What to do about entertaining the same houseguests again and again every summer?
Every August a couple we’ve known since college – and that’s a long time – arrive to spend the Labor Day weekend and occupy our guest room for two weeks. They are grateful guests; they are so appreciative that they spend the entire two weeks thanking us, as well as being very overly-considerate. In trying to “earn their keep” they bring fresh cut flowers and vegetables from our local farmers’ market.
It’s enough already, but we don’t know how to break the tradition and say, “You can’t come next summer.” They constantly say things such as, “We’ll have to do that again next year,” or “Next summer we’ll make dinner reservations at ______ (a popular restaurant) well ahead of time.”
We want to say, “Please, don’t come next summer,” but we don’t want to hurt their feelings or make them think they’ve done anything wrong. To put it bluntly, they’re no fun and we don’t want them inviting themselves a year in advance.
How can we be honest and nice at the same time? Any ideas about how to head them off at the pass?
–C.L., Martha's Vineyard, MA
To quote Benjamin Franklin, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Entertaining houseguests should be fun.
As soon as your erstwhile guests mention staying with you again say, “Jean and Eddy, as much as we enjoy your company, we think we’re just inviting family next year for Labor Day.”
- Or, “We’re hoping to invite friends who haven’t visited us before to come next Labor Day.”
- By saying you want to do something different shouldn’t hurt an adult’s feelings.
If they don’t get the hint and ask if they can come for a different two weeks, say that you don’t want to make a commitment so far in advance and that you will get back to them.
- That way you would be telling them “maybe” or “we’ll take it under consideration.” We all know that is a gentle way of saying “No.”
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Accepting A Compliment