On Being a Guest

My friend, Robin, told me last night that I needed to “chill out” and learn how to accept others’ hospitality without guilt, thinking I am imposing, imagining that friends are somehow put out by my being here, that kind of thing. She knows me all too well! My cousin, Jill, invited me to stay for as long as I want (as long as I’m out by March 1st when she has another guest coming!). It was such a tempting invitation that I couldn’t resist and planned this trip to Tallahassee with no end date. This is VERY unusual for me. I typically plan to the max — all details covered, a schedule in place for meeting up with friends, and certainly an end date when I am going to be home. There were lots of reasons that I won’t go into here for not having an end date and I really thought it was rather brave of me. Still can’t get over the feeling of being an imposition, a bother, a pain in the butt, to my hosts.

Ridiculous! That’s what others say, but it’s still hard to be a long-term guest. So, I’ve tried to do a couple of things to ameliorate my pain-in-the-buttness! And, I am opinionated, think my way is best, do not hesitate to share my opinions, and am quite sure I am right most of the time anyway. So here are my suggestions for reducing guilt (not going to work for me, though, I’m quite sure) and for being a good guest.

1. When unpacking, try to put things away (if you are lucky enough as I am to have two drawers and a closet) so it’s not messy and you do not have things in public spaces.
2. Buy groceries that you like so your host (in this case my cousin who follows a MUCH healthier diet than I do!) doesn’t have to worry about breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. Dinners together are a bonus of staying with friends and family.
3. Buy groceries that your host likes, too. And, snacks that she has mentioned. This will either result in great praise or great criticism for putting out something that she otherwise wouldn’t have eaten!! I am obviously a bad influence (another example of long-term guest guilt!).
4. Give your host a heads-up on your schedule — when will you be home and when will you not. After all it’s her house and she deserves to know when she can watch her programs, make a favorite meal, or just have peace and quiet (not quite achievable here with two birds and two dogs one of which barks a lot).
5. Make your bed. This is primarily for the dogs but creates the illusion of good guestness.
6. Make a couple of meals — I love being waited on, love not cooking, so I assume others do too.
7. THEN…relax and enjoy the wonderful opportunity to visit with friends and family. Let them show you how much they value you and appreciate that you came to visit.

Of course, this is all easier said than done. I’m trying to take my own advice but as most of my friends and family know this is very difficult for me. Perhaps putting it in writing will help. I’m certain that staying in Tallahassee for a good long visit will do the trick!