It wasn’t a new year’s resolution, but 2019 has turned out to be the “Year of the Friend” visits around the country. The only reason it happened is this: I invited myself. Ugh. I can hardly write about these impositions. Mom is, no doubt, rolling her eyes out loud at me, because people with manners just don’t do this. I’m a little sorry, but not a lot sorry, because I got to mix some biz with pleasure and spend time with really great friends.
My destinations included humans – and a few hounds – ages 4 weeks old to 94. The overall theme of these travels was, “If not now, when?” I’ve learned that with major miles and busy lifestyles among us, most people won’t outright invite others. I really don’t either, really. We all just assume, “They should know they’re welcome.” They haven’t met my mother, “Not until you’re invited, Young Lady!”
When imposing on others, I tried hard to abide by these ten tips. (My hosts may be rolling their own eyes after reading my intentions below…!)
- Offer a few dates you could visit. Fortunately, I have honest friends who tell me when it’s inconvenient to visit.
- Limit your stay to two days. I thought it was Mom’s rule, but just learned it’s not. “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Benjamin Franklin
- Be a good guest. This includes bed made and room(s) tidied daily, particularly the bathroom. ESPECIALLY the bathroom.
- Be gracious. Come bearing gift(s) or follow up promptly. If there’s a young child in the home, take a book or tiny toy. (Side bar: just found out that I mailed my thank you note to Christine and Family to Debbie’s house. Oh, Bobbe…)
- Be cooperative. If there is a 6:45 p.m. dinner reservation, do whatever it takes to be ready…FIRST. Thou shall not wait on you!
- Be agreeable. They want to go bowling and eat pizza. You’d hoped for TopGolf and Tacos. Toughen up Taco Head. Go with it.
- House rules rule! I noted in 75% of the homes where I stayed. (Okay, 3 of 4) shoes were left by the door. Once inside, it’s best to ask before you tromp through their house.
- Assess your pajamas. For some of you that may even mean, “GET SOME PAJAMAS!” Perhaps you sleep in bikini briefs, boxers or bare bottom. This doesn’t mean everyone does. Cover up buttercup. Oh, and while dressing, SHUT. THE. DOOR. You never know who might pop in. Awkward!
- Spring for a meal. They’ll say, “No!” You say, “Yes!” Personally, I hate food funding fights, so I’ve gotten quite sly about handing off my credit card to the waiter unnoticed. I figure it’s the least I can do in exchange for lodging. #needtips?
- Be self-sufficient, on both arrival and departure. This may include Lyft, Uber or car rental. Your hosts and hostesses appreciate not having to fetch you, although some will insist. On the other end, I’ve found that my friends are more than happy to return me to the airport. Hmmmm, what’s that fishy smell? Oh, ha-ha, It’s me! Bye, bye!
- BONUS TIP: Board Bob the Beagle. Don’t even think of showing up with extra people or pets, unless encouraged. That is just rude. Ruff ruff!
My friend, Christine, said something which made me feel much better about inviting myself, “How can you invite yourself if the door is always open?” I like that philosophy. A lot. Hear that one, Mom? Is this new age hospitality?
Thank you, thank you, from Denver to Dallas to Charlotte. There was a common denomination among you all: loads of laughter. My emotional tank is now full to the brim. Thanks for the fill-ups, Friends! You all were grand hosts, I can only hope I was as grand of a guest. Bw