Life Advice



Friend Resents Always Being The Host

Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin on

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm in a group of four close guy friends, one of whom lives out of town. We all have nice houses with guest rooms. Whenever we get a visit from the out-of-towner -- which usually comes in the form of him saying, "I want to visit; does next weekend work?" -- I am the only person who provides him with accommodations.

While I don't mind too much, this happens even when his plans are not with me! He'll visit to spend the days with the other two friends, only to come back to my house to eat, shower, sleep and leave.

One time, he came to visit when I was out of town -- and even then, no one else offered their guest rooms. I was boarding the friend, even though I was not there, after a last-second text asking if he could use our spare key. What could I say?

This leads me to my conflict and dilemma. I'm annoyed that no one else is offering to host our friend. But should I be? And if I want to change this, how do I alter the pattern without looking like a jerk to the out-of-towner or the local guys? I've tried the "Hey, can someone else host this weekend?" shtick, but it has gone nowhere.

GENTLE READER: Having a long-established pattern that everyone (except you) enjoys, your friends see little need to change. And your attempt to solicit alternative lodging for the out-of-towner unfortunately reinforced the premise that you are his travel agent.

All that remains is to be occasionally unable to host without taking responsibility -- a task that would have been easier had you made use of the understandable excuse of not being in town yourself.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our niece is graduating from college soon. Her parents are deceased. Her mother's best friend raised her for a year when she was 13, and then my niece moved in with us and we raised her.

She has invited us to a luncheon following her graduation ceremony. My husband and I don't want to attend because the mother of the lady who raised her when she was 13 makes scenes, cursing at us, because she thinks we should have helped her daughter with the associated costs. We never offered to help with such costs.


We want to come in the day before graduation and take our niece to a nice dinner, and of course attend her graduation ceremony the next day. (There will be several hundred people in attendance, which should minimize the possibility of a scene.) I don't want to put us in a situation where this woman can become unruly and take the focus away from my niece, who's worked hard despite the personal challenges.

GENTLE READER: That is one of two ways to avoid a scene -- well, three, as everyone could attend and behave, a possibility that Miss Manners dismisses only because you do.

The other is for the best friend to attend without her mother. Your niece may not wish to pursue that possibility, but, as she is both an adult and the hostess, she should have the opportunity to do so. Explain to her what you propose to do -- including your reasons -- and let her decide.


(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Copyright 2022 Judith Martin



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