Communication red flags

I am getting a sense of distrust (mine) from the person I have granted the sit to, which starts in about 3 weeks. They have been slow to respond to messages and this was something I regarded very highly and put in my listing, that I placed a high value on responsiveness. I have gotten excuses like they are in the process of a move, which is understandable, but then they also cannot schedule another call from me without “checking their schedule”, with multiple promises to get back to me broken in the timeframe stated. They gave me 4 ways to communicate with a preference for using the TH app, but days go by when the message is unread. When I asked for their address, it was one they are moving from. I feel like they aren’t taking the responsibility of caring for my house and pet seriously enough and are making too many excuses for lack of correspondence and there isn’t enough transparency about their situation. “It’s complicated” so I’m wanting a phone call to get clarification. I know that knowing all the details of a stranger’s life isn’t my business, but I’m starting to feel insecure about the sit. What should I do?

Hello @tortimom - one thing we have leaned about having successful sits is the importance of communication. It also seems to be a reoccurring theme when things go wrong that folk didn’t communicate often or sometimes at all, so if I were in your position, I’d be very much sending a quite direct message to them along the lines of ;

As you know our sit starts in three weeks and we would like to arrange a call with you as a matter of urgency as I wish to avoid anything being missed and that neither of us have any further questions.

We appreciate your move has meant you’ve been busy, but we wish to speak with you within the next 48 hours. Please confirm when is convenient for you and by which method of communication you prefer.

Send the message via the four ways of communication you have and if you hear nothing, I’d take that as a sign they’re likely to cancel. :pensive:


Are you concerned enough that you would offer to let them out of the sit and post again/asap?

:person_gesturing_no::person_gesturing_no::triangular_flag_on_post::triangular_flag_on_post::triangular_flag_on_post::triangular_flag_on_post::triangular_flag_on_post::triangular_flag_on_post::triangular_flag_on_post::triangular_flag_on_post: A definite cancel from me, I think you are setting yourself up for a whole lot of pain.


What would you do/say?

@tortimom I think what you have to realise is, this is your home, your holiday, your rules (for want of a better word before anyone jumps in lol). I think people need to understand that there is no personal bond between HO and HS before a sit begins so sometimes we need to take the emotion out of the situation and do what is best for you/us.

Example…I was due to start a repeat sit in a week’s time, for THREE months. I have sat for these people before, twice. So New Year’s Day I get the phone call that they have decided not to go away, no real valid reason, suck it up princess basically. Now, I had knocked back three extremely good sits, and a trip to Europe, to honour my obligation to these people because I was emotionally tied to them and my word is my bond, but in the end it meant nought to them. So I have been left scrambling to find new sits to cover that three months, very stressful! I know these people so it is a bit different.

So you have to think, am I going to go away worrying every day about what’s going on at home, or worse still, worry for the next three weeks if they will even fulfill their obligations to you. We can’t always be Mr Nice Guy and I have learnt to always follow my instincts in these situations and I don’t think I have ever been wrong. If it seems wrong, if it sounds wrong, it generally is wrong.

I would maybe call them or message them and suggest that you don’t feel at all comfortable with their lack of communication, that you are extremely stressed about it and you would prefer to cancel. Don’t need to go into depth and tell them that unless they can assure you 100% that they will be there and everything is okay, you do not wish to continue with them.

Remember, they are strangers coming into your home and YOU need to feel good about it. Good luck with whatever you decide but I know what I would be doing :pray:


I understand your point of view, but I don’t think it is as easy to unconfirm a sit as you make it sound. This is what the code of conduct says: “I will only cancel a sit if there are extraordinary circumstances.” And, I also read that both parties have to agree and there will be repercussions if not. This person’s non-communication isn’t as bad as it seems. It just isn’t as good as I would like it to be. Maybe a moderator can tell me here what happens when an owner just gets cold feet after they have confirmed a sitter?

“This person’s non-communication isn’t as bad as it seems”.

Sorry, from what I read in your original post, the entire post was written like it was pretty bad, the communication, hence you asked “what should I do”. I answered with my opinion, a reply to the question you posted. At the end of the day, it’s your home and your pets, only you can decide what is best/right/wrong but sometimes we need to talk it out, I understand.

You say, “It’s complicated” so I’m wanting a phone call to get clarification.”…

So if you think it will help, make the phone call. You have nothing to lose.

I wish you well.

Probably good to set the communication expectations with the sitter @tortimom If they respond favourably then all good and if not then it’s fair to say “this may not be the right match for both parties. Do you agree?” If they do then there’s no need for extraordinary circumstances, you both agree to cancel the sit. If you want HQ advice then better to talk to the chat bot and ask for a human as the mods don’t weigh in on stuff like this on the forum. As @ziggy says, trust your gut and it’s your home and pets, your decision ultimately. Good luck :crossed_fingers:t3:


Two questions:

What do you need to discuss with them now, three weeks out from the start date?

Why do you need the sitter’s address?

If someone were to ask me for my address information, I’d find that highly intrusive and would back away. Is it possible that’s what’s happening here?

It is most likely that your sitter is working through many tasks with moving home, so it’s natural that they will be prioritizing their home and work life issues, which are more time sensitive/of immediate importance.

Also entirely fair points @Pips - the address thing is an odd one :thinking:

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. “It’s complicated” so I’m wanting a phone call to get clarification"

At the end of the day, the OP themselves have stated their requirements for a phone call to get clarification and I have suggested twice now to make the phone call. It’s now up to you @tortimom as to how you would like to continue with this I think.

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@tortimom I would suggest that you consider the position your sitter is in. Moving house is one of the top 10 most stressful life events. I’ve just done it and it was awful. Your sit is not her top priority right now. Her move is. It’s to be expected that her attention to other details which are nearly a month out is spotty. Ask her to make an appt for a conversation before the sit and give her some space to reply. To be honest, if I was moving and I was getting frequent messages from a HO about a sit 3 weeks in advance, I would consider those to be communication red flags.

I’m not sure why you asked for the sitters address. That’s an invasion of privacy. I would not provide it. It would also send up a lot of red flags about the sit.

@tortimom I’m wondering how long ago you confirmed the sitter? And did you have a call/video call before confirming? And have you shared your Welcome Guide with them yet? Ideally there should be no further questions at this stage- all important details should have been clarified before confirming. If you are feeling insecure now perhaps you had a niggle of doubt when confirming? Or perhaps you have not done the above clarifications yet? Always trust your intuition but I would not take the sitters slow responses necessarily as a bad sign if you did feel good about them before- as they are clearly very busy right now & their priority is the house move. However if you have serious doubts and really need to speak with them make that clear you need to have a call asap to reassure you so you can move ahead relaxed. Its your home and your peace of mind on holiday!
You also say you feel the slow responses indicate the sitter is not taking the responsibility of caring for your home and pets seriously enough…Well they are not yet doing your sit!! And chances are high, if you have chosen well, that they will do an excellent job once there and that their focus will be fully on the sit when it starts…

Re cancelling. The only time its an issue is when one party cancels for no good reason and the other party is unhappy about it and/or inconvenienced by it and complains to THS.
But if its a mutual cancellation that’s absolutely fine. We had that situation- for the very first time- a few months back. We applied for a sit and we were the 5th applicant. They chose us by THS message but we weren’t able to set up the call for a couple of days so we all confirmed the sit first so that the other applicants would not be left hanging. This turned out to be a mistake because when we did have the video call it was not a good energetic match & we regretted confirming beforehand. A few things felt ‘off’ . After the call we felt like immediately cancelling but decided to sleep on it. Next day they sent some extra info we’d asked for etc but we still felt very reluctant. We decided that day to cancel with a polite excuse asking them to unconfirm us (still 5 weeks to go in a popular location) They immediately unconfirmed us and did not reply. So we think they felt the same way. Big relief! The next day they confirmed another sitter.
You really need to follow your intuition with agreeing a sit! And communication is everything!

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Whatever you decide to do, have a Plan B ready, in case your sitter doesn’t work out. That’s a good idea for hosts and sitters in any case.

I’m confused as to what you need to have a conversation about 3 weeks before the sit. you say you ‘granted them the sit’. Do you mean you offered them the sit and they accepted so it’s it’s all done in THS or are you still waiting for them to accept the offer?
If the former then Why do you need to desperately communicate with them? Why do you now need to have their address? Do you think they’re not going to turn up? Generally if I accept a sit months out I don’t need to communicate again unless something changes or maybe a week or 2 out I’ll message jus t so they know I haven’t forgotten, then on the day I’m traveling I’ll keep them appraised of my flight (at the airport, flight shows on time, landed - see you soon etc).
If the latter then tell them they need to accept or cancel the offer.

The greatest value of these forums, I believe, is that pet parents and sitters can come to understand one another’s perspective. So as a sitter: I appreciate your commitment to the sit and that you have not “pulled the plug” prematurely. As noted above, there can be significant consequences to either party of a cancellation.

I still am stunned by how many homeowners tell me stories of sitters cancelling. I am a “word-is-bond” type. I have never cancelled a sit, and note that in my applications. (My worst story: I agreed a sit some months in advance, my travel plans changed, and I kept the sit despite it then required a round trip 16 hours driving for a 5-day sit. That’s 16 hours of American driving through Utah, Wyoming and Colorado, so like 2200 km. We drive fast over here, y’all. But I promised, so I showed). If I am not at a sit I agreed, I am dead or in hospital. Or jail. Or kidnapped. Not on a whim or inconvenience.

But not everyone holds those values, unfortunately. Even positive reviews won’t tell you what a sitter is willing to do to honor their commitment. And, on the flip side, my partner and I often worry about what we might do if a homeowner were to cancel after we purchased transatlantic flights. (yeah, I’m a premium member, but still…)

You start your post with “trust”, and that’s the point. And as you note, communication is key to building trust in any situation. The “checking schedule” is totally legit. That can be a sign of someone who will only commit to a meeting when they are certain they can attend. But the “broken promises”, if by that you mean agreed times for a conversation that were missed, are red flags. It happens sometimes and we all need some grace. But “multiple”? That is a pattern that could indicate a lack of seriousness.

Still, consider your communication. You asked for their address? For what reason, pray tell?? As a sitter, that would be a huge red flag for me. Candidly, that would cause me to question my trust in you. I would be wondering if you have cameras in the house (BIG BIG NO-NO!!). So try not to enflame the situation. It sounds like you and the sitter are building tension. Try to defuse instead.

I suggest a polite note to the effect of “Hi. Sorry if I set you off asking details about your situation. I did not intend to be rude. I don’t want any misunderstanding. I just need to be sure we are all set for the sit so I can take my holiday whilst my pets and home are secure. We are three weeks out now, and I want to confirm that you will arrive on [date of agreed sit] between [hopefully you agreed an arrival window before now]. If your situation prevents that, please advise so I can make alternative plans.”

And if you don’t get a response, cancel and repost, as three weeks is a short fuse to find a replacement. You wouldn’t stand for a lack of response during the sit. Don’t stand for no response before.


@tortimom do let us know how it works out.

Why do you need their address.

Why are you messaging them inbetween the sit being confirmed and starting.

To me these are signs that the home owner is going to be a headache.

I am a sitter and I see nothing wrong with communicating before a sit, especially if we’ve been confirmed many months in advance. I also send a message every month just to say ‘hi, looking forward to seeing you in 3 month’s time’; or ‘2 months to go!’ Or ‘all set for 1 month from today’, and then 1 week out. It’s both to make sure the sit is still going ahead and letting the owner know we are still very much coming, to give them peace of mind.

I also find it unbelievable that someone can’t send a quick response, even if just to say “got your message, just in the middle of moving, can we catch up in a week?” How hard is that?

Some people are just poor at communication and I’d prefer to avoid a sit with them, as it annoys me waiting and waiting. I’m not a constant chatter, but a quick responder as I don’t like to keep others waiting when I could just respond quickly and bring the matter to rest.