Years ago, I bought a beautiful little cottage in the North Carolina mountains as a second home. I feel very lucky to be able to afford such a luxury and have always been generous, sharing it with family and friends. However, it has reached the point where people constantly ask to use it.
My guests have left holes in cushions, bubble gum on couches and someone’s child even peed in the bed. Only once in 10 years was I left with a thank-you note and a gift card to a local store. Most of the time I find a bottle of cheap wine. (I don’t drink.)
How can I stop this? I’m being taken advantage of. I know I’m partly at fault for being so generous. This cottage was bought for me, my children and grandchildren to enjoy.
— TOO GENEROUS
Dear Too Generous,
You stop it by saying “No.”
This is your home away from home and you get to decide who uses it. If it comes up from someone who used it in the past mention those reasons you stated above and tell them that people abused their time, and more importantly your generosity, and now it’s no longer available.