Just in time for mid-summer relaxing, visiting, or doing
whatever you are doing, this month we talk about
spending time with others in your home or in
someone else’s home.
What’s involved in maximizing your experience of
being either a guest or a host (or both)? Recently,
someone shared with me her feelings of regret as
she realized that she had gone overboard when she
invited a family of 6 to stay with her for two weeks
while she was working. Trying to entertain and
provide for their needs left her exhausted. Her
houseguests departed on the 4th of July and she
commented that she now understood and celebrated
her own version of independence day.
So whether you are hosting or staying with family or
friends for a weekend, a week or a month, pay close
attention to your role as host or guest as you read
these Sanity Savers and Tips:
- Being a Good Host
- House Guests
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Wishing you health, peace and
Being a Good Host
COMPANY! Does that word direct a shock through
your system? Do you conjure up images of yourself
peeping through the curtains pretending you are not
home or are you eagerly awaiting the time together
when you can enjoy one another?
Before you have people over be sure you are ready
to be a good host.That does not mean that you must
work your tail off to prepare
legions of gourmet food (although you may want to).
It does mean that you make your guests feel as if
you are happy they are with you, that you make time
to be with them and that you don’t spend the time
together feeling as if you are a servant. The whole
point of having people visit is to enjoy their company
and sometimes the best ways to do that is to plan
activities that you enjoy (with and without them) so
you have the energy and interest to be together.
- Communicate House Rules - You can
have expectations for how your guests will behave
but unless you tell them, they may not know your
guidelines. If you cannot have music blasting after
10:00pm, you need to tell them. If you don’t want
wet towels in the hamper, you need to tell them. If
sitting on the velvet chair in a wet bathing suit (even
on a towel) is going to drive you insane, you need to
tell them what is off limits. If you live in an adult
oriented home, be careful about extending invitations
to people with children.
- Tolerate Normalcy - You are not going to
change someone’s life long habits so be sure you are
able to share a bathroom, a kitchen, or whatever,
BEFORE you extend an invitation. When people arrive
with children, expect kid play. It’s best to put away
breakables before guests arrive than risking
shattered china on the hard wood floor.
- Make Them Feel At Home - When you
open your home to someone, you also need to open
your heart so they feel welcome. If the visit brings
tension, make the best of the situation and see it
through. If someone breaks something accidentally
they are probably feeling bad enough, so try and be
as gracious as you can. Accidents happen.
- Delegate – Why do all the work? Let
guests pitch in and have fun. At mealtime, they can
help by slicing and dicing while you prepare the main
meal. If your guests offer to buy dinner as a “thank
you” consider letting them do that. Second vacation
home owners with lots of overnight guests know that
those who strip their beds at the end of their stay
and come with their own beach towels, are welcome
- Who’s on Vacation? - Sometimes when
your guests are on vacation, they expect you to be
too. Entertaining while trying to keep up with your
normal schedule can be overwhelming. Falling into
bed exhausted because you are trying to be the best
possible host can also breed resentment. Either take
a few days off from your normal routine or make it
clear to your guests that you have other obligations.
If you are not going to be able to chauffer, ask
guests to rent a car or find other transportation.
Give them a copy of the train and bus schedules
- Plan Time Together and Alone - Realize
that the time will likely fly by if you are having fun
with your guests. But you can only enjoy your time
together if you are taking care of yourself aside from
tending to their needs. If you usually arise in the
morning to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee and read the
paper, you may need to wake up earlier in order to
sneak in that quite time. On the other hand, if your
guests are up at the crack of dawn then either read
together or find another time of the day to be
The most valuable gift you can give to your guests is
being a gracious host.
TODAY Show (NBC)
Weekend Edition, Saturday, Aug. 12th
times of other upcoming segments will be posted
on Dr. Dale's website.
Naomi's New Morning (Naomi Judd)
Sunday, August 20th, 9:00am
The Hallmark Channel
The Lisa Birnbach Radio Show
Every other Wednesday, 9:20-10:00am
Hear Dr. Dale
LIVE on August 23rd.
(The Lisa Birnbach Show airs LIVE Mon-Fri 9am-Noon
>>Go to the
Lisa Birnbach Show
Jack Birnberg Radio Show (WVNJ/1160am)
August 22nd, 9:30am
The Washington Times
Sunday, August 13th, Family Section
Vacationing with Family and Friends
A Good Daily Habit
Acknowledge one thing that someone does for you.
Let your hosts know you appreciated their hospitality
by calling when you get home to say thanks or
sending a simple note. Tell your guests something
special about the time spent together.
Everyone likes to know that their efforts are noticed.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Everyone, at one time or another, stays in someone
else’s home. You may be on the couch in the family
room, on an air mattress with the kids or in your own
beautiful guest accommodation. The blankets may be
too many or too few, overly itchy or worn, the
pillows puffy or flat, you may be sharing a bathroom
with three teens or have the chance to soak in a
Wherever you are and whatever the circumstance,
remember to be considerate because you are in
someone’s home. If you want room or maid service,
stay at a hotel. The best guests are those who pitch
in where needed and who stay out of the way when
There are a few things you can do to make yourself
feel comfortable, useful, and at home without taking
over and imposing yourself in a way that makes your
host appreciate your presence. And remember,
don’t overstay your welcome. It’s and old joke that
guests and fish have one thing in common; they’re
both no longer good after 3 days.
- Gifts of Thanks - It can be food to
share during your stay, flowers, or something unique
that “fits” your host’s taste. Offer to pick up the
check at dinner, cook your favorite specialty, buy ice
cream after the
movies, or pay for pancakes at the local diner. If
food is involved, check food preferences and
allergies. It is better to know beforehand that three
people in the family are vegetarians BEFORE you
prepare your famous chicken salad. After you leave,
send a thoughtful note, preferably hand written, in
which you share some of the highlights of your time
- Be Clean and Tidy - Regardless of the
housekeeping habits of your host, keep your space
neat. If you are uncomfortable with the arrangement
of their furniture or accessories, it is not your
prerogative to redecorate. You can do this in your
mind’s eye but not in reality (unless, of course, you
are asked to help redesign the space in which case
you can have a lot of fun.) When you cook, clean up
the kitchen. When you are ready to leave strip the
bed, wipe out the sink and tub and empty the
- If You Break Something, Own Up to It -
Whatever you do, don’t hide it in the drawer and let
your host find the pieces three weeks after you’ve
gone. Don’t throw broken items away because it may
be a sentimental piece or repairable (even if you
don’t think so). Apologize sincerely instead of
commenting, “This was sitting too close to the edge
of the tabletop and was waiting for a tumble.” Try to
avoid repeated apologies. A better thing to do is
offer to pay for the piece or help find a
- Your Calls are Your Responsibility –
Today we all have cells phone or phone cards. This is
the time to use them.
- Everyone Needs Privacy – Give each
other space. If your host is involved in a private
conversation, excuse yourself, take a walk, or read a
book in another part of the house. Do not share
information you have overheard. Try to keep to
your own routine of exercise, quiet time or whatever
you do to keep your balance.
- Know “Sacred” Places - Before you plop
down, find out which is “papa’s” chair or if the space
is an off-
limits meditation corner.
A good guest is mindful of the host’s needs.
THE BIGGEST THING IN THE WORLD - BIGGER
THAN THE OCEAN AND THE SKY – IS YOUR
Do Hyun Choe (Sugi Master)
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who appears
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience and focuses on living a balanced
life, parenting, aging well, managing stress, life &
work transitions, family connections and healthy
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
SistersFrom the Heart:
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
book . . .
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works
Now in Paperback!