David Buttigieg

Q. When someone new comes to my home, should I give a “grand tour” of the house? I worry that it may seem rude not to do so. But by giving a tour, I don’t want to look as if I’m showing off.
Name withheld by request

A. Handle this situation on a case-by-case basis. If a guest says something along the lines of “What a lovely home!” or “Where did you get that fabulous wallpaper?” that’s usually a hint that she’s curious. In those situations, the polite response is to offer a tour. As you pour her a glass of wine, say, “Would you care to see the rest of the house? If so, I’ll take you around.” But keep it casual and brief. You’re not a museum docent leading a tour of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry.

On the other hand, if people don’t ask to see the house, there’s a reason: They’re happy where they are, in the public space, having a good conversation. You should be, too.

Michelle Slatalla