SENSE & SENSITIVITY
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.