The Endless Battle: House Hosts vs. House Guests

Hi people,

I hope you’re doing well, and the past week was a good one for you. My week was good though I honestly struggled to come up with a piece for this week. I realized I spent more time thinking about an online event I hosted on Saturday which went great than about writing this week; and that taught me a couple of lessons. I hope you don’t mind me sharing as usual.

Lesson one: When creating content for multiple platforms, you must learn to apportion time to each task. Irrespective of how often you’ve done it, each creative task requires focus, time, and the best version of you. To achieve excellence, there is no room for “winging” anything.

Lesson two: Be open about your struggles. I had mentioned to my sister that I hadn’t come up with a topic for this week’s conversation and she gave an exceptional recommendation; while I’m not discussing that today, it’s been added to my cooking pot and you can be sure it will feature shortly.

Lesson three: The power of structure. In the early days of starting this blog, my friend, and media strategist – @hauwasocial had shared an editorial calendar with me. While I worked on that calendar and documented my thoughts to an extent; I also used the notes application on my phone to document any post ideas that dropped in my head. Long story short; today’s discussion is one of those topics I had documented weeks back and almost forgotten about. The lesson here is simple – create a functional system for documenting your thoughts and ideas, it always pays! Creativity isn’t just about inspiration; it’s a balance between inspiration and having functional systems that enable your creativity.

So on to today’s gist which is about hospitality and people management.

Here in Nigeria, it’s not unusual to have to live with a family member or “family friend” over the course of your life. Our culture is quite communal and shows in various ways including this. It is often for different reasons  ranging from  your parents not living in the city or part of town where you’ve got a job in and you need somewhere to settle into temporarily or even for a longer duration (depending on the cost of renting your own space); you school far from home and spend shorter vacations with extended family to minimize travel; or you have had to live with an older sibling, or relative, the list is endless and the circumstances vary for each person.

While this sounds all warm and fuzzy as extended family and friends accept other individuals into their home; a lot of the “guests” don’t feel the same way on the long run. I find that several people have strong negative emotions towards their hosts at the end of their stay. If you’ve had a beautiful experience living with people; please appreciate them. As an adult having been on both sides as a host and guest, I know it’s not an easy feat opening your home to someone else – it is truly an act of service that you must know you’re ready for.

Where am I going with all this?

Dear landlord, host, or hostess – this is for you! How do you treat the people you are privileged to have in your home? This doesn’t just speak to relatives who stay with you for stretches of time, it also extends to your domestic staff, friends and guests who come into your home for a few hours, etc. 

In the same vein – beloved tenant, guest, or relative, how do you conduct yourself in someone else’s space. Are you humble, accountable, ready to assist if required, teachable & respectful of their values, preferences, and resources? While this may not be the popular school of thought considering you’re an “adult”; this is, in my opinion, the right way to posture.

Having been on both sides of the divide in my adult life, I know that being a host, as well as a guest, can truly tempt your calm disposition because folks can actually stretch the limits; but as the Bible says “let all you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14). Let your hosting be in love and give love as a guest. Extend grace as a guest or host, none of us is perfect. Refuse to conform to cheap malice and strife – but live up to God’s standards by ensuring you live at peace. (Romans 12:17-19).

How do we proceed?

Honestly, I don’t have all the answers, but these are my tested and tried tips for enjoying cordial and friendly relationships with those with whom you’re in proximity.

  • Communicate!

This is the lifeblood of any relationship including a host-guest relationship. Respectfully communicate your desires and expectations. You’ll continually be frustrated if you don’t because your expectations will continually be unmet.  Achieving shared understanding is a process so give it time but be willing to work at it.

  • Be Respectful

No human being wants to feel less than the other. Your domestic staff, guests, younger relatives, etc. are not less than you are; they are valuable children of God and, if you treat them with love and respect, can be valuable assets in your own life. As a guest, please endeavor to respect your host’s wishes and defined boundaries; it may not be convenient but honour them by making the effort.

  • Show Love

Love is empathy, consideration, friendship, etc. Your host isn’t perfect but you’re not here to change them but to love them. Love them for who they are now, and not from the place of your expectations and desires.

I’ll stop at these three because I strongly believe that at the foundation of good people-relationship is simply love and respect. Everyone wants to feel loved, valued and enough – and that’s one of the reasons I emphasize it at the end of every blog post.

Be intentional about people’s experiences when they come into your space. The smile and care, warm meal, acceptance, acknowledgment, etc. you give could make the difference in their lives. Dear host, leave an imprint of love on your guests – that may just be your reasonable service. You can attain much with hospitality; and the scripture is replete with it. Jael (Judges 4:18) conquered a mighty captain; and Rahab (Joshua 2:12-21) ensured her family’s safety in war, emigration and included herself in Jesus’ lineage – all through hospitality.

As always,

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