The Awkward Files: When (and How) to Say No to Hosting Houseguests

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If your couch is sagging under the weight of too many surfers this summer, you may need a refresh on the basics of guest/host protocol. Read on for our take on when to welcome guests into your home and how to just say no.

Disclaimer: It's your home, so you're free to invite (or not invite) anyone, regardless of what we think. But, if you're looking for a few suggested guidelines, here you go.

Open-Door Doris: If you travel regularly and often stay with friends or family in other cities, it's nice to reciprocate (and you'll no doubt garner many more invites in the future if you offer up your own pad more often). If you enjoy having guests, especially if you have the space to comfortably host them in your home, then you'll certainly make some weary travelers very happy and have a ball yourself by extending the invitation.

No Thanks Nancy: So what if you just don't want guests cramping your style? You may find yourself uncomfortably spitballing a load of excuses when trying to discourage someone from crashing with you, but there's really no need. They don't need to hear how small your apartment is, how you need to wake up early for work or any other reason you think up. The fact is, saying no doesn't have to be a big, dramatic deal. Take a look at these three scenarios.

Your first line of defense is simply to not extend the invite (without guilt!). Let's practice:

Your friend: "Hey, I'm planning to be in (your city) next week!"
You: "Great! Let's schedule a lunch date and catch up. Can't wait to see you."

Sometimes, you get the hard-sell in the form of a direct ask:

Your friend: "Hey, I'm planning to be in (your city) next week! Could I stay with you?
You: "Oh great! My place isn't comfortable for guests, but I can't wait to spend time with you while you're here."

Finally, you might even get the rare (and we think a little bit rude) assumption that they WILL be staying with you, like this:

Your friend: "Hey, I'm planning to be in (your city) next week! How do I get your keys?"
You: "I'm afraid you can't stay with me this visit, but here are a few hotels in the area I really love."

See? Crisis averted. If you don't make it into a big deal, it won't be a big deal. End of story.

(Image credits: Adrienne Breaux)