how to say no to family houseguests

How to Say No to Family Houseguests Without Being Rude

Last Updated on June 11, 2021.

Do you hate when family members invite themselves to your home? Here’s how you can say no to family houseguests without being rude or awkward. 

As a mom, it’s a struggle to keep my house in order with just my immediate family there. So I hate when we have houseguests. But every family has a member or two who tend to invite themselves along without thinking about it (hint: if you don’t know anyone like this… it might be you). And while that’s ok to some extent, there are times where you just need to say NO to family houseguests. Here are 10 tricks to saying no without being awkward.

Be Honest Upfront

If you give a non-committal answer, people tend to take that as confirmation. So the very first thing you should do is give a clear ‘no’. This can be done using a number of phrases like:

  • “Sorry! We don’t have the space for houseguests at the moment”
  • “Unfortunately we’re unable to host any guests right now”
  • “I’d love for you to visit sometime, but this weekend won’t work for us!”
  • “I know we’d have a great weekend! But we have a lot going on so we aren’t able to host any guests for the time being.”

Give Them the Details

If you’re comfortable doing so, give your family member the detailed reason you’re not accepting guests. Confiding in them will soften the blow. You’ll probably get a little empathy out of it. It might sound like this:

  • “The baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet, and we decided as a family we wouldn’t have any sleepovers until she starts sleeping through the night.”
  • “We’ve had a leak in the ceiling of our guest room! When we get it fixed we’ll be able to host visitors again.”
  • “My husband needs to adjust to the early shift  at work. He gets up at 3am, so we’re trying to avoid any extra commotion in the house at night.”
  • “I’m an introvert by nature, and I’ve been struggling to recharge my batteries with all these social gatherings! So I’m going to use this weekend for self-care.”

Suggest Alternatives

Make your “no” sound like a “yes” by suggesting a different option. This could be simply a different date, or a different arrangement altogether. This will help your potential house guest know that you’re not just avoiding them, and that you actually do want to make plans. Try something like:

  • “There’s a cute Bed & Breakfast down the street from our house. Could I make you a reservation there for a night?”
  • “Can we plan for another weekend at the end of the season?”
  • “We should take a camping trip together when the weather breaks!”
  • “After we finish renovating our guest suite I’ll extend you an invitation to spend a long weekend with us!”

Make Time to Connect

Your family members probably want to connect with you. Afterall, they did try to spend an extended time at your house! So, if possible, offer a way you can connect in the immediate future (as in, today or tomorrow). It’s possible even if you live far away from each other. Here are some examples:

  • “I’d love to hang out for a couple hours today. Can we go on a hike this afternoon?”
  • “Could you come over for dinner tonight? We’re grilling out!”
  • “We should do a zoom family game night! What night would work for you this week?”
  • “I need to run some errands. Would you like to go with me so we can catch up?”
Do you hate when family members invite themselves to your home? Here’s how you can say no to family houseguests without being rude or awkward.
Do you hate when family members invite themselves to your home? Here’s how you can say no to family houseguests without being rude or awkward.

Tips for Hosting Houseguests 

  • Accept that sometimes you will probably have to entertain house guests. You’re probably not going to deflect houseguests every single time the opportunity arises without developing a bad reputation or damaging relationships. This is especially for special occasions like weddings, funerals, anniversaries, or birthdays.
  • Set some rules or guidelines for houseguests among your immediate family members. For example, you’ll only entertain guests for a max of 3 nights. Or that house guests must help with dinner. Whatever your rules, be sure to lay them out in advance for any potential guests.
  • Remember that your home is your personal space. You do not owe anyone a place to stay. When you say no, be firm. 

What You Should Do Next…

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