Disagreements Over Guests
Living with a flatmate can be hard enough, but adding a flatmate's guests to the mix can make it downright frustrating. Dealing with an extra person in your home, extra possessions strewn about and disruptions to the normal schedule can all make a guest's presence less heavenly and more hellish. To avoid disagreements over guests, make up some house rules regarding the three most common types: overnight guests, out of town guests and emergency guests.
Overnight GuestsOvernight guests can range from a friend who stayed too late and missed the last bus home to a total stranger brought back for one night only. For some flatmates such overnight guests are a fact of life and not a cause for concern, but for others they may be incredibly disruptive. Common house rules regarding overnight guests include that the flatmate inviting someone to stay should notify the other flatmate if at all possible and that out-of-bounds areas (such as the other flatmate's rooms or possessions) be clearly explained to the guest. Even house rules about breakfast (what may be eaten, where it may be eaten, how everyone should be dressed) may help avoid arguments. As with all things flatmates will need to remain flexible, but with general agreement about this subject there should be far fewer incidences that cause disagreement.
Out of Town GuestsOut of town guests rarely turn up without prior warning so it is easier for flatmates to prepare for these types of visitors. Setting house rules about topics such as how many guests can stay at one time, what the average length of a stay should be, if guests will receive a spare set of keys or the security code, who will feed and entertain guests and whether or not guests will be left alone is a good idea when it comes to out of town guests. Of course it may be that rules are made to be broken, or that rules need to change to fit the circumstances, so patience and flexibility from all flatmates will be needed.
Emergency GuestsOf all the possible types of guests, emergency guests will be those that come to stay with little warning. It might be a friend who has had too much to drink, a relative who has locked him or herself out of their own home or even someone who has had a fright and does not want to be alone for the night. As these guests may stay only one night (such as in the case of over-indulging) or many (such as if someone's home flooded), it will be up to flatmates to determine what type of rules will be followed for each guest. In general following a mixture of overnight and out of town guest rules will work for any type of emergency guest.
Ending Disagreements About GuestsOf course, not all arguments will be averted simply because there are house rules. Arguments can and probably will occur, so flatmates should remember to fight fair when possible and stay focused on only the matters at hand. Bringing up past wrongs won't help move the current disagreement forward and in fact might move it further away from reconciliation. Though arguments tend to have natural ends, flatmates should avoid letting them drag out and instead strive to close the matter before anyone goes to bed angry.
Having guests in the house can strain even the best relationship between flatmates. Setting up house rules and remembering to fight fair should go a long way towards avoiding, or ending, disagreements over guests.