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How to Deal with Friends Who Invite Themselves over Without Asking

Three Methods:

If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by drop-in visitors, it might be time to set some limits and confront the people who drop in regularly. Whether it’s friends coming over to talk or visitors wanting a place to stay while on vacation, these situations can make you feel powerless in your own home. Figure out what specific things bother you and address them by setting boundaries and talking with your friends. It’s never easy to bring up new boundaries with friends, yet it might save your friendship and make you feel happier.


Setting Limits

  1. Turn them away.One easy way to set limits when a friend shows up unannounced is to turn them away and then explain later that you cannot usually hang out unless you know ahead of time because you are so busy. The next time a friend drops by unannounced, say something like, “I’m sorry, but I am getting ready to leave so I can’t hang out right now. I’ll call you later, okay?”
    • Then, later on, call or text and say something like, "Things have been so hectic lately, I generally can't hang out unless we arrange it ahead of time."
  2. Request some notice.If the act of showing up announced bothers you more than the person’s company, say something. It can be as simple as, “It’s nice to see you, but I’d appreciate a phone call next time” or, “I’m happy to get together with you, but I’d like to know earlier in the day if you plan to stop by.” If it’s an enduring problem, make it very clear to the person you’d like some notice before they show up.
    • For a more direct response, say, “I know you enjoy coming over here and I enjoy seeing you, but I dislike you dropping in. In the future, I’d like it if you called ahead of time to see if I am available.”
  3. Embrace time limits.If someone invites themselves to stay with you for an indefinite amount of time, beware. Ask for specific dates. If the person needs some time to get on their feet or wants to stay until they find their own place, set some firm limits on how long you are willing to host them. You don’t want them to wear out their welcome, so make sure you can enjoy them while they are there and not begin to resent them.
    • If you know someone plans to come stay with you, you can say "Here's what we were thinking. You could come in on Monday, we can do XYZ activities, and then you can head out on Wednesday before we have to do (insert activity). How does that sound?" You setting up the timeline will prevent you from having to tell them no.
    • Some say three days is the perfect limit for houseguests. Others extend their welcome to one week. Choose a limit that feels good to you that you know you can live with.
  4. Designate policies.If lots of friends invite themselves over or use your house as a place to crash, you might want to make some sweeping changes to what is and is not allowed.For example, if people want to use your home as a party center, make it clear that you are not okay with that and will not tolerate it. Make a policy that you are not open to host friends of friends. If people do stay at your place, say that you are not available to drive them or show them around town.
    • Whatever policies you decide on, communicate them clearly to your friends. Say, “There have been lots of people over recently, and I find it really draining. I need to set some limits on what I can handle in terms of people coming over, including who comes over and what I’m willing to do.”
  5. Establish consequences.Make consequences clear to someone who doesn’t see how they are affecting you. For example, if someone is at your door and you have asked them to leave yet they refuse, know what you will do or say to enforce yourself. You can say, “I’ve asked you to leave, yet you are still here. You won’t be welcome to come over if this continues to happen.”
    • If the person is a nuisance, say, “If you do not leave within 5 minutes, I will call the police on you.”

Confronting Repeat Offenders

  1. Have a discussion.If someone invites themselves over frequently, don’t expect them to magically go away without you saying something. If you’re uncomfortable with the frequent drop-ins or unexpected visits, it’s up to you to put a stop to it. Especially if you’ve been silent, your friend may think you’re happy to see them when they drop over. It’s time to confront the behavior and make some changes.
    • Choose when to have the discussion. You may want to write an email, make a phone call, or talk to the person face-to-face. It’s up to you how you want to discuss it.
  2. Be direct.Subtlety may not be the best approach in dealing with a friend who’s constantly over. If you say, “I’m really busy right now” or, “I have to rush off to something” and your friend doesn’t seem to get the hint, it’s likely you need to be more clear and direct.If you’re feeling crowded by someone, let them know in a clear and direct way.
    • For example, say, “I need more time to myself, so I won’t be able to hang out as much for a while. Let’s plan to get together once a week from now on.” Be sure to make this discussion about you and your needs, not about them and not wanting them around.
  3. Be polite.There’s no need to argue or show anger toward someone who doesn’t realize they are intruding. Don’t wait until you can’t take it anymore and explode on the unsuspecting person. You can be polite and courteous yet still get your point across. Start with a positive statement then state your needs.
    • For example, you can say, “I enjoy seeing you, but having you over all the time takes a toll on my body. Perhaps we can find time to meet in other places besides my home.”
  4. Set limits.Whether you don’t want your friend coming over to your home at all or whether you’d like the visits shortened or less frequent, set some limits and be clear about your desires and expectations. If the person is showing up once each week, ask them to come once a month. If the person comes over and then stays for hours, shorten visits to one hour or less. Talk about your expectations.
    • For example, you can say, “I like speaking with you, but I need our visits to be shorter. There are things I like and need to do that I can’t do while you’re over.”
  5. Evaluate the friendship.If this person causes you more headache than harmony, it might be time to evaluate your friendship. Think about whether you want to continue being friends with this person or whether it may be time to say goodbye. Some people are toxic and can negatively affect your life. If this person helps you out and is there for you, you may want to continue being friends. Yet, if they are not and instead take more than they give, you may want to reconsider the friendship.
    • Why do you continue to be friends with this person? Are they responsive to any of your requests?
    • If you’ve had enough of this person and want to discontinue the friendship, say, “I’ve asked you many times not to show up unannounced and without asking. This friendship is not good for me and it’s best we say goodbye.”

Checking Your Own Reactions

  1. Check with your body.If you generally say yes to most requests, you may lose touch with how you actually feel about having someone in your house. If someone shows up at your door and says, “Can I come in?” or, “Can I stay over?” take a moment and tune into your body. If you’re genuinely happy to see them, let them in. However, if you don’t want to get up to open the door, your first reaction is a groan, or you feel knots in your stomach after they ask, it’s clear that the person is not welcome.
    • If you get a “no” answer from your body, tell your friend, “This isn’t a good time. I’m sorry.”
    • Sometimes it can be helpful to talk through how you are feeling with your partner or a trusted friend to get to the bottom of how you really feel.
  2. Notice what energizes and drains you.There may be some situations that excite you and some that deplete you depending on whether you are an introvert or extrovert. Introverts prefer to spend most of their time alone, while extroverts prefer to spend most of their time with other people. If you are not sure which type you are, then you can take the Myers & Briggs test to find out.For example, you may feel excited when an old friend shows up unannounced, yet feel depleted after they stay for more than a few hours. Are there situations that feel good and others that feel bad? Are there certain people you can tolerate and others you cannot? Begin to notice what situations energize you and which ones drain you. This can help you to become clearer on what limits you can set and how you might enforce them.
    • For example, you might like the person who drops in, but hate that they come to unload all of their negativity onto you.
  3. Prioritize your needs.If you’re constantly bending your own needs to accommodate others, you may lose sleep, feel angry or upset, lose money, or overextend yourself. If you know that having someone over will drain you or affect you negatively, say something.
    • You can say, “I’m really stressed and I need some alone time right now” or, “I’m working on a project and I need to concentrate by myself.”
    • If you notoriously neglect your own needs, get into a routine of taking some time for relaxation. Join a yoga class, talk a daily walk, or meditate on a regular basis. This can help you deal with stress and not let things compound over time.If you are an introverted personality type, then it is especially important to regularly schedule in time for isolation and quiet. This will help keep you charged for social interaction.
  4. Tolerate others’ reactions.You might say yes to everything to avoid making others upset, yet this can lead you to feel unhappy or taken advantage of. If you fear someone’s disappointment, remember that a lack of boundaries can lead to long-term resentment or bitterness over time. If something makes you unhappy or resentful, that’s not fair to you. It’s okay to say no, even if the other person doesn’t like it.
    • If someone becomes upset, say, “I understand this isn’t what you expected, but I’m afraid I can’t help you this time. I’m sorry you’re disappointed.”

Community Q&A

  • Question
    My friends always ask if they can come back to my house after they go out for dinner, which they did not invite me to. Is this acceptable?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No, that's extremely rude, and you should tell them that. Say something like, "I understand if you don't want to invite me out to dinner with you, but it's very rude for you to expect me to host you at my house after you've gone out."
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