If you do not find yourself thinking about how you can be a good houseguest before you even start packing for the visit, then you have probably been every host’s nightmare. The bad houseguest.
Your host is probably too polite to tell you. But we are not. So here are a few ways you could have been a bad guest and how you can redeem yourself.
Just showing up
You would think that this being the 21st Century and communication being easier and faster , this would be a slowly dying vice. But far from it. “I was just in the neighbourhood” is not something your host wants to hear.
“In June last year, my sister in law, actually my husband’s cousin, her daughter and another male cousin showed up at our house, at night. They had not informed anyone of their arrival they arrived with a child and hardly a change of clothes, let alone bedding. I found that out later.
My first headache was finding them something to eat at 10 pm. They went on to stay for two weeks,” Peace Akello recounts her worst unannounced visitor experience.
Visiting is the one time spontaneity and surprises are not appreciated. It puts pressure on the host to make sure you are comfortable and robs them of the time to prepare adequately.
Dinah Ntale recalls how she ended up hosting three people in her campus room for two weeks, thanks to a sudden guest. “Two of my friends who had sat their exams had asked to stay at my place as they cleared their papers.
I asked my roommate and she agreed we could survive living with two more people for a couple of weeks. But a few days into the arrangement another friend showed up, expecting me to host her for the same duration of time. I could not turn her away so I had to find a way to squeeze her in. It was really uncomfortable, especially for my roommate, who felt I was being inconsiderate.”
The rul is that a good house guest ensures their host is aware, has had adequate time to prepare and is expecting them on a certain date for a specified duration of time.
Not following the house rules
Every house has rules. You are dangerously teetering on the edge of bad guest territory by staying oblivious to this fact. Catherine Natukunda now knows she was a bad guest in hindsight.
“I stayed at my uncle’s house after getting my first job. He was very strict, especially about coming home early, and going to church on Sunday. I was slowly infuriating my host by arriving as late as 10 pm in the house and also by my reluctance to go to church on Sunday.
It took a call from my mother who had in turn been called by my aunt after my uncle complained for me to turnaround,” she narrates. No one expects you to master and abide by all the rules on the first day, but make an effort during your stay. Observe and imitate your hosts’ conduct around areas like mealtimes, curfews, house chores, hygiene and bringing other guests.
Not being useful
Maybe your host told you not to bother yourself when you wanted to help with the chores on the first day. She was just being courteous. If you are going to stay in someone’s house, it is only fair that you pitch in on some tasks.
This was another strike against Akello’s surprise guests. “My sister-in-law would not move a finger to help with anything at home, including cleaning up after herself and her child.
In a few days, my maid was fed up and it was showing in her attitude. I was also very frustrated and kept pressuring my husband to see to it that they leave,” she shares.
No one wants a sloppy, lazy person for a guest. Volunteer to do a chore or two every day.
You can also chip in resource-wise, say buy a few utilitiesgroceries.
Being demandinga diva guest.
“This is the worst kind of houseguest. The type that wants hot water to shower twice a day even if none of the hosts indulges in the luxury. The one who does not eat most of the food you are offering and requires a special diet.
“One time we hosted one of my female relatives who had just returned in the country and she would ask my husband to drop her on errands around town. Since he did not want to appear as a bad in-law, my husband ended up spending a lot of time driving her around the city, including traveling 40 km away to visit her friends. It was so annoying,” says Berna Kwesiga.
It is all very well if you are used to more convenience. But as long as you are being hosted, it is prudent to key down your desires, hold your tongue and make do with what your host can spare. Unless it is a life or death situation, like say, a really bad allergy, suppress your inner diva until you get back to your own home.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor