Monday, July 30, 2012

No Means No, Gate Crasher!

Graces, you won't believe this tale of woe.  This series of letters, along with my advice will really chip your polish.

Dear Social Grace,

My husband and I live near a beach.  This time of year in particular, we are very, very popular.  People come out of the woodwork and invite themselves for a visit.  In the past we have accommodated these "requests" as best as we could, but we are both getting on in years and have not been in the best of health recently.  We have limited visitors to close friends and family.  Several weeks ago I received an email from a distant relative of my husbands (his late cousin's granddaughter, which I think makes her a second cousin thrice removed.)    She said she would be in our town for 2 days on her way to take her teenage children to camp and would like to come visit.  As it turns out, the dates she offered coincide with my birthday celebration so we have guests coming to stay and a small party planned.  There, literally, is no room for her to stay here, and the events of the weekend make it impossible for me to make time for me to meet her or take her for lunch.   Besides, we don't even know her!  What do I tell her?"

Dear Long Suffering Host,

Tell her the truth.  Or an expurgated version of the truth.  Email her back and say:  "Lovely to hear from you.  It was so nice of you to think of us.  Unfortunately, the timing doesn't work.  We have a lot of family in town that week and due to recent bouts of ill health, we've limited our socializing to a small circle.  Our house is at capacity with these guests, and we have several events planned around their visit.  I hope you enjoy your trip and that your kids have a wonderful time at camp."  Don't emphasize that you are having a party, she's liable to a) invite herself and her kids or b) get angry for an imagined snub.

So, Graces, I thought that would end this scourge, but alas, this poor Gracious reader continued to be hassled..... I was almost tempted to recommend a barricade.

Dear Social Grace,

I took your advice, copied your Graciously-worded email verbatim.   The distant cousin came back with a counter-offer.  "We will find a local hotel or motel to stay in.  But we'd still like to see you.  Maybe we could stop in at some point for a visit?  We are completely flexible on timing and would come anytime that is convenient."  Now what?

Dear LSH,

Wow, that is chutzpah.  You'll have to come back with something stronger.  Try this:  "We are really flattered that you want to see us.  The timing just doesn't work.  We are at capacity and  have a jam-packed week.   We have relatives flying in from out of town and will be organizing airport transportation and various other logistics.  Thank you again for thinking of us, but we simply won't be able to get together."  Good luck!

Dear Social Grace,

Well, I thought the last message would work, and for the next week, I was lolled into thinking that we were shot of this woman.  But her pitstop in our town is upon us.  She just emailed again:  "We will be in town tomorrow and Friday.  We'd like to meet for coffee, or tea or ice cream."  Where do I go from here?

Dear LSH,

Don't respond.   You are busy with your houseguests and all the associated responsibilities thereof.  You don't have time to respond to pesky emails from pushy, persistent would-be gate crashers.  Press delete.

I guess on the one hand, you could be flattered that she really, really does want to see you.  (Or the beach.)  But this is bordering on harassment.  Enjoy your company and your party, and ignore any further correspondence from her.

1 comment:

Bubbling Arroyo said...

Great many tips. both for guests and for the hosts.