Being a guest is hard

I've been trying to tease out what it is about being a guest that can be so exhausting and potentially stressful. Here is what I have so far:

• sometimes you and your host spend too much time with each other and with only each other and start annoying each other

• you don't want to be boring or seem bored

• you don't know how things are usually done in the host's house

• sometimes you aren't allowed to be useful with chores etc.

• your host can get frustrated putting up with things that annoy them but not wanting to bring them up because you're The Guest

• it's uncomfortable being watched for signs of boredom/discomfort/displeasure/other things that hosts are supposed to catch and fix

• everything around foods/mealtimes/quantities gets shaken up

I think I'm getting better at doing this on my own, though―learning, especially from visiting blogger friends, how to do it in a way that both respects my introversion and stretches my socially anxious tendencies. Which is good. Because guesting is an important skill, and I really do like visiting people.

10 comments:

Bridey 12/13/2010 7:06 PM  

No time alone is hard, so is awkwardness over who pays for what (usually when people are over generous). I love short/medium visits or with my sister who I can boss around without feeling bad!

pinkapplecore 12/13/2010 7:20 PM  

*cough* bad about doing number six *cough*

and when you came I saw the whole vegetarian thing as a challenge, more of I want her to experience southern comfort in a way that's comfortable to her.

anilee 12/13/2010 7:36 PM  

You should come visit me...I'd be totally cool if...well, we don't have an attic so you can't be all Mrs. Rochester-like (what we have is a little storage space above the garage that is freezing in winter and three degrees cooler than the surface of Venus in the summer), but you could lurk a la introvert in the basement, provided you like cats.

Debbie Barr 12/13/2010 8:01 PM  

Huh, I'd never actually thought about the art of guesting before. I'm not sure why. Although I often find I get grumpy when I get stressed out about visiting people, which usually means I have to go lock myself up in my room for awhile to calm down, or something.

ANYWAY. You will definitely have to visit sometime, though. Probably when we move closer to your neck of the woods!

leonie.wise 12/13/2010 11:48 PM  

Oh boy can I relate to this right now!

Given that we are currently relying on the hospitality of friends & family around the globe, living in spare rooms out of bags, I am really feeling it.

I had to end up saying to one person that they needed to TELL me if I was stepping on any toes.

And I'm looking forward to spending some time with my husband ALONE in a few weeks time!

Diana 12/14/2010 8:18 AM  

The best host is one who doesn't fuss around the guest - offer some activities but allow the guest to do as they please and if they want time alone, give them it.

Anonymous 12/14/2010 11:36 AM  

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/04/house-of-horrors/

Hi Holly -
Above is a link to a funny article detailing those awkward situations of being a guest in someone else's home. Hope you like it!
-Maria

Holly 12/14/2010 6:42 PM  

Bridey - True that. Gifts are harder to accept when you know exactly how much they cost and they were paid for in front of you. Also: *introvert salute*

pinkapplecore - and you had promised me that feast so long before in a letter, remember? it was delightful to have that promise fulfilled. "you want some peaches and ice cream?"

anilee - lurk...lol. I would adore to come visit you.

Debbie - pulling stresses apart into their components is helpful to me for some reason. and I would so love to. actually, it's a shame you're not staying where you are! (for my purposes, anyways ;)

Leonie - shew, that sounds like a good tactic. friends who can be honest like that and understand when you need alone time are like a fresh of breath air. when do you get back to your own cave?

Diana - yes! it seems like my friends are good at that. I should learn from them.

Maria - Ha! Now THAT sounds like my housesitting experiences...although fortunately it's nowhere near as eccentric as any of those!

leonie.wise 12/16/2010 2:40 AM  

Holly. We aren't back into any cave we can call our own until the end of Feb next year. Still. I am not complaining. I get to travel in my homeland and visit friends and family for the NZ summer :)

Holly 12/16/2010 12:54 PM  

Leonie - you must have evolved into an expert guest long ago, even if you do still get tired.

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