Miss Conduct

Advice: How do I ask annoying houseguests to move to a hotel?

Plus, my masseuse’s beliefs make me uncomfortable. Is that good enough reason to bail on her?

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We had out-of-town friends — not people we’re terribly close to — stay with us recently. The wife was drunk or sleeping it off the entire time, except when she mistakenly wandered into our bedroom in the wee hours of the morning; the husband was airily unconcerned with everything. It was awful. And then the snowstorm hit. When bad weather leads to canceled flights, how long should hospitality be extended? Would it have been acceptable to ship them off to a hotel at some point?

L.R. / Cambridge

Under ordinary extraordinary circumstances, if emergencies or weather prevent guests from getting out, you extend your hospitality as long as necessary. Flights aren’t canceled for weeks on end, after all. “Nope, we invited you through Sunday, checkout time is Monday 11 a.m., no exceptions” — what are you, Basil Fawlty? You know they’d rather be in their own homes as much as you’d like to have yours to yourself again, so you all cut each other slack and make the jolly best of it.

Under ordinary circumstances.


But these people sound dreadful! It sounds as though they were only vaguely aware that they were in a private home to begin with. And you, dear L.R., don’t sound as though you much care if the friendship, such as it is, survives. In which case you might as well reclaim your house, at least in theory. But ask yourself first, who’s going to pay for this hotel? Boston lodging is wicked expensive, and it’s one thing to quietly end a friendship, another to drive your former friends into bankruptcy.

I started seeing a massage therapist, recommended by a friend. She did a fine job, though I could hear her saying something half under her breath when she worked on me. After several visits, she invited me to an Access Consciousness lecture. I found out that what she was speaking over my body was their “Clearing Statement.” How do I divorce my body worker tactfully? I am morally opposed to giving money, even indirectly, to such organizations. But I don’t want bad blood, as this community is not huge and she’s in my social network. Help!

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D.L. / Overland Park, Kansas

Don’t overthink it, love! Your massage therapist has already demonstrated that she’ll believe any fool notion that makes her feel good. Tell her she’s healed you, or you’ve discovered the prosperity gospel and are chasing and capturing the Benjamins like so many Pokemons, or it ought to be sufficient just to enthusiastically say you feel great and want to take a break.

Some readers will point out one doesn’t need an excuse to stop seeing a service provider. This is technically true, but ghosting on a regular provider will make him or her wonder, and lead to awkward moments if you run into each other in the supplement aisle at Whole Foods.

Others will suggest that it’s wrong to stop using a bodyworker (or stylist or plumber or tailor) because of their unrelated religious/spiritual or political beliefs. Not so! If service providers choose to chant over you, put political bumper stickers on their work vehicle, or what have you, they are the ones who have chosen to bring personal beliefs into their work. They can live with the consequences of those choices.

Miss Conduct is Robin Abrahams, a writer with a PhD in psychology. Send questions to Follow us on Twitter@BostonGlobeMag.