In medieval times the laws of hospitality were very strict. If a guest broke bread underneath your roof, you were responsible for their safety for the duration of their stay. Okay, maybe that is Game of Thrones rather than the medieval era, but same thing right? While the rules of hospitality have changed over the years, some things remain the same — feed the guests and they will become your responsibility.
Most Australians living in the UK would be familiar with the intricacies of having guests – ‘dossers’ as they are known London-side – stay over. Whether it is people we have met on our travels or friends from home, there is always someone that needs a place to crash and will not-so-subtly volunteer your couch for the job. There are different rules in every share house and the slightest deviation from those rules can often be a recipe for disaster.
After a particularly painful houseguest, our home instituted a business model to deal with subsequent visitors: family stayed free but friends were required to pay five pounds per night. They received a discounted rate of twenty pounds for a week if they stayed a little bit longer. The money would go into a kitty to pay for communal household essentials like toilet paper or washing-up liquid.
Despite my initial scepticism, the system worked.
After several visas expired in synchronisation, the household had a ritual turnover in occupancy and the system was abandoned. Our guest protocol became far more laissez-faire, with friends unexpectedly showing up for one or two days with no troubles whatsoever. But it soon it all unravelled.
Ever heard of giving someone an inch and them taking a mile? Our decision to have guests stay for one or two days without any issues was one thing. When one housemate had FOUR friends stay for a week, followed by her parents unexpectedly showing up for another two weeks, that was taking our inch and turning it into a mile.
Perhaps your house could adopt a category system, with people charged varied rates based on their worth. Clean the house: discount. Buy the booze: discount. Unexpectedly attractive guest: free. It isn’t a perfect system, but it could work for you.
TOP IMAGE: Via Pixabay.com