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Don’t Be That Guest We All Hate To Host! 7 Things To Note When You Have To Sleepover




When you’re a kid, sleepovers can be fun! My mother never allowed me go anywhere, so the idea of having a friend sleep over was FANTASTIC news! As I grew older (read as more anti-social), the prospect of having people sleep over became more and more tiresome. In my first year at Unilag, I stayed in “Newest Hall”. Newest Hall was the “freshman” hall. Each room in Newest Hall was  fitted with 6 double-bunk beds, so there were 12 people originally meant to stay in the little room. Then there’s one little factor added to the dynamics… SQUATTERS. 

Not everyone gets accommodation, so if you have a friend who got space allocated to him/her by the school you’d ask nicely if you could stay temporarily till you sort yourself out. Having a squatter has to be one of the most uncomfortable things ever, especially in that kind of of environment.  When they’re coming, they say it’s “just a place to sleep at night” but it’s never JUST!  It’s about where they keep their clothes, their bucket of water and where their friends will stay when you just want to catch a quick nap before you head on over to EduAud to read! Suffice to say that I have horrid memories of having a squatter. She never remembered to refill the buckets of water, so I’d go to class in the morning, having told my “any work”  to fill all my buckets and my dear squatter friend would finish the water before I got back. I couldn’t wait for her to leave. It was extremely uncomfortable.

Outside the university, I’ve heard several horror stories of how some friendships have fractured because of sleepovers. Someone told us of how an old friend from secondary school called her up saying she had an interview in Lagos. From one weekend the matter entered five weeks of having a ‘tenant at will’. The friend from Onitsha said nothing about her expected departure date and just generally lingered. What made the matter particularly more excruciating was the fact that the girl was really untidy and she crossed all the lines. She didn’t bring her own towel so she helped herself to her host’s own. It was like having a squatter all over again; I mean what else can you call having to hide your facial scrub and deodorant spray inside YOUR own house?

I’ve heard stories of people who leave toothpaste all over the sink, soap suds on the wall of the bathroom and urghh… people who drink water directly from the bottle!

Now, I’m not saying that having people stay over is bad because the truth is at some point or the other we might need help with a place to stay. However, it’s important to be very sensitive about some things.

  1. Know your host: If your host has a cleaning OCD* like my friend Nengz, please don’t go and leave bread crumbs all over the table or leave your plates unwashed in the sink. Know what the person likes and what the person does not like.
  2. Be tidy: This is very very important. It’s not your house and as such you can’t throw your slippers at the door and leave your soaking wet towel on the bed. If you’re not a tidy person naturally, go over and beyond the call of your nature and BE TIDY.
  3. Be sensitive: Don’t wait till you’re told you’ve overstayed your welcome. Don’t make unreasonable demands like asking for pork from a host whose religion prohibits the consumption of such. When you get home you can have as much pork as you want!
  4. Be responsible: If you’re going to be there for a little bit, buy little things to show appreciation to your host. Nobody wants that house guest who specializes in finishing all the orange juice in the fridge and won’t come back with at least a pack. If you ‘know’ how to drink it, you should know how to replace it.
  5. Bring your stuff: Towels, soap, facial scrub, sponge, even flip flops…. bring them. Some of these things can’t be shared and you don’t want to put your host in an uncomfortable position.
  6. Don’t over stay your welcome: Many times staying longer than we planned cannot be avoided. However, it is very important to communicate with your host. You can’t come for an interview, wherein you planned to stay for one night, and then you’d stay for 4 weeks without any explanation as to why the stay has become so protracted.
  7. Be appreciative: Even if this person is your bossom buddy from pre-school, when you’re leaving don’t forget to say “Thank You”. It is very important because it may be the only thing standing in the way of your being allowed to stay the next time you come into town.

This is an open-ended list and by no means exhaustive. We might take things for granted saying “please we’re Nigerians not oyibo” but being properly behaved and courteous at all times is very important.

*Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Photo Credit: Getty Images

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. melzy

    August 10, 2012 at 9:48 am

    yes o, some pple dont jst knw dis tings ,very annoying

    • larz

      May 4, 2016 at 10:31 am


      Atoke- this doesnt sound like a sleep over. A sleep over usually end after one night

  2. Joksie

    August 10, 2012 at 9:52 am

    nice piece guys………………………………..

  3. kem

    August 10, 2012 at 9:54 am

    i concur to these, very true……we just need to be sensitive with stuffs, not everyone likes untidiness and can tolerate scattered places, some can borrow shaaaaaaaaa

    • Chattyzee

      August 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      I agree. I’m someone that likes to know where she keeps her things. I don’t like making a mess and when i do, i clean it up. People need to learn to be courteous and sensitive to others.

  4. kem

    August 10, 2012 at 10:01 am

    you made my day with this post…..

  5. pearl

    August 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

    and you were trained well!. I have friends that don’t just get some of these basic rules..its plain curtsey!..

  6. Alero

    August 10, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Hey Atoke, u forgot to add that they should ensure to make the bed on which they lie on. Some guest are so annoying mstcheeeew!Nice post.

  7. kem

    August 10, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Exactly the word its called “courtesy ” live and let others live……always good to know each friend, all can’t be the same but knowing them will let you follow them their way peacefully!!

  8. Daisy

    August 10, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Completely true. Especially the overstaying part. There’s also the guest who doesn’t know how to mind her business and ends up sitting and laughing (uninvited) with you and your friends she hadn’t known previously known.

  9. dasu

    August 10, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Nice piece atoks! Obviously speaking frm experience! Lol

  10. brandigest

    August 10, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Thanks for sharing this. Having a guest sleep over takes a lot sensitivity and creativity on the host’s part. “keep branding”

  11. Fifi

    August 10, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Very apt! Go Atoksy

  12. dudette

    August 10, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Great post…very apt! the worse are’ family members’ that just take famzying to a whole new level…i mean how can u explain a girl staying unecessarily long at a guy’s place in the name of being his cousin! like seriously know when to exit the entrance before see-finish sets in…its not until they bounce you before you borrow small brain! aaarrrggghhhh!!!!

  13. Diva

    August 10, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I can totally relate…the list is endless! there are those who invade your wardrobe (without asking),wear your stuff and feel, just because you are too embarrassed to say a word to them, they are entitled to keep ur things. I once had this guest who couldnt stand my love for spaghetti and she wouldnt even cook herself a meal. She expected me to make her meals of prference throughout her stay, without contributing a dime. When i refused, she called me a bad host. Needless to say, she never cleaned up after herself!!!!!!Always used up the hot water, omplained that i use macleans toothpaste and not colgate (that didnt stop her from sharing it with me and pressing from the middle, not the bottom, ….yes! Ive got that kind of OCD)………..sad to say, she got on my nerves so much that i was glad to see her go after we had a massive fight over her inviting some friends over to mine- friends who practically robbed me. I now think twice before allowing friends stay over because common sense is far from common and lots of people lack simple etiquette.

  14. mimi Rowlz

    August 10, 2012 at 10:53 am

    U spoke my mind cuz am 1 careful person. I had som1 dat stayed wit me in school at my off campus. Damn! She dint wanna leave, I do d spending n cleaning…twas frustrating. How she left; I had my sister visit by force, den told her she had overstayed her welcome *sigh*


    August 10, 2012 at 11:03 am

    What a wonderful post. A long distant cousin once came to my house for an interview. I had the liver to call his mom to take him back because of his behavior. I discovered after some weeks there was never an interview anywhere. I just decide to let him stay till he can get something doing. He wakes up in the morning and goes to the recreation centre in my area to tone his muscles, he smokes ganja with the area boys at the gym. He even brought his girlfriend to my house and asked my brother who also came on holidays to leave d house so he can be with his girl. My brother refused to leave and saw his ganja. When I came back I called him and told him gently that sorry I cannot keep you in my house. I was scared for my life because if his ganja friends start coming to my house as a lady I am finished. He refused to go and was begging me to give him a chance as he doesnt want to go back to his base. I have become an enemy to him now but I was glad I was bold enough to send him packing. When the mom asked what he did and I told her he said it was a lie. I was so pissed, that means I was lying against him. His mom was surprised to know that the son that lived under her roof was a ganja smoker without her knowledge.

  16. ij

    August 10, 2012 at 11:03 am

    very true, I’ve had someone stay over for the weekend, there was nothing she didn’t ask for , this is her, babes have got a spare towel? (thank God i have loads, but if i didn’t nko?), babes i totally forgot I’ll be wearing sleeveless , have you got shaving stick? babes my period has just started – sanitary towel , then wait for it, babes i only brought 2 pairs of underwear and they are not appropriate , that is how i went into my box of new undies and grudgingly gave her one.
    The next time our discussion looked like it was going towards her coming again, i reeled out nothing less than 1million and 1 excuses , i think she got my drift because it has never come up again

  17. Amber

    August 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Lol…it’s always easier to say a lot of stuff when someone squats with u even when the person is doing everything to satisfy you,there will be a point when u become so repulsive of the person.girls are the ones with this problem most of the time.

  18. Nengz

    August 10, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I don’t have OCD!

    • Atoke


      August 10, 2012 at 11:40 am

      If you say so sugar :p

  19. deedee

    August 10, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Completely on point

  20. Abs

    August 10, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I have a cleaning OCD. lol. That’s just the way I am. But I can’t relate to this topic. Sleepover? Nah.

  21. Louisa

    August 10, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Needless to say, there are also hosts who will expect that because you are a stranded guest who happens to be well mannered and independent by providing your own things, taking part in chores, and avoiding to encroach in your hosts space, then they can leverage upon your independence to take advantage(I’m speaking from experience).

    I beleieve in being courteous to your host, but I have experienced a situation where I was then looked up to, to almost be the bread winner or sustainance for everybody. What ever I gave to show my support was not enough, they expected alot more. Because I worked in a bank (even though at a very junir level), and was single at the time, then they assumed I had more money to splatter all around forgetting I had issues of my own, and I had retired parent and siblings to cater for.

    All in all, my stay came to an abrupt end and need i say, didn’t end on peaceful terms. Even though I was overwhelmed by gratitude but at the same time, I felt a bit exploited and hated that I ever found myself in a situation where I was stranded.

    But the silver linning was that it hastened my marriage plans, ‘cos my hubby (who was then my boyfriend and was serious with our relationship) hated that I had to go through all I did, and so couldn’t wait for us to move in together where I could have all the spaces to myself which I now have today.
    So it all in all, it was a blessing in disguise.

  22. purplepearl

    August 10, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I wish everyone could read this, Some people are so annoying when they visit. No sensitivity at all

  23. Theodora

    August 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Correct piece guys…this na true talk….

  24. Bamz

    August 10, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Nice write up; thanks Atoke. I totally relate with it infact I’m going thru something similar now. My elder brother’s girlfriend has been stylishly squatting with us. We are orphans, my dad died last year and we had to move into a smaller place, she was given a quit notice at about that time but she refused to get a new place and instead kept askng when we would move from our old house until we finally moved. she started with just spending the night then later she’d stay for more than a night now she’s practically living with us. Its’s not as if I have anything against her but she is so unfriendly and makes myself & my other sibs feel uncomfortable in the house. Plus we’ve never lived by ourself, we’ve always had one relative or the other live with us even before my dad’s passing and it never ends well. It has even put us in a lot of trouble.

  25. sede

    August 10, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I was a guest at my cuz’s place cos of the proximity to my office, and i tried to please her in all things but at a tyme she said iwas coming too late to d house(btw 8pm-9pm), so i had to leave and go back home. It is beta for me to get to my hs by 11pm n b hapi dan to stay in sum1’s hs.What am i sayin? no place like home peeps!

  26. me

    August 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    feel like copying and pasting this on the gate. The worst are visitors that think they have equal right in your own house, dish orders without PLEASE for crying out loud and over stay their precious welcome.

  27. @ajiriavae

    August 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    What kills me is people who don’t flush the toilet when they use it or who soil the toilet and don’t clean it up, or just generally clean up after themselves which is something a family friend of mine does ALL the time and then wonders why my brother has become a little less accomodating.

  28. negel

    August 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Realy goning to stay with someone does, not mean you should put all your hope on that person. if you realy want some respect after your stay, go with all you know will make your stay there comfortable, what i mean is that, buy every thing, even to the extent of buying toothpaste to buying the N10 N10 detergents for your washing. for with all this that person will always want to welcome you again. for once it is not your house, dont come and start making unnecessary excuses, when that person starts hiding things from you, because of the way you squander things that dont just belong to you, by saying you never knew he or she was like this or like that. Also try as much as you can to work with time , dont stay out late, because sometimes the owner of the house might even be the type that stays out late but because of the fact that he or she has a stranger in the house, he or she might want to come back on time, so as for you the stranger not to be bored.

    Let just try and do things right for it is not just your house.

  29. Gold

    August 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Very nice write up!! I can relate perfectly with this bcos i’ve also experienced such. This time it had to do with inlaws. My hubby and i live abroad so he’s always had this plan to facilitate his brothers travelling. The first one lived with us for 6mths and headed to canada. Need i say that we were barely 8mths married when he arrived. As soon as he got his canadian visa, another brother joined us even before the first left. Barely 4mths in the house, a girl came visiting. Unfortunately, he wasn’t home bcos he went out with my hubby and i had also returned from work. Having spent 2hrs waiting for him, i decided to call them to inform him. Only for him to deny ever knowing the girl talkless of inviting her. He claimed he only saw her once. The girl had his number, claimed to have been at our place 2ce (which the maid confirmed). To cut a long story short, he stopped greeting me ever since. After a week, i informed my hubby who immediately said “i don’t bliv it”!! i felt so bad bcos that meant i was lying. Exactly a wk later, i sat him down and told him how uncomfortable i was with the situation. Can u imagine someone squatting with u and having the nerve not to greet u or say thks after dishing his meals. But knows how to greet his broda everyday. After noticing a change of just one day and the next day, we were back to square one. I then decided not to bother my hubby anymore since he was unable to arrest the situation. I called one of their relatives who called them bk to other the same day. To my greatest surprise, the next day, my hubby rented a place for him and informed me he’s gone for good. I felt relief even though that’s not the best solution, at least peace and love has been restored in my home.

  30. climax

    August 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    some hosts just feel that staying in their home gives them leave to insult you, it was the last straw when my cousin accused me of stealing her phone charger, humph!, of all the things in the world to steal…………i took my little savings and rented myself a not so good mini flat in an area i hated, but i felt happier being in my very own space.

  31. Chattyzee

    August 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    As the saying goes, charity begins at home. How can you expect someone who does not clean up after herself to come to your house and do such? I have a cleaning OCD and quite bad and so I’ve gotten to a place where I never expect anyone to do anything for such as cleaning up after themselves. Because even after they “clean” up, I’ll definitely still find something wrong or missing. So I just tell them to leave whatever it is and I do the cleaning to my own satisfaction. If you want something done right, do it yourself. After all kini big deal?

  32. remi

    August 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I think someone on ur team can read minds.

  33. Princess of Zion

    August 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I identify with this piece because I am a very hospitable person and I love having friends/family over but I’m also a clean freak! I appreciate when people come in and can flow with the routine.

  34. auntie

    August 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm


  35. blueeyed

    August 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I agree 100% with everything you wrote and we all should always bear these points in mind. We should always remind ourselves if we will be able to cope with someone before allowing him/her to sleep-over.

  36. Mz Socially Awkward...

    August 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I’m not a neat freak (sue me, I’ve long outgrown my wardrobe and on any given day, my clothes and shoes are constantly fighting with me for space in my room). However, I love my solitude (again, sue me) and generally don’t encourage sleep-overs. The flip side of it though is that I absolutely love to cook for people! Therefore I think some of these rules also apply to having folk visiting for a day because my mama drilled into me the lesson of showing appreciation for a free lunch by clearing up after yourself at the very least. You don’t necessarily have to wash your plate but for goodness sake, pick your damn dish up and take it to the kitchen! I’ve been good enough to cook and all but that doesn’t make me your maid.

    Also, I definitely recall times when certain “Aunts” used to come and stay with the family when I lived in Nigeria and the minute they enter your room, their eyes start scanning everywhere for any bags/shoes/perfume they can obtain from you. Some visitors are just unnecessary wahala, abeg….

  37. olu

    August 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    This article makes sense. Many thanks for this, Atoke

  38. naijasportsgists

    August 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm

  39. Beeswax

    August 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Wonderful piece!!! A timely message too. @ IJ that was sooooooo funny..”Babe I totally forgot”. [email protected] Mz Socially Awkward, I second that! People should have the common sense to drop their plates off in the kitchen!!! How hard is that??? Thanks BN(Atoke) for making my evening with this.

  40. zika

    August 10, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    this is soo true, a friend came to spend d weekend n didnt bring her towel, thinkng i would give her mine. i told her straight up that such things r nt supposed 2 be shared.

  41. Bisi

    August 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Spot on, and some more. I guess we can all learn from this.

  42. Pendo

    August 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    i have been on both sides of the coin. One summer as an undergrad i had to live with my aunt as i sorted out my accomodation issues for two months and being the good girl that i was brought up to be i would buy groceries as soon as i got paid (i was paid weekly then) only for her to tell me off saying “your mother did not send you to me to feed my family”! so i was like ok won’t happen again first forward a few weeks later she accuses me of emptying her fridge while not contributing anything to the food budget!!! Was i glad to be out of her house! Then i have a cousin who comes visiting brings her own toiletries down to toilet roll (she always has a roll in her bag why i don’t know) but then feels the need to use my toiletries since she thinks they are “better”! This is the same cousin who will assume that what is in your fridge belongs to her also and will raid it without asking first i had to put her in check after she sliced a cake i had bought for a friend and was storing in the fridge to take to work the next day.

  43. Seyi

    April 21, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Atoke Atoke Atoke … I love you…

    Please tell them o!!!

    Another thing to do is take note of what people do when they sleepover at yours, its usually an indication of what they’d expect you to do when you sleep over at theirs.

    For example, if a person bring their own towel, it’s quite obvious ‘they’re not into sharing yours’ so bring yours and don’t just assume they’d have a ‘guest towel’ waiting for you – it’s not a hotel. If the person offers to wash the dishes at yours, better wash your dishes after you eat.

    If a person takes extra care not to bother you while they’re sleeping over at yours, don’t turn them into a house help because they’re hosting you. E.g. if a person would rather order some take away instead of asking you to go and cook particularly at odd hours, borrow yourself brain and don’t start asking them to cook orishirishi for you because you’re a guest.

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