No Need To Get Trapped on the Phone
Dear Margo: I am often waylaid by a few friends who think nothing of tying up my time for hours on the telephone. I have tried being polite, and I have tried being rude — just short of hanging up — but nothing seems to get through to them. One of them has said to me about a mutual friend who clearly has the same problem that I do, “What else does he have to do?” Well, I read, I listen to music, I watch television, I write, I eat meals and snack, and I go out.
I have normal phone conversations with other people. What makes these telephone people think I want to spend two hours listening to them tell me about their meals in boring detail, how much they paid for yogurt at the supermarket, or how long it took them to get into town via the “T”? Is there a way that I can politely make it clear that even though I like them, I cannot tie up that much of my evening essentially talking about nothing? –Extremely Annoyed but Too Polite, in Boston
Dear Ex: I can’t quite figure out your seemingly unbreakable attachment to these bores who can’t take a hint, or why you would allow these phone talkers to tie you up for hours! When I get caught in an overly long or pointless phone call, I simply say, “Gotta go!” and no one argues with me. Your sense of politesse is misspent in this instance. If you don’t have it, get caller ID and then don’t pick up. Or: Tell each of these clods, once they begin their food and yogurt recital, that you really must run, and then HANG UP the phone. All you need to do is decide you will not be held hostage to these time wasters. It’s not that hard. (Brainflash: Introduce these people to each other!) –Margo, decisively
Guests or Customers?
Dear Margo: My husband and I own two timeshare weeks. The unit we use is a two bedroom, with the master bedroom being the nicer of the two, offering better amenities and views. We have not only paid for these weeks, but also pay a fairly hefty maintenance fee annually.
On occasion, when my husband is unable to go, I will invite a friend or two to go with me. Because I invited them, I do not ask or expect them to pay me a fair share of the maintenance fee that has been paid for the week. It would, however, be nice if they would at least offer. (I have yet to receive such an offer). Also, should I be prepared to let my guests occupy the master suite? Should guests offer to pay for a rental car or a couple of dinners since they have no costs for the week? I don’t know if guests are just unaware of the annual costs involved with timeshares or if they are just mooching! What is proper in this situation? — Just Don’t Know
Dear Just: Are you a hostess or an innkeeper, and are your friends guests or paying customers? When people receive an invitation to a vacation house, they do not think to ask, “How much will this cost?” — nor should they. As for a dinner or two out, that is somewhat standard for houseguests, but ixnay on the rental car.
If, however, money is a concern, when you issue these invitations, tell the friends what the cost will be. Some people may be up for it and willing to pay, while others will pass. It sounds as though you think your guests ought to pay — in which case, you can’t expect them to figure this out themselves. Do know, however, that when issued an invitation — with no mention of money — the person is in no way mooching. (And the hostess never gives up the master bedroom unless she wishes, for whatever reason, to make that generous gesture.) –Margo, correctly
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to email@example.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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