I don’t want our neighbors to use our pool without asking first. How can I handle that?

Q. We moved into this house with a pool about two years ago and we love it. When we befriended one of our neighbors, we invited them to use our pool. Like, my husband casually said, “Come over and try our pool.” They didn’t – at least not as far as we know – because we had to take a few trips out of town last summer.

As it was so very hot this summer my husband spoke to them a few weeks ago about our sprinkler system and the heat etc and they said they thought they would take our offer to come and use the pool. He said he told them it would be okay.

We think they stopped by one day recently while we were away from some doctor’s appointments for the day. My question is, wouldn’t it be right if they let us know when they want to come over and use our pool? Or because my husband was so vague about it, do you think they feel like they could come over any minute?

It just makes me uncomfortable that I can look out the window at any time of the day and see them in our pool, or am I too sensitive? What if I ask them to let me know when they want to come over? And what should I say so that I don’t offend them?

A. How “neighbor” of your husband to invite you? neighbors to come and use your poopI. It would have been wise of him to add, “Just give us a call to make sure we’re home and we can test the water to make sure it’s okay.”

Either way, your neighbors should understand that the polite course of action for them would be to call you to reconfirm that you are coming to use your pool. Since they don’t seem to understand that it’s appropriate to contact you first, you can still feel comfortable discussing the topic with them.

You can open the conversation with:

“Gosh, it’s been really hot lately and we’d like to invite you again to come over and use our pool, but if you could just let us know when you’d like to come over, we’d like to make sure we have tested the water to make sure it is completely safe and we applied the cleaner to remove any leaves that have fallen into the water. We don’t test it or clean it every day if we know we probably won’t have time to use it that day or a few days.”

This conversation should solve the problem of them dropping by at any time of the day or night.

Having a pool in your home is nice, but it can also cause unwanted stress from the neighbors.  In her latest column, BND etiquette expert Dianne Isbell offers advice on how to deal with a few potentially tacky pool dilemmas.

Having a pool in your home is nice, but it can also cause unwanted stress from the neighbors. In her latest column, BND etiquette expert Dianne Isbell offers advice on how to deal with a few potentially tacky pool dilemmas.

Pool party dilemma

Q. My husband and I are thinking about having a pool party and inviting some of our colleagues, neighbors and friends.

Would it be in bad taste if I put a comment at the bottom of the invitation that they should bring their own beach towels? I just have wouldn’t have enough towels. We have received invitations asking us to bring our own drinks or food to a party so I think we could ask them to bring their own towels. My husband thinks if I do it will be sticky and I just need to buy more towels. Would like your opinion.

A. It is absolutely correct that you add the note requesting your guests to bring their own towels. They would probably feel more comfortable using their own towels and wrapping them around them during the party, or when they’re ready to leave so their car seats don’t get wet. However, as a well-prepared hostess, you still want to have a stack of towels by the pool for guests who forget to bring a towel or if extra dry towels are needed.

Dianne Isbell has been writing an etiquette column for Belleville News-Democrat since 1987.  Before retiring in 2001, she was director of protocol for the US Air Force Communications Command.

Dianne Isbell has been writing an etiquette column for Belleville News-Democrat since 1987. Before retiring in 2001, she was director of protocol for the US Air Force Communications Command.

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