How To Deal With The Fact Your Flat Is Suddenly Resembling A Hostel

Everyone in thier 20s will go through the unique hell of having your living room turn into a hostel at some point in thier lives, right?


by Amelia Phillips |
Published on

Brits tend to be divided into the people who say no, the people who say yes but mean no, and the people that say yes to be liked. As a youngster, it’s easy to mock the saps that say yes. It’s only as you get older that you realise that saying no isn’t easy. People who ask favours, they know exactly what they’re doing.

Inevitably, social etiquette turns many of us into cowardly wet blankets. ‘He’d give you the shirt off his back, John would,’ people say. Who wouldn’t, if asked? Better to be naked and resentful than deal with the weighty silence that follows a no. It’s this reluctant yes-man nature of ours that empties our wallets and turns ourhouses into YMCAs, crammed full of people we’ve been trying to faze out for years. Lending money is bad enough, a series of U-O-Me’s constantly playing on your mind. But having people sleep on your sofa, your kitchen or your bedroom floor? That’s a situation you can’t even escape from in your sleep. The consequences of one ill-advised ‘yes’ will inevitably end with sleepless nights, empty cereal boxes, the visiting boyfriend, long morning showers, inflated bills and a completely livid you.

Sometimes it’s even your own family who turn your house into a hostel – tutting, questioning and telling you how to live your life in the process. Having either friend or family treat your rented flat like a hotel is awful, so it’s important to avoid the ‘can I stay at your place’ question even arising in the first place.

The first thing to do is to make yourself known as a no-man without coming across as a complete bellend. Refuse the small things. No, I would not like a chicken wing. No, I don’t want to come out with you tonight. Whether you want to or not is besides the point - just say no. Now, balance that out by being pleasant all of the time. You want to create the air of someone who is very nice, but not a walkover. People don’t tend to ask favours of those who they think will say no.

The next thing to do is to ensure that no one ever comes back to your house. You need to keep your living arrangements a mystery because if you have a half-way decent home, someone will inevitably want to stay there. There’s another couple of ways to avoid them seeing your home as potentially their home. A boyfriend or girlfriend or an uptight housemate (pretend one of your housemates is uptight even if they’re all relatively easygoing) will do. If you lack both, create an inhospitable environment. Keep your bin bags on the sofa and remove any forms of entertainment when people visit. Make them wish they’d never stopped by for a cup of tea.

You come across some people who will want to stay on your home regardless of any form of off-putting. They’re the same lot who will ask to borrow the skirt you’ve just bought as you’re unwrapping it from the tissue paper to show them. There are also those people you just can’t put off, your cousin moving over from Albuquerque, for example. They’re scenarios where an excuse just won’t wash. In this case, it’s best to allow them to stay but make them feel slightly uncomfortable. Never give them a set of keys. They’ll have to call you to get in. Always sit on the sofa – their ‘bed’ – in the evenings or say, ‘No, you have it’, when they come in. Play the guilt card hard. Ask them what they’re doing next week. You wouldn’t know because they won’t be here.

If you have housemates, you can often wake up to find a squatter in the living room, drinking out of your favourite big mug

Sometimes the decision is entirely out of your control. If you have housemates, you can often wake up to find a squatter in the living room, drinking out of your favourite big mug. Sipping your small tea loudly doesn’t have the impact you’d hoped. Staying in your room is a good way of hinting, I’m not happy about this. This may seem horribly harsh but anyone who’s dealt with having freeloaders in the home you’re shelling out three-quarters of your income to live in will realise how necessary this is. The bitch reputation can be remedied later. Once they have their own place and you’re fully certain that there’s no chance they’ll ever need a place to stay again, they’ll probably apologise and relieve you of any guilt you felt. ‘Sorry, I know it must have been annoying having me on your settee all those months,’ they’ll say. ‘Don’t be silly, you were fine,’ you’ll go. ‘I was just really stressed with work at the time.’ The usual bullshit.

The worst thing about having your home treated as a hostel isn’t the mess or the invasion of privacy, it’s the endlessness. It’s easy to get a bit defensive and precious when someone is staying with you, much more so than you normally would be. It’s natural to want to protect your nest. As long as you know when something will be over, you can accept it. So if you do have an unwanted visitor, calculate how long it would be before you would want to kick them in the shin or break their nose. Now take off about two weeks. Now tell them that you have someone coming to stay that weekend and you’re not being pushy, but you’ll need them and their stuff gone by then. If they still haven’t budged after an ultimatum like that, call the police. There’s nothing like an injunction to ensure you’ll never have to see the sponger within fifty yards of your property again.

Happy hostessing!

Follow Amelia on Twitter @AmeliaEPhillips

Picture: Lukasz Wierzbowski

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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