DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been a part of a chat group for a year or so. We originally bonded from our love of playing video games, but we have now turned into a global support system for each other. We have spoken through video chats, and I have found all of these people on social media, so I know I am not being "catfished." I want to organize our first meetup in person. Would it be crazy to invite them to stay at my place? I don't have the funds for an international flight, so I figured I'd be doing my part by allowing them to stay in my house. -- Online Family, West Palm Beach, Florida
DEAR ONLINE FAMILY: Given that this is a group of people -- and not just one -- chances are that you will be safe if they all descend upon your home. What could easily be awkward, though, is managing expectations and expenses. Should you decide to suggest this idea, why not float it first to see who is interested?
If there is substantial interest, lay the ground rules in writing to the group. Without changing the energy of your communications, let them know that you are happy to have everybody stay at your house if everyone agrees to pitch in with particular responsibilities, including chipping in for food (and cooking) and keeping things tidy. Make your list as thorough as you deem important, and only move forward if several people agree to come. A one-on-one meetup could be awkward and unsafe.