DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in the heart of Atlanta (close to the airport) in a small apartment. When my friends fly into the city for the weekend, they will usually ask to stay at my home, even though my space is small and it will inconvenience me. I am seriously considering charging them to stay at my place as often as they do; for obvious reasons, I am hesitant to ask. My friends live in D.C., LA and Florida, so their flights will often connect in Atlanta. I understand that it’s convenient for them, but I would feel more comfortable if they paid to use my space and amenities. Do you think this is too extreme? What would you suggest I do? -- Hartsfield Hotel
DEAR HARTSFIELD HOTEL: Rather than requiring that your friends pay you for the privilege of staying at your home, which could ring wrong, just tell them no. “No” is a complete sentence. You do not have to agree to serve as a hotel for your friends. Instead, you can welcome them to visit you occasionally when the purpose of their visit is to be with YOU.
If they say that they really can’t afford to stay at a hotel and they want to come there and spend time during their layover, explain that it is inconvenient for you -- and costly. If they continue to press, this is when you can request some kind of fee for replenishing your amenities and cleaning your house. That seems fair.