A friend of mine and her family just moved to the area where I live, and they are currently waiting to move into their new home. They asked my husband and I if they could stay the weekend with us because their house wasn't quite ready. They have two kids; ages three and seven, and I have a 16-month-old baby who is on a eating, playing, and napping schedule. We told the family that they could stay under the pretense that they'd be quiet when my daughter went down for her nap and at night at her bedtime. We also told them to buy some food for themselves because we are on a budget, and they agreed.
On Sunday afternoon, they asked if they could stay another seven days because there were delays on their house. My husband was leaving the next day for a month, so the decision rested upon me. I felt badly for them so I agreed. Throughout the week, they did not clean up after themselves in the kitchen, their kids jumped all over our furniture, they ate and drank our food, lounged around like it was their home, were not quiet when my daughter was sleeping, and worst of all, their kids would hit and push my daughter and take her toys away from her, pretending they were theirs. I ended up kicking them out two days before the end of the week. My question is was I wrong in telling them to leave earlier than I agreed on? Were we rude by telling them they had to buy food for their family? I'm feeling guilty for making them stay in a hotel, but I was at my wits' end!
— Taken Advantage of Tina
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Dear Taken Advantage of Tina,
Yes, you agreed to let this family stay with you, but they didn't hold up their end of the bargain. In fact, they were completely rude and disrespectful by not obeying the rules you placed in your home, with your family, and your personal belongings — I would have kicked them out, too! Your hands are full enough with a 16-month-old baby so my hat goes off to you for even extending the invitation in the first place. Since money is tight for everyone these days, I think asking them to purchase their own food was completely fair — you provided them a roof and a bed — why should you feed them, too?
If you can't shake the guilt you feel, perhaps you should have a chat with your friend. Tell her where you were coming from and hopefully she'll see how her family's behavior crossed the line and you'll get the overdue apology you so much deserve.