I have lived with two very different open door policies. The first scenario: anyone could stop by as long as there was a formal invitation stating the time and date. In other words, no casual drop-ins by close friends or family because they were in the neighborhood. No meeting someone new at a cafe and inviting them over for dinner until you actually get to know them. We also had no guests after eight in the evening. The other scenario was the complete opposite: people came in and out of the apartment or house at all hours during the day or night. It seemed to me like I lived in Grand Central Terminal. Both scenarios can work! It depends on your individual needs.
A House With An Open Door
Some people thrive with constant socializing. They enjoy the ongoing buzz of conversation and the company of their friends. They enjoy meeting someone new. They belong to several book, cooking, gardening, and writing clubs with multiple dinners, teas, or brunches that they host. If you don’t enjoy having people around as often, your housemates openness to socializing might become a contentious issue.
Is it possible to share a home with someone who is way more social than you? Yes, if you have clear communications about the household open door policy.
Be Straight Up
Before any type of agreement to share housing, it’s absolutely imperative to discuss “must-haves.” Hosting a Zumba class might be very important to you. If that requires moving all the furniture in the living room three-times a week and playing loud electro-funk music with a group of people, it’s important that you be straight up with your potential home-mate that this is your “must-have.” Who knows it might be something your potential housemate loves and will join in on! What’s important is that you discuss it in your get-to-know-you meetings, and don’t surprise your housemates with this important part of your life. It’s always best to straight up and open about how you like to invite people into the home.
Types of Guests
There are three types of guests: those who are in the house socially and then go home; your family and friends who come from out of town and stay with you; and those who share a bed with a housemate. You should discuss all three types to clarify expectations about how to handle guests before you agree to live together. You don’t want to discover your housemate has completely different ideas of an open door policy after you have moved in.
If you’re unsure how to broach the topic and need some interviewing guidance, purchase our Interviewing Guide. It will help you assess what is really important to you in how you live.
Mutual Respect Equals Happy Home Sharing
Remember, for a happy home sharing environment, you need to mutually respect each others boundaries. Be open about what’s important to you. Mark sure you reach a mutually favorable agreement.