Traveling with your friends teaches you a lot about yourself and about them. I stayed with one of my best friends during my recent (awesome!) Washington DC trip and came away realizing that I cannot travel with her, nor will I ever stay with her again.
A little background before I start this listicle: I did not show up on her doorstep unannounced. She invited me in February, I arrived in April. She was well aware that I was coming.
1. Get your shit together before your houseguest arrives.
This includes cleaning your house, putting a fresh roll of toilet paper on the roll, and making your bed. Do not ask your houseguest who just flew across the country to accompany you to CVS because you don’t have any body wash or toothpaste. Have your shit together.
2. Let go of whatever petty bullshit you have going on with your roommate while your houseguest is around.
Don’t let the trash pile up and force your houseguest to live in squalor just because you ‘always take the trash out’. You and your roommate will look like immature, inconsiderate morons.
Your houseguest doesn’t care who takes the trash out. Your houseguest does not want to live with piles of trash on the floor. Do not tell your houseguest that she cannot take out the trash when she offers because your roommate ‘has to learn.’ This is not the time for passive aggressive lessons. I changed their toilet roll twice in one week because they both refused to do it. (Also, how were they using so much toilet paper??)
3. You live in the area. Your houseguest does not.
Your houseguest probably wants to see things you’ve seen a million times. Don’t be a jerk and try to rush them through museums you’ve been to before. If you don’t want to go, DON’T GO. Let them explore on their own if you’re going to act like a child.
They are operating on a limited time schedule. They can’t ‘just go next week’ (Actual quote) because they won’t be there next week.
4. Don’t force your introverted friends from opposite sides of the country who hate meeting new people to spend a whole day together.
Trust, it will be awkward. And despite your assurances that ‘you’ll totally like each other!’, we won’t. We’ll spend the entire day ignoring each other and only speaking to you.
5. Don’t get pissy if your houseguest who has never visited the area isn’t an expert navigator of said area.
My friend sucks at navigation. I don’t know how she finds her shoes in the morning. Anyway, I was tasked with figuring out how to get everywhere we went using an unfamiliar public transportation system in a city I’d never been to. She would endlessly ask me if I knew where I was going. Technically, yes, I knew where I was going. I followed the directions my phone gave me. The same directions that her phone would have given her had she done exactly what I did which was put the location in the google maps app. But she was somehow incapable of doing that.
I got a bit confused in one area of town and she literally scoffed and said, ‘You don’t know where you’re going.’ I wanted to say, ‘Tell you what, bitch, how about you navigate for a change? Oh wait, the one time you did we got on the train going in the wrong direction. How about you shut the fuck up and help me find the right way?’ I did not say that. I just said she needed to stop.
This is kind of unrelated to hosting but generally: being late all the time is neither cute nor funny.
Especially when you realize that your friend is only late to things that she doesn’t care about/doesn’t directly benefit her. ETA: I discovered this because she wouldn’t get up at 8:30 to be at the museums by 10, but she was totally able to get up at 7 to take care of some government business that she’d put off forever.
Remember my chronically late, inconsiderate friend? This is her. I’ve learned from living with her for a week that she’s late in the morning because she stays up all night and sleeps in. She also doesn’t care about being on time. She understands that her lateness is incredibly fucking annoying but she doesn’t care and actually texted this to me, ‘I’m gonna be late. Surprised? LOL’
So what I’ve learned is that I can’t travel with her and I can’t live with her. Knowing your boundaries with the folks in your life is good.