Not rude to ask guests to smoke outside
DEAR AMY: Very good friends from Europe are coming to stay with us for two weeks. Both of them smoke, and no one in our house does. We stayed with them for two weeks last year and did not ask, nor expect, them to stop smoking in their own home (and they did not). My wife feels it would be very rude to ask them not to smoke in our house since they were so hospitable during our visit. I feel that just as they did as they pleased in their home, I should be able to apply our rules (no smoking) to our house. What do you think?Stymied in Seattle
DEAR STYMIED: The difference between smoking in your home versus other European/American cultural differences (like taking a tea break at 4 p.m.) is that smoking will affect your health.
Europe has changed more slowly than the United States in terms of limiting or banning smoking in public areas, but your European friends would not necessarily expect to light up everywhere.
You should not have to tolerate a toxic substance in your home in order to be hospitable. Before they arrive, tell them, "We know you're smokers, but you'll find that smoking is not permitted in most public places here. We'd also rather you didn't smoke in the house, but with the nice weather, we hope it's not too much of an imposition to ask you to step outside when you want to smoke."
DEAR AMY: Responding to the letter from the teen whose mother wouldn't let her out of the house on her own, we live in Los Angeles and have recently started letting our 14-year-old daughter take neighborhood walks, but with her cellphone and our very protective dog. We also have a 19-year-old girl in college, with whom we had the same rules. At some point, they are going to be on their own. You need to let them learn life skills.Safe ParentDEAR PARENT: I completely agree with your technique.