Dear Tia Maria Sue,
I love hosting house parties here in San Miguel for my friends from the States. I enjoy creating an itinerary for my guests and showing them the sights and sounds of San Miguel. I do get frustrated though with the guests that want me to function as the foreign exchange window at the bank. Or the ones that hand a huge pile of ironing to the house keeper and ask that it all be starched crisp! There are also the guests that make big purchases and don’t make arrangements to transport them home. On the day of departure, they brazenly ask me to arrange for packing and shipment of their goods.
Any tips as to how I can prevent this from happening?
Not My Brother’s Keeper
Dear Not My Brother’s Keeper,
Honey I hear you loud and clear! If you are uncertain of someone’s character, have them as a houseguest for a few days, that should tell you everything you need to know!
Here are a few gentle suggestions to make guests feel at home and not put you in the awkward positions that you have found yourself.
Think of your guests as young children that need to be given directions. As they settle in, take a few minutes to ask them what they are looking forward to during their stay and tell them a little about your plans. Segway into a tour of your home and how it functions including the schedule of the staff, if you have any, as well as their duties. A simple
“Maria will probably be glad to do some of your laundry and if you would like to use our iron and ironing board please feel free to do so.” During your “Host Talk” mention your schedule as well… the time you get up, how your Doctor has prescribed coffee alone for the first hour of your day….you get the idea.
In turn be sure to acquaint them with what they may need to feel at home and enjoy their stay. Always be sure to add, “I am so looking forward to showing you San Miguel and some of the places I love, but I am sure you will want to explore on your own as well. The first time we go out I will show you the ATM’s to get local currency, also don’t let me forget to show you where the shipping store is located. I know you will want to buy so many beautiful items to ship back before you leave…”
Think of yourself not only as their friend and host, but as a manager of your home and time. Presented in a gentle way will make for better house guests and disappointment in your friends behavior. Now after all of that if they still act as if you and your staff are there to serve them, then I suggest you find better and more appreciative friends.
I’m not judging, I’m just saying.