Exploring The Psychological Challenges of Being a Houseguest

Stress of being a Houseguest

Diverse experiences shed light on the nuances and stressors inherent in temporarily sharing another person’s space as houseguest.

When Allison Newman, who once traveled to different countries around the world with her husband for two and a half years making them globetrotters, says she knows very well what it means to be a guest, one should take her word for it.

After they had their first baby, things changed for this traveling couple who depended on other people’s generosity through Airbnb, CouchSurfing, friends and family.

Newman admitted that taking a child along during their travels was more stressful as it required her to adjust her schedule around them.

Likewise, Betsy Verzosa went through difficulties as she visited places with older children.

These added layers of complexity included struggles over conformity of parenting decisions such as screen time or when to sleep.

Samuel Hansen too felt the same way even though he did not have children just like other houseguests.

It was very hard for him being in unfamiliar territory without his personal space and being forced to engage people instead of dedicating certain spaces alone.

Staying in someone else’s location was synonymous with added responsibilities and no leisure hours for him whether it was an Airbnb or his friend’s house.

Blackard is uncomfortable being a houseguest because she feels she needs to act appropriately according to her host’s lifestyle.

Once she realized that she could not request hosts not to wear shoes indoors which in turn weakened her self-esteem as guests do not put off their shoes when they are home from outside.

Psychology professor Dr Shawn Burn has described some of these psychological impacts of such temporary displacement from one’s normal territories.

The loss of control, predictability and privacy when you are at home can contribute stress.

Not been able to do things that would normally reduce stress or deal with other people adds onto them making staying at someone else’s place much more difficult.

According to Diane Gottsman modern etiquette expert, this stress can be alleviated by clear communication between the two parties before the visit.

Important details like; sharing of beds, what to do with children, allergies affecting their pets and the availability of a car ought to be discussed at length.

The importance of house rules that guests must observe at all times and being clean can never be overemphasized since it would make one feel as part of the household and not crossing the line.

It is also important to note that when someone stays in someone else’s home in another country it is important for them to have knowledge about where they are going.

Newman draws on her extensive experience as a global houseguest by advising people to help clean up after themselves and follow their host’s rules for keeping the premises tidy.

During her visits, she found out that moreover being familiar with local traditions like stringent recycling laws in places such as New Zealand proved pivotal.

There is an unspoken pressure to accept offers of accommodation particularly from friends or family which should be acknowledged so that people know they don’t have to if they don’t want.

Particularly during visits when she had her children with her, Verzosa found pleasure in staying at hotels while going home for summer breaks.

According to Gottsman, fear can be reduced drastically if only there was effective communication and expectations are understood as far as being a guest is concerned.

By knowing and following their guidelines beforehand can help avoid any discomfort on your part during your stay there.

The varied experiences and reflections underline the complexity of houseguesthood, calling for direct exchange, mutual respect and balancing integration into the lifestyle of a host with personal comfort.

Ultimately, such delicate dynamics entail thoughtful etiquette and appreciation when you are a visitor.


Mental Health Topics (A-Z)

  • Exploring The Psychological Challenges of Being a Houseguest