Do You Have Rules for House Guests?

Have you ever had a friend or relative stay with you for an extended period of time? This is a situation that can be very enjoyable – or a complete disaster. You don’t realize how many unspoken rules there are in your household until someone comes in who has a completely different set of expectations. You don’t want to seem rude or like you are giving your house guest orders. At the same time, you don’t want to stifle your own needs and start resenting your guest. Often, a house guest is walking on eggshells wondering if they are doing something wrong. They’ll be grateful if you have the honesty to say what you need. This also opens the door for them to speak up if they have a concern.

So, have a discussion up front about your expectations and theirs. Instead of giving a lecture about “rules”, make it a conversation about “agreements”. This puts you both on an equal footing and helps make the whole thing less awkward. Make it clear from the start that these agreements can be revisited if either of you feel like things aren’t working. They are just in place to provide a framework on which you can build a successful house-sharing relationship. Here are some items you can use to start off your discussion by stating your preferences and inquiring about theirs:

Laundry – Do they prefer to keep clothing separate, or is mixing the washing together OK? Some people are embarrassed about having others wash or fold their undergarments.

Food – Would they like a designated food storage area in the fridge and pantry so they can stock no sharing” foods there? Or, would they prefer to chip in to the weekly food budget and add items to the grocery list as needed?

Bathroom – Do they prefer to shower in the morning or evening? Is it possible to assign a bathroom just for your guest? If you have special cleaning measures in place like the use of a daily shower cleaner, this is the time to bring it up.

Add dishwashing routines, cooking, use of family areas, noise levels, and any other items to this list as you think of them.

Tags: Lifestyle