Staying at a friend’s house, regardless of how well you know them, can be awkward. Being in another person’s space brings all types of anxiety and stress, and just a few simple steps from you, the host, can make the stay memorable for the right reasons.
The bare minimum
Firstly, the most obvious one is to make sure the house is clean and tidy. Dust, vacuum, scrub and wash your home. Next, make sure you have food in the cupboards and drinks in the fridge and you have sorted out the sleeping arrangements before they arrive. If you’re using a sofa bed, have the blankets, sheets and pillows ready to go once it is time for bed. Otherwise, make sure the guest bed is made, the towels are out, and they can collapse into a nap straight away if need be.
These are the minimum requirements for having a guest in your home. The next steps are ways to make the stay more relaxing and enjoyable, removing the awkwardness and making it pleasurable for both sides.
Going the extra mile
Make space for them to put their clothes and things away if they are staying for more than a night, this will allow them to feel more at home. If you are giving them their own room, make sure you take as much of your stuff out as possible. The room doesn’t have to be as sparse as a hotel, but they don’t want to wade through your desk clutter.
Ensure your bathroom is clean and well-stocked with toilet paper and a fresh tube of toothpaste in case they don’t have their own. Make sure you have a spare toothbrush squirreled away, just in case, but don’t be so presumptuous and extravagant as to have piles of toiletries waiting in a basket for them. The last thing a guest needs is to feel in their host’s debt.
Give them a tour when they arrive and show them where things such as glasses and plates, snacks, bathroom supplies, blankets and such-like, are located. Giving a guest freedom to move around your home and use things is more inclusive than laying everything out for them. If they wanted to be treated like a paying guest then they would have gone to a hotel.
Have books and reading materials in your home. You should anyway, but if you don’t then buy some magazines, that day’s paper, or a few books you want to read yourself. Not being in your own home can be boring, despite your host’s best efforts, and having something to escape to for some alone time is important.
Calm and cool for successful hosting
Relax. If you are calm and unflustered, your guest will feel more welcome and happy to be there. Include them in the cooking and chores, without expectation, and they will feel more at home. Your guests chose to stay with you for a reason and not simply because they couldn’t afford a hotel. Let them into your life without trying to turn your life into that of an hotelier and it will be a comfortably relaxed experience from start to finish.