Friend keeps volunteering my home

therioAugust 31, 2011

We moved into a larger home with a great back yard and a pool a few years ago. We often host parties, barbeques and get togethers with our friends at our house which we enjoy. We have one group of friends that we enjoy seeing and we try to get together as a group because we have a great time together and most of the time it is at our house. I'm getting a little tired of entertaining now - blame it on perimenopause, and enjoy being invited. I don't automatically volunteer my home anymore when we are trying to organize a get together and it's funny how the conversation seems to go silent when the topic of venue comes up because my friend seems to expect me to automatically offer my home. This friend is upset that I didn't warm up to the idea of her teenage daughter having a pool party at our house. I have 2 teenage daughters myself and I know how stressful their parties are for us. My daughters each had a couple of parties in the past and my husband and I are always home to monitor/control the alcohol that always got snuck in etc. Now they just have a few friends over at a time because my girls realized that parties can easily get out of control and they don't want the responsibility either. Why would we want to go through this with someone else's child? If anything happens, my husband and I will be held completely responsible.

So now, another mutual friend, Mary, is planning her husbands 50th birthday party and our friend suggested she have it at my house. Mary is financially well off but extremely cheap and will not pay for a caterer or a restaurant. When Mary mentioned to me she wants to have a party for her husband and is looking for a house to have it at (hint, hint) because hers is too small, I did not know what to say. Will I look like the bad guy party pooper if I don't offer my house. If I say yes, I know I'll be cooking and cleaning like a crazy woman and cursing under my breath the whole time.

How do I let Mary down and what can I say to my friend to stop using/offering my house like it's a community centre.

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reader77

This may sound too blunt but do you NEED friends like this?

I would say Sorry no more parties unless they are my family and mine.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 3:44PM
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lowspark

How do I let Mary down
Just say no. No excuses or reasons needed. It's your house and you have a right to offer it up or not. I would just say something like, I'm sorry, that won't be possible. If she presses in any way, just keep repeating that.

and what can I say to my friend to stop using/offering my house like it's a community centre.
Friend, I'm glad that you love my house but I'd appreciate it if you would not ask me again to hold any parties here. I do love hosting a party when it's my party and when I make the decision to have it. I'm sorry, but other than that, the answer will be no.

Be polite and kind but firm. Smile but hold your ground. And if the friend gets mad or doesn't understand, well, she's no friend!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 8:58AM
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suzieque

Mary hasn't asked you; she just hinted. Don't take the hint! Don't even mention anything about it. If she does come right out and ask you, just say no. Not nastily, not giving excuses, just saying something like lowspark suggested.

As for your friend with the teenage daughter, same. Tell her, in a friendly way, what you told us. If she persists and says she'll do all of the work, tell her that perhaps she would intend to but there is much more involved then she may know about. Hold firm. If you give in on either of these, things won't change.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 9:29AM
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therio

Thanks all for your great advice. You're right, I just need to stay firm and politely say no. None of my other friends do this and I have never considered asking someone else to host a party for me, especially for teenagers. What the heck!! I may be seeing my "friend" this weekend and I know she'll bring up Mary's party plans. I'll be firm!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 11:37AM
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lindac

another thing might be to say "I'm sorry, I am feeling not entirely myself just now ( not un true) and just can't host any more parties for a while. I hope you understand....I think for a while I just need to be the guest rather than the host."

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 4:27PM
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suzieque

That's a good thought, Linda, but the problem is that she may want to have a family party of her own. So either shed have to not throw a party for awhile (because if she did it'd invalidate what she said) or have a party if she wants and risk her friends taking that as a sign that she's back up to par again and ready to host.

But, Therio, if you're not planning to host fot a good time, that may be ok.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 9:21PM
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marge727

I have a large home and we have parties a lot. If anyone wants to use our home, I simply tell them how much my cleaning lady charges to get the house ready for a party and to be there to serve. I ask whether they want full service catering or were they planning to provide all of the food?
If its somebody else's party why would you have to do cooking?
As far as a pool party for somebody else's kid, I simply say no thanks. We had a pool for years and its true, people will offer your home, especially if they can get away with it. I never have a problem saying "no". More explanation is not necessary.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 8:10AM
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gellchom

We are usually very happy to let others use our house for parties, meetings, programs, etc. -- that's one of the main reasons we bought the space. And I like it that our friends feel free to ask.

But that doesn't mean we always will say yes when someone asks.

Others have given you good advice on how to say no nicely.

I'm only posting, and saying what I did about our home, because I have a feeling I understand something that is going on here.

You say you just moved into this terrific party home a few years ago. I am wondering -- based on our own experience when we moved into this house -- if at first you really loved being able to say yes and maybe even offered very broadly. (If you did, that wasn't a mistake; you don't have to feel like you were foolish or a chump.)

But sometimes there comes a point where even the most generous and gracious hosts feel tired or like it's about time someone invited them for a change.

If you are kind of feeling that, that's also okay! But what you want to avoid is expecting others to read your mind, or, worse, seeming like you are lashing out and suddenly considering everyone mooches because they accepted your hospitality.

I have seen people really make themselves looks small when they did that. I particularly remember a guy who had (still has, I think) a cooking web site and news group where people posted recipes. There was no charge, but he asked for contributions. After a while, he decided to charge for subscriptions. Instead of just simply changing his policy, he went on a tirade about how ungrateful everyone was and said things like "You get paid for what YOU do, don't you? So why shouldn't I?" (It was particularly obnoxious given that all the "ingrates" he was addressing were the ones who supplied -- free -- a lot of his site's content.)

The point is that you are certainly free to stop hosting group get-togethers and other people's parties. And you don't have to have a consistent policy, either -- you can host when you feel like it, and say no when you don't.

Just trust me and don't send any kind of message of "I'm sick of all of you taking advantage of me." It would have been good if your friends had reciprocated hospitality better, but don't retroactively be a bad host by implying that you weren't giving your hospitality freely and happily in the first place.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 3:32PM
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therio

Gellchom, great advice. I haven't gotten to that point yet, thankfully, of lashing out and I won't let myself. It's pretty much one friend that is the problem but she'll volunteer me in front of other people. I just need to take your advice and offer when I feel like it and graciously decline when I don't.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 8:28PM
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blizlady

I know this is quite a few months later, but as for the friend who wanted you to offer your house for her daughter's pool party, I really think she is out of line for being upset with you. I don't think she realizes what a liability it is to have people come over for pool parties, and as you stated it is extremely stressful having teen-aged parties even for our own kids! If she really wanted to have a pool party, she could have rented a couple of pool side rooms at a local hotel and then the group could have had a nice pizza/pool party. But to ask to use a friend's pool and home to have a party, don't feel bad for refusing her.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 9:49PM
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carla35

I would just say...oh... It's seems like having a party takes a lot out of me these days. It's hard enough just entertaining my own family. And, just kind make shocking big eyes and laugh/smile a little while saying it.

And then say something like "Have you thought about hosting st Rizzo's (some restaurant in your town). I hear they have great pasta (or whatever)". Even if you know they don't want a restaurant...It's turning them down nicely and not really leaving it open for discussion.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:28PM
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megamuffins

That's got to be annoying. Their is no way around it unless you confront her.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 11:42PM
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sameboat

Just say, "Gosh I'm so sorry but that won't work for me." And repeat as necessary. It is ignorant on the part of the person pushing you. Then, in private, you can tell her, "I just can't do it anymore. I just don't get the same "kick" that I used to...it just stresses me out to have a party here so I've decided to take a break. Sorry!" And if she questions you about future parties you host, then you can say the spirit moved you to do it.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:04AM
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