Thursday, 10 July 2014

House Rules

I've been wondering about what to write for a while, not because we've not been up to anything, and not because we've been too busy, but because there's a bit of an elephant in the room.  You see we've just waved off our fourth visitor, and it didn't go well.  I sat down to write the meanest most negative thing I could as soon as she left. I was about to call her out on every single teeny tiny thing she did....and then I deleted the post.  It was good to get it out, but instead I will point out all of my failings and hopefully help anyone that might ever come across this post, or indeed read it back when I get a dumb idea in the future.
  • This sounds pretty basic, but make sure you don't offer all and sundry an invitation to your new home.  I did this and accidentally invited someone I didn't actually have much in common with.  Yes they were fun sometimes to be with, but this friendship wouldn't really have survived if they didn't have a holiday riding on it-and I was trying to not renege on a promise. 
  • Find out what is expected of you as host or be clear on what you can offer.  I always say come over, stay with us and we'll feed you.  With family I made lists of things to see and wanted to take them everywhere.  However, with a friend staying upward of three weeks I had assumed they'd know what they wanted to do and also be comfortable if I got on with my own thing.  I didn't say any of this, and so when they arrived and asked what they were doing that evening they were a little put out that I had no definite answer. 
  • On the same vein, when guests don't appreciate everything you show them don't take it personally.  I felt like an awful tour guide when my guests didn't care to see a Orchard Road, Marina Bay or the Botanic Gardens.  When they asked what a Merlion was I felt like a failure, however it's not my job-as someone offering free board-to ensure their enjoyment.  (And not to toot my own horn or anything, but they loved Universal Studios and I was the one who suggested it....just saying)
  • Be very clear on 'house rules'. I never really thought we had any, but I now feel like we must be super strict in this house. I like a table set properly and there should be no phones at the table and the tv has to be off or at the very least not watched/listened to. Those are rules.  I like it when everyone talks to each other and there's no sulking or interrupting, and after 1 in the morning is quiet time in my book, also guests get brownie points for not leaving stinky food on the sofa (or clearing up their own pee on the floor), I said none of this to our guest but seethed when they probably did as I requested and treated this place like home (no hosting brownie points awarded to me then).
Oprah has a part in each magezine called What I Know For Sure which I love to read, I don't have my own What I Know For Sure, but I like to read others and try to see what I agree with.  The positives from this experience are that I have a few more items I'd put on my list.  I know for sure I'm all about manners.  I know for sure I'm all about trying to be a better Christian and I know for sure I'm all about education.  I just didn't know I was all about such an early bedtime!