06/22/2012 01:22 pm ET Updated Aug 22, 2012

Ask Michael Cohen: How to Be a Good Guest

I recently was invited to my dear friends' summer home in the Hamptons for July 4th weekend. I am really excited to go, but I am totally clueless about what to bring as a thank you because they have beautiful things and all the money in the world to buy them. Do you have any advice on how to be an appreciative weekend guest of the couple that has everything? Emily R., New York City

I mean, seriously, July 4th invites to the Hamptons seem to be coveted, although I am not exactly sure why, but that's another column. Let me wipe away all those thank you gift insecurities so that you can enjoy your weekend without thinking that you are a cheap, freeloading guest, which I think your friends already know, considering the invite.

A fun yet cool token of appreciation as a weekend guest is organizing a daily champagne hour. Bring a few bottles and I'm not talking crazy, vintage expensive ones. Moet & Chandon makes a great rose and bring along some basic Perrier-Jouet and you'll be set. It doesn't matter the time of day because when you are vacationing, champagne can be served 24/7 if you ask me.

In addition, you can pick up a few of the less expensive bills of the weekend such as a manicure, pedicure or massage and have it done at the house all while drinking said champagne, of course.

What you don't want to be is the annoying guest the that tries to pick up the Saturday night bill with that tired, tired line, "It's the least I can do." That's for her husband to handle. Trust me.

I have been dating my boyfriend for a year now and we are getting to that phase where we stay over at each other's place about five nights a week. The problem is the fact that I think we invade the each other's apartments with our belongings and it's just becoming really messy. Not to mention, the toothpaste seems to go real fast!. Also, my commute is awful when I stay at his place during the week and I am starting to resent it. What are some good parameters for comingling before this becomes problematic? Lucy Q., Washington, D.C.

Ah, this is the first step toward seeing if you can live with each other and it all begins with respect. Within each of your living quarters you must forfeit space for each other's belongings from the bathroom to the closet area. Clean out an area and make room for the other so life doesn't haphazardly unload. This will make things more organized and easier for you both to function because a man doesn't want to see your high heels all over his wingtips. And, if he does, you have a bigger problem than I thought. As for the toothpaste, I mean seriously?

When it comes to weekday sleepovers, that answer comes down to the basic rules in real estate, "location, location, location." Proximity to work is very important and that requires a discussion and probably a bit of compromise on both your parts. As for where you stay on the weekend, that routine that can be switched up but I always lean to whoever has the best bed for sleep and sex, two prerequisites of a delicious weekend.

I am the only single woman out of a group of four that grew up together and are still close. We are all approaching 40, which I must admit is a bit scary, but what really scares me the most is that when my friends and their respective husbands invite me to be their house or vacation guest, I don't want to go. Two of the couples don't get along that great, which is really awkward, and the other couple gets along so well they forget I am even there. What to do about their guest invitations? Melissa M., Chicago

I certainly applaud your awareness and must say that the first step toward having a good time is a good mindset.

As for the friends that don't get along so great, I agree it is very awkward to spend time with couples like that and simply something I don't believe needs to be part of a visit or vacation. You can always politely decline but when you do, the right thing to do is suggest alternative plans such as meal in the city that lasts only two hours, not 48. Then go home and be grateful you are not in a crazy relationship.

As for the couple that forgets you are there, what's so bad about that? You have a great place to stay and lots of wiggle room to be selfish. Enjoy the time you do have and especially the time when you are together. Just don't beg for their attention, no one likes that.

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