Has a friend or family graciously offered you accommodation rent-free? Here are 10 rules to live by so that you co-habit peacefully and amicably without hidden grudges or questions aimed at your home training or lack thereof.
When in Rome act like the Romans except you are squatting. A squatter cannot take the same liberties as a guest. Guests stay for a couple of days at most so the family doesn’t really mind any inconveniences but a squatter has to earn his rent in good deeds or emotional and physical currency and here’s how.
1. Do household chores
No one is asking you to be the help but you can’t stay in someone’s house and be lazy. Even if they have help still find something to do even if it’s just cleaning your room. The help does not work for you!
2. Don’t use household items indiscriminately
Don’t borrow something without asking or finish an item in the house without asking first or informing someone after it gets finished and if you can, replace any items used.
3. Remember the kitchen has jurisdictions
Don’t eat any and everything you see without asking questions. Don’t take the biggest meat in the pot or the last of the groceries without asking someone. Don’t leave your plate unwashed in the sink. Offer to do the cooking every once in a while.
4. Contribute to the household’s upkeep
Nothing is too small. You can buy groceries every month or pay the DSTV, PHCN or WIFI bill. You can offer to buy some diesel for the generator or just buy a thoughtful gift for them every once in a while; monthly if you are a salary earner. You can even give money from time to time or have your parents do one of the above if you are not working.
5. Inform them on time if you are going to be home late or you are not coming home at all
It is simple courtesy really because these people are responsible for you and may actually stay up late worrying about your whereabouts, besides you wouldn’t want to be locked out of the house based on assumptions.
6. Join them in the family activities that actually matter
Don’t lock yourself in the room when the family is praying or exempt yourself from family activities because you think you are a stranger. People don’t invite strangers to live with them so they already see you as part of the clan. Don’t alienate yourself because that would just be awkward for everyone.
7. When on their turf, abide by their rules
You are not exempted from curfews, decent dress codes or other household rules that apply to the people in the house. They may not complain when you do wrong but it leaves a negative lasting impression.
8. Don’t bring someone home without prior warning
They agreed to let you into their private space not your entire squad. Remember they need their privacy and personal space. Don’t make their home uncomfortable for them and certainly don’t have sex under their roof!
9. Don’t gossip about the goings on in the house
No reports or gossip about the intel you are privy to. You are not a spy. They don’t speak in code around you because they trust you. Do not betray that trust.
10. Don’t let overfamiliarity make you cross boundaries
Don’t borrow clothes, shoes or other personal effects without due consent. Don’t interfere in relationships or get a smart mouth because you’ve been there a long time and when there are disagreements because those are bound to happen, do not let moving out be your first response; instead settle differences amicably and respectfully without feeling like you are being treated differently because you are an outsider.
Remember that these people not only put a roof over your head but also offer you creature comforts like food, security, ttransport, wifi, medication, toiletries and some form of emotional support. Things you’d no doubt have to give out chunks of your salary or allowance to pay for if you were living alone. Treat them with honour and respect and the same way you would treat your flesh and blood and while you are at it, let your stellar home training make your mama proud.
Have a great night Chutzpah fam,