MN Nice Advice: Cabin Etiquette

Group therapy and cheesy décor invade lakeside living

An illustration of people sitting around a campfire at a cabin with a life coach blowing a whistle and getting in the way of a good time.

illustration by darren gygi

Q: My friends agreed to join me at my cabin this summer, but now one of them is insisting on bringing her life coach. I’d tell her no, but my other friends support her idea (frankly, she could use the help). Am I a bad person for not wanting to turn my Up North vacation into group therapy?

A: The person with the cabin keys controls the guest list. You shouldn’t feel obligated to host a stranger at your cabin any more than you would at home. But once you’re ensconced in knotty pine, majorities rule. If all your friends want to hit the Nisswa Crazy Days Sidewalk Sale, you can’t stop them. And if they’re all hoping for an Eat, Pray, Love getaway, you’ve got two choices: Get new friends or get your aura on. If you’d rather dictate the agenda, take a solo backpacking trip to, I don’t know, Timbuktu. Get with the program or turn in your cribbage board.


Q: Everyone insists on giving me loon clocks, talking bass, or other cheesy décor when they visit my cabin. How do I kindly decline?

A: You don’t. You put them in your rummage sale. And when your friends don’t see their “gifts” out the next time they visit, they’ll get the idea: Your cabin is a sanctuary, not a joke shop.