How to Host an Overnight Guest

Not exactly the most welcoming. [Via Wikimedia Commons

Hosting overnight guests is the most intimate form of hosting since you are essentially signing up to share your living space with someone for a period of time. Now, the level of hosting can vary greatly- you are going to treat a one night guest, a weekend guest, and a long term guest in slightly different ways. But there are some key things to remember:

  • Figure out where they are going to sleep ahead of time ( I also recommend being upfront with your sleeping arrangements when you extend the invitation- let them know that they will be sleeping on your couch, the floor, the spare bed, etc. so those who cannot sleep in certain arrangements can decline.)
  • Make sure you have everything set up before your guest arrives. Blow up the air mattress and make it up with clean sheets, make sure the guest bed has clean sheets, etc. (If they are sleeping on your couch, you shouldn’t make it up until just before they go to sleep so you can both sit on it.) The idea is to not make the guest feel like a burden as they see you scramble to get everything together. Plus if you discover the air mattress has a hole or the blower is out of batteries or all your sheets are dirty, you will have time to remedy it.
  • Pull out a set of (again, clean!) towels for your guest to use and point them out to the guest when they arrive.
  • It’s nice to have some snacks and drinks available that you tell the guest to help themselves to.
  • Show the guest where cups, plates, forks, etc are stored so they can get them themselves.
  • Make some effort to tidy up, especially in the bathroom. You might not mind showering in a tub with a gross ring, but that’s because it’s YOUR gross ring.
  • Unless you know for sure your guest isn’t a breakfast person, try to have a couple of things on hand like toast, cereal, and orange juice. If you are a baker, make some muffins, or go all out and make scrambled eggs and bacon. It will really make your guest feel cared for and they will be happy not to leave your house ravenous to go to whatever plans you have for the day (unless you are planning on going out to breakfast!). Here is my etiquette confession: I can’t offer people coffee because I don’t own a coffee maker. But I do live literal steps from a bodega that guests can get coffee from, so forgiven?
  • If you and your guest are sharing your bedroom make sure to talk about whether you are ready to turn out the light and what time you want to wake up.
  • If you have a friend coming to visit, make sure you come up a list of fun things to see and do that you can share with them. They don’t know what’s good to do and you do! If they are coming for some other reason, help them out with figuring out where they are going, transportation, important things to know, copies of your keys, etc.
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