Not So Close

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

What’s the protocol on calling in chits for medical emergencies? A year
ago I had serious surgery. One of my closest friends was supposed to
spend the night in the hospital with me but at the last moment was
felled by projectile vomiting. Another, less close, friend stepped in
even though it was a terrible time for her to lose a night’s sleep. Since
then we have become even less close. Now she needs rotator cuff
surgery and won’t be able to shower or take care of herself for at least
a week. She sent me an email asking if she could stay in my guest
room. FOR A WEEEK! I certainly don’t mind having her for a night or
two but honestly I come from the Ben Franklin school that fish and
guests should be tossed after three days. What’s the right answer?

Not So Close

Dear Not So Close:

You do owe her some hospitality and nurturing. But a week is a long
time to have anyone stay with you, let alone someone with whom you
are not so close. I’d come clean and say that you’re happy to have her
stay there for two nights, and happy to help her find another friend to
take a second shift, or to stay with her at her house after that. While
that compromise may feel right to you, be very clear that it may not
feel so good to her. You risk that she feels rejected and that the
friendship is irretrievably ruptured.

Another option would be to say yes, and hope she longs for her home
before the time is up. Or to plead work deadlines, other guests, or
some excuse that’s less blatant than the Ben Franklin one, which I do
NOT recommend using as your opening line. Offer to help her come up
with a care crew, perhaps in her own home “where you’ll feel more
comfortable…” Again, any answer other than yes is a risk that only you
can assess.