Dear Blake,

I just finished building my dream home. My dilemma is, now that I have a wonderful home gym, my in-laws want to use it. I feel selfish saying no. But I’m a very private and somewhat introverted person, and I really like my space. I’m afraid if I agree, it may become inconvenient for me when I want to use it. Where do I draw the line? Am I being selfish? If not, how do I refuse without disrupting the family dynamics? I have a feeling it wouldn’t sit well, and so far, I’ve been coming up with excuses to avoid the situation. Please help.

Signed, Alex
From Boston, Massachusetts

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Dear Alex,

If you are a very private person, I understand why you would not want people coming over on a regular basis. On the other hand, when you have a home gym and in-laws, you’ll often have to deal with dumbbells. Anyway, here are some of my ideas. Hire a loud arrogant personal trainer that is constantly critical of their appearance. Make him very damaging of their self-esteem to the point that they go from your house laying down lifting weights, to laying down on a couch at a psychiatrist’s office, blabbering about how worthless they feel. Charge them for membership like most health clubs, and increase that rates weekly until they are forced to start collecting cans to sell, in order to remain in good standing with your “facility”. Or this idea. You can buy a pitbull, and tell them that your new pet is very friendly, and he only becomes vicious when he sees someone sweat. But the best way to deal with your boneheaded, insensitive, out-of-shape in-laws, is to modify the equipment in your gym. Such as, replace all the weights with Styrofoam that’s in the exact same shape as the ones you’re replacing, except the new ones only weigh about 7 ounces. Also rig the treadmill, so it will go from 2 mph to about 350 mph in about one second. When the person that uses it, shoots through a wall and lands in the backyard, semi-conscious covered with pieces of plaster, call the police and tell them they are burglars, and you want them charged with “breaking and exiting”. I hope this helps.