I have been hosting people in my home recently, and I felt uncomfortable because they were being a little lazy for the common chores and sometimes even greedy when we had to pay for goods (eg. food, gasoil, etc.) by not proposing any financial participation (I wasn't asking anything though, but they are far from being poor), even though I was accepting them in my own house for a whole week and taking them with my car here and there.

This was, considering my culture, a big disrespect not because I expected any money in return, but because the least they could've done is to show some gratitude. (Note : it is not the first time that this happens, we had them a few times and I felt the same way every time)

I spoke with my wife, who doesn't feel the same way, and told her I wouldn't invite them for such a long period anymore because I was afraid this might eventually take my patience to its limits and consequently provoke the end of this friendship. I'd rather spend nice evenings with them or even weekends from time to time, but nothing more than that.

I feel guilty for making my wife sad by not accepting those people that aren't being harmful objectively and that we really like, but doesn't the Noble Eight-fold Path specifies that one should avoid bad thoughts by cutting the source of them ?

Did I do the right thing or am I overreacting there ?

  • have you considered that this is a pebble in your shoe and the discomfort only arises because you have a foot ? (in practical terms) maybe you are bothered by their behavior because there are times you could be more generous, but choose not to be, and you wish you behaved differently? try being yourself more generous (even when not required), and see if your joy from generosity melts your suffering from their lack of regard for your contribution. You are (currently) being generous with those who do not need it, when instead you could use the resource to be generous with those who need you.
    – Mishtook
    Apr 11, 2018 at 20:56

4 Answers 4


This is my personal favorite. I have had this happen so many times although the victim was my mother who had to do a lot of things and I contributed a bit in a constructive fashion. This seems to be a fairly common case experienced by many hospitable people.

So the deal here is that I would not worry what the noble eight fold path says or whatever. This is rather general i.e., in terms of how best to deal with things that happen. It is about the choices you make and consequence you receive. There are lots of options to consider and each one would have a consequence. But without hurting others, (although I wouldn't mind giving the guests a piece of my mind), choose the best and most congenial option available. Sometimes it may be best to go out or do something else wherein you are busy.

Funny thing is they know they are being unhelpful too. But they still stick around. You could employ the tactic of asking for help when and if you need it.

There is nothing wrong with being practical about such matters. But know that you always deserved everything that came to you. Feeling something about it, either positive or negative, makes no difference to the matter. This is a little hard to take. I am not asking you not to feel guilty or angry but know that when it comes, it is pointless to act on a whim. There are other ways to deal with the matter.

One other important thing is that, trying to satisfy other people is not your problem. You can treat/guide them to an extent. And in the world I have observed that no matter what you do you will be criticized in some way. Even Jesus was criticized. Buddha has been criticized. It's important how they took it. Because they were in total control of how they reacted.

Again I am not perfect and nobody is, and sometimes I get irritated too. But being practical and working on distancing yourself from emotions is important. The rest is how you conduct yourself.

  • 1
    I understand your point and you're right, the way I react to my own emotions is the real problem here. But if I am not able, at the time, to distance myself from those emotions, shouldn't I distance myself from their very cause ?
    – ZenJin
    Aug 4, 2016 at 14:03
  • What do you mean by distancing yourself from the cause? You mean you want to avoid the situation ?
    – esh
    Aug 4, 2016 at 14:05
  • Yes, precisely.
    – ZenJin
    Aug 4, 2016 at 14:08
  • Sure you can, if that's what you want to do. But be aware that that has consequences too. Any action for that matter. But don't get tensed about it :P no point. And things change. Sometimes you might be forced into that situation, sometimes you'll get away with it. It's all in the game. Don't take it too seriously and just play it :D
    – esh
    Aug 4, 2016 at 14:11
  • 2
    It's alright that you asked this question. And you'll get textbook answers soon. But really you're taking yourself way too seriously. Things change and you're not permanent and your guests are not permanent either. So try working "with" them instead of "for" them. Get what I mean ?
    – esh
    Aug 4, 2016 at 14:15

Look for techniques to cultivate Metta(loving-kindness) and karuna(compassion) then practice compassion for yourself and for your guests, it is a good replacement for anger.


@ZenJin, there’s something that you and I and all of us can get from Priestess Diotima’s advice to Socrates. She said to him:

”There are two kinds of families, one is the karmic family that you beget and marry; the other is the true family and Spiritual family. These are the people who share your knowledge and follow your aspirations and dreams. These are the people who share your bliss.”

“O Diotima why could not these be the same? Why cannot I have my Karmic family be the same as my Spiritual family?” cried Socrates.

”On a rare occasion this can happen. In your case your Karma is to have a nagging wife and unresponsive children. In your passed life you must have invoked this Karma by your own deeds.” Said Diotima.

Your predicament, @ZenJin, is having to host these people. Since you cannot get away from it, as your wife too has a equal say on it, what lessons could you learn from it, to further your Dhamma path? You can either create suffering and stress around this event, or let it be a lesson in Dhamma by thinking in terms of the four noble truths. Or think that it is of your own making, and let it pass without thinking too much about it (verbal fabrication), and not trying to bring up past unpleasant memories of them (mental fabrication). Then this can provoke anger in you (bodily fabrication). Likewise you can think through Dhamma, as these thing you just can’t get rid of; it’s like a cart wheel tightly fastened by an iron pin.

” “Dear Monks, these beings live having Karma as what they own. They live inheriting the Karma, making it the birth place, and making it their relative. The Karma is their refuge. If a friendly or evil karma is performed, that Karma will be his inheritance.” - (Sansappanii Pariyāya Sutta – A.N. 10th Nipātha)

Instead of creating any unpleasantness , if mindfully you see such a situation in a positive light?

“Dear Monks, if a person with the Sammā Ditthi has a bodily action, an action with respect to words, an action with respect to mind, an intention, an existence, an aim, and Karma (Sanskāra) that cause effects according to his view, all these will result in fulfilled, as desired, and pleasurable things. What is the reason for that? Dear Monks, that view is pleasant. Dear Monks, it is like this: let’s think that a seed of sugar cane or hill rice or grape was planted in a wet ground. If these seeds grow well by drawing nutrition and water from the earth, all these will result in sweet and tasty products. What’s the reason for that? Dear Monks, it’s because it was a pleasant seed.” - (A. N. 3rd Nipatha)

Past kammas are non-eternal. So come into the Path, and free yourself of it.

“Dear Monks, what does it mean by freeing oneself from the Karma? The touching of the freedom by freeing oneself from the Karma done by body, words, and mind is known as the freeing from Karma.

Dear Monks, what is the path to free from Karma? It is the Eight Noble Path: Sammā Ditthi, Sammā Sankappa, Sammā Vāchā, Sammā Kammantha, Sammā Aajeeva, Sammā Vāyāma, Sammā Sathi, and Sammā Samādhi. Dear Monks, this is called the path of freeing oneself from the Karma.” - (Kamma Sutta – S. N. 4)

  • I'm pretty sure Socrates never talked about "Karma". Do you have a source? Aug 5, 2016 at 7:04
  • @OidaOudenEidos it is found in "Socrates' Angel - Page 51 - Google Books Results" - books.google.ca/… Aug 5, 2016 at 9:39
  • @SapthaVisuddhi I think this book is modern fiction, not historical. It talks about Karma, Akashic records, the Nazarene. It's anachronistic.
    – ChrisW
    Aug 5, 2016 at 11:58
  • I felt that it is so, @ChrisW. That's why I did not provide the link. I am always hard pressed for time. I wanted to read through that ebook further, but kept it for another day and time. Please give me a couple of weeks or more. I will revise it to one from the scriptures and expand on the answer provided. Aug 5, 2016 at 13:14
  • @SapthaVisuddhi Please forgive me, I thought you meant the historical Socrates. Aug 5, 2016 at 18:50

I found my answer while I was randomly reading this TinyBuddha article :

If you are angry with the other person and actually can’t whittle it down to being able to ask for something you need from them, then perhaps it is an internal conflict that the other person triggered, and you actually don’t need to involve them.

Focusing on what you need removes “should” and “should not” from your internal dialogue –”they shouldn’t be so insensitive” or “they should be more respectful.” It isn’t true that they should or shouldn’t be a certain way; that’s just something you want.

After determining how their behavior is affecting you, you can then discover what you need or would like to change.

The intention of simply asking for what you need is not to elaborate, but if the other person seeks to understand the situation further, then they might ask questions that lead you to sharing your feelings.

And then :

If grieving that relationship is a less painful option than having that person remain in your life, then that is something for you to consider, especially if it affects your self-worth.

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