It’s safe to say we like it here. We may even like-like it. But how does one translate their own city lust to a visitor? There’s nothing I enjoy more than showing off where I live to the people who matter to me the most. But, a truth: Although the urge to curate a cross-city strudel tour may be strong, not everyone’s into that. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Another truth: it’s perfectly normal if an impending visit doesn’t make you scream with o.m.g. glee. To some people, space is precious. To others, the more the merrier. But given the overflow of reasons bringing the masses into this glorious city, guests happen, whether you want them to or not. And you know that you would like and expect a hearty welcome should the roles be reversed. So let’s open those doors and suck it up, because here’s a how-to on hosting your friends in the city!
- Pre-Arrival Research- This goes for you AND the incomers. For a good trip, it takes two. If you’re hosting, have a few go-to spots. Check your Shedoesthecity Hit List, talk to your neighbors, do anything that will give you a jumping-off point. That first dinner or night out often sets the tone for the whole trip. Guests need not slouch, either! Hopefully they have some day/weekend/week/month-long city ambitions, too. Prompt your guest, before they come in, to think up a spot or two that they’d regret missing. This way, you can point them in the right direction and put them in the driver’s seat of their journey, which in turns relieves a bit of pressure from you. Then, it should go without saying, get on out there!
- Read Your Audience- Who is coming? What are they like? What do they like? It takes a big person to look outside themselves and their typical bumming-around-town activities. So what will actually give your girlies the best experience? Your version of The City may not be the same as Their version of The City. No hard feelings! That’s why we prepare for the plans to change. Some people don’t have your stamina, prefer some alone time and/or would rather not be pushed around town. Be sensitive! During the visitation period, you’ll find that you can’t research your way into finding the perfect naptime. It just happens. Be the tour guide but look out for you crew’s best interests.
- Don’t Forget About You- Hey, hostess with the mostest, it is your time too! And just because you have some people in doesn’t mean you put your entire life on hold or should feel guilty about following through with a commitment. Your friends should be happy that you are a reliable person! The world never stops turning and the fact is, you live here. If they want five hours of shopping and you’re on a budget, you can wait until that thing goes on sale! Appreciate whoever is couch-sitting or in between places/jobs/cities/you-name it. But don’t feel like you always have to join the ranks, especially if the visit is an indefinite/long one. Stay motivated and don’t forget to do you.
- Have Fun- You ran out of coffee, so what? The first bar you went to was deader and less attractive than roadkill, who cares? As long you keep your spirits up, probably no one. It’ll be a good story to laugh about later if you can just dance it out in the moment. Think about the ultimate goal (having some sweet times together) versus whatever details seem to get in the way. And even if they’re just coming in for a boring job interview, there is still an opportunity here! Do lunch. Explore. Make the most of you time together. Remember: these are your friends. They didn’t come to put on white powdered wigs and judge, so don’t get overwhelmed if things go awry. They are probably not even going awry! Ease up on yourself. You’re doing great.
Sharing your space is a gesture reserved for the worthy. So whoever you are letting in, I’m going to assume they are amazing, gracious and will be the wingman you deserve. When you come and stay at my place, I have one wish: I want you to want to come back. We could’ve shared a deep conversation, discovered a new part of the city together, or just camped out in a pillow fort for days. Doesn’t matter. Come back, we can do it all over again. And we’ll want to, because there was a give and take and an easygoing respect throughout the travels.