Our expert says:
Thanks for your wise and interesting comments, U !
An excellent example of some of what I mean. They remember the bit abou receiving something, but conveniently forget about giving anything. I don't think we should discard our cultures, obviously, but I do think we should revise them. I suspect if we look around the world, the more successful countries and cultures are those who have adapted and revised their cultures to meet changing circumstances, not those who insist on adhering exactly to the way things were done hundreds of years ago, nor those who tolerate the sort of cultural abuse you are mentioning.
In the eternal guest problem, I have known people keep to the spirit of the tradition but protect theemselves, by earnestly offering help to the guest - helping them find a job and a new place, or if that is not what they want, helping tem to get home again. One acts as though one assumes they would of course want to do the right thing, and help them to do that. You might not ask them to name a departure date, but while announcing that you want to help by getting them their ticket home, ask them if any particular date would suit them better.
And its fairer to others, as well as to yourselves. If the first guest greedily eats all the food and drinks all the beer, there's nothing left to enable you to be hospitable to anyone else.
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