Have you ever experienced one of those days where you had friends or family members drop by for ‘just a few minutes’ and several hours later they are still camped on your living room couch? You don’t want to be rude but you just want them to leave! The following tips will help you to encourage visitors to not overstay their welcome next time this happens to you.
For Habitual Overstayers
Don’t let the conversation get out of hand right from the beginning. Your best opportunity of avoiding those people who you just know are going to monopolize your time for the next few hours is to ‘cut them off at the pass’. Before you even invite your visitor to sit down be sure to let them know that there is a strict time limit on their visit i.e. tell them you have plans that you won’t cancel and that you need to leave the house at a certain time so you aren’t late.
Sometimes this happens when you are out. If you find yourself being approached by someone and really either do not want to sit and talk for hours on end or are unable to because of a prior commitment just tell them that you are either waiting for friends to join you or that you must leave by a certain time. When that time comes around, leave! By putting a time limit on visits right at the outset you can avoid allowing those habitual overstayers an opportunity to take up more of your time than you would prefer them to.
Use Body Language to Encourage Visitors to Leave
When verbally asking someone to leave makes you feel uncomfortable, as it does many people, you can use body language to give them a strong hint that their stay is about to come to an end. Make moves that indicate that you are ready to get back to what you were doing prior to their visit such as gathering up some papers, and then tell your visitors that you have agreed to call a particular person at a specific time i.e. right then. It may still take you a few minutes to get your visitors out the door but at least you will have given them a clear understanding that their visit is ending.
Averting your eyes from theirs is another way of using body language to indicate that you want the conversation to end. This clearly states that you are not interested in furthering conversation with them and only the most stubborn people will ignore this clear message. For particularly stubborn people you can use a need to go to the bathroom to indicate that you have no desire to be in that person’s presence any longer. This works well on that person at the bar that refuses to get the message otherwise to leave you alone. Unfortunately while body language works on most people there are some who just will not get the message and subtlety doesn’t work on them.
When All Else Fails
Some people just need to hear it said loud and clear and while this is probably something you really dislike doing it there are ways you can tell a person they have overstayed their welcome in an effective manner and still be dignified and polite. There really is no need to resort to rudeness when it comes to friends and family.
Be apologetic. Tell your visitors that you really have no desire to appear rude but that you are not in a position to continue spending time with them due to a prior commitment that you have no desire to be late to. This may sound like a no-brainer but nice people find it really difficult to wiggle their way out of conversations that they have no desire to continue with, and so will often find themselves talking for much longer than they really want to out of politeness. This can cause resentment and make a person less likely to be welcoming next time family or friends drop by.
Just because you have politely told your visitors that you have no desire to continue hanging out with them does not mean you don’t enjoy their company. It just means that you have had enough of their company at this time. As long as you convey this to them in a polite, apologetic and caring manner it will give you the result you want without hurting anyone’s feelings.