As I’ve gotten older, I have become a lot better at saying no to things. Whether it be events, people, or something else. But there are still certain situations I feel slightly uncomfortable with, when it comes to saying no.
Joel and I live in a charming, yet fairly small London flat. It is perfect for the two of us, but when we have guests it can easily become a little crammed. Especially because we only have one bedroom, one 2-person kitchen (which is sometime a stretch), a bathroom and a fairly spacious and bright loft upstairs. So when we have people staying over, they stay in the loft, which normally serve as our living room.
I love having people around, but I am at the same time a bit of an introvert, who really value some time for myself. I would never say no to close friends or family members if they wanted to visit, even if it might not be so comfortable for either of us after a few days. They are more than welcome!
But I was recently faced with a slightly more distant friend wanting to stay at our place for 5 days. I could immediately feel that I wasn’t keen on the idea. Not because her and her boyfriend aren’t lovely people, because they are, but more because of the feeling of having someone in our little space for that long. this might be difficult for you extroverts out there to understand, and sometimes I wish I would just welcome everyone with open arms. But living in a city like London, means that we do have people wanting to stay with us quite often – Sometime clearly just to save a few pennies on a hotel, which i can completely understand, as London is expensive enough to visit as it is. It easily turns into a part-time B&B business though, which would be quite alright if we had a massive house with lots of guest rooms, but unfortunately that is not the case at the moment.
Knowing myself, I would feel like I had to entertain and ‘be there’ constantly. And in between work and other commitments, I would make it a tough 5 days for myself. Especially when it is people that you don’t know that well. I have close friends who I know are perfectly happy to do their own thing, happily buys food and makes dinner, and just make themselves at home, which takes a lot of the stress out of it for me, when I know I don’t have to be the tourguide.
After having been here for 9 years I have learned to listen a bit more to myself (and Joel) and draw the line sometimes. It is after all our home, and we live here, work here, and have our everyday routines. I know that it is perfectly acceptable to say no, but I still feel bad about it, as it is nothing personal, and I would love to help.
So after having spoken to Helene about it (who lives in an amazing, yet tiny, studio apartment in Copenhagen), just to verify that I wasn’t a total bitch for saying no, I offered that they could stay for one night at ours (as we would love to see them) but kindly asked them to stay somewhere else for the remaining nights.
I have also made a strict rule of NO SIGHTSEEING a long time ago. I have done my fair share of of that, so when guests spend their days trawling the pavements of London with millions of others, or stare at wax models of celebrities at Madame Tussaud’s, it is without me – with some exceptions of course. I’ll definitely be there for the evening drinks and dinner though ;)
What would you have done?