Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Horror Stories Not Helping Travelphobe

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a friend who moved away years ago. Every year, she asks to return and stay with my family and me, at our chosen date, with her two very badly mannered children.

She has lots of old friends in town that she wants to see, and invites them for dinner at my house, generally treating my home as her hotel. And the kids are loud, draw on tables with permanent marker, and overall are bad houseguests.

Because I work from home, this is disruptive, and it’s a week my husband and I dread. Since she asks me to choose the date, it is difficult for us to get out of or decline the visit. Any suggestions for how to handle an unwelcome, self-invited guest?

GENTLE READER: Renovate your home. And acquire slow contractors.

If that proves impractical, Miss Manners suggests you simply say, “I am afraid this year is an especially busy one and we are unable to have you here. However, if you are in the area and staying with one of our other friends, we would love to get together for dinner or coffee. We’ll bring the markers.”

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)