Good Houseguests Gone Bad

When you live in a vacation state like Florida, you have to be prepared for houseguests. My husband and I have hosted hundreds of friends and family for their vacations. Our most recent houseguest just left a few days ago. 

It all begins when they arrive. Hugs are exchanged and then you say, “Just make yourself at home.” You may come to regret that statement the longer your guests are with you. Two or three nights max, and then the visit can take a negative turn. 

woman hugging person in hooded sweatshirt and smiling

When Houseguests Turn into Nightmares

What we don’t realize is that we are inviting people into our home and allowing them to get in our personal space and touch our stuff. This can be tricky. You give up your life, your private sanctuary and your daily routine, and it’s harder and more stressful than we realize. 

It doesn’t matter how much we love these visitors – it’s just territorial human nature. After so long, you have this desperate need to crawl out of your own skin. You want to walk around in your underwear. You are always worried about their needs and wants. After a few days, you want your life back. 

Most of us have had at least one houseguest situation that wasn’t filled with awesome memories of their stay, or an invitation back. Don’t be a victim in your own home. When you receive the, “I am coming to visit,” call, take over the conversation with your own questions. 

woman holding head looking distressed

How to Prevent Bad Houseguests

Where are you staying? How long will you be staying? Any specific plans on your vacation? What are your planned activities? Are you bringing children? Pets? These are all fair questions. If you work, decide what days you can spend with them and inform them of the days they need to be on their own. If your house isn’t equipped for children or pets – then suggest some lovely local hotels. 

If you are the houseguest, make sure your visit is at a convenient time for the hosts. If they ask you, “Where are you staying?” – that could be code for, “What hotel are you staying at?” If you do stay, your hosts are not a way to have a cheap vacation. Somebody has to buy the food, drinks and other necessities. Buy some groceries, treat your hosts to a dinner out, or both. 

Keep your personal stuff in your designated room or area and pick up after yourself. When you arrive, bring a lovely host gift. When you leave, follow up with a hand-written thank you.

Communication, respect of personal space, and not putting the expense or extra house work of your vacation on your hosts is key to a successful houseguest/host relationship. 

karin Jenkins headshot and biography

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