One of the most fun things about having your own apartment is being able to invite friends and family to stay for the weekend to spend time together. However, it’s important to have a solid plan (and mutual understanding!) for how long guests are welcome to stay with you. Opening your apartment to a friend who needs a place to stay is fantastic, but that can get ruined if they overstay their welcome. Nothing’s more frustrating than a houseguest who doesn’t leave!
The key to not getting caught in that situation? Be honest upfront about your expectations for their visit.
The trickiest situation is opening your apartment to a friend who’s in-between apartments, jobs, or relationships and otherwise doesn’t have a good, safe place to live. It’s easy to offer your place as their temporary home “until you get back on your feet”…but what happens if that takes a year? Do they pay rent? Do they split the grocery bills? Even responsible friends may (accidentally) take advantage of the situation, leaving you, the renter, in the lurch!
Our recommendation is to be very clear when you offer your houseguest a place to stay. Set boundaries like you would with a roommate and set a defined timeframe. (And, needless to say, clear the arrangement in advance with your other roommates or significant others you may be living with.)
For instance, you can offer your apartment for free for the first two weeks, but if they plan to stay a month or longer, they need to help pay for rent. (You’ll have to confirm this is OK with your apartment complex, too!) Or, they are welcome to stay in the guest bedroom, but when your sister comes to visit, they’ll need to sleep on the sofa, or temporarily relocate to other friends’ places,
If you’re not one to share your apartment for very long, be open about that! Communication in the beginning of the situation should allow you to avoid frustration and hurt feelings when the time comes for the houseguest to move on (for your reasons or for theirs).
If you’re having a friend over for a week or weekend, make sure the plans of the trip are defined before they show up at your door. That means planning activities, but it also means agreeing on the length of their stay! This is especially important if you have other plans or need to prepare for anything after their trip.
This happened to me recently with a friend visiting from out of town, and I didn’t communicate well! We left their travel plans open-ended, and decided they would leave when they wanted to. So, instead of coming Saturday and leaving Sunday (which is what I expected), they came Saturday and didn’t leave until Wednesday! That meant two extra days of “hosting,” and losing out on planned personal time. Not to mention, it made schedules difficult as I had to work while they were here.
While it was fun and I looove hosting, it was difficult for me to lose time I usually spend grocery shopping, cleaning, and prepping for the week ahead, leaving me stressed the next week. That awkward situation could have been avoided if I was clear and honest when we planned the trip, and told them “NOPE” to coming for extra time since I had other things going on!
The moral of the story? Clarity and communication is critical when dealing with houseguests!
For more advice on hosting, see this article and this one on prepping for guests.
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