Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

What rules do you have for being willing to stay in someone's home as a guest?

Asked by JLeslie (54571points) November 18th, 2012

As I get older I have more rules.

I no longer want to stay at someone’s house if they:

Have a dog.


Their child has to give up their bed.

If the house is so dirty There is too much ick factor. A pile of clothes or papers don’t bother me, I mean mold and dirt.

Probably I would break one of the rules if it was in a very expensive city and a hotel was extremely expensive, but more or less I don’t want to stay in houses that have any of those situations.

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69 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I haven’t stayed as a guest in someone’s house in 15 years. Other than a lover, I don’t think I ever will again, it’s just too uncomfortable.

augustlan's avatar

I just don’t do it at all, if I can possibly help it. I don’t even like to spend the night at my best friend’s house. Home or a hotel, please.

YARNLADY's avatar

I can barely remember the last time I was a guest in someone’s home -it was at over 30 years ago, before my youngest son was born.

I have only had overnight guests in my home once or twice since then. We nearly always have free rooms earned on our credit cards, so there is no need. We earn one free room approximately every other month, and several more when Hubby goes on business trips.

Coloma's avatar

Well, I don’t think anyone wants to stay at a home that is unclean, has dogs jumping all over them and is full of dirt and mold. Kinda goes without saying IMO.
My only “rules”, aside from the cleanliness factor, is don’t keep your house so fucking cold that I can see my breath and if you have relationship drama, I want no part of being trapped in a situation where I have to listen to people slinging sarcastic and negative comments around with their spouses. Gah!

The part I dislike the most about staying over at others homes is the early morning scene. I hate feeling I have to take the time to make myself “presentable” before the big ” good morning” debut. I just want to stagger out to the kitchen and have the coffee ready in all my morning glory. I also tend to be an early riser and hate sitting around waiting for the household to awaken.

jca's avatar

I don’t want to sleep on a couch if they are going to be up late, which would hamper my sleep. I also don’t want to sleep on a couch if they have little kids that are going to be up early waking me up. I am not particularly fussy about dogs or cleanliness, as long as it’s decently clean. I am more into not wanting my sleep disturbed.

janbb's avatar

It’s amazing what you will tolerate in a friend’s house when they have heat and light and you don’t. Just sayin’

tups's avatar

Eh… I don’t know if that has got anything to do with culture, but if someone said that they wouldn’t sleep in a house because of a dog or whatever, they would be viewed upon as prissy where I am.
I would like to say to people that I don’t want to sleep at their house because of a dog or bad beds and environment, but instead I have to come up with excuses. This other night I slept in a ¾ bed with two other persons, not the best sleep, but better that the street for sure. (Not that my alternative was the street, but for many people it is)

jca's avatar

@janbb: Yes, I was thinking that. I was thinking “request number 1: They have power!”

cazzie's avatar

Dogs are usually a bonus for me, but not always. My most neurotic sister has dogs I can’t stand (the dogs are small with little brains and have obviously caught her neurosis.)

Smoking is usually a deal breaker for me, but my MIL smokes like a train and is stuck in a wheelchair and relies on a cleaning woman she can’t communicate with (she is Polish and speaks neither English or Norwegian), and she doesn’t do a good job, so when I am there I am cleaning something from the time I get up in the morning, to the time I go to bed. The bedroom my son and I sleep in when there, the window is always open, in cold or warm weather and I try to keep the door shut, but when we get home, our clothes stink and go right in the wash, regardless whether they were worn or not.

If something isn’t clean at a place I stay, I clean it. (my neurotic sister’s basement where I was one night had a newly acquired cat box in it and it was disgusting, complete with maggots. I cleaned it up and when I told her about it and asked it that happened often she was so mad at me.) I wanted to take the cat with me when I left. Poor thing.

So, I guess I don’t have many rules, other than, don’t be overly sensitive if I start cleaning things and don’t take offence when I sniff things and air them out or punish your dogs for biting my son. (yes, it did, for which they promptly blamed my son.)

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma I can’t believe I missed naming too cold as another very bothersome thing. Just awful being freezing.

@tups I wouldn’t probably tell someone I am not staying with them because of their dog, I would just stay somewhere else and not mention why most likely. Some dog owners it’s not bad, but most of the time I am pretty annoyed all my clothes smell like dog by the end of the trip.

Kardamom's avatar

Here’s one that I thought of, because of a past trauma. It’s not fun to stay at someone’s house when they only have one bathroom, and you have to go through their bedroom to get to it.

That’s just wrong on so many levels

cazzie's avatar

Drinking too much is a big rule breaker for me and for that, I WILL come up with some excuse to either not have those people to stay or to not stay with them. I love a wine or two, but don’t start drinking around the kids at 2pm and keep going and get rowdy when the kids are in bed, trying to sleep. Ick.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I recently was a houseguest and rented a room. I love dogs, but there was hair everywhere and the smell! I also wish they would be trained not to jump on the furniture and people. I left my most recent room mate situation because I came back from being gone about a week to find mud, gravel, dog poo all over my bed, floor, some of my things were chewed up. Before that, I stayed with a relative, dog hair all over and they had rules: I couldn’t use the kitchen or put anything into the fridge. The recycling had to be done carefully as the man of the house would check that and the garbage everyday. Very uncomfortable.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t stay with people who expect me to sleep on the floor. I’m too darn old.

glacial's avatar

Fold-out couches are a dealbreaker for me. Those things are lethal; I’d rather sleep on the floor. Otherwise, I’m just happy to visit.

Coloma's avatar

@marinelife Haha, same here. I do not do floors, couches and camping in tents anymore. Unless there is a 10 inch memory foam mattress underneath the sleeping bag. lol

bookish1's avatar

I’m with @Coloma about the “early morning scene.” I like to encounter other people on my terms, after I’ve had enough time to get presentable (why I often wake up 4–5 hours before I have to be anywhere on a work day, for example.) Unless I’m sleeping with you, I don’t particularly want you to know what I look like when I wake up and before I’ve had my requisite 3 coffees!

Coloma's avatar

@bookish1 Hah, yep, we are cut from the same cloth. I too like to be up for HOURS before I have to launch into my day. If I have to be at work by 9 I will wake up at 5 so I can loiter, drink coffee, and ease into my day. 3 hours of leisure and one hour of hustle is the preferential ratio of starting my day.

bookish1's avatar

@Coloma: My colleagues marvel over how early I wake up, but it’s because I loathe rushing when I have to be somewhere on time.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’ll do it if absolutely necessary, but I avoid it. I just feel uncomfortable sleeping in someone else’s house, unless it’s my parents’ or my husband’s mom’s house. But deal breakers would be a really dirty house, too many kids, or anything about the people there that makes me feel overly uncomfortable.

Shippy's avatar

This is such an awesome question and I love that you call them rules. I thought I was just being weird as usual.

My rules are. No kids under 10, no more than one dog, and no couch sleeping of course.

Kardamom's avatar

And NO funny uncles!

janbb's avatar

My number one rule – They have to have invited me.

cookieman's avatar

I will not sleep in their bed with them.

Kardamom's avatar

Another bad thing is staying with people, who you know, regularly don’t seem to have toilet paper in their bathroom. One of my good friends never has toilet paper in her bathroom, so I always make sure to time my visits accordingly, so I don’t have to use her bathroom.

Another deal breaker for me, is staying with people who don’t have a lock on their bathroom door.

Call me crazy, but I need my privacy in the privvy.

JLeslie's avatar

Kids don’t bother me at all.

@Coloma @bookish1 I am one of those people who like a slow start to the day; I hate rushing in the morning. On another Q I wrote somehting alongnthe lines of I like guests to feel free to get their own breakfast and coffee, not to make a big production about getting ready in the morning before seeing each other. I like to still be in my pajamas when I get my breakfast.

glacial's avatar

That is no fun at all, @cookieman!

filmfann's avatar

Back in the day, I could sleep on the floor, but these days my back will be roached for a week if I do. I can handle a sofa, if need be, and wouldn’t mind if they have an air mattress.

glacial's avatar

I have no objection to sleeping on a long sofa, but in my experience the worst thing for a back is the pullout sofa bed. They have firm support under the sofa part, and crappy support under the extension… which is invariably at a lower level to boot. Torture devices!

wildpotato's avatar

I’m up for pretty much everything, but I can’t deal with air mattresses any more because every single one of those suckers leaks during the night. But I preempt the problem now by bringing my inflatable camping ground pad.

Paradox25's avatar

Probably the same things you’ve mentioned, except for the smoking part. I don’t smoke, but it usually doesn’t bother me if others around me smoke as long as I’m not overwhelmed by it that is.

AshlynM's avatar

Haven’t really thought of it before.
But I guess I agree with @janbb. I have to be invited. I don’t like to hint or ask outright. I won’t force them to have me over, but if they ask me, then I’ll accept. I actually like spending the night at someone else’s house. Dogs are a big plus for me, since I love them. Cats, however I can do without. I probably won’t sleepover if there’s a cat.

Seek's avatar

Smoking indoors, and I tend to avoid people who fight with their insignificant significant others often.

JLeslie's avatar

@AshlynM But, the cat most likely won’t come near you. However, I understand that there are people who are afraid of cats, or just generally don’t like to be anywhere near them.

@Paradox25 if someone smokes around me now and then I don’t mind at all, but I once stayed with heavy smokers and it was awful. I smelled smoke even when we were out of the house it was so glued to my olfactory I guess.

glacial's avatar

@JLeslie Haha – your comment reminds me of my mother, who detested cats (no idea why – I’m a cat lover myself). Every time we were at a house with cats, they would seek her out. It’s like they sensed her discomfort and wanted to toy with her. Or… maybe comfort her.

JLeslie's avatar

@glacial that happens to me with dogs. Someone told me that it’s like when someone chases after someone else who does not give the the time of day. A challenge of sorts.

Coloma's avatar

Well… if you spend the night over here you will be awakened by the sounds of donkeys, mules, horses, sheep and geese in the morning. When the Jackasses want breakfast there is no ignoring the foghorn braying and it is IMPERATIVE to be very quiet when you wake up lest you set off the chain reaction of the Breman town musicians. The geese honking set off the sheep which set off the donkeys which set off the mules and horses.
” Loud” doesn’t even begin to describe the sounds you will hear over here. haha

My house is very clean, very comfortable and very aesthetically appealing, but, yes, there are also cats along with the rest of the barnyard friends.
A bouncy, coy, siamese girl and a monster, 17 lb. Ragdoll boy who WILL hog the bed. He is almost 3 feet long stretched out and could suffocate you with one massive paw over your nose. lol
The ONLY animal missing on my mountain is a dog.

My “dogs” have orange flappy feet and honk when strangers come down the driveway and goose any stray Jehovahs witnesses and run ‘em off the property. haha

OpryLeigh's avatar

As long as I feel comfortable in the homeowner’s company I am usually happy to stay in their house. Obviously if it was so filthy that my healthy was in serious risk I probably wouldn’t but animal fur or dust doesn’t bother me and I would put up with cigarette smoke for the sake of a night or two. My Aunt has 7 dogs, kills alot of her own food so often has dead pheasants draining over the bath and does not really understand the concept of housework but staying in her house does not bother me (apart from the fact that the heating system in her old farm house is crap so it is always freezing). I’ve been staying with her since I was a toddler and I am still alive despite the obvious germs!!!

The most important thing to me is that I feel comfortable in the company of the people that live there. I remember when I used to stay with host families in Germany as a child/teenager and I was always so nervous about what I should do on the first morning. Should I wait until I hear people moving around downstairs? Is it ok to get up when no one else is and sit in the lounge or kitchen and read a book or something else quiet? Should I just wait in my room until someone comes to make sure I am ok? I really didn’t know what to do (which could have been because I was so young at the time as much as anything else) and I hated that awkwardness. So, now I will only stay somewhere that I don’t worry about that sort of thing.

Coloma's avatar

@Leanne1986 Your grandmother sounds delightfully eccentric, but, I am having a bit of a hard time getting the vision of the Pheasant draining over the bathtub out of my mind. I just keep seeing Marwyn my goose. I don’t think I’d take Marwyn to grandmas lest she decide to roast him for dinner. Step away from my goose granny!” lol

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Coloma’s my Aunt and she is a very to the point, farmer type! The pheasants have made me jump on a midnight trip to the loo on many occassions!!!

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I don’t have many rules besides not wanting to be in a home where there is moldy food sitting out or urine/feces on the floor or furniture.

It seems like a lot of people are ungrateful for free shelter and food, and have too many selfish rules.

YARNLADY's avatar

To my way of thinking, there is a tremendous difference between being an invited house guest and being down and out homeless.

JLeslie's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate This is a question about staying with people or in a hotel. As @YARNLADY pointed out there is a difference between needing shelter and staying where you prefer. I like staying with friends and family, not only because it is free, which is an added perk for sure, I probably would not travel as much without free places to stay, but, because I like being with them, I like not having to drive to a hotel if the main part of my visit was to spend time with them.

jca's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate: Free shelter and food is different, to me, than being invited to spend the night at someone’s house when I have my own house as an alternative. Yes, it’s lovely to be invited and not have to drive home after a late party or whatever, and yes, it’s lovely to be invited in lieu of having to spend money at a hotel, but when there’s an option, and the circumstances are not to some people’s liking, it may be preferable to have your own home, privacy and bed, and a good night’s sleep. If that’s “selfish” than so be it.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I hadn’t even thought of driving back home for this Q, but indeed that is a very food point. I always tell people they can crash at my place if they want to drink if they are over for a party. Usually people don’t choose to stay, because they don’t live very far. I do have on friend who stays overnight whenever we all get together at a particular friend’s house, because he drinks heavily and the house is a good 45 minutes away.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@JLeslie and @jca and @YARNLADY Yes, I understood exactly what the question was about; I’m not illiterate.

Perhaps instead of using the word shelter, I should have said “If someone invites me to stay at their home that I don’t pay for and has food that I don’t pay for…” I prefer to graciously accept their hospitality instead of nitpicking.

If they invited me, I would take that to mean that they wanted me there, and I would not throw that in their face by complaining, or by expecting them to change who they are. I have a very dear friend with five dogs. Her home always smells of dog. But if she wanted me to sleepover, I would suck it up, just enjoy her company, and not say one word. It’s her home.

glacial's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate That sounds a little harsh. What you are describing is that “dog smell” is not a dealbreaker for you. It’s not for me, either – but I’m not going to judge someone else because they can’t abide dogs. Maybe they’re allergic or afraid of them. If you had a dog allergy, would you still always sleep on your friend’s couch at every opportunity?

Likewise, do you never stay in hotels when you travel? Do you always accept every invitation to stay with a friend? What if you knew your presence would be a terrible inconvenience to your friend, and you knew they were only asking out of obligation? Would you still suck it up and stay? There must be some situation in which you would turn down an invitation. That is all that this question is about. I’m sure no one who responded here would say to their friends/relations faces: “Oh hell no, I’m not staying with you because of X”. They would just find another accommodation if the need arose. It’s not an insult to the friend – and similarly, there is no need to insult people who have a threshold for accepting invitations. I am willing to bet you have one too; maybe you just haven’t thought of it yet.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

No, I would never turn down an invitation, except for the specific reasons I mentioned in my first comment. If it felt like an obligatory invite, then it wouldn’t be a true invite, so that’s a moot point. And of course I have stayed in hotels when traveling, as I don’t have friends in every location I visit.

I’m not trying to be a bitch about this, really I’m not. I just think some people are too nitpicky.

jca's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate: I will graciously accept someone’s hospitality and believe me, I’m not particularly fussy (as I have cats and a child and am used to cat hair and clutter in my own home). However, I would not “throw that in their face by complaining, or expect (someone) to change who they are.” If things were not to my liking (for example losing sleep as I discussed above, by having to sleep out in the open and having the family up late or up early), I would just prefer to stay in my own home, if possible.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@jca I do understand what you’re saying, but no matter if they stay up late or get up early, that’s their home and their lifestyle, so I would just accept it and enjoy their company. I occasionally stay with my BFF, on her couch, and she is an early riser. I’m definitely not a morning person. If I can’t sleep through it, then I just get up with her, have some coffee, and greet the early morning with a smile because I’m happy to have that time with her.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I kind of agree with @WillWorkForChocolate in that I will put up with most things that I wouldn’t choose to do or have in my own home for the sake of a night or two. If someone is generous enough to invite me to stay with them I would feel bad if I didn’t just because their kids get up too early or something like that.

YARNLADY's avatar

I almost wish you guys were invited to stay at my Son’s house and his wife. They are ankle deep in garbage in their living room, and every surface is covered with spilled soda, chips and other food. There are moldy paper plates stacked in the corners and chairs and not quite empty soda cans lining the windows and walls.

They stopped using one of the bedrooms because of the moldy carpet and walls, and when we hauled the urine soaked mattress out of there last week, we had to wear gloves, and I threw our clothes in the laundry as soon as we put the mattress in the trash.

I hate to think what their bathroom looks like, but I haven’t been in it since we bought the house for them. The walls are all covered with permanent marker and crayon scribbles.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@YARNLADY I’m assuming you meant that post for @Leanne1986 and me. I don’t guess you read what my no-nos are. That house would obviously be on my list of no-nos.

glacial's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Wait, what? So you do have a list of no-nos, just like the rest of us! I don’t understand why you referred to other posters as “ungrateful” and “selfish”.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Wait, what? So you didn’t read other comments before bringing out the sarcasm?

I did mention my short list of no-nos in my first comment on this thread. It involves moldy food and urine/feces. Those two no-nos should be common frigging sense for anyone and do not belong in the selfish category, so your ridiculous sarcasm is unwarranted. Use a little common sense, and go play your assinine nanny-nanny-boo-boo game elsewhere.

glacial's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Are you aware that you’re the only person flinging insults here? I don’t deserve that, and neither does anyone else who answered this question.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Do you realize that you’re childishly baiting me and it’s not going to work?

glacial's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate You’re right. I was childishly baiting you into apologizing for your rude comments. But you’re also wrong. I now know it’s not going to work. So I’m done.

chyna's avatar

@glacial Wow who pissed in your Cheerios?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@glacial No. You were childishly baiting me because I had the audacity to disagree with the majority on this thread, which tends to be the norm here.

Seek's avatar

[Mod Says] Flame off, folkels. Let’s try to play nice.

Judi's avatar

I don’t even stay at my own children’s houses. Some people really cherish their privacy. My kids aren’t offended, I think they’re relieved as well.

JLeslie's avatar

My fantasy house would be the main house 2500–3,000 sq. ft, and a guest house 700 sq. ft. so guests can have their own space. If people stop visiting I’ll rent it out.

YARNLADY's avatar

@JLeslie I love that idea.

When my Mother In Law was here in March, Sonny and his wife wanted to see her as much as possible, so they put up our tent in our back yard and spent the week here.

Brian1946's avatar

No contests of strength, and I’m NOT bringing the pole! ;-p

Paradox25's avatar

@JLeslie I know I don’t like being at somebody’s house where a dozen people are smoking, and the entire downstairs area is filled with smoke with no windows/doors open. I don’t mind people smoking around me as long as I’m not overwhelmed with the smoke that is.

Aethelwine's avatar

If I have a bed, pillow and blanket I’m fine. If I’m staying in their home I’m there for a reason, and none of my friends or family have a home that’s unbearable to live in, so no complaints from me.

FutureMemory's avatar

No rules per se, as long as I have a blanket. I can use my pants wadded into a ball if necessary, so I don’t even need a pillow. A blanket though, that’s something I definitely need. I once walked home at 3 am because a friend only had a sheet for me to sleep with, and it was just too damn cold for that. It’s too bad he was a he, otherwise I would have suggested we snuggle for warmth ;)

Generally speaking I prefer to sleep in my own house. When I was a kid I’d often walk home in the middle of the night rather than sleep at a friend’s house, even though we were having a “sleep over”.

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