This article (edited version) was first published on ‘Travel Log Magazine’ an insert of Standard Newspaper on 1/8/2019
There is this Albanian proverb that says, ‘Every guest hates the others, and the host hates them all.’ As arguable as this can be, we can all agree that there are certain kinds of guests we detest to the core. However, there are those we long to meet again.
During the last edition, we looked at different kinds of hosts, and now we get to have a look at the opposite side. What kind of visitor are you or what kind have you received?
1. The Entertainer
They come with all the merry the house needs. They will tell endless stories, crack jokes, play with the kids…the house couldn’t be livelier. Once the visitor leaves, you can feel their absence due to their charm and happy spirit. You can’t wait to host them again.
“If it were not for guests all houses would be graves.” -Kahlil Gibran
2. The Worrier
They are constantly worried about all their moves. ‘Is it okay to use their toothpaste or should I have bought my own?’ ‘Am I too loud on the phone?’ ‘Is it appropriate to go to sleep before they do?’ ‘They are whispering…Are they talking about me?!’ The visitor is walking on eggshells and can’t do a single thing in the house without over-thinking the consequences of their actions.
3. The Over-stayer
Prince Philip once said, “ The art of being a good guest is to know when to leave.”
Dude doesn’t know the meaning of ‘time-to-go’. They initially came for a three day visit and ended up staying for three months and counting. They are unapologetic about their over-stay and act totally unbothered whether the host is happy about it or not.
“The first day a guest, the second day a guest, the third day a calamity.” –Indian proverb
However long their stay is, they still act as a visitor. They wake up very late, leave their plate on the table, never offer help not even a fake, pretentious one. They don’t help AT ALL. You could be drowning with chores and errands to do but they’d still go about with their own business; unbothered. You are alone mate.
5. The Foodie
They eat anything they come across in the house so long as it is edible. You dared leave your pizza in the fridge overnight? It became their midnight snack. You bought biscuits for your children? They needed something to munch. You set aside some ugali for your brother? Your visitor wasn’t satisfied with the initial lunch you offered. The moment you see them, you just put away all the food you have, including the sweet your kid is eating.
“A daily guest is a great thief in the kitchen.” -Dutch Proverbs
6. The messy one
They expect you as the host to do all the cleaning. That includes making their bed after they wake up, clearing their messy room, washing their dirty clothes that they intentionally left mixed up with yours. In short, you are there literally at their service.
7. The nosy gossip
They have a keen eye to details. They know which part of the house needs some cleaning, how your child is a total failure at school and when last your husband came home. You won’t even know how much they know until after their departure and your other gossiping aunty at the village, miles away, will inform you of what they heard. Funny enough, despite all they’ll say about you, they won’t be ashamed to come over at your place again. They act totally innocent and oblivious of their actions and even bring you some other gossip when they come around.
“A guest sees more in an hour than the host in a year.” -Polish Proverbs
8. The Chef
They love cooking and are too good at it. They always offer to make themselves helpful at the kitchen and everyone can’t wait to eat their meals. They will prepare full course meals from starters to dessert and you couldn’t be a happier host. In fact, you want to suggest they move in with you. These are the kind of blessings you need to keep, aye?!
9. The over-compensator
They feel highly indebted for all the host is doing for them so they try all they can to ‘return the favour’. They will wash the dishes, pick your child from school, and buy gifts for your family every time they leave the house. They will do chores even when it is uncalled for. This is their way to say thank you only it is more of THANK YOU in bold, capital letters, underlined being screamed at the top of their voices.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘The ornaments of a house are the friends who frequent it.’
As a host, you could go out of the way to please them and make their stay as comfortable as possible, but your honourable guest will always be expressionless about everything. They leave you guessing all the time because you never know when they like something or not, what they prefer and what not. They don’t give comments, suggestions or criticisms even when you ask them. It may be hard to make them happy because you don’t really know how to…
11. The Demanding one
They don’t really care how your ‘pocket situation’ is or whether it is beyond your means, but they’d always make demands. They’d ask for special meals, special tours or even want some of the objects/materials in the house for themselves. They will, without shame, ask for these favours and sometimes make the host feel guilty for not meeting their needs, or rather, their high demands.
“The guest who seeks special attention muddies the host’s tea.” –Japanese proverb
Truly, guests make our home more beautiful, livelier and lovelier. We just have to ensure to know our boundaries and be more sensitive when staying at other people’s homes.
“The house that receives no guests, never receives angels.” -Turkish Proverb