Dear John: Extended Family Takes Advantage Of Open-Door Policy

I have three sisters-in-law. I have been a part of their family for 15 years. We all get along (for the most part).

Recently, my husband and I purchased a home. We have an open-door policy for people to come and use our pool. We also host family gatherings.

At our latest gathering, I noticed two of his sisters wearing my clothes. One volunteered: “We were wet from the pool, and found these in your dryer.” I was assured that I would get the clothes back that night, but they were never returned to me.

Last weekend there was a birthday party. They made off with some towels.

I went to their home, and found a blanket that was given to me by my mother being used as a curtain in one of their bedrooms.

One sister asked me if she could borrow a shirt, and I obliged. She wore neither of the two options that I lent her, and has not returned them.

I prefer not to be confrontational. I know this is petty because at the end of the day, those things do not really matter. I feel frustrated because people are violating my kindness and my space.

People come over knowing that they’re going swimming. Is it my responsibility to provide them with clothing and towels?

– Put Upon

Dear Put Upon,

Step one: Get your shit back. Whether it is behind their back or directly confronting them (which sounds like it might not be your favorite option), get it back. They are taking advantage of your hospitality.

Step two: Close your open door and set rules for when people come over to use your pool. You can still be hospitable but be firm with your guests and let them know that you have towels to use but it’s best that they bring their own. As far as the clothing, that’s on the guest. You’re not a department store carrying multiple sizes and looks of clothes. Screw them and make them bring their own clothes!

Whenever I go over to a friend’s house to swim I always bring my own towel and clothes to change in to. What is wrong with these idiots??? Ah, yeah, they’re idiots.

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