MyLot: Saying NO to family. How do you do it?
By Sonja Rae
July 16, 2017 3:09pm CST
My daughter lives in California, with her boyfriend, and their 2 year old daughter, in a 1 bedroom apartment. Last year, my youngest sister who has a 21 year old, and an 8 year old, reached out to my daughter, saying "we are coming to Cali, can we stay with you?" 10 days no less. My daughter, feeling obligated, uncomfortable saying no to her Aunt, said yes, and quickly felt the uncomfortable panic of "what did I just agree to?" Today, my daughter tells me that her cousin, my youngest sister's 21 year old daughter, currently pregnant, due in August, who already has an 18 month old contacted her saying, "We are coming to Cali, can we stay with you?" Again the obligation and guilt sets in, and of course again she says "Sure". My daughter called me to vent. And then says, "How do I get out of this?" And as I begin to speak, she says, "Don't even say anything Mom, because I am not going to be able to call her back and say I changed my mind." While I understand my daughter's position, I am annoyed at my relatives. No one considers what her living conditions are? You don't think in advance, that although you want to see her, staying with her, asking to stay with her, is just inconsiderate? You don't care that you are technically pushing yourself on someone who, doesn't have the space? So I get off the phone with my daughter, annoyed at her for not being able to say, "I'd love to see you, and wish things were different, but I just don't have space enough here. Any suggestions?
17 people like this
• United States
@SonjaRae I've been in this situation. Many years ago I decided to say yes with a condition that they understand that they have to bring their own bed as I didn't have anywhere for them to sleep. I further suggested they have a camper or tent as they would be in much more cramped space without it. It isn't that I was unwilling but that they had to find a way to make it work without being too crowded. Now I hear from family saying we will be in the area can we come visit. It has become my choice to invite them to stay with me.
• United States
@SonjaRae Another thought is to have the landlord excuse. Often Landlords have rules against too many people in an apartment. Maybe next time she can say I was warned by the landlord that I could't have more people in the apartment over night like that again. Referencing the past visits as a key to the landlord getting complaints or seeing it and explaining the liability issue. That way she can say I'd like to BUT....
• Los Angeles, California
She has to take a stance and get "tough." A one bedroom apartment isn't a hotel or boarding house even for family. They should have consideration for her and know better than to impose. I realize they have their issues and limits but they enjoy sleeping on the floor and tripping over bodies and waiting in line for the bathroom. And the strain of cleaning up probably falls on your daughter. If people are coming to California for a visit or vacation or whatever, then they should be prepared to stay at Motel 6.
• Lakewood, Colorado
Well this to me is a case of having to call back and say indeed that you have changed your mind..so if your daughter won't do this, then there is nothing else to do. It is very easy for me to say no as I have been crapped on long enough. I have no other idea of how to get around this. If they cannot understand that it is a hardship on your daughter then to heck with it.
• Agate, Colorado
That's ridiculous of your realtives to keep doing this to your daughter. Maybe they know she won't say no so they keep on doing it. I don't think they'll stop unless she finally says no. I used to be like her, I would drop everything to help family or friends and always say yes it kept feeling I was being taken advantage of so eventually i snapped and said no and slowly stopped getting asked. Maybe she'll be able to say no soon
• United States
Yep, I would call back and say I changed my mind. Or mention - after further speaking to my boyfriend, we only have a one bedroom apartment and that alone isn't enough for the three of us. You can check with Air B&B or local hotels on where you're staying. Not to mention rent here in CA is expensive!
• United States
Your poor daughter. It's hard being assertive, especially with relatives, but I would just encourage her to be more assertive in the future. I have had to tell people they could not stay with me (even though I did technically have the space, I had no desire to take in people for an indefinite amount of time.) Of course, I once got roped into allowing my boyfriend's half-sister (who he had just met as an adult) move in with us, and was unable to get rid of her sorry freeloading self for nearly 3 years...so now I am a bit more open about just flat out saying "No, sorry, I just don't have the room."
Last time I was like that too. Classmates comes and eat only because I said yes. Mom said that I need to think before answering. Some occasions during my university days was hard to because keep saying yes and helping them when I need a break too. but one of my lecturer said "no need to care so much about last minute person" and mom saying "learn to say no" It was a very hard practice, but I manage to do it. Now, I can think and say no when necessary.
You already answered to your question, she calls and she explain that there is not enough space to fit all those people. If she feels guilty, she prepare a very uncomfortable inflatable mattress on the floor and explain that this is the only way she has to let them sleep at her place.