How do I get rid of a couch surfing friend?

Dear Gwyn,

A friend of mine moved to Denver and I offered to let her stay at my home until she found her own apartment.  It’s been two months now and she’s still sleeping on my couch.  I love my friend to death, but I just might kill her if she doesn’t move.  How do I get her off my couch and into a place of her own?

Aren’t you a saint of a friend allowing a transient to live in your home.  And aren’t you a bit naive to forget to set a few ground rules. Tisk tisk.  Let’s start with the basics of offering your home to friends in need of roof over their heads.

When you offer a friend to stay in your home it’s important to set the ground rules, and it is never to late to discuss them with your friend.  The ground rules aren’t meant to create an uncomfortable hierarchy within your home, but in fact the opposite. Setting parameters will allow both you and your guest to live comfortably without wondering if either of you are stepping on each others’ toes.  Everyone will be more comfortable knowing the expectations.

  • Set a time frame. Be it a few days or a few months, setting a time frame will give you and your friend an understanding of the hospitality without having to tip-toe around an unwanted overstay.
  • Decide on a fair payment. No, this does not mean profiting from your friend, it merely means deciding on a way for both of you to contribute to the home. You may choose rent, washing the dishes, or maybe just walking the dogs.
  • Discuss your pet peeves.  Does it drive you nuts when the lights are left on? Do you hate wet laundry left in the washer?  Keep you list short and discuss only the pet peeves that truly are unbearable and be clear about what will put you over the edge.  Your friend will appreciate knowing how to avoid your buttons, and you’ll certainly like your friend a heck of a lot more.

It is so much fun to have a friend stay at your home.  It’s even more fun when your friend remains a friend.  Open your doors and don’t hesitate to welcome your friends in.  And, maybe crack a bottle of wine or two too.