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Overnight Guest Policies

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 31 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Flatmates flatmates’ Guests flatmates

Even when flatmates are the best of friends it doesn’t mean that all of their friends will get along with everyone else as well. Unfortunately, friends and guests can be the cause of many problems between flatmates and overnight guests in particular can be frustrating simply because of the amount of time that they spend in the home. Before deciding on any firm policies regarding overnight guests, flatmates should attempt to define the types of overnight guests that they may host then come up with a few common sense policies, and finally commit to a method of working out disagreements regarding overnight guests. Once this is done flatmates can then move on to the fun part of making rules – breaking them!

Types of Guests

Overnight guests are generally friends or relatives of one flatmate, though total strangers may be invited to sleep in your home (usually for one night only) under certain circumstances as well. These guests may be out of town guests, usually friends or relatives who have planned their stay with you in advance or emergency guests, those who neither you nor they were expecting to have to stay with you. Casual overnight guests may also be asked to sleep over on occasion.

Common Overnight Guest Policies

Common policies 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) must be clearly explained to the guest. Even policies about breakfast (what may be eaten, where it may be eaten, how everyone should be dressed) and bathroom access (no baths to be taken, showers only after those leaving for work are finished, etc.) may help avoid arguments. Usually after a few overnight guests have come to stay flatmates will begin to find that their policies grow organically from these experiences.

Disagreements Regarding Overnight Guests

Even when flatmates do make solid policies regarding overnight guests it is unlikely that they will escape all disagreements about the subject. 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.

Breaking the Rules

As with anything, house rules for guests are probably made to be broken every now and then. However it should always be the flatmate who is not hosting a guest who reserves the right to wave any or all rules. As a general rule of thumb the more someone in particular becomes a guest in a home the less formal the rules will become regarding that guest. This is normally an natural process, however, so it’s best not to force it until it develops on its own.

Overnight guest policies help flatmates avoid frequent disagreements when others sleep over. However, most policies develop naturally and often break down naturally regarding guests who are frequent visitors. By remaining flexible and open to these processes flatmates will probably find that their frustrations regarding overnight guests are greatly reduced.

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