"You will be expected to..." Turnoff?

So far, I have only encountered lovely homeowners and super pets (braced for problems at some stage!) We have several sits booked, and a couple of gaps in our schedule, so I am browsing. A couple of listings have phrases along the lines of “you will be expected to” and this is a ringing a tiny alarm bell with me. Am I being oversensitive to a reasonable guideline? Or does anyone else prefer a softer approach, ie: “It would be great if you could run the hoover around, to keep on top of the dog hair” ? Interested to hear other views here :slight_smile:


Either way is ok by me.
If the pet owner uses “you will be expected to….” their expectations are very clear and if I find them unacceptable I don’t apply and jog on to the next. I like to know exactly what is required of me on a sit.
If they use the more softer approach it’s sometimes not clear what the sit entails and that is when misunderstandings happen. This of course can be cleared up in the video/phone call or just ask questions when messaging.
I don’t think it’s rude either way, just different ways of communicating.


I teach English to non-native speakers. Other cultures are often more direct in their words and they bring this directness over when speaking English. If they are native English speakers using these words they might be trying to avoid any confusion by stating expectations clearly, I wouldn’t assume rudeness here.


I also think it’s a cultural thing, speaking from experience, living in numerous countries over the last 20 years. I don’t think you should take offence, but if something doesn’t sit right with you, best to give it a wide berth.


While I understand how the verbiage could come across negatively, I also believe that it conveys expectations clearly. I wouldn’t try to read too much into that part of the statement but focus on what comes after. It’s clear that they aren’t just suggestions, but what they would expect and if it’s not acceptable, don’t apply.
Dan and Nan


I think you have raised a very valid point here and I actually feel similarly to you on this particular issue. I firmly believe that the tone we use in our communication whether that is written or verbal often says more than the words themselves.

How a person chooses to express their wishes/requests in a listing can be really quite telling in my experience and we can glean quite a lot in terms of what they might be like to deal with.

I definitely concur with Bovtot in that if the wording, for whatever reason, isn’t quite sitting right with you, definitely honour your instincts and you won’t go too far wrong.


I agree with @Chatsetchiens. I prefer a gentler, more tactful approach The “I expect” sounds too authoritarian and parental to me. It can be a cultural thing but if the writer is not a native English speaker, it would behoove them to run it by someone who is before publishing it. Just my opinion.


I think that for me, the reciprocity of the arrangement is so key. Of course, it’s great to have the opportunity to stay somewhere you want to visit, but to feel that we are somehow ‘expected’ to clean and earn our keep doesn’t sit well. I will always leave a house as tidy as I find it - no question. I think the inference that this is a job, rather than an offer of time and care of precious pets can jar a little. But I completely agree with everyone who says, if it feels wrong don’t do it :slight_smile:


I guess it’s a tale of two halves. Totally within the HOs prerogative to write something like that and it’s then super clear what they expect from the sitter. However the impact for us would be not applying for a sit with that tone. It wouldn’t feel like a fit for our style so it would be onto the next one for us too……:+1:


When I am reviewing potential Sits, I really pay attention closely to everything in the listing—the words, the photos. I analyze everything. If I decide to apply, I continue to analyze the response, the attitude of the Owner, every interaction. It is really amazing how different people are. It is a sociological, psychological experiment! For me, that wording alone is ridiculous. Really?!! Listen to your instincts.

When we are given the privilege of caring for an Owner’s home and pets, we go above and beyond to satisfy the Owner’s expectations. Still, I do not want to be treated like an employee. We are on the same level Owner = Sitter.


Hi @DianaUK. I’m glad everything’s been great so far! And that you’re prepared for when things aren’t perfect. I mean, statistically, it’s bound to happen. :sweat_smile:

I’ve had people misinterpret what I said in print, so I may be a bit biased here. That said, studies show that most communication is nonverbal (e.g., body language).

Whether some writing rings alarm bells or not is secondary to me. It’s more about the actions. If I were in your shoes and looking to fill a gap, and I had time, I’d apply anyway. I might mention the language and ask for a clarification. Or, I might not mention it at first and just see how the communication is when it’s not generic. I might ask for a video chat and see how that goes, and I might bring it up then, when there’s less chance at miscommunication. After all, what’s the harm?

To be fair, there could be emotional harm, like if my instincts were “right,” and it’s not a good fit, and the PP responds poorly to me asking about their diction. But I would fall back to past experiences where text was misinterpreted, and now I know for sure about that particular PP, so I’d chalk that up as growth mindset +1, and I’d probably stick with that protocol in the future.


I’m quite sensitive to the tone of an ad.

After a video call one owner told us: “ok, I’ll hire you” (she was a native English speaker) and I really didn’t like that. It made me feel like an employee. And that is exactly what the entire sit felt like.
So yes trust your instincts!


We just removed a potential sit from our favourites because of wording & an attitude we did not like. We applied for the sit & our application was read the same day but there was no acknowledegement or response. After one week we wrote again re-expressing our interest & 2 days later they replied that they would let us know soon. Next day they wrote saying they had chosen someone else but would like to ‘use’ us in future if we are interested.
We are not.
At no point in the messaging were we mentioned to by name. All far too casual. This is is not the way to treat a committed sitter.


@DianaUK Hi everyone, we just wanted to offer our two cents on this topic. Ken and I are both homeowners and sitters, so we totally understand why you might find the words “you’ll be expected to…” a bit off-putting. Without knowing the context of that specific sit, we certainly would, too.

I cannot speak for the homeowners who wrote that, but here’s another perspective.

We had a truly lousy sitter a year ago and we thought we had an understanding about cleanliness. Boy, were we wrong! When we got home, the house was filthy and it was clear our pets had been negleted.

So after that, honestly, as homeowners we’ve been striving to be more explicit about what is expected. We are pretty laid back (for example, we don’t ask sitters to dust unless they want to, since the house would get dusty whether they were there or not!) but coming home to filth was just too much for us.

So it is possible that these homeowners just came off a bad experience with a lousy sitter AND they aren’t good with choosing words.

If you like everything else about a potential sit, have a good video chat with them and see if they are hard-nosed and rigid in their expectations. Video chats go a long way in humanizing the “other side” in this equal exchange of sitting for lodging.


Agreed ! Well Said

I completely get what you’re saying BUT not everyone is great at using language to present their ideas.
Rather than phrasing, I look at actual expectations VERY closely.
Generally the more a HO is welcoming in their write-up, the more they see THS as a win-win situation. Those who don’t respect that equation…
For example, posts that read “My pets cannot be left along for more than two hours a day,” and/or “My indoor/outdoor plants need a couple hours of maintenance daily” are asking a lot of an unpaid sitter.
That said, different needs…
For example, a sitter might not mind if they’re taking a sit to deal with jet lag.
But I agree, the language of a post can be an early indication of either a “red flag” or a “warm welcome.”


I agree that wording like that is a turnoff. On its own it might not be a huge red flag, but it’s often part of an overall unfriendly tone that means I wouldn’t apply. I’ve been lucky so far to have homeowners who are as grateful for the pet and home care as I am a place to stay with fluffy friends. I’m not looking to be treated as a hired hand.


Another reason for the language used in a listing is the pet owner’s occupation. In my experience, people with jobs which are technical and precise use few words and dislike “flowery” language. They have to be to the point and it overflows into their personal conversations as well. I am speaking of my experience as a wife of a retired pilot!


I find it very helpful when a listing clearly states the HOs expectations . This wording in itself doesn’t put me off .
If the list that follows “ you will be expected to “ seems unreasonable or unsuitable for us we do not have to “waste “ time applying .
On the other hand where the expectation seems reasonable ( mow the lawn once a week on a six week sit for example ) we will apply .
We would find it more of a concern when the expectations are not mentioned in the listing, or subsequent video chat and are only mentioned after the sit has been confirmed in the welcome pack .


I think this is an excellent summing up :slightly_smiling_face:

It is the prerogative of the owner to specify whatever they want to of course. Sitters can choose where they want to sit depending on their own priorities.

For me, if I am making my way to care for pets in their own home, and then devoting time and energy to keep those pets safe and happy, I feel uncomfortable if the HO is viewing the arrangement as an employment type situation.

I swerve those types of listing, my aim in posting here was to get a feel for the general dynamic. I suppose I would like to cheerlead a bit for sitters! :slight_smile: