I have a friend, who was my flatmate, but now lives with his family. His girlfriend lives in a different city and now they want to meet up with each other and stay over at my apartment in my room, asking me to sleep on the couch outside for a night. He's a good friend of mine, but I do not want him to stay in my apartment and in my bed with his girlfriend. How can I say no in a way that does not make him feel bad?
Hey Hesitant Host,
If it's any consolation I think, "this person wants to stay with me and I don't want them to" is probably the most common question I get. Hosting someone is so much more than just real estate on a couch, it takes up a lot of energy and time, so being particular about it is not unreasonable.
But all in all this sounds pretty cut and dry to me, you can let this friend know that while you're happy that he has found love, you're not totally comfortable hosting a couple. Maybe you feel that your apartment isn't big enough, or you have a big week coming up, or you've just had your heart broken and being that close to someone else's happiness would cause you to burst into tears (100% kidding). Because here's the thing, asking someone if you can sleep in their bed (and ya know, probably have relations in it) is a BIG ask. And when it comes to BIG asks you have to be prepared to hear a big NO. It's part of life. This is in no way suggesting that one should shy away from asking for favors, but when you do, be prepared to come up against other people's limits and handle it with grace.
Also, not to assume that your friend is kind of clueless (but it sounds like your friend might be kind of clueless) suggest that maybe his long distance girlfriend might actually want some privacy and alone time. Offer to cook them a meal or two and invite them over for wine, so you're making it clear you want to spend time with them, but setting boundaries. But at the end of the day, your bed is your bed and only you have a say who stays in it.
You've got this!