Do you have visitors expected over the weekend? No matter if they are friends from far away or relatives from around the corner - for one night they will find their home at your place. This is great! Because what could be more wonderful than spending so much time together? The clock is not running ahead of you. Everyone can relax because no one has to drive or go out in the cold night. But how do you make everyone feel comfortable?
To host overnight guests is an art. The word already says what it's all about: to-host. You offer someone a shelter, just like in the story of Mary and Joseph. (Only without Christmas.) A shelter means safety in a foreign country, a place where one feels welcome. Your guest makes himself or herself a bit vulnerable, forsaking their privacy when they are standing in your bathroom in pajamas. But don't worry, with this 1x1 deal for overnight guests everything will run smoothly.
Shoes – on or off?
Opinions differ on this topic. Some people take off their shoes only under threat of violence and some would never sneak through other people's kitchens other than wearing stockings. Both camps look at each other in incredulity: “But that's the way you do it!” Well, yes of course - depending on how one is used to these things in childhood. The fact is: Feet are something very intimate. Unless there is a good reason (you have just been digging together in the garden or you have a pure white high pile carpet lying in the hallway - but who has that), your guests should be allowed to decide for themselves. Have guest slippers ready and say, “Please do the way you feel most comfortable.” What a relieving sentence.
It doesn't matter if you have a large apartment with extra guest room or “only” a corner in the living room. It is important that your guests get a place for themselves and that you respect this place as “holy”. So, don't just wander in because you need something from the cupboard in the guest room! Show your guests where they are allowed to leave their things and give them time to rest and settle in after the trip.
Breaks are worth a mint.
Nobody, really nobody, wants to have a non-stop speech and schedule. Allow yourself and your guests some time off: “I'll be in the garden for a moment, dinner will be served in half an hour.” In the kitchen, people always come together anyway.
Oh, that's nice!
Small attentions help to feel comfortable and welcome. How about a bottle of water next to the bed (e.g. a nice FLSK drinking bottle), some magazines or flowers/twigs in a vase? No need to mention that the bedding is freshly made and there are towels ready.
Is this self-service?
Many people are uncomfortable asking for things all the time. Therefore, hosts like to try to anticipate all wishes: Do you want another coffee? Can I get you anything else? Things are much more relaxed when your guests can satisfy their basic needs on their own. Show them where the water glasses are, how the milk foamer works and where the beer supply is situated. Almost feels like home. But beware, there are limits. You should load the dishwasher yourself.
You are totally exhausted, but your overnight guests just don't want to go to bed? Most etiquette guides are ironclad. You have to hang on, at best you may yawn a little and hope that give a broad hint is conveyed across the fence. Balderdash! Fortunately, we are adults and are allowed to take responsibility for ourselves. Those who are tired, go to sleep. If you want to talk, you can talk. No guilt. It's that simple.
The next morning.
If there is only one bathroom, it is best practice to get up early before your guests. While you are fetching buns, they can freshen up without any pressure. This spares them and also you from standing in a queue with frizzy hair and a full bladder.
Extra tip: It is a good idea to arrange a rough time for breakfast on the evening before.