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Sum­mer house rules aren’t be­ing fol­lowed

DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I rented a sum­mer house with an­other cou­ple, and we made a list of agree­ments for what we can and can­not do. That in­cludes who can spend the night, how many guests we can have at any par­tic­u­lar time and re­spon­si­bil­ity for guests’ needs, in­clud­ing for food and drink. We were clear, but that seems to have gone out the win­dow. Our friends keep invit­ing other friends to come and spend the night. I usu­ally cook, and they all eat with­out even of­fer­ing to con­trib­ute -- money, dish­wash­ing ... any­thing! We still have a few weeks left of sum­mer. What can I say to our friends to get them to honor our agree­ment or make new guide­lines that are fair to ev­ery­one? -- Duped, Stam­ford, Con­necti­cut

DEAR DUPED: It is time for a “come to Je­sus” meet­ing. Sit down with your house­mates and re­mind them of your agree­ment -- and how they are break­ing it. Ap­peal to their sense of de­cency, and point out that it is not fair for them to bring their friends with­out prior dis­cus­sion and to have sleep­overs with peo­ple who aren’t split­ting the cost of the house and not pitch­ing in for food, drink, cleanup, etc.

The re­al­ity is that many peo­ple have guests stop by unan­nounced at sum­mer homes. A bit of flex­i­bil­ity is a good idea, but be­ing taken ad­van­tage of is not. Go over the ground rules that you set up, and im­plore them to step in line. You may also want to agree to days when guests are wel­come and what you ex­pect them to do to pre­pare for them and to clean up af­ter them.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an ini­tia­tive to help peo­ple ac­cess and ac­ti­vate their dreams. You can send ques­tions to askhar­ri­ette@har­ri­et­ or c/o An­drews McMeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO...

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