My partner and I were invited to a friend's cottage - a very relaxing, beautiful place.
My friend said we should visit again another time before she closes up the cottage.
She’s the sole caregiver for her elderly mother and another lady, and she’s very conscious of social distancing.
Now my partner wants to invite a third person to come with us.
He seems unaware of the etiquette involved, that being invited doesn't permit us to bring another person and especially under these circumstances. Please advise.
Cottage “etiquette” is widely understood as an essential quality in wannabe visitors… especially those who desire getting away from city life but can’t afford or don’t want cottage ownership for themselves.
Standard visitors’ behaviour is also understood - if arriving for a few days’ stay, bring at least one main meal, a special dessert and a small but personal gift for your host/hostess.
If bringing any alcohol (unopened until you arrive), consider the cottage-owner’s preference… but if you’re the only drinker, forget it till you get back home.
Given all this information, and your awareness of protocol, there’s no way your partner can be excused for “not knowing proper etiquette.”
Especially, given the circumstances which he does know, of the hostess’ responsibility for the care/health of her elderly mother and another woman.
He cannot bring a third party along or even suggest it.
He’d be putting the owner on the spot regarding any potential health risk to her mother from someone whose personal behaviour regarding exposure to Covid is unlikely to be certain.
Maybe he wanted a guy friend along, since everyone else at the cottage is female.
But what seems a small disappointment for him, can become a very big, unfortunate result.
That’s how it is with the ongoing coronavirus threat… none of us should forget the serious meaning/warning behind the phrase, “We’re all in this together.”
Dear Readers Some columns elicit comments that reflect completely different reactions in readers’ minds, differing even in what they think they read.
So it was, regarding the man, 28, whose girlfriend, 27. and her extended family insisted that, to marry her, he must agree to always live with them all in the same home (August 20):
Reader #1 – “Neither member of this pair are mature or thoughtful enough to get married at all.
“This fellow needs a spine transplant for starters and isn't ready to marry anyone and the woman in question is totally self-centered.
“He should’ve been advised to take a break from this setup to discuss things with HIS parents, who’ve been completely ignored in all this.”
Reader #2 – “Why do you sometimes bluntly break relationships?
“You tell the guy who says he loves her family but wants a home of their own, to break off the relationship for a while.
“He was hesitant to live with the girl’s family but apparently adapted fairly well.
“Why can he not try jointly with her to live there after marriage as well, as a trial?”
Ellie - As I wrote, the young man did explain to his parents the original move to his girlfriend’s home to be together during the pandemic, which they accepted.
Based on her insistence that he accept the entire live-together lifestyle forever, I wrote him, “You should take a break to re-examine this unbalanced relationship.”
We sometimes recollect what we thought we read, based on the viewpoints we had already held.
My friend and I regularly walked our dogs in a large park together. During the pandemic, it lifted our spirits to watch these two loved pets, housebound like us, roar out the door with their pent-up energy emerging, being playful and hyper at the same time.
The walks were our time too. We both needed the exercise, and the opportunity to talk about something other than the virus.
Recently, my friend’s dog, older than mine, unexpectedly died. I expressed sincere condolences at her loss when it happened.
But somehow the friendship itself has also gone. Two months have passed and neither of us has tried to get together. Was it a false friendship based only on the dogs?
It was a bond of convenience and mutual caring about the dogs’ needs plus your own, during unusual times. Outside in nature, like the dogs, you felt bonded and free.
Whether you re-connect, or not, your dog needs a new playmate.
Tip of the day:
Being someone else’s cottage guest is a privilege, not a shareholder’s say in deciding who else can come along.