Wedding Woes

My neighbors, the smokey smokersons.

Dear Prudence,
A couple of months ago, a family I was slightly acquainted with moved across the street. They adore our children and often invite us over. I like them enough to have an occasional coffee with them, but the problem is that two of them are chain-smokers, which makes their house smell like an ashtray. (Smoking in this country isn’t as stigmatized as it is in the United States.) At first, I hinted politely that the smoke bothered us, and they were obliging enough, but they seemed to think moving across the room to smoke or opening a window would suffice, which doesn’t make much of a difference. I suggested spending time outside or at our place, but they seem to take my rejections very personally. They are members of a marginalized minority, and I’m afraid they’re making assumptions about why we don’t want to spend time at their place. Which is kinder: to keep on making excuses or to be upfront about the fact that no amount of scented candles will make the air inside their house breathable to us?

—Smokers Next Door


Re: My neighbors, the smokey smokersons.

  • Just tell the truth! The more excuses LW makes, the more they will feel like she and her H don't want to be around them because they are a marginalized minority. 

  • It definitely depends on the dynamic.

    In our place, M is a smoker and while it's cold out he smokes in the garage. I don't smoke, so never inside.
    We have friends over, and they were in the basement and a couple - one is a smoker and the other isn't - mentioned that the basement smelt vaguely of smoke.
    I wasn't offended, I was concerned because I didn't want the smell in our house, but I was glad they told me.

    Also I have a family member who's house would smell HORRIBLY of smoke. Typically we only saw her in the summer, so we'd make excuses to be outside.

    If LW doesn't feel comfortable saying anything, maybe that might be the best route to go?
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