Houseguests from Hell!

Old Sep 7th, 2000, 05:49 AM
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Houseguests from Hell!

Hi guys,

Any terrible tales of houseguests behaving badly? (Or even horrible hosts?)

Since living in Paris & London, I've had lots of American friends blow through town & stay on the sofabed -- which is cool. However, I've had some real winners, 'friends' whose true colors have come out while they were traveling . . .

Second place goes to a very old friend who expected me to wait hand & foot on him during his 3-night stay (didn't offer to help with dishes, asked me to bring drinks to him while he watched tv, didn't tidy his stuff in the living room, etc. etc.)

The winners (who will also go nameless!) were 2 sisters who let us treat them to dinners out, complained constantly *how expensive* things were (it's London, duh), and the one night we ate in and I got a curry to-go (but did rice, raita etc. myself) - and asked them for a contribution towards the meal - they said they couldn't give us even a pound towards costs.

Then, as they were leaving (& I was stupidly giving them a ride to Heathrow), I checked one of the evil sisters counting up *all their leftover travelers' checks* . . . hundreds & hundreds of bucks! Basically Mom & Dad had bankrolled their whole trip, & they were profiting the difference!!!

Any other hellish houseguests or hosts out there?
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 06:10 AM
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We don't do a lot of hosting, so fortunately, we haven't had any of your bad experiences. Hope that you are strong enough to say "NO" or have a good excuse on hand, when someone wants to come over. Better yet, don't let anyone know where you live. Good luck.
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 06:14 AM
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I had a really good (male) friend that lived in Paris a few years ago. I told him that my boyfriend and I were planning a trip to Paris and he insisted we stay with him. We did, and the cheeseball made a pass at me when we were alone for a minute! We'd been good friends for years, no problem, until then. The rest of the week he acted like a stranger. Haven't talked to him since.
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 06:19 AM
Santa Chiara
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I had the opposite experience. One of my best friends (for nearly 40 years) and her husband and son visited me a year ago. They paid for more of my dinners than not, were completely self-sufficient, getting their own breakfast and dinner when I had to work, and even the days I didn't; cleaned up the apartment better than I do; and would be ready to go on excursions promptly. They never whined nor complained, and adapted quickly to what can be kindly called a confusing, contradictory country. They were molto bravi.
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 07:37 AM
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Several years ago, my in-laws had a German exchange student named Axel. They took him in after 2 families kicked him out. Anyway, they brought him to visit us at Thanksgiving. He was the rudest, foulest, most vile person I have ever met. Refused to pick up after himself, expected to be waited on, got very angry if you didn't. In 1994, my husband's aunt who is a Mennonite missionary in the Phillipines, and her daughter, came to the U.S. for two weeks. It happened to be during the World Cup. We had planned to sell some of our tickets, but took her daughter to all the games instead. They never once offered to cook a meal, help around the house, pay for a meal, etc. Just sat around all day consuming. When I would come home from work, the first thing they would say is "What's for dinner?" But, the aunt did try to convert me (I'm Jewish and we have a Jewish household). I love houseguests and want to do things for them, but I think for such a long stay there has to be some reciprocity and respect.
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 08:00 AM
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I hate houseguests. Period.(I don't like to be one , either).

Aside from the popular "fish and houseguests..." saying, here are two more I like. Maybe a needlepoint pillow in the guest room?

"Unbidden guests ( and they all are) are most welcome when they are gone" Shakespeare, Henry V1

"Short stays make for long friendships"
Quaker saying.


Old Sep 7th, 2000, 08:04 AM
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When we were grad students and lived in Hampstead--20 minutes north of London-- in the early 1970s we had a string of guests, one of whom we didn't know at all. He acted as if we did, so it was quite embarassing. That same year my brother's girlfriend's mother and grandmother visited us. One afternoon they took us along to eat at their nephew/grandson's new restaurant, The Great American Disaster. It had a rock and roll theme and served hamburgers. The grandson, Peter, had just opened it near Green Park, and when he came over (with his big dog) and sat down with us, his grandma said, "Peter--the restaurant business is really difficult. Are you sure you're doing the right thing? Why don't you go back to school and finish your education? "I'll do just fine, grandma" was his answer. Well guess what? He did. The restaurant was the prototype for a chain that Peter Morton started-- called The Hard Rock Cafe. I hope his grandma lived long enough to see the success!
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 08:11 AM
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Last year our Naples (FL) coomunity theatre did an exchange with a theatre from St. Albans, just outside London. We hosted a retired couple whom we had never met. They stayed two weeks and we had a wonderful time. They took us out to dinner twice, most other times going "dutch", while we and they each went our separate ways most of the time. This May while we were in London, they offered to have us stay with them at their "holiday" house on the Isle of Wight, which we did for three nights. It was great. Oops, Sorry, I just realized that the topic was Houseguests from Hell, and ours were from Heaven.
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 08:21 AM
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While backpacking in my 20's I gave quite a few guys my home number (silly I know, but hey I was young) nearly everyone I gave my number to paid a visit to us in California. For about 2 years we had a steady stream of European guys passing through my parents house. Every one of them was polite, self sufficient, and delightful company with one notable execption. This guy from the UK, (I will not name the location) showed up and expected to be weighted on hand and foot,used a dozen towels and left them all over the house, wet! Didn't make his bed, made no offer to repay any of the free meals. Now about the meals, we had no problem feeding our guests and had done so gladly other times, but this guy complained about EVERYTHING " I don't fancy that" was his comment about EVERY-SINGLE meal my poor mother or I tried to give this guy. He finally rented a car and drove to San Francisco only to return a day and half later complaining that "there was no place to park" I swear I am not making this up. He proceeded to use our name and info to not pay his rental car bill and even after he left we kept getting notices of non-payment! Wow, this guy was a real nightmare, luckily every other Euro-Guest we hosted was a dream.
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 08:52 AM
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Holy cow!

I'm glad to hear there *are* some good examples of good travel karma out there. Heck, I've slept on so many friends' & acquaintances' floors, I figure I have to keep the travel karma flowing . . .

I'm sure I haven't been the ideal guest myself, all the time (though I'd like to think I am <smirk>): a little gift upon arrival, sharing expenses, even being sure to clean any of my long hairs outta the shower drain!

My French houseguests have been the best able to balance the formality aspect with friendliness, IMHO - charming conversationalists, but also able to make themselves scarce & not intrude on normal life.

C'mon, more hellish or heavenly stories?!
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 09:05 AM
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I think most of us in Western countries have forgotten about real hospitality. On trips to South and South East Asia, I have frequently been offered to stay in the master bedroom, and food is available always. They were insulted when I offered money, and insisted I/we stay longer than one night.
When people visit our house now, we make sure they get the best bed (and we sometimes give them our bedroom). Only one bad experience (a guy we thought was a friend took overnight visitors to our house!) and we have hosted lots of people. We have been offered the same hospitality in return. It is a much better way to get to know a country than staying in a hotel.
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 11:47 PM
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Oh, and I forgot to mention the ones who telephone you from Charles de Gaulle/Heathrow, who *haven't made any lodging arrangements,* saying they just wonder if they can stay tonight, for a couple of nights . . . ?

Arrgh! 'No' or 'gosh, I'm afraid I have other guests right now' are now my favorite phrases!
Old Sep 8th, 2000, 03:45 AM
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I have to say we had a German couple stay with us twice and they have been gracious, courteous, helpful, great company. I know this doesn't go along wth the title of the post, but houseguests are not always from hell!

Oddly enough, I love to have people over, but avoid being a houseguest like the plague.
Old Sep 8th, 2000, 04:13 AM
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My mom's best friend since high school visited her once not long after my mom had gotten married (after being single for 20 years). The friend proceeded to play footsies with her husband and go overboard flirting with him. He was sorta a loser (they have since divorced) and loved it. When Mom confronted her, she said that she liked him better than her. Lovely woman. They haven't spoken since.

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