- 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!