So, here’s the thing: somewhere along the way into our 20s, we started either wanting to or needing to settle in. To take a place and make it our own, throw down some new roots…. Because I find typical protocol to be for the birds, I have spent the better part of the last 4 years splitting my time between a handful of states and tropical locals.
In the words of a friend whose floor I spent a solid few weeks on last summer, when I told her I was pretty sure I already had at least one Masters degree in couch surfing, she replied, “at this point, its safe to say you have a PhD.” Seeing as she rendered me an expert, and I currently partake of the practice – living in a spare bedroom, on a futon, battling an 8th grader for morning shower privileges – here is the top couch surfing etiquette techniques I’ve nabbed along the way:
Don’t be afraid to ask.
- No, seriously. I know I know, you don’t want to have to rely (mooch) on other people and all that, but think about it, when someone asks to crash at your pad, aren’t you generally willing and able? Well that works vice versa. Case and Point: my snowboard bum friends (even the employed ones do no lose that title) totally use my mountain house as a winter vacation home. Its like sharing. Sharing is Caring. More importantly, I am more than jazzed to let them stay.
(But the NEXT person who cranks the heat to 80, in January, and then sleeps 3 deep + the dog in my flannel-clad bed is camping in the yard!)
Make Food/ Buy Groceries
- In order to be an accommodating house guest, make some food. A. Everybody eats and B. it brings together all the people you are staying with. They will appreciate the forced communal time later, even if they don’t know yet. If you are going to be staying for an extended period of time, then you sure as shit better buy groceries… you mooch someone’s space, not their snacks.
Be Gracious, Courteous, Accommodating.
- Its really that simple. We have manners for a reason, use them.
Always bring gifts
- Its like an upfront “thank you”. Thanks for letting me nap the night away on the big leather couch in the middle of your work week, here’s a case of craft, artisan if you will, beer.
- I really enjoy this futon you have provided me, please accept this overpriced maple candy and syrup beautifully encased in glass.
- While I was baking over the past month I’ve been over there on that mattress on the floor, I realized your hand mixer was broken, so here, I got you a new one.
- I also find it best to leave these little treats on the counter/kitchen table—maybe it is my general distain for feelings but I think its nice to leave it as a little something extra, in lieu of handing it off before you leave