggy. She may have no idea at all. She's had quite a privileged life mainly, I think. It's a bit of a pride thing with me though! No-one wants to admit to another person (who's quite rich), that money's too tight to have them stay! I would like to think that she'd be sensitive enough to know that these days, and especially now that we're all retired, that things may not be as easy for everyone as they may be for herself. I think I may feel more niggled because we were never what you'd call 'close' friends - that's probably why I feel as if we're being taken advantage of!

grannyactivist Tue 12-Jul-11 12:13:04

greenmoss Agree with baggy, you are definitely NOT being mean, just living according to your means. I'm known for being tactfully (I hope) straight with people and usually find it pays off. Sometimes as a household we're just not able to afford to have visitors and I'm quite happy to say so.
I find that when people are well off, they often just don't realise what a burden extra expenses can place upon others.
What you could do is send your friend details of a nice B&B/hotel with a note to say that you'd love to see her if she decides to take a trip to Scotland this year

Notsogrand Tue 12-Jul-11 12:14:25

Does your friend live somewhere nice? Phone her and say that as money is a bit tight for you at the moment, it would be nice to come and stay with her for a holiday. smile

greenmossgiel Tue 12-Jul-11 12:46:39

Ah there you have it, Not so grand! I have stayed with her (thankfully, briefly...)! The last time, it was only overnight and we suggested that we send out for fish and chips. (She hadn't prepared a meal). We'd just driven nearly 400 miles, and although we'd taken something with us for her food cupboard, we didn't feel as if we could start eating that!!! (We bought the fish and chips!) She lives in a suburb of the city, and it's all a bit too busy a way of life for me. I appreciate that she likes to stay in our pretty countryside, but we cannot live on its fresh air. No, when I think of it, it's she who is the meanie!

Barrow Tue 12-Jul-11 13:14:09

I can't believe someone would keep asking themselves back when the hosts have to sleep on an air bed. I would just point out that this isn't good for your health and so can't offer her a room but could let her have the address of a nice hotel or B&B nearby. Suggest you have dinner at her hotel one night and then "forget" to take your cards or money with you - then it would have to go on her bill!!

To be honest she sounds like a "taker" and is probably someone you could do without in your life!

JessM Tue 12-Jul-11 13:31:46

Doesn't sound like you are very keen on this friendship, or have I got that wrong?

Melanie Tue 12-Jul-11 14:05:38

I have a problem with people who live in the Colonies. They announce that they are coming over and would love to see us and stay with us for a few days. angry Look they can afford the air fare, why can't they afford an hotel?

My experience of these guests is that they never pay for anything. One man who we were putting up let us pay even when we took him sightseeing. Even if we waited a while before paying, he never said anything, even let us pay for his cream tea.

Anyhow, once bitten, twice shy. After that when they said they were coming over we said "Oh nice, who are you staying with? We'll meet you for coffee." That sorted it. smile

Mariposa Tue 12-Jul-11 16:22:44

Good one, Melanie. We are not mean by any standards, but having to sleep on an airbed is just not on, at my time of life I would not give up my bed for anyone.
Sometimes people can be made too welcome.

Annobel Tue 12-Jul-11 17:21:54

greenmoss, strikes me that there's a good reason why your 'friend' is well off - she obviously is very careful to let other people pay for her pleasure and sustenance!

jackyann Tue 12-Jul-11 18:59:05

I think it depends on how fond of her you are.
If this is a friendship you would miss, then be close to honest with the most important point.

However, I suspect someone who doesn't realise that you are struggling is not a close friend, and someone who sends you out for fish & chips after 400 miles (in normal circumstances) would struggle to be a close friend of mine!

So I'd try:
it has just got to the point with my back / hip / whatever that I cannot manage the airbed.
If you want to see her, wait to see what she then says! If she values your friendship she will offer to stay in a B&B.
If she offers to take the airbed, then when she is with you, you can have a heart-to-heart about money.
If she then assumes she can't visit, she can go to some other "friends" and eat their grub & use their petrol.

There are a few friends I would struggle to be honest with over the phone / e-mail about money, but any close friend I would expect to able to tell them face-to-face.
I have however, never had to be "sociable" and gather about me the kind of superficial "friends" that some people have in the course of work or activities. I tend only to hang on to the decent kind.

greenmossgiel Tue 12-Jul-11 20:18:51

These have been such helpful posts! We were never close friends, she being the widow of my husband's workmate and we have little in common. I agree with jackyann when she says she would have no difficulty saying to a real friend face-to-face if there were issues about money. The guilt I was feeling about not making it easy for her to come back to stay is evaporating! She, like Melanie's guest paid for nothing when we were out (something that would come as second-nature to most of us). When she'd made the last phone call to me a few months ago, it was very difficult indeed to keep off the subject of holidays, because I knew that that was why she was phoning! However, I did manage not to bring the subject up, and the conversation drifted away quite uncomfortably! She hasn't phoned since, so it looks like she's taken the hint. smile

Libradi Tue 12-Jul-11 21:31:22

I agree with jackyann and if she's not a close friend I would definitely not be able to sleep on an airbed because of back problems, but suggest a very nice b & b up the road. I doubt very much that she would offer to sleep on the airbed.