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How to maintain cordial relationships with long-term guests

Whew, well this is a hard one! But, of course, it's the hard questions that merit the most thought.

It's certainly understandable to feel fatigued and perhaps a bit stressed at the thought of long-term guests. Here are some thoughts on ways to improve the experience for everyone involved.

    1. Think of guests as your biggest fans

    Your guests might have many reasons for visiting you. Maybe you live in a fun location they want to explore, or maybe they just don't feel like paying rent for a bit. In any case, since you might never know the full reason for their presence in your house, it seems like the perfect time to apply some deliberate optimism and assume they're staying with you because they really care about you and are happy to spend time with you.

    2. Remember that everyone can teach you something

    With guests in your house for such a long stretch of time, you'll have more time to observe them, see what they're good at, and learn from them.

    3. See the presence of guests as a challenge

    I've always admired people who become more productive and more successful as they get busier and busier. Maybe having guests in the house can be a sort of inspiration and the impetus needed to become one of those people.

    4. Let every irksome behavior be a lesson in patience

    Sharing space for long periods of time can make people get on each others' nerves, so this is to be expected. With a bit of a perspective shift, the inevitable can become more bearable.

    5. Use the presence of guests as a push to schedule your time more rigorously

    And consider making the schedule public, so the guests know to respect your time and activities without feeling ignored or unwelcome.

    6. Keep the guests busy with activities so that you feel less pressure to entertain them

    This could be as simple as encouraging them to go for long nightly walks or getting them hooked on a new drama (Netflix has so many great foreign-language dramas in Korean or Turkish, for example, that are delightfully melodramatic and wholesome fun for the whole family).

    7. Invite more guests over so that they can keep each other company while you tend to your well-being

    Alright, so maybe this might cause even more stress in the short-term. But, if the guests are entertaining each other, that leaves more time for you! I think people tend to apply this philosophy to children (having at least 2 kids instead of just one) and to small animals like dogs and cats.

    8. Encourage your guests to take short overnight stays in fun, close-by destinations.

    I was born and raised in CT, so when we had long-term visitors, we would take them to New York City, Boston, and even Hartford or New Haven. We'd try to go with them when possible, but we would also encourage them to make trips by themselves whenever they wanted. This would give them a bit of fun and us some breathing room.

    9. Don't be afraid to pamper yourself every once in a while

    Whether it's a quick massage or a stop at your local sweet shop, you can do small things to treat yourself and help reduce some of your stress. They'll likely improve your mood and can help you to feel refreshed and ready to take on another day with guests.

    10. Promise yourself that you won't have long-term guests for a period of time after these guests leave

    No matter how much you love and cherish your guests, you'll probably look forward to having your own space again. Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to recharge and get back into the habits that are important to you.

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