The holiday couch surfing season is upon us, so time to revisit some guidelines. It’s really generous when someone opens up their guest room (or pull-out couch) to you, but determine the length of your stay ahead of time. And hosts, understand your own limits. Stick to them without feeling guilty––it’s for the good of the relationship.
As I found when visiting my sister-in-law’s welcoming family in Italy, these boundaries differ greatly. For the Italians, no visit is too long. And when I suggested staying in a hotel for a few nights to give the family a break, they read this as a commentary on their hospitality. Do they not like our cooking? Are the beds uncomfortable? Hardly, I could have hung around there for weeks on end.
But, an extended stay isn’t the norm for space-conscious Americans. Especially those of us living in cramped quarters. With that in mind, I generally follow a three day rule. And, as Benjamin Franklin bluntly stated, “Fish and visitors smell after three days”. In other words, don’t spoil a lovely visit by overstaying your welcome. Unless, of course, you happen to be in Italy.