Etiquette Questions, Answered: Tricky Conversations
How Do I Confront a Disrespectful House Sitter?
Q. When I returned from a recent vacation, I discovered my house sitter had downloaded pornography onto my computer (which
I didn’t realize he would use). As a result, it now has several viruses. How do I confront him about this?
Name withheld by request
A. Well, so much for the notion of having someone safeguard your house, protecting you from unwelcome surprises upon your return. Of course you’re upset. (I would be, too.) Here’s what to do about it.
If you are close with him and his lack of consideration has upset you, let him know you’ve been having virus trouble ever since he used your computer, and that he should understand that downloading any material, lurid or otherwise, can damage a machine. (And a friendship, for that matter.) Ask him to compensate you for any repairs or software that you need to eliminate the viruses. If you get embarrassed by even broaching the topic, try to remember: The only person who should be mortified by this situation is your Web-surfing pal.
If he’s not a good friend or a family member? Then don’t bother bringing it up. The damage is done, so look at it as a lesson learned. Before your next vacation, find someone more thoughtful to watch your house, and let him know your computer is off-limits. Still feeling distrustful? Set up a password so it can’t be used.
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