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Old 02-26-2016, 03:18 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,650
House guests like fish go bad after three days

Do you agree with the old adage that good company like good fish goes bad after three days?

We recently said goodbye to some relatives (a couple along with their two kids) who stayed at our place for five days. We hadn't seen them for about a decade and I would have thought we'd have several days worth of life events to talk about, but found we'd depleted most of the catch-up discussion by end of the first evening. The next day we spent part of the day out on the town and much of the evening again at home talking around the proverbial campfire. By the middle of third day I admit I was ready for them to leave and found myself wishing I could regain my privacy and enjoy some down time where I didn't feel obligated to be "on" all the time. The remainder of the time I just tried to get through it the best I could without expressing any irritation. The kids, of course got along famously and if they had their way would probably have us combine households permanently.

Maybe it's because I'm largely an introvert, but I think the saying should be 'house guests like fish go bad after two and a half days.' What are the limits of your hospitality and goodwill?

Last edited by Cardigan; 02-26-2016 at 03:19 PM.
Old 02-26-2016, 03:19 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 37,452
I give fish no more than two days. Houseguests about the same.
Old 02-26-2016, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: SEC
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When I was a kid, I remember hearing a grown-up saying, in reference to out-of-town relatives having recently stayed for a couple of days saying something to the effect "Family. . . glad to see them come. . . and glad to see them leave."

I didn't understand it at the time, but I do now, and don't see it as a put-down. When your time is impinged upon by something that means you have to make adjustments in your lifestyle and habits, it's good to get back to 'normal.' [But yeah, for most cases, I think three days is probably pushing it.]

Last edited by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker; 02-26-2016 at 03:40 PM.
Old 02-26-2016, 04:05 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: In the Dreaming
Posts: 21,639
Depends entirely on how demanding and difficult the house guests are.

Back when I was married, we had this couple over. They were nice in short doses, but after about 10 hours (they came over @ noon), I was about ready to throw them out on their asses. (Suddenly, loudly crying "FEED ME!" in a whiny voice two hours after a meal is not endearing.)

I'm an introvert too. If you can entertain yourself, fine. If you have a car and can go places by yourself, fine. However, if you demand that I entertain and look after your needs for 16 hours a day, I'm not ever going to invite you back, and I'm probably going to suggest it's time for you to leave by the end of the second day.
Old 02-26-2016, 04:40 PM
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Chicago IL
Posts: 343
I really dislike people being in my house overnight. My mother-in-law came for a week a couple of years ago, and I was ready for her to be gone after a few days. Most often the in-laws only come for two nights, and that's about all I can take.
Old 02-26-2016, 05:08 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 8,009
It depends on the guests. When my father visits, he may stay for a week or a month, and I don't mind. We're both rather solitary by nature, so we each mostly go our own way for the duration. The rest of my family wears me down; I love them, but I couldn't live with them long-term. A week or so, and I'm ready for a break. (If I weren't much more nocturnal than they are, I wouldn't last that long, but I get peaceful late nights after they're all asleep.)

Other guests...generally, I feel the strain after a day or two. I enjoy company, but I really need downtime to recharge.
Old 02-26-2016, 05:10 PM
I'm nice, dammit!
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Southern Merrylande
Posts: 37,928
My inlaws are really sweet people, but they're coming here for a week in May and I'm dreading it already. We turn over the remote to them so we have to watch their crappy TV choices. They're late-night people, we're early morning people, so that's an issue sometimes, and in their mid-80s, we've already heard all of their stories many many times. Fortunately, I'm working again, so I won't have to spend all day every day with them.

Honestly, I like them, but our routines are incompatible, so it makes for a stressful time. I keep reminding myself that they probably won't be around much longer and these visits mean a lot to my husband.

Apart from our daughter, they're the only visitors we've had in ages!
Old 02-26-2016, 05:19 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 14,569
I have a long standing tradition. After family members have left after staying a couple of days or more. The very next day is "me" time. And that 'me' time usually involves alcohol in copious amounts.
Old 02-26-2016, 06:33 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: US NW Coast
Posts: 1,509
It depends totally on the kind of guest. Needy, constantly want to talk, can't seem to do anything for themselves, doesn't give me any space to chill out for a while type of guests would drive me crazy after 24 hours. I don't have guests often, and when I do, it's someone who I really enjoy having around or have not seen in years. For example, my brother. He visited not long ago for two days. We ate his amazing cooking and drank good wine his whole visit. He even cooked at my guy's place.
Old 02-26-2016, 08:33 PM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 355
I find the old adage true, except with my sisters and their families, and our best friends. Longer visits with them aren't stressful because we're all pretty easygoing and comfortable saying what we want to do and don't want to do, and things seem to work out without any tension or drama. I think it's because we all know each other so well.
Old 02-27-2016, 11:07 AM
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At least with the fish, you can feed it to cats after three days.
Old 02-27-2016, 01:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Close to home
Posts: 9,751
Depends on the houseguests. When my in-laws visit, my father-in-law spends his time doing fix-it chores and my mother-in-law entertains our small child. Their last visit lasted ten days and I was sad to see them go. They're coming for two weeks in April, and I can't wait.
Old 02-27-2016, 02:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,795
I don't like staying at anyone house more than 3 days, I feel any longer would be too much for everyone . More than 3 days is like fish gone really bad .
Did your guests have their own car if yes they could gone out for part of day to sightsee on their own.
Old 02-27-2016, 03:01 PM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: behind the sofa
Posts: 4,823
I don't like to be anyone's houseguest for more than three days.

And I don't much like having houseguests for more than 3 days, unless the houseguest is in and out, or we're doing stuff away from the house.

Weirdly, I'm fine when my friends and I rent a house for a week out of town, but in that case we're all kind of the houseguests. I guess it's different because no one is in my space.

Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
I'm an introvert too. If you can entertain yourself, fine. If you have a car and can go places by yourself, fine. However, if you demand that I entertain and look after your needs for 16 hours a day, I'm not ever going to invite you back, and I'm probably going to suggest it's time for you to leave by the end of the second day.

Also, when I visit, don't expect me to entertain you all the time. You want entertainment, hire a band. I'm an introvert and have chronic migraine. I'm not always up for being chatty. I don't need to be fussed over, but sometimes I just need space. Alone. Quiet.

ETA (again) that I hate visiting my mum as a houseguest because she drinks too much. She doesn't get abusive, but she does some amazing revisions of family history, and anyway, it's no fun to listen to someone slur and talk crap. I go because my parents are older, but I've seriously considered getting a hotel for the time I'm there. Last Christmas was lousy.

Last edited by GrumpyBunny; 02-27-2016 at 03:05 PM.
Old 02-27-2016, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Yucatan, Mexico
Posts: 2,460
I was planning to do some volunteer work for a National Park. My first cousin lived close to the park, and I asked her if she had a space that I could stash my motorcycle for a week while I did the gig. I would be camping at the park all week.

She said, "Sure, but just remember that it is your vacation, not mine." At the time, I felt hurt. I never went because the group at the park was full.

Looking back, I think she made a great comment. Although we grew up together, we had not been in a lot of contact since.

If you have house guests that you don't know very well, it is a good idea to set some ground rules before they arrive.

Last edited by harmonicamoon; 02-27-2016 at 03:35 PM.
Old 02-27-2016, 04:11 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: NxnyC
Posts: 1,088
Give'em the cold shoulder.

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Another explanation is that the phrase stems from a particular way to serve food to an unwanted guest. In this case, "cold shoulder" refers to serving of an inferior cut of meat, namely a "cold shoulder of mutton" to an uninvited guest, as opposed to serving a hot meal or roast that was fresh out of the oven to an invitee, which was customary at the time. This acted as both a direct and subtle means to let the guest know that he or she was or had become unwelcome, and had extended his or her stay.
Old 02-27-2016, 04:14 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 36,831
Not necessarily three days; I've had guests that could stay for several weeks no problem, others that get on my nerves after five minutes.
Old 02-28-2016, 01:12 AM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 5,681
We used to have a problem years ago when we would visit family because my kids fell asleep early and then woke up early (like 5 am) so I had to corral them and keep them quiet till like 7 am when the host family woke up.
Old 02-28-2016, 01:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 961
I don't like being a house guest at all. We always stay in a hotel and rent a car. I prefer to plan the events with people we are visiting, but like returning to our hotel room for the night. We also tend to sleep in on the mornings for vacations, and I don't like someone rushing me out of bed to have breakfast at their house.

I think doing the above makes the trip more enjoyable. I know some family felt insulted I didn't want to stay at their house, but I said I didn't like them going through extra work for us.
Old 02-29-2016, 03:51 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4,322
In one documentary on Dr. Joseph Mengele on the run, he managed to stay with a family in South America one whole year. Myth busted.
Old 02-29-2016, 04:13 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 8,009
Originally Posted by the_diego View Post
In one documentary on Dr. Joseph Mengele on the run, he managed to stay with a family in South America one whole year. Myth busted.
Some fish are bad to begin with.
Old 02-29-2016, 02:56 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Jawja
Posts: 9,066
Originally Posted by Grrr! View Post
I have a long standing tradition. After family members have left after staying a couple of days or more. The very next day is "me" time. And that 'me' time usually involves alcohol in copious amounts.
That may work better if you starte the day before, then continue until the day after.
Old 02-29-2016, 03:45 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: The Middle of Nowhere, WI
Posts: 10,702
We have stayed for a week with good friends. But we do our best to make ourselves welcome.

One time, we told our friends to clean out their fridge, because our first stop was going to be the grocery store and we were going to cook for them all week. Mr. S brought his espresso machine and provided coffee service. We took one or two days to go out and about by ourselves, and when we were "home" we often occupied ourselves with a book or something. And so on. Our friends told us we could come anytime.

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