When guests become a menace?

Faced with a guest who just pushes your buttons too hard? Tanya Datta finds some solutions to tackle them

In a country where guests are respected as god, are people still okay with keeping a smile on their faces when a guest overstays? Does he or she start becoming a nuisance? From what has been observed over the years, people's attitudes towards guests have changed drastically. They have now become quite upfront and prefer going ahead with a no-nonsense stance, even if the guest in question is their relative. Terms like 'privacy' and 'my own space' crop up a lot in conversations, with nuclear families mostly keeping to themselves.

Jhanvi Mishra, a newly-wed woman, who recently met a very annoying relative from her in-laws side, says, "It's been a month since we tied the knot, and recently some of my husband's relatives came over to our place. One of them, an old woman, kept telling me how to do household chores. Initially, I took her words with a pinch of salt, considering she was much senior and had more experience than I did. But after a while, it just got to me. It's not that I am a child and don't know how to do my work. It just got too much. Finally, I had to ask my husband to step in to resolve the matter."

When guests become a menace

Don't buckle under pressure and be a little more assertive is what psychologist Seema Hingorrany believes works best when you are faced with difficult guests. "One of the most common situations is when someone's child goes on touching artifacts at another person's house. I had a patient who said she could not concentrate on the conversation with the mother of that child because all her attention was on the kid. Then there are others who like dropping in unannounced and at odd hours. I just tell all my patients to just say no or make an excuse when they are in a tight spot. While some of us adore kids, noisy and restless children can get to anyone," she says.

How to handle someone else's child when they are staying at your place can be a tough situation to address. "We had a very naughty kid in our neighbourhood, restless being an understatement for him. He used to come to our place and wanted to touch everything that he could lay his hands on. There was crockery and glassware, which was expensive, so I was worried. I did not want to spoil our friendship by saying anything. But, one day, it just got too much and I had to make it clear that either she didn't bring the boy over or then make him sit next to her when she visited. Her visits became less frequent after that," says Rohini Singh.

What can you do?

1. Hold your ground and give polite hints by looking at the clock or yawning.

2. If you feel an argument is on its way, just refuse to be an active participant in it.

3. Keep smiling even if you find yourself getting angry. Try and put your point across without losing your cool. People will realise their mistake eventually.

4. Learn to create healthy boundaries so that people don't infringe upon you in an unfair manner.

5. Check your own emotions just in case you are being unreasonable. When faced with a problematic guest, just take a moment to process what is going around and react accordingly

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