What's the middle ground between "F.U!" and "Welcome!"?
January 16, 2007 1:38 PM Subscribe

One of my wife's distant friends has attempted to invite herself to stay with us, again. She did this last March, and we used the excuse of me starting a new job and needing to do x, y, and z as well as the "out of town" excuse for any remaining dates. This got us off scot-free, but we both knew the time would come again... and it's here. We need a final solution.

We live in a small 2 bedroom apartment, in New York City. People like to visit here, and they don't generally want to pay for a hotel. We understand this. However, we also don't want people staying with us who we don't know or don't like.

My wife received the following email (summarized):

I'm going to be in NYC the night of the 5th to the morning of the 15th for [blah blah blah some work-related singing event thing]. Maria (my boss) said it is on the lower east side at Gramercy Park. I do have another friend who offered me her place to stay, but not for the whole time. Is there a chance that I could stay with you and Jeff for a portion of that time? I'd be using the subway the whole time and I'd be gone from 10-10 probably every day, so I'd be out of your way most of the time.

Let me know if this might be a possibility! Your choice on the dates, it's pretty flexible when I stay at her place.

Thanks for your help - I hope this works out so we can see each other!
Oh my god. First, I don't even know this woman. I've never even spoken with her. My wife doesn't really like her, but she's one of those people who just won't go away. To complicate things further, my wife is one of those people who doesn't really like to say no or to turn away people from her past, so I'm sure this woman will be following us wherever we go. Granted, they do have history in that they used to go to school together from ages 11-16. A decade ago. Then, they've seen each other sporadically when they've been home at the same time. This complicates the issue a little since it begs the question "does past history automatically equate to present friendship?" Even so, I'm reluctant to allow her stay because it'll set a precedent and possibly ruin the (slim) chances of her just fading into the past, and never hearing from her again.

Further, it really annoys me when people just invite themselves over, or present the possibility of you accommodating them. This is something I strive never to do. If anything, I might "test the waters" by mentioning I'll be in town, and see if an offer comes my way, but suggesting that you should allow me to stay in your apartment with you and your significant other whom I have not met seems borderline if not downright rude. Presumptuous, definitely.

I doubt this will be the last time this happens, so we need a final solution.

The only thing I've thought of so far are:

1. Our apartment has a weird key (true), and we haven't been able to get it duplicated (somewhat true). We need our keys (true). Sorry.

2. Keep it vague. "Sorry, that isn't going to work for us" seems like a pretty good solution, but a) it's still pretty awkward to say to someone, especially since I wouldn't put it beyond this woman to inquire further -- "Why, though? Why can't I stay?" -- and b) it'll be hard to get my wife to say this to her.

Have you had similar experiences? What would you do in this sort of situation? Is getting cornered into an unfortunate situation like this just a fact of life I'm refusing to accept?