DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it inappropriate to expect friends who constantly hang out at my apartment weekend after weekend to clean up after themselves?
I have a roommate, who is my best friend, and often two friends of ours hang out with us on Saturdays. My best friend and I are the only ones with an apartment, so we don't mind them being at our place every weekend.
However, I've noticed lately that my friends (roommate excluded) will tend to leave their cups on our coffee or end tables and don't put them in the sink. (We have a dishwasher but I don't expect them to put them in there.) They do pick up dishes or bowls and put them in the sink or dishwasher.
Also, a lot of times, we will eat dinner in the living room using tray tables because we are watching a movie. Constantly, my friends do not put the tray tables away, and this is annoying. This past weekend, I said something to my roommate about our friends not cleaning up after themselves, and she was a little surprised that I'd expect them to clean up. I was a little surprised that she didn't expect them to clean up after themselves.
What is your take on this situation? Am I expecting too much for our friends to put their cups in the sink and put away the tray tables if they use them? I have previously said something (in a joking, nonconfrontational way) to my friends about cleaning up after themselves, but they seem to have forgotten what I said.
GENTLE READER --Your friends are not necessarily louts, you may be relieved to hear. Or not, if you are secretly sick of the sight of them and wish they'd go away.
They have only failed to realize that they moved from being guests to being habitues. And the nice thing about having friends who constantly hang out at your house is that you know them well enough to tell them.
Guests do not automatically bus their dishes, nor should they be assigned tasks. They may offer to help, but cannot proceed without permission. Habitues, in contrast, are supposed to pitch in, not only cleaning up after themselves, but -- already knowing the hosts' habits and preferences -- volunteering for other housekeeping tasks as a form of reciprocation.
Yours need to be told that you love having them, but it would help if they would kindly stick around to help clean up.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My niece gave birth, making my parents great-grandparents, the news of which they are naturally eager to spread.
My mother bought my niece cards and matching envelopes, and gave her a list of people to whom she wants announcements sent. My niece (who was not planning to send out any announcements in the first place) told my mother that she doesn't feel comfortable sending announcements to people she doesn't know; my mother continues to press her to do it.
What are the rules for sending birth announcements? Is it obligatory? Is it acceptable for grandparents and great-grandparents to submit recipient lists a la wedding invitations?
GENTLE READER: No, it's not like wedding invitations, because those are invitations, which means they must be issued by the hosts. Births are announced informally to one's friends who hadn't heard otherwise. Miss Manners assures you that there is nothing to prevent your parents from telling all their own friends about the birth of their great-grandchild, rather than hounding the new mother to write to strangers.