Houseguest Stress: Why Some Prefer Hotels Over Hospitality?


In a world accustomed to sharing experiences and homes, a growing number of people find themselves opting for hotels over the warmth of a friend or family member’s abode. As travel plans bring individuals together, the stress of being a houseguest, even temporarily, has become a notable concern.

This report delves into the reasons behind houseguest stress and explores expert insights on how effective communication can alleviate the stress associated with being a guest.

The Trend Of Houseguest Stress

Allison Newman and her husband, seasoned globetrotters, mastered the art of being expert houseguests during their two-and-a-half-year travel journey.

However, since welcoming their first child, Newman expresses the challenges of traveling with a baby, highlighting the added stress of feeling like an imposition due to set schedules and the need for additional oversight.

Betsy Verzosa, a mother of three, echoes these sentiments, navigating the complexities of adjusting her parenting style to fit the environment of her hosts. Even for those without children, like 29-year-old Samuel Hansen, the discomfort of being in someone else’s space, adhering to social expectations, and compromising personal timetables is enough to prefer the anonymity of a hotel.

According to Shawn Burn, a psychology professor at California Polytechnic State University, the stress associated with being a houseguest arises from the temporary loss of one’s primary territory – a central physical space that supports psychological needs for control, predictability, privacy, and intimacy.

When separated from this space, individuals may struggle to meet basic needs, engage in stress-reducing habits, and handle interpersonal matters.

Effective Communication as a Solution:

To alleviate these stressors, etiquette expert Diane Gottsman recommends clear communication between hosts and guests before the stay. Understanding the dynamics of the household, such as the presence of children, pets, or specific house rules, allows guests to be better prepared and feel more comfortable during their visit.

Gottsman emphasizes the importance of mutual respect, with guests being mindful of house rules and routines.

Allison Newman, drawing from her extensive experience, offers two key pieces of advice for guests: always offer to help clean up after yourself, leave a positive impression, and be respectful by following the host’s house rules.

Newman emphasizes the impact of such considerations, especially when staying in someone’s home in a different country, where cultural differences may require additional awareness.

While staying with friends or family can foster connection and intimacy, it’s crucial to recognize that alternatives exist. Betsy Verzosa and her family have found that opting for a hotel during summer visits makes their time with family more enjoyable.

Diane Gottsman underscores the importance of acknowledging the freedom to decline a host’s offer, emphasizing that saying no is a valid choice.

As the dynamics of hospitality evolve, the stress associated with being a houseguest highlights the need for effective communication and mutual respect.

By understanding the psychological aspects at play and implementing clear communication practices, both hosts and guests can contribute to a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. Whether choosing the warmth of a friend’s home or the anonymity of a hotel, the key lies in fostering understanding and openness in shared spaces.

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