Smoke Alarm: How can I kindly tell a houseguest that we can’t host them in the future?

Q: We recently had a houseguest who is already making plans to return to the area, presuming to stay with us again. Unfortunately, a family member is allergic to smoke, and was disturbed by the guest’s most recent visit. Although the guest did not smoke in the house, smoke in her clothes and personal items caused some issues. How can I graciously decline hosting future visits?

A: You can graciously decline with the truth. Just tell her that you can’t wait to see her again, but that you can’t offer her a place to stay because your daughter (or whomever) is highly sensitive to cigarette smoke and had a hard time breathing when she visited this last time. You can then offer her alternatives – name some nearby motels or hotels, for example, or offer to research places for her so she can choose. You can’t ask your family member to suffer; you can be honest which is not personal nor insulting to your friend.

One Comment

  1. Jody

    The EPI advice is spot-on here. Your friend may act offended, but if you word things as nicely as EPI suggests there’s nothing else you can do. If the guest replies with “oh it isn’t that bad” or “I’ll make sure to wash my clothing extra carefully,” stick to your guns and explain that your family member’s allergy means that you can’t allow any smoking residue in your home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *