How to politely decline house guests during a funeral?


11 years, 1 month ago

An out-of-town family member has asked to stay at our house for 5 days during the week of my father’s memorial. I feel this is inappropriate and will put undue stress on my mother during this very difficult time. I would not dream of asking to stay at someone’s house during their bereavement; to me, this is the height of insensitivity and rudeness. How do I politely make it clear to this family member that asking to stay here is not OK and that s/he needs to get a hotel room?

Jennifer Lane
11 years, 1 month ago

First, I am very sorry for the recent loss of your father. I know this is a difficult time, and as you suggest – it is not appropriate for someone to invite themselves to stay at your home while in town for the memorial service.

I would recommend for you be honest and tell the family member that while you would love to host them at another time, doing so for the memorial service would not be a good time.

Follow that by saying you are tending to your mother, who needs extra support and care from you right now. Then, kindly offer them a few suggestions for hotels in the area, maybe even offer to book them a reservation if you feel so inclined.

Many people do not realize the flurry of activity that occurs when a loved one passes. There are many details to tend to, even several months after the funeral. Friends and other family should only make offers to help, not impose.

However, remember that emotions run high when people are grieving so don’t be surprised if the family member does not respond well to your polite suggestion to stay at a hotel.

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