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This past weekend we were invited to the vacation home of friends in the Blue Ridge Mountains. On Saturday we went for a hike and while scrambling down a fairly steep and rocky path, a voice said, “Now close your eyes.” What!? Then our hostess said, “Damn, that’s my meditation app!” I can see the headlines now, Woman Falls to Her Death While Being Coerced to Meditate on Steep Mountain Trail; Lawsuit Being Considered. When the app continued to nag at her our hostess said, “Boy, she really wants me to meditate.” Our hostess explained that she gets so busy she has to be reminded to relax.

This lovely woman (cheekbones to die for) and her husband have extremely demanding jobs and all the social obligations that come with such jobs. They purchased this weekend home for the express purpose of getting away together and chilling out. This visit to their beautiful weekend home gave me the perfect opportunity to invoke one of my Best Practices for House Guests, Give Your Host Downtime and Privacy. “But Kiki,” you might say, “if they invited us don’t they want to spend time with us?” Yes, they do, but not every minute. No one is that interesting. I have had guests that attach themselves to my hip and quite literally stood at my counter and stared at me while I was trying to prepare a meal. No, go away.

There’s a fine line between giving your hosts downtime and ignoring them. Here are some ideas:

  • In the morning, unless you’re on a schedule, linger in your room a little longer than you might normally at home.
  • Take a walk.
  • Bring lots of reading materials. If you’re tucked in to a novel, it gives your host the option to start a conversation…or not.
  • If you knit or crochet, bring it with you. For your host, your project is both an opportunity for down time or a conversation starter.
  • You can also fall back on one of my family favorites, take a nap. Naps are the new black.
  • Offer (do not insist) to do the dishes and suggest your host relax with a cup of coffee.
  • Television is an option but it is the host’s prerogative, not the guest’s. Televised sporting events create chances for folks to wander off for a spell and do their own thing.
  • Be careful about spending too much time on your phone as it can give the impression that you prefer the company of people who are NOT there.


I have one frequent house guest who does daily yoga and invites her hosts to participate…or not. I would refrain from relaxation apps because you might fall down a mountain and that would NOT be relaxing for your host.

If you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them. The Comments Section is below.

Thank you for visiting.


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