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This week’s question comes from Susan in Virginia:

“What is the best and most polite way to ask for someone to host me for a few days? I’m traveling to the Phoenix area to visit my mom in a nursing home. I used to live there and became friends with a neighbor and even did some pet sitting for him on more than one occasion. His cat and I love one another dearly. I even did a light vacuuming while he was gone for a week at a time. After we moved to Virginia, we stayed in touch and I find I’m going to be back in the Phoenix area in 2 weeks, and hotels and AirBnB are a small fortune after paying for a flight and rental car to go see mom. Is there a nice way to ask to use his spare bedroom without coming off as rude or pushy? If he says no, I’m OK with that. I want your expert opinion before I ask him. Thanks for your advice.”

Great question and one I have both asked and received.

There are two basic approaches.

Inform the prospective host of your upcoming trip and suggest getting together for a drink, cup of coffee, or lunch. If he responds to your correspondence with an invitation to stay at his house, great. If not, you need to be willing to follow through with your get together and pay for it–which is why I suggest an inexpensive visit rather than dinner. Even if he does not take the bait, it may lay the ground work for future visits.

The second option is to simply come right out and ask if you can stay at his home. I would keep it very simple with something like, “I will be in town to visit Mom at the Shady Pines from April 20 to the 24. I was hoping I might stay with you and Mr. Fuzzy Whiskers. I can fend for myself for meals but would like to treat you to dinner one night. Please feel to decline my request, no explanation needed and no hard feelings on my part. There is plenty of time to make other arrangements. If you are not up for hosting, perhaps we could still get together for a visit?” I would not mention the expense factor.

These suggestions are predicated on two basic assumptions: 1) you really enjoy the potential host’s company and genuinely want to spend time with him; 2) you are confident he won’t  take this as a romantic overture. That would be awkward at best, cruel at worst.

I hope this helps and you’ll let me know what happens.

Side note: I know how difficult it is to have an elderly relative in a nursing home. Visits are bitter sweet and can be emotionally draining for both parties. We all need to support folks who have had to make this tough transition.

Thank you for visiting,












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