Dilemma: how do I get my friend to move out?

Jo Brand / 29 December 2017

After offering a widowed friend a place to stay a reader is now worrying how to get her friend to move out without hurting her feelings.



Dilemma: I offered my friend a place to stay but now she won't leave

Earlier this year, my oldest friend came back to the UK from Spain after her husband died.

To help her while she settled, I suggested she move in with me, but there’s no sign of her leaving!

She has money and I’ve offered to help her house-hunt, but she hasn’t made a start yet. I want my own space back, but don’t want to hurt her feelings.

Jo Brand's advice

Oh dear, the house-guest who has outstayed her welcome… As my dear old mum always says, ‘No good deed ever goes unpunished’.

It sounds to me as if she’s lonely and you are not: you are at different stages in your dependence on others. I can understand you don’t want to hurt her feelings, but if she continues to outstay her welcome, you might just seethe until one day you explode and say some things you don’t mean.

This is another situation in which total honesty is required, difficult as it may seem. She is an old friend so surely she will understand. Find out what her worries are about living on her own and help her point herself in the right direction of support. Is she frightened of being alone, for example? In which case she could look at secure properties. Reassure her you’ll be there for her, just in a less full-on way.

Bear in mind, though, that she is probably still grieving and may well express this as anger that you have rejected her. But you cannot carry the burden on your own – if she gets angry, remember it is not your fault.

Hope it goes OK.

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