Internet Divided Over Friend Asking To Use Pool When Family Is Out of Town

A mom has gained attention online after sharing that a friend's request to use her pool unsupervised has brought on a tricky dilemma.

The anonymous woman posted to popular forum Mumsnet, where generally women head to ask for advice.

In her post, the mom shared that she was stumped on just how to address a friend who had requested to use her family swimming pool while they're away. The situation left respondents divided on the answer and potential best solution.

The woman explained that her family installed a swimming pool a few years ago and are happy for friends to use it when they like. One friend however has recently asked to use the pool with her kids while the poster is away on holiday.

"Last time my friend used the pool when we were away we came back to find the pool chemicals had not been done properly and the pool water was a lot lower than usual, which can cause issues with the filter system. [My husband] was fuming and it took him ages to get the chemical balance back," she wrote.

Family in swimming pool
Stock image of a family in a swimming pool. A mom has gained attention online after sharing a friend's request to use her pool in her absence. Getty Images

"To leave the pool heating on for my friend while we are away is going to cost us money. Money that could be saved from non-use by us while we are away but instead will be used by my friend. But I can't say we are trying to save costs and then turn it back on the minute we get home."

The cost of running a swimming pool's heating system can be high and although the woman didn't divulge exactly which system she uses, some can be particularly expensive. U.K. pool company Pool Store predicts that the average cost of running a heat pump—per pool season, i.e. from May to mid-September—for example ranges between £45 ($59.24) and £563 ($741.18) depending on the pool size, while an electric heater can range between £196 (258.03) and £2,445 (3218.82).

Similarly, an error in chemicals in a pool can have some tedious side effects, including skin and eye irritation, algae, discoloration and scaling and even pool corrosion, according to pool company H2O Swimming Pools.

Respondents to the popular post were left undecided on just how in the wrong the friend is and how the mom should act.

One user claimed pools becoming a cause of arguments is far from rare, citing their own memories. "I've always thought pools must cause a lot of problems," they wrote. "My aunt had one and people constantly turned up to use it without asking. When she moved somewhere without one, these friends disappeared."

Many users suggested the woman outright deny her friend the use of the pool, even offering ways to do it without causing offense.

"In this case I would just lie and say there's a fault with the heating system/a leak/ pump is broken or something similar and that someone will be repairing it while you're away and for this reason the pool will be unavailable. And change the code on your gate so friends can't decide to go ahead regardless," suggested one user.

Woman in a swimming pool
Stock image of a woman in a swimming pool. Many users online suggested the woman deny her friend the use of the pool. Getty Images

Another advised: "Just say no, you've had a bad experience with a friend before (friend may take the hint?!) and that you're not covered by insurance for people using it whilst not there, so if anything happens to damage it or any injury then you'd not be covered."

"I would tell her the truth," claimed one person. "She didn't look after it last time she used it and your husband was furious it took him a long time to sort it out. Plus you don't want to pay for the heating especially with the costs rising."

Others however were left defending the friend and her thought process, speculating there to be no malicious intent behind it all. "I don't own a pool and would have no idea about the maintenance involved," admitted one user of the forum. "Your friend may be the same and see the request as the same as asking to use your sun lounger, not realizing the imposition. I suggest going in assuming the best and not worry about being confrontational or a conflict.

"Just say last time you hadn't realized leaving the pool without the owners there to check daily led to bigger problems (no need to say because of anything a friend did) and you realize now you can't let people use it when you're not at home, really sorry."