May 25

annoying parents

“Dear friends and family, even though I love you to death and would do just about anything for you, I need you to understand that my single status does not mean that it’s okay to infringe on my space for long periods of time. Please respect me as much as you would if I were married with a wife at home and refrain from treating me like an overgrown teenager to take advantage of. Sincerely, single guy”

It is one of the biggest unspoken irritations with being single that nobody ever talks about… because it feels rude. Do you know what I’m getting at? Well it’s the very real issue of family members who are down and out moving in on the single relative “for a few weeks” and overstaying their welcome sometimes into the years. Families never respect the lives of those who are single, not at all, but let you be married or have a live-in girlfriend and they will give you notice, actually ask your permission or assume that you are busy anyway.

Assuming that singles have no life will only lead to resentment.

When you’re single you have aunts and uncles who will give you 1-day notice to come stay at your place for the weekend because they figure you can accommodate them. Many times they may be coming into town for a professional basketball game, a conference, or a smaller event. Some singles will flat out say no to relatives because they have been burnt enough times whereas many others will just deal with it as best they could.

The problem with just dealing with it is that the problem will continue to persist until it turns into resentment by the single and he/she will begin to feel slighted. Around the time when you start dating and having girls over (or boys), the random relative dropping in on you and learning your business, or unintentionally cock-blocking you will make you hate the fact that family knows no boundaries when it comes to your house. Many singles begin to lie that they will be out of town or that people will be there, etc. but even then there are relatives who will still force themselves on you.

I always say that assumption is the great offender and families and friends assume a lot of singles. They see singles as being carefree, of having all the time in the world, a big empty house, and a want for company. When the older folks (who still see you as a child) decide to come into town for their Network Marketing seminar, they will stay with “little Mary” the single, because she has a “nice house” and it will save them from paying a hotel fee. Let’s not even get into the “we want to celebrate thanksgiving in Florida so let’s volunteer Mike to host it” parents. They afford you no chance to say no sometimes unless you have the type of relationship where you can fight back when assumptions are made like this.

It’s been 2 weeks… why are you still here?

The other boundary that gets violated constantly with singles is when a relative or close friend moves in – with promise that it is temporary. The squatter gets comfortable, thinks that the good times you share watching movies on Sunday, and swapping turns picking up dinner means that they can stick around beyond the time they quoted. It is the most annoying thing for homeowners because when people tell you that they will be staying for 2 weeks, you do hope that they are staying for 2 weeks or less, not more. But more times than we like to believe, the 2 week quote ends up become 6 months to a year. Again this leads to resentment and as a single it feels like a dorm room where you no longer own your space (so-to-speak) but are a prisoner within your own home.

If you are a parent with an older, single child, or you’re 40+, married and have visited nephews and nieces before, chances are you have violated and not really thought much about it. With this I would like to ask that if you are somewhat conscious of it (and I hope this article helps your awareness), try and look past the status of the person who you are about to squat on and ask them  if it is okay for you to stay with them. Give them the exact time that you will be staying and for the love of everything sane, be honest about it.

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