Dear Hobie & Monk,
My wife and I have just relocated to a beautiful small city on the West Coast. Now that summer is here, all of our East Coast friends want to come to visit, which would be perfect except that our spare bedroom is being used as an office and isn’t guest-friendly yet. What is the best way to let people know we’d love for them to come spend time with us, but they would need to stay in a hotel or one of our quaint little inns? It is a very difficult subject to bring up because we’ve all been in the situation of wanting to visit someone without having the extra coin to pop for a hotel…”
– Homeowner with space at a premium
Hobie: Ah yes, many of us here in the shadow of the nation’s capital also are familiar with this dilemma, as dear old friends (often dragging their less-than-thrilled offspring) suddenly long for a little jaunt to see the monuments, museums and politicians in their natural habitat. If friends invite themselves (or drop heavy hints), it is certainly fair to be straight about your lack of space and provide your visitors with information on favorite local hotels.
If these are people you would really like to see, affirm that although your home isn’t open for overnight stays, you’d really love to spend time with them, and then sketch out some ideas for activities and meals together.
Monk: Right, and in this case the best way to open your new home to guests would be meals throughout their stay. Leisurely brunches and homey family-style dinners will give you the opportunity to play host in your cool new digs and give your good friends the warm welcome they deserve for schlepping cross-country to visit. Hospitality doesn’t have to mean an overnight stay.
Hobie and Monk are two Alexandria women with husbands, children, dogs, jobs, mortgages, unmet New Year’s resolutions, obsessions with impractical shoes, English novels … and Ph.D.s in clinical psychology. Their advice, while fabulous, should not be construed as therapeutic within a doctor-patient context or substituted for the advice of readers’ personal advisors.