How to Deal with Difficult House Guests | Reader's Digest

How to Deal with Difficult House Guests

As the holiday season draws near, learn the art of dealing with house guests.

Interviews by Chandni Jhunjhunwala

You’ve been waiting an hour to eat breakfast but your guests are still snoozing “Unless you coordinated a time for breakfast the evening before, let your guests sleep-in and enjoy your breakfast without them. If possible, keep their breakfast warm, or, better yet, when entertaining it’s always a good idea to have cold breakfast (as well as lunch, dinner and snack) food on-hand.” –Pamela Eyring, president and director of The Protocol School of Washington

You’re hosting out-of-town friends for a couple of weeks. The husband is vegetarian and the wife is a picky eater. Cooking for them is proving to be a strain on your budget and your nerves. “As a gracious host, you want to make sure and accommodate your guest’s dietary needs, especially when they are related to health issues. Make an attempt to offer at least one dish based on his or her restrictions or preferences. Those with special dietary needs are usually familiar with eating “creatively.” But if your guests get too picky or demanding, it is not necessary to break the bank. You can say ‘If you would provide the ingredients, I would be happy to follow the recipe.’” –Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas

How to Deal with Difficult House Guests© Ryan McVay/Valueline/Thinkstock
Your guest’s teenage son is a Facebook addict and hogs your computer all day long. “If you have a guest whose fingers are fixated to your keyboard, kindly let him know that you are expecting work email and give him enough time to finish using it.” –Ummu Bradley Thomas, Founder of Freddie Bell Jones Modeling and Finishing School, Inc.

Your visitors don’t have a car and demand that you drive them everywhere. “If you’ve invited them, then you should at least offer to pick them up and return them to the airport. But draw the line there. It’s time to remove your chauffeur’s hat. If you have a second car not in use, you could offer them the keys after you confirm they are insured.  Or, keep the chauffeur’s hat on and offer to drive them to the nearest rental car agency due to their busy schedule.” –Pamela Eyring, president and director of The Protocol School of Washington

Your couch surfing, unemployed nephew has been here a month and is showing no sign of leaving. “There is nothing wrong with saying ‘John, you have been here a month and have not put in any applications. What can I do to help you get your resume together? I would like to formulate a plan that will assist you in getting back on your feet and allow me to eventually have my extra room back for guests that will soon be arriving.’” –Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas

Yours guests expect you to accompany them to every single tourist attraction in your city. It’s tiring and expensive. “If your guests didn’t offer to treat you, politely decline and offer to meet them afterwards for dinner or drinks. That way they know you enjoy their company.” –Pamela Eyring, president and director of The Protocol School of Washington

You gave your friend a closet shelf for her stuff but her clothes are exploding all over the place. “You should simply say ‘I am happy to have you use my closet but you clothes seem to have a mind of their own. Would you mind keeping your clothes on the shelf we agreed upon? It would make it easier for me to find my things when I am in a rush and looking for them. Thank you.’” –Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas

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