Wedding Woes
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You're very worried over a lot of assumptions.

Dear Prudence,

I have known Carole (not her real name) since I studied in France about 55 years ago. We have kept in touch, and during two of our (my husband and myself) visits to France, we went to the city she lives in for about four days, and although she invited us to stay at her apartment, we stayed at a hotel. She and her husband were very hospitable and took us on excursions in the area, had us to dinner, etc.

In 2017, she wrote and said she wanted to bring her granddaughter to New York in 2018 (we live in Montreal, Canada). To make a very long, involved story short, she finagled a 10-night visit to Montreal staying at our house most of the time and with four of those nights in New York (my husband being the driver and both of us being the tour guides). The little girl was almost 11 years old and very well-behaved, but Carole was like the Energizer Bunny. She took a thousand photos, and when she couldn’t get online in the hotel, she went crazy. Needless to say, when their trip was over, it took me a week to recuperate!

Well, a few months ago, Carole said she was planning a trip to New York in the summer of 2024, this time with her daughter and her daughter’s two kids (one of them being the granddaughter who was with her in 2018). Knowing how things turned out in 2018, I know this means she wants to be invited to Montreal. Meanwhile, this past year, my husband has had to deal with a very ill sister who lives out of town and had to first be transferred to an assisted living place, and now to a long-care home. He is totally exhausted by all that has happened, and he is the sole caregiver, so he has to visit regularly.  I related all of this to Carole, and she seems to have given up talking about going to New York (which means Montreal as well) this summer. However, I bet she will start again next year.

Let me add that in 2019, we moved into a condo and only have one uncomfortable hide-a-bed for guests, and there would be four people who want to come. I wish there were a polite way I could say, “Book a hotel in Montreal, and we will try to show you the sights on some of the days you are here.” Meanwhile, we do not feel like driving them to New York and walking all over in the July heat. If she tries again to be invited, how do I get out of it without being unkind? Remember, she will not start by saying she wants to come to Montreal.

—Not a Good Hostess

Re: You're very worried over a lot of assumptions.

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    "Oh NY is lovely in the summer.  I hope you have a great time!" 

    If she starts to mention Montreal say, "I'm sure you would both love it.  Let me know if you need recommendations for hotels that fit your budget and we could arrange to meet up when you're in town." 

    People will take advantage of you if you let them.  Sometimes you have to say, "Oh no Earl does not drive those distances anymore.  If you want the name for a great car service or best airports for flights let us know and we could arrange to pick you up at the local airport." 


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    I wish there were a polite way I could say, “Book a hotel in Montreal, and we will try to show you the sights on some of the days you are here.”

    There is! "Our circumstances have changed since you were last here and we're no longer able to host overnight guests or make the trip to New York, but I'd love to meet for dinner or spend a day with you while you're here. Let me know when you book your trip and we'll check calendars." 
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