I've come to find you have to be really careful who you invite into your life and how friendly you are to them. I guess that is a lesson in life we all have to learn. But I mean even with family. As some of you may know I live far from my immediate family. As I was relaxing and eating some kristollen yesterday, I thought about my disappointing experience with a cousin ...
When I still had a Facebook profile with my real name about 3.5 years ago, a cousin I had never met messaged me. She said she was going to be driving through the state the next evening. She wanted to meet me and asked if she could sleep over too. It seemed a little rude but still innocuous. I felt like it was rude because she gave me a one-day notice, and she assumed I wouldn't already have plans in place. I did not let her stay over. I told her I was out of town. In addition, I didn't like the idea of having a single chick stay over with my man in the house, especially when I hadn't secured my ring yet (wasn't married). I probably should have said it was short notice and I wouldn't be able to accommodate her.
She ended up settling in the area. After I got married and had a home I figured it would be nice to have a relative in the area I could get to know. I thought of my experience with her as a one-off kind of thing, but she ended up asking for favors more than I would like. When she first came over for a dinner I was hosting, she asked if she could bring her boyfriend. I said that was okay. Then she asked if her boyfriend can't find a babysitter for his THREE kids can they bring them along. My husband and I reluctantly said okay. Thank goodness they ended up not coming along.
Then she asked when her and her boyfriend were moving if we wanted to buy some furniture from them. We said no. Finally this past September she asked what I thought took nerve: while she teaches abroad could she park her car at our house until she comes back at Christmas or next summer. She didn't even offer anything in return. My husband was taken aback at the suggestion. First, it's going to take up space on our property, second it's a liability, third, as my husband put it, "What if she has a piece of sh*t car? I don't want neighbors seeing that in my yard. And I don't want to see it staring in my face everyday either" That made me crack up.
She told me she could park the car at a friend's house if we couldn't do it. I told her she couldn't park her park here because it is both a liability and we don't have room anyway. We did have room, but whatever. I didn't want to do this favor. I've also seen court shows where family ties like this get broken because a person's car gets ruined or stolen while in the hands of a relative. Then they get sued.
These favors were asked by a cousin I had at my house only once for dinner. We had an e-mail relationship mostly. She told me she would e-mail me and let me know before she leaves the country for her teaching abroad. Haven't heard from her since. My mom sent me a picture of her in the new country. Don't think I'll be hearing from this chick again because I didn't let her park her car at our house for months or until Baby Jesus knows when. Doubt she will be moving back to the area because she and her boyfriend broke up that she lived with here.
I would expect maybe someone who is really young, like 21, to ask for these favors, but this chick is 28. I wouldn't have a problem if she was immediate family, someone I was close to my whole life. But I still have Victorian manners. I try to pay attention to the delicacies of communication and relationships. But I notice more and more people aren't paying attention to those things anymore. The things in our society we consider unwritten rules of civility or relationships are often ignored now. I feel it has gotten really bad in the past 15 years or so. Being just out for yourself or using people is just way too common.
I'd like to hear of any similar experiences you have with friends or family asking for favors you don't feel comfortable with, or whether you agree or disagree with my feelings I've stated.