Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Dresser Comes With Strings Attached

DEAR HARRIETTE: Throughout the holiday season, I have witnessed guests asking for a tour of the home they are in. I find this to be completely rude, although some hosts graciously lead guests around their homes. I fear this will happen to me, and I definitely do not want to show people my bedroom if not necessary. My home is clean. I am just private and host on one floor only. If faced with the demand for a tour, how can I deter the guest from checking out my home? -- Private Floor, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

DEAR PRIVATE FLOOR: Relax. You get to show people what you want in your home. And you can comfortably stand your ground. Indeed, try being proactive. When folks come to visit, invite them to come into the rooms where they are welcome. You can point out highlights in those rooms, such as family photos, a stereo system, dining table, etc. If someone asks you about seeing the rest of your home, simply tell them that you entertain on this floor only. If they persist, you can say, "Sorry, but this is the only floor where I invite my guests. Please enjoy yourselves." And let that be that. You can even put up a little fence at the doorway or stair entry -- the kind used to prevent children or pets from entering a space. That sends a clear, unspoken message.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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