Yes, you love your friends and family. And, you’re always more than willing to give them a place to stay when they visit town. But, all warm and fuzzy feelings aside, having house guests — especially for an extended period of time — can be incredibly draining.
There’s no doubt, getting out of your normal routine in order to accommodate additional people in your home is a challenge. Throw in those annoying habits that house guests tend to do without even realizing, and you’ll soon find yourself ready to tear your hair out.
Looking for some ways to address those pesky behaviors, without becoming the subject of all of the family gossip? Look no further! Here are five common and irritating house guest behaviors — and a few creative ways to fix them!
1. Assuming You’ll Clean Up After Them
There’s nothing worse than a house guest who treats your home like they just won a stay in a VIP suite at the Ritz-Carlton. You’re happy to host them, but you don’t want to set the tone that you’ll act as their personal maid during their entire visit. There’s a big difference between being a good host, and being plain ol’ taken advantage of.
Fix It: Your best bet in this situation is to be upfront and honest. Following a meal, simply ask if they’ll help with the dishes. Remind them to leave their shoes by the door, so that everybody isn’t tripping over them incessantly. Providing little reminders should help your visitors to remember that while they are guests, they aren’t necessarily royalty. You want to provide great hospitality, but you don’t want picking up after them to be a part-time job.
2. Hogging the Remote
Because visitors to your home typically don’t have much to do unless you’re entertaining them, they tend to monopolize the remote. And, when it comes time for you to kick your feet up and relax in front of the t.v. at night, their tight grip on that prized device can be more than a little frustrating.
Fix It: You may not take issue with their ownership of the remote if you’re both interested in watching the same things. But, if they insist on watching Love Boat reruns while you’re missing the season premiere of your favorite show — that’s a different ballgame entirely. Look at this situation as an opportunity rather than a nuisance. Plan a movie night and have everybody vote on the film of choice so that you’re all in agreement about what you’ll be watching. That way, you’ll have planned an activity and some “together time” with your guests, while avoiding an all out brawl over the remote.
3. Taking Over the Bathroom
The bathroom in your home is always a battleground. Add a few extra bodies to the mix, and all of a sudden it’s WWII. A house guest that tends to hog the bathroom can present a multitude of problems — especially if you’re a one-bathroom household!
Fix It: When your guests first arrive, work out a schedule of sorts. No, this doesn’t need to be completely rigid or taped to the bathroom door. But, get a general idea of how things will work. If you need to be at work by 8 a.m., make it clear that you’ll need the bathroom to get ready from 6:30 until 7 a.m. each morning. It seems silly, but laying these ground rules ahead of time will help a lot!
4. Disciplining Your Children
Just because your guests are temporarily living in your home doesn’t mean that they can automatically assume the position of parent or governing authority. Having visitors that insist on filling your shoes and disciplining your children is uncomfortable. And, it’s enough to make any parent’s blood boil.
Fix It: Good old fashioned communication is really the only way you’ll resolve this one. Let your guests know that while you appreciate their efforts to help out and be a watchful eye, you’d prefer to be the one to discipline your own children. Reassure them that you’re definitely willing to listen to them report on inappropriate behavior — but you’ll be the one to handle the reprimanding.
5. Treating Your Home Like a Restaurant
OK, so if you have house guests staying with you, it’s automatically assumed that you’ll take care of feeding them. However, it’s still annoying when they finish the last of the milk or eat their way through all of your snacks like they’ve never had pretzels before in their life.
Fix It: Yes, you’re their host. But, you’re not their personal maître d’. When they arrive, let them know that you’re more than willing to take them to the store so that they can pick up any special requests they have for food. If they’re going to be staying with you for a long time, don’t hesitate to ask them to chip in for a few meals. I’m willing to bet they’ll be completely understanding.
They say that house guests are like fish, because they start to stink after three days. And, in some cases, that can be true. If you’re running into troublesome behavior with your visitors, employ some of these tips to navigate your way through the tricky situations. If worse comes to worst, you can always hide at the neighbors’.
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