I’ve seen pretty extensive house rules on some member profiles recently. And they spell out etiquette I’d have considered rather self-evident: don’t steal, don’t ask for money, wash yourself, don’t come back home in the middle of the night drunk,… I’ve rarely hosted the last years because I almost didn’t receive any requests (the pandemic and we live on an island) But before I almost never had trouble with guests. So I wonder if I’m missing something? Is that just by chance that I see more of that now? Or did attitudes deteriorate that much over the last couple of years? Also, does it really help to spell out basic manners?
Curious to hear some other impressions
I would say that certain attitude deteriorated.
having CS TR BW WS allowed each one to use the community that was more close to its mind.
With CS going to be a commercial activity many people from CS moved to other community.
So me moved for an ideal, other just to save money.
This lead people to see some people different and so had to put some rules that would not have been put two years ago.
Also consider “ageing” of hosts.
When i started i had only two rules, now there are about 17, and the other 15 went in effect along the time, with experiences.
Someone without many rules probably is an unexperienced person.
Sadly I became one of those When I started hosting in CS, I almost didn’t have any rule, and it seemed surfers used to have more common sense of how to live with other people, but I feel year after year, guests are getting more and more “entitled”, dirtier and sometimes even rude.
Even though most of the people I’ve hosted have been amazing, some of them have been a pain in the a$$ (using my house as a free hotel, not cleaning up their own mess, eating all of my food or drinking my alcohol without asking, using without my permission my personal laptop, clothes, shaver, or bringing to the house strangers that they just met, and more).
Most of the rules I have are things that, at least in my culture, are common sense (clean up after yourself, don’t ask for money, buy your own food, be respectful, etc). I want to host people and help them to have a good experience, but I don’t want to feel miserable in my own house because of people with a lack of empathy or common sense.
Preferring more responsible, mature guests can avoid a lot of problems. Kids who are on their first backpacking experience are better off in hostels rather than annoying hosts. Sadly, getting free stuff from websites is something of a sport these days.
I know some hosts who switched to AirB&B and found their guests were far more polite and respectful. I guess it is down to how the concept is sold. Hospitality exchange is ambiguous for newcomers and some people really do not get it.
That was me. At some point, I felt it became more satire than anything so I took it down.
Yes, people don’t wash, need money, and come back in the middle of the night. Some people don’t know how to wipe their ass. Or maybe they do.
If you’re on an island sounds like that takes some real effort to get to, so I would expect people to appreciate your home and behave.
The hand washing thing broke me off hosting. I was so angry that NO ONE from EU washed their hands. That’s the one thing I would talk about.
I’ve actually heard it the other way round from a host: she never had issues with couchsurfers, but several guests from Airbnb stole small things from the flat. Probably difficult to take away any general knowledge from a few samples…
I think the one aspect that I ponder mostly is whether it really helps to state kind of obvious civil behavior (rather than specific house rules)? Does that keep away folks that wouldn’t have respected that in the first place? Or make them act differently?
In that regard, what would be the most helpful advice to new hosts? State extensive rules on your profile? So far my intuition would have been that a key to making good experiences with guests is rather paying attention to what THEY say. And just connecting with folks whose profile or messages one finds interesting.
I had all of those experiences too and left CS dot com because of it. Somehow, amazing people couldn’t outweigh the impact of horrible strangers in my home telling me how to live my life while being as rude and inconsiderate as possible.
I was so angry that NO ONE from EU washed their hands.
That explains it. The day after Brexit happened, I was suddenly able to wash my hands again, and couldn’t understand why!
Heather, on a more sympathetic tone, I just had a Couchsurfer over at my place in New York this past week and it was my first experience of not clicking with the person. This made me sympathize much more with your view that having plenty of clear rules is a good thing. On a different post, I had disagreed with you, stating that for me, having a coucher over is like having a new housemate: you work out each other’s preferences and tolerances and try to meet in the middle.
The problems were pretty much all those described by A91 above: constantly talking to me even during my work; taking food/drink and not contributing; complaining about everything; buggering off with my key, etc.
But after this experience, I still don’t agree that many rules are the way to go for me (even if I sympathize much more with people who have had many negative experiences feeling that is the way to go). The ideal, I think, is to have as many couchers as possible really buy into the mission statement of this site. It will never be 100%, but if you have a critical mass of them, influencing each other and new people, it will be more likely than not that you’ll have guests who “get” how to be a guest. You’ll get the odd bad egg, sure, but that person will soon get marked down as a bad guest.
On a final note, this thread seems to be about many rules vs few rules. When I lived in Uk, USA, Switzerland and Austria, all have different ways of enforcing transport rules:
UK: ensure that people buy tickets by having good ticket machines and lots of cheerful staff
USA: repeat the rules constantly on automatic recordings
Switzerland: don’t enforce the rules often but have terrifying heavies come around once in a while so that if someone does breaks them, they’re made sure not to bloody forget it
Austria: just trust people to pay, but very occasionally send around a sweet old man or old woman as essentially powerless ticket inspectors
Give me the Austrian approach any day.
Sometimes people just do not get on and sharing the same space is stressful. That will happen from time to time.
Does making a list of rules help avoid this? Add another rule for each annoyance? The list could be very long and would be no guarantee against thoughtless or selfish behaviour.
I guess in may make up for the lack of guidance for people new to the idea of being a host or a guest. Some people really have no idea and it is up to the community to educated them. CS used to do that, when it was community focussed, but it seemed to abandon that approach in a desperate search for a profitable income.
But when personalities clash, it is best to end the hosting as soon as possible and move on. How to do that diplomatically?
When I see a profile with too many rules I think “not a host I’d like to know”, or a guest I’d like to host. And probably some think the same way about my page. So I think it’s a filter that works out pretty good in the end.
It’s common in Swedish sites for selling stuff to see pretty rude comments, like “I don’t want any pen friends, just pay what I ask and if you want to bargain go somewhere else”. Too many house rules put in a non-inviting way follows that trend. Maybe we are in a long ongoing process of a non-polite way of expressing ourselves online?
as a “power host” I have to say that rules are a way to avoid misunderstanding and to help hosts to be able to host not only when they are completely relaxed, having nothing to do and being able to bow on any guest request. If you ask this probably most people would be able to host just a few days per year, and even then being extremely fussy on guests arriving.
The younger generation (in my opinion) didn’t grow up with manners.
I would say something to the effect of… I am not your mom, please respect my home
When they come just put up basic home rules for them to see and some boundaries.