We’ve all had them before. The friend or neighbor or relative who drops by “for a few minutes” and is still sitting in your living room hours later. My momma always exhibited superb social manners when faced with these situations and was always gracious, welcoming and entertaining. What she never told me; however, was how the hell to get rid of them! Since I find myself in the precarious situation of wavering between supreme hostess (and making my momma so very proud) and supreme bitch, I thought I would share some tips I’ve learned on how to get rid of even the most stubborn of uninvited guests who cannot take a gentle hint!
Possible Scenarios You May Have Encountered
Here’s my personal scenario – this is a true story! – of what I deal with.
- Friend comes over when they are bored, have nothing else to do or nobody else to talk to.
- Friend will knock at the door until you answer. Repeatedly. Over and Over and Over again.
- If you don’t answer the door, Friend will call you and listen for your phone to ring to see if you are home.
- Usually wants to “hang out” and drink a beer because Friend cannot do so at home.
- They never call in advance, just show up. As a stay-at-home-mom I’m “doing nothing” all day long and therefore won’t mind the interruption.
- Always arrives around dinner time and wants to beg a plate of food.
- Friend has no cable, so they want to just “sit and watch a show” for a minute (if that’s okay). They don’t bother to tell you that the network is running a marathon of the last six seasons that particular day.
- Friend wants to come over and have a cigarette at your house because it is too cold for them to stand outside since they cannot smoke in their apartment.
- Friend wants to get into a debate about politics with you – knowing that neither of you will agree on ANYTHING.
Sound familiar? I’m sure there are a few more that you could add to that list as well, but, like I said, these are examples from my own personal experiences.
Tips on Dealing with Unwanted Visitors
- Body Language. Look away from them when they are talking. Glance at your watch. Check the time on your phone. Anything that will give the visitor a hint that you have something else you need to be doing.
- Call Ahead or No Admittance. Having a peephole where you can see who is outside your door is a Godsend some days. If you have a friend who repeatedly comes by unannounced without calling ahead, don’t answer the door. The next time you see them (or they text you to find out why you didn’t answer the door) simply tell them, “I’m so sorry I missed you. I was busy and could not answer the door. Perhaps if you call next time to see if I’m available, we’ll be able to get together.”
- The Knock-And-Caller. If you have that particular friend who will bang on your door and then call your cell phone with their ear pressed to the door to hear whether it rings inside or not – put your phone on vibrate the minute you hear a knock at the door.
- Do Something Else. Tell your friend you need to do the dishes or empty the dishwasher or start a load of laundry, whatever the excuse might be, but tell them to “keep talking” you’ll be right back. Keep yelling, “What did you say?” from the other room till they get tired of repeating themselves.
- Your Time Is Limited. When they first arrive at your door, tell them point-blank that you only have a few minutes as you are in the middle of something. Doesn’t matter if you’re sitting on your arse eating a half-gallon of ice cream and watching the latest episode of Scandal – THEY DON’T NEED TO KNOW THAT.
- The Door Knocker. For that friend who thinks they are Sheldon Cooper (Knock-Knock. Penny. Knock-Knock. Penny. Knock-Knock. Penny.) you are not going to get rid of them. Invest in earplugs. They won’t go away, but you don’t have to hear them repeatedly knocking and calling your name. They eventually will get hoarse and stop. Eventually.
- Become a Saint Overnight. For that friend who wants to come over and smoke/drink at your home simply because their grandparents/wife/significant other does not want them doing so in THEIR house, tell them you’ve quit and allowing them to do so in your home would only cause you to backslide and you’re DOING IT FOR THE KIDS. Lay the guilt on – THICK. They wouldn’t dream of putting your kids in harm’s way.
- The Meal Moocher. Ah yes. The friend who only “pops in for a visit” when its dinner time. I don’t mind sharing a meal with friends, we do it all the time where I live. One person cooks and feeds the rest of the neighbors one night, the next night another neighbor feeds everyone on our floor. It’s just how we take care of each other. If the meal moocher has more food in THEIR house than you have in YOURS though – you’ve got a moocher on your hands. Best way to deal with that is just tell them, sorry, there isn’t enough for everybody and the leftovers are for your significant other’s lunch tomorrow. Do that enough times and they’ll stop coming over hoping to cop a free meal.
- Let Me Watch Your TV Couch Potato. I admit, I love having a friend over when I’m watching Scandal or Grey’s Anatomy to ooh and gasp with. When I’m in the middle of doing something else however, I do not want to sit there and watch a TV marathon of Law and Order with you for six hours. Tell your friend that Walmart carries the DVD collection and you are positive that Walmart would love nothing more than to sell it to them so they could enjoy it for hours and hours in their OWN home.
- The Debater. This friend just likes to start stuff. Period. Doesn’t matter if you are discussing current affairs, the Oscar nominees and/or winners, the latest fashion trends or heaven forbid, politics. This person will ALWAYS have an opinion different than your own and want to get into a heated argument about why you are wrong and they are right. To avoid this situation all together, inform them you do not watch the news, you do not read the newspaper, you haven’t been on the Internet since 1999, and you have not overheard any conversations about anything. Once you get this person started, you will not be able to get them out of your house. Your best advice is to not start a discussion at all. Don’t even discuss the brand of toilet paper you use. You’ll lose.
If none of the above work for you and you’re dealing with what I call the Dumb as a Stump Can’t Take a Hint Visitor you only have one recourse. You have to be brutually honest and completely up-front with them. If all of the above has failed and they still won’t leave your home, you can politely say, “Well, it was really lovely having you here tonight. Let me get your coat for you, and make sure you be careful going home!” If that still does not work, your last resort is to tell them:
YOU HAVE OVERSTAYED YOUR WELCOME. GET OUT OF MY HOUSE. NOW.
Whether or not you throw a few expletitives in there is entirely up to you.
P.S. You can always check out these hilariously unwelcoming doormats to save you the trouble of all of the above.