The problem: We have guests coming to stay with us who go out every evening with other people. Then they come home late and wake everyone up with their rowdiness. Help us get ready.

Low road: Call me and I'll give you the name and number of a good locksmith who can change those key holes in a jiffy. Won't your guests be surprised!

High road: The best guests make life easier for their hosts, bringing gifts, offering to make dinner or take everybody out to a nice restaurant, and spending quality time with the people who will wash the sheets and scrub the toilets after they leave. These people sound less like guests and more like clueless lodgers, who are taking advantage of your generosity.

But it sounds like you have history with them, and want to have a future, so start by giving them the benefit of the doubt. Over coffee on a morning after one of their rowdy nights, tell them you're happy that they're enjoying their time in town, but that you and others in the house are very light sleepers who hear everything. Might they try to tiptoe in the next time? They might not even realize how loud they are being. Also remind them that you, too, want to spend an evening or two with them. Ask what night works best.

If they simply don't have time for you, and they just can't respect your need for stealth on their return home at night, politely tell them before their next visit that you'd love to see them. But based on their night-owl habits, and your need for a good night's sleep before work, you think a hotel is the best bet. Suggest to them a few you like.

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