7/24/2014 10:36:00 AM International guest wearing out her welcome
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been hosting students from other countries for several years now. They come through a formal service, and everything is set up according to a particular schedule and financial plan. This year, we had a problem, though, because one of the students came without the proper amount of money she needs for the month that she would be staying with me. From the first day, she asked me to lend her money, saying that her money would be coming in soon. "Something happened," she explained, so now she has to wait a week or so. I contacted the agency, which assured me that she was supposed to have all of her ducks in a row.
So now I am stuck paying for this young lady out of my own pocket, which just isn't the way that this whole thing works. She is a young woman from another country. I can't just let her starve. But I need to figure this out. Can you help me? -- Border Patrol, New York City
DEAR BORDER PATROL: Go higher up the food chain with the agency that sent this young lady to you. Get someone on the phone who can talk through the protocols that you have in order. Review whatever contracts you use for this hosting work that you have been doing. Explain the young lady's situation and request that the agency wire money either directly to you or to her (with your knowledge) so that she has enough money to take care of herself. If the agency refuses and you are unwilling or unable to take on her debt, ask to make arrangements to send her home early. You can put your foot down, even though it will be difficult.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I don't really get along with my brother-in-law. He talks a lot, and it irritates me to no end. When I go over his house, I have to endure him talking and talking and talking about every little thing imaginable. He is the opposite of what I think men should be like. He reminds me of a woman who is the head of a group of girlfriends. I'm not kidding. He just talks forever, so much so that my sister hardly gets a word in edgewise, or at least it seems that way to me. I don't hear her complaining, but I can't imagine that she likes it. How can I spend time with my sister -- whom I love so much -- without having to be around him all the time? -- Drown Him Out, Boston
DEAR DROWN HIM OUT: Instead of going over your sister's house randomly, make dates with her when you are going for a specific reason that revolves around her. You can even schedule dates with her outside of the house -- anything from going grocery shopping together to going to exercise class or out for drinks. Get some alone time in with her so that you can fill your cup. Then, when you are at their home, practice patience. Listen for a while, but don't stay too long. Or go in the other room when it gets to be too much.
(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)