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Etiquette Question: Am I Right or Is She Right?


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Hi eNotAloners,


Last Saturday, my boyfriend and I stayed over his father's house in another state to attend a conference. We left on Saturday morning at 8AM and before we left his father's house, I made sure that I left everything clean. I folded the bedsheets & pillow covers and left the room as it was when we first arrived. I left the air mattress up because I knew they were expecting guests later that day. However, on Wednesday night his father's wife (step-mom) texted me that I left a mess. I apologized (though now I don't know what for) for any mess I left behind, though I know that I left the room clean before leaving. She replied that she didn't expect to do "a full cleaning" and I assume that she wanted me to wash and dry the bedsheets and pillow covers that we used. I admit to have left some trash in the bathroom trash bin but it's the trash bin. So here is the question for y'all...


Etiquette Question Do the houseguests have to wash and dry their own bedsheets and pillowcovers before leaving your place?


I NEVER had any of my guests wash & dry what I let them borrow and I don't expect them to take their trash out from the bathroom (unless it's very stinky) and I appreciate if they folded what they used to make the place look nice. I don't understand why she snapped three nights after we left that she didn't expect to do a full cleaning. I was aware that other guests were coming over at 1PM (they were coming with a newborn baby) but we left at 8AM so that is enough time for them to prepare for their next set of guests. My boyfriend called his dad on Thursday to ask if we left a mess but his dad said that he doesn't know because he was busy preparing a BBQ and that I should call HER to set things straight. Yeah right! It's because of her texts that I don't want to stay over my boyfriend's dad's house again in the future. To make it worse, the step-mom is the kind of woman that brings up your faults over and over. My boyfriend spilled juice on the sofa YEARS ago (like over 5 years) and she still brings it up.

What do you expect of your houseguest(s) before leaving? Thanks guys!

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I've never expected anyone to wash their bedding, unless they peed on it or something. I personally think it's a little OTT, but different strokes for different folks. I would hope they'd leave it as they found it, no trash on the floor, bedding items folded up, etc.


I don't think it's a matter of right or wrong; If this is an expectation she has, then it is so. It doesn't make her wrong for wanting it, or you wrong for not doing it. It's up to her to communicate what she expects of people who stay in her home. She didn't, you didn't know. It's done now, so for the future, you know what to do.

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Wow... I've stayed at a lot of people's houses and I've always received compliments and thank you's for being such a good guest. When I'm done I usually strip the bed and fold the bedding. I always clean up after myself in the bathroom, kitchen and anywhere else I've been. Trash belongs in the trash bin. I always ask if there's anything else my host/hostess would like me to do before I leave, which takes the onus off of me if something was not done to their liking after I leave.


What does your boyfriend have to say about it? It's his family, so surely he should know what was expected of you as guests in his father's house. I would also try and clarify with the step-mom as to exactly which "mess' she is thinking you left, so that you can be sure not to do it again. (not that you're going to stay there again, but it would be nice to know what the heck she's talking about and what she expected).


Also, whenever I bring a guest to my parents' house, I'm the one who is ultimately responsible for what they do. If a mess was left by one of my guests, my parents would bring the issue up with me and then I would have to talk to my guest about it. I don't understand why this issue is with you, instead of your boyfriend.

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I personally find it incredibly rude of your boyfriend's stepmom to be complaining to you of such a trivial thing. You did everything I would have expected of a courteous guest, and even if you hadn't, I would never have complained about it, because it would have been more important to me to be on good terms with the girlfriend of my stepson.

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The stepmother sounds like a piece of work, even his father seems afraid of her. The text that she sent you was tasteless and rude. If she had any issues, she should have contact your boyfriend since he was the family member they hosted. In fact, where was your boyfriend during all this? If he knew that stepmum was wound a bit too tight, he should have helped you with the room cleaning to make sure all was right when you left. Or better yet, he could have paid for a nice hotel for the two of you and you would have had a completely different experience.


It does not sound like staying at Dad's was a warm family experience. Was stepmother down with you guys staying over? There is some other issue with her other than the room. The "messy" room is a smoke screen for what is really bugging her. Maybe she was really upset about having unmarried folk violating her guest room. haha


Next time, have boyfriend treat you to a nice hotel experience so you can avoid being the chambermaid who gets a tongue lashing for her troubles. He needs to have your back here.

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Since it's impossible to 'win' someone who's just out to be mean, I'd have just asked her to tell me specifically what she hoped I'd do that I didn't do. Then she'd be forced to hear herself sound like an idiot while telling me that I didn't remove a tissue from the trash or whatever. Then I'd apologize for the dumb thing, and I'd add that I'll also be sure to apologize to BF's Dad for not removing the tissue from the wastebasket before leaving, as I'm sure it caused him equal distress.

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Thank you guys for the responses. My boyfriend rented a hotel room that same night after his dad gave us the option of staying over again but I shouldn't be mad because she has always been a diva. It's just who she is- she doesn't cook (husband does), looks like she hates cleaning (for expecting guests to thoroughly wash their bedding) and now I see why my boyfriend didn't go to their wedding. She should have listed her expectations beforehand and you can't get mad at someone if they didn't know that the hostess expected beddings to be washed & dried before leaving. Her whining to me was tasteless and poor form- she didn't bring this up at all to her husband and my boyfriend because the husband didn't hear of anything before my boyfriend called. My boyfriend isn't scared of her, he just couldn't be bothered to deal with her because she will never apologize and she likes to think that she is always right, so he finds it a waste of time to talk to her about petty things. After all, she will bring this up again and again and again because she LOVES drama.


You guys are right in asking the host beforehand for guest guidelines and, before leaving, what else can be done before dismissal. I never bothered to ask because like you guys, I was always thanked for being a lovely guest and for cleaning after myself. But you're right, she must have some underlying issues with me for finding the smallest thing to complain about. This is the first time someone complained that I was "messy". But you will always be messy to those with a messed-up mind because they can't see beyond their clutter. Yes, next time she brings this up, I should say that I expected the juices to dry but I guess she found the wet spot. J/K!! THANKS AGAIN EVERYONE.

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