Dear Amy: I live in Hawaii. We have lots of family and friends who stay at our home. Could you briefly describe the “do’s and don’ts” while staying as a guest in someone’s home?
Some of our guests keep their bedrooms tidy, help clean up after meals and/or offer a dinner outing.
On the other hand, we’ve had one or two who have broken items and failed to notify us of the damage, who have left the bedroom and bathroom filthy and who seem to expect us to do everything for them, unless I put my foot down.
Vacation season begins now. I believe both hosts and visitors would greatly benefit from your advice.
I’m going to frame your suggestions in the guest bedroom.
Hosts with the Most
Dear Hosts: I don’t know if this is worthy of framing, but here’s my response:
Good guests bring a small token with them to present to their hosts on arrival.
Good guests keep their own area clean and tidy, and offer to help with meal preparation and cleanup.
Good guests are independent and respectful of their hosts’ work schedule, are enthusiastic and appreciative of their surroundings and cook or treat their hosts to at least one meal during their stay.
Good guests ask their hosts if they should strip or make the bed on the morning of their departure.
Guests who want to be invited back thank their hosts, in writing, after their stay.
Dear Amy: My husband and daughter invited my mother to come to our house for a holiday dinner. Mom announced that she was bringing her dog. She did not ask, she announced. My husband and daughter said nothing.
When I heard about this, I called her and asked her to please not bring her dog to our house for dinner. I told her that because we have two dogs of our own, we would prefer that she leave hers home. She said, “OK.”
She came to dinner and stated that she did bring her dog and had left him in her car. I had many people in the house and did not want to argue over her dog being in the car, so I said nothing.
When dinner was over, we went outside. I looked over and saw that she had taken her dog out of the car and he was roaming the yard. Our two dogs started barking like crazy.
Our two dogs are female, hers is a male. They have not seen her dog before.
My mother came into the house, and said she needed to take the dog home since my dogs upset him. I told her that I asked her not to bring her dog, but she said, “Too bad” and drove off. There are many times that I let things roll off my back, but I cannot this time.
What do you suggest I do in the future if she brings her dog? Or should I not invite her to our home again? She’s a very disrespectful person on many levels, and I am tired of putting up with it. She is 75.
Thanks for letting me vent. Please help.
No (Other) Dogs Allowed
Dear No Dogs: The kindest thing to do would be for you to see if your three dogs can meet one another and learn to (eventually) get along. However, I can see why you don’t want to reward your mother’s bad manners by caving to her.
Most importantly, it is not safe for your mother’s dog to be left in a car for any length of time. Her choice reveals extremely poor judgment on her part.
I think you’ve demonstrated the fact that you are capable of putting your foot down. You should assume that your mother and her “old dog” can learn some new tricks?
Once amnesia sets in and you issue another invitation, if your mother brings her dog, you should simply say, “Oh, I thought we were clear on this, but it looks like you’ve forgotten, so you should take ‘Muffin’ home, and maybe we can make a plan for another day.”
Dear Amy: “Forgotten on the Fourth Floor” was a hospital worker who was in for surgery. None of her co-workers visited her during her confinement.
I was also shocked when I had major surgery recently and none of my co-workers even inquired about me. Other people surprised me with their kindness and generosity.
Dear Recovered: Illness tends to bring out people’s elemental qualities – for better or worse.
Email Amy at email@example.com.