DEAR AMY: I’ve had a dear friend for about 25 years — since we were toddlers. We live in separate states with separate lives, and while we’re not incredibly close, we’ve managed to keep a friendship going. I live in New York City and am lucky enough to have a spare bedroom in the apartment I share with my boyfriend. My friend’s job allows him flight benefits, which he often uses to visit me for a few days once or twice a year. We usually have a great time hanging out and catching up. Recently he invited himself and a new girlfriend to stay with us. I thought this was kind of rude but decided to overlook it. They stayed for four days, barely making time to see me at all, as he was showing her around the city. We had one dinner together, which they did not offer to pay for, and drinks afterward, which they also did not offer to pay for. They brought no host gift, didn’t clean up after themselves and left early in the morning to catch a flight home without saying goodbye. I waited a few weeks for a thank-you card or email, but never received one. I never expected these things when he was casually visiting, but I feel like this situation is much different. Lifelong friendship aside, the amount of money we saved them from having to spend on a hotel room in NYC for four days seems enough to warrant a small gift or round of drinks, or even a thank-you note. Do I have the right to be upset? And if so, how do I handle the situation going forward?
DEAR FRIEND: You possess that very rare commodity — an extra bedroom in New York City. If I knew your location, I’d show up at your doorstep for a few days, myself.
Your friend needs to learn how to be a good guest. A good guest does not invite himself, but instead would say, “I’m dying for you to meet my girlfriend. Is there a good time when we could come for a short visit?” A good guest brings a thoughtful little notion for the host from the guest’s home city, picks up the check for at least one meal, is well-behaved and low-drama during the visit, makes or strips the bed on his last day, and follows up with a thank-you postcard, note, text and/or phone call.
Good guests do these things out of gratitude, politeness and a self-serving desire to be asked back.
Your friend has done none of these things, but then it seems that you have allowed him to believe that he has his own room in your home and a standing invitation to use it when it’s convenient for him.
Moving forward, tell him, “You know — I always love to see you, but we are feeling quite unappreciated after your last visit. Did you have a good time?”
DEAR AMY: We have a beautiful daughter, just starting her career. She is 23 and has a boyfriend who is over 30. This guy seems to be an under-achiever and hasn’t even bought his first house yet. He seems OK, but is not the type we see our daughter with. She’s dated him for three years. His time frame seems faster than hers, but he hasn’t popped the question. We think she should look around more. What say you?
DEAR DAD: You should try harder to get to know this man, accept that your daughter loves him and take him as he is, with the understanding that you are not with him — she is. “He hasn’t even bought his first house yet” is a terrible metric on which to judge someone.
If he is her choice of partner, you should support the choice, even if it’s not one you would make for her.
I agree that 23 is quite young to partner-up for life, but if she is in a committed relationship, you should not encourage her to “look around more,” unless she asks you for your opinion.
DEAR AMY: “Lonely” was looking to meet people and make friends. I was surprised that you didn’t suggest that she turn to the Internet! Many people develop virtual friendships that are very rewarding. I feel that my virtual friends are always there for me.
Works for Me
DEAR WORKS: Great idea. Also, sites like Meetup.com promote real-world togetherness along common interests.