It’s normal. We all stay over at friends’, whether it’s because we actually enjoy it, are forced by circumstances to or are just plain tired of hearing ‘ahn ahn, you don’t even visit somebody sef’; everyone has been a house guest at least once.
These days in most major cities (Lagos and the rest) where housing is expensive and you have people having to share apartments, being a house guest can be delicate especially if you’re not friends with your host’s housemates.
Here are a few tips to help you.
1.Observe, observe, observe: Learn the dynamics of the house as soon as you get in. Know the rules. It’s better to be over-cautious than do something that places your host in an awkward situation.
2. Be nice: See, so long as you’re a guest, at least make an effort to be nice to people in the house. It doesn’t mean you have to do their laundry or wash their plates, a simple good morning or how you dey or how far will suffice. Leave your attitude at home please.
3. Do not eat and leave your plate in the sink: Most apartments share a kitchen. Don’t do it. Even if there are dishes piled high to heaven in the sink, don’t add yours to it.
4. Respect boundaries: If you’re the overly friendly type that likes jumping into people’s mouths and businesses, please tone it down. Not everyone will appreciate you telling them not to eat meat because it’s unhealthy or they should go and relax their hair because they’re ladies and need to get a husband fast.
5. Respect boundaries II: People’s spaces and properties are sacred. Unless you’re invited, stay out. No going into their rooms to collect phone charger or rechargeable light without permission. No going into their rooms to watch film without being asked or invited. And certainly no going into their room to take a bra strap (when they are not there) because yours broke as you were about to go out and you don’t have a spare and your friend is not at home.
6. Understand the key situation: One person’s key is either always missing, forgotten or has evil spirit. Most housemates have a system. If the need arises where you are in a position to lock/open the main doors, ask if they have a system. And if you’re told and you forget and lock the door with the regular key instead of the padlock as you were told to, when you’re called, be kind enough to feel sorry for the person who has to wait outside for 4 hours.
7. Show some commonsense: This is the most important tip. None of the others will make sense if you don’t allow commonsense to help you. For instance, don’t drink the last pure water/eat the snacks in the fridge/help yourself to food in the kitchen without asking. Being told ‘feel at home’ is not an excuse.
Remember, you will go back to you own house (that’s if you have a house and are not one of those people that do not want to admit they don’t have a place so they can be helped but instead will be forming big boy/girl and visiting people up and down) and your friend still has to live there. Don’t make a mess.