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Ezinne Osuagwu: 5 Signs You’ve Overstayed Your Welcome & Tips For Being a Good Guest



dreamstime_l_29500310In 2003, I visited my aunty, in Port harcourt, before my NYSC. Although, I’m related to her husband, we grew so fond of each other on my short visits from school. Holidays in Madonna University were short and going to Lagos was hardly an option. On this visit, I didn’t exactly have a time duration, I needed to finish up my clearance and sort out graduation issues, so you see, I couldn’t exactly tell her when I was leaving.

Ever heard the saying: ‘visitors and fish smell after 3 days’? Well, I started to smell after 3 weeks.

Here are 5 signs to know that you have overstayed your welcome.

Everyone always retires early
For some reason, no one wants to stay up and chat anymore, they all just retire to their rooms. It could be a coincidence though, but yeah, it happens very often.

No one asks if you are hungry
You are no longer lovingly welcomed with “Will you have dinner, there’s some tasty jollof on the cooker.” You find the kitchen very very clean, with no food in sight.

How are your parents at home?
They start asking how your parents are faring and if you speak with them all the time. Once in a while you get an “I hope they don’t miss you too much o”

They start to ask about your mission there
They suddenly become interested in your mission; how is the clearance going? Hope no problems? What’s holding you? Enya! God will see you through.

The point is, staying with people who aren’t your family can become pretty stifling. Here are a few ways to make it easier on your hosts.

Offer to help out around the house
Participate in chores and family activities, be eager to help. Stay useful.

Come with gifts
Whenever you visit, go there bearing gifts to show you appreciate the hospitality, if they have kids, ordinary bread can go a long way.

Try to stick to your plan
Let 3 days be 3 days. If there are any changes, tell them about it. Just don’t stay on and feel they are okay with it.

Once in a while, replace something that has finished
Offer to buy fuel if they drive you around. Buy some provisions for the kids. Show care.

Clean up after yourself, always.

Be grateful
Always tell them how grateful you are for their hospitality, back it up by being tolerant of their house rules. When in Rome…

Ever stayed with someone or hosted a guest? Do share your experiences.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Ezinne 'Zizi' Osuagwu is a fashion blogger who loves to vent her thoughts through her writing. She is a Bubbly 20 something curious about life, passionate about fashion and positive in her pursuit of happiness. Worse still, she is as scatterbrained as they come. She blogs at and Instagram @we_def


  1. Blueberry

    June 24, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Thanks for this write up.
    A great number of people need to be educated on this. You find many who overstay the host’s welcome, and still behave as if they are entitled to be treated like kings without them offering any form of help in the household. Those are the ones who in my opinion are most ungrateful.

  2. Me

    June 24, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    When my mum turned our house to a free b&b, c&c and a&a for retarted, ungrateful delinquents, nobody told me anything before I ran away from Nigeria. The worst was when we were in transition for maids (they never helped), one of the broke aS$s nitwit would act as if she never worked in the 1 room squalor she was coming from, where she lived with 10 of her family members. As in I don’t want to sound like an askholee but I’m totally AGAINST housing people because they never appreciate it.

    PS till today I am suffering from back pains I got while taking care of the house, where these “delinquents” also lived in…..

  3. oluwadunsin

    June 24, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Wow! This is fantastic. Thanks so much for this piece

  4. Spunky

    June 25, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Good one. Some guests are just useless. To make bed when dem crash on na problem. Many do not conform to house rules and feel entitled because you are friends or related. Long story short, if the guest becomes irritating at some point, I make up my intentions for a trip. I no mind park my small luggage just to make it real as far as it makes you GO.

  5. Anonymous

    June 25, 2016 at 2:14 am

    Long story alert.

    Dear Author, I do not believing in visiting people (no matter how briefly) because even if you practice all you said above they will still treat you like crap. I will tell a FEW of my experiences below:

    My Father is the first son in an igbo family, and you know the sort of responsibility that comes along with that position, and my mother is “madam come one come all” so as i child with 4 siblings, there was never a time when we didn’t have 3-5 staying over in addition to our 4 permanent house guests (2 uncles and 2 cousins). Most infuriating of all was that my mother let this people beat us and lord it over us(e.g she didn’t schedule them for chores because in her rule book we were the youngest and had to do all the work).

    Fast forward 15 years on, my parents retire and move to another city, and i return to my city of birth to start a new job, I put up with relatives and experienced the following from our permanent house guests within two years because my father said responsible single girls do not live alone:

    House 1 (aka my cousin); almost blinded my with a slap becos she said i didn’t arrange the slippers in the proper order. (I know, it makes no sense). Mind you i was her defacto house cleaner and errand girl at the time o. so i ran to my uncle (frying pan to fire).

    House 2(My uncle, the weakling and cruella his evil wife): i had an accident on the way to work and dislocated my neck so i was in a brace for a month, i was asleep and the maid came home so i let her in, cruella called me a snake becos i let her maid into the house, and all the weakling could do was to beg me to ignore.

    After passing through all this, i jejely rented a house and moved out before the ingrates killed me.
    Moral lesson; if you are going for a short visit, hold your hotel money. Don’t expect others to do for you as you did for them, people are very ungrateful and malicious.

  6. Nitomeya

    June 25, 2016 at 6:16 am

    Staying with people who are not ones immediately family is inevitable in life. Its best to know when the time is right to leave and have an exit plan from the very beginning. When it is time to leave there is nothing that you can do to appease your host but to thank them and leave. Don’t over stay your welcome learn to move with the cheese.

  7. Rosie

    June 25, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Really don’t want to comment but I can’t help it, had my own share of inhospitable host don’t want to go into details, but the lesson I learnt was man know thyself, not everybody who smiles at you and calls you a relation or a friend is worth staying with, when the going was good we had a lot of relatives and friends that stayed with us till eternity, when the going was not so good these same relatives and friends not just openly abused me but also my parents that bore their burdens.

  8. Vidavi

    June 25, 2016 at 6:59 am

    My philosophy: don’t stay with people unless you have absolutely no choice.

  9. tola

    June 25, 2016 at 8:04 am

    It is not easy to house someone especially if they are not helping out in the house. They become a burden. I have housed a lady for a year she was ill when she came but she is well now. When she will was ill I always made sure she was comfy, always made sure I gave her food on time. But now she is well. She doesn’t do anything. All she does is stay on her phone all day long. Even to make breakfast for herself is a problem. I was thinking by now my frowns would have passed the message. She even said she has been able to save a lot of money since she doesn’t worry about food again imagine. I am tired. Out of love I agreed to let her stay with me even when her family didn’t care. People it’s not bad to stay with someone but be helpful in the house!

  10. bumble bee

    June 25, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Nice write up!!! I wish this can be shared on all social media platform.. cos a lot of people need to be schooled on this.. they don’t just know.. and it’s a shame that what started as a favour often turns to anger, quarell and malice when it ends most times.. I had someone who I housed one time, what started as please i’m coming to lag for 7days ended up in 7months of stay coupled with the fact that I was the one doing most of the spending, cooking etc.. even carton of indomine she won’t buy but yet eats everything I buy like she bought it and would even complain.. ahah water will soon finish oo.. we need to buy.. we meaning me.. gas has finished, oh I just called to tell you the dstv just expired so when you are coming back you’ll subscribe.. what broke the camel’s back.. this girl had the effontery to have sex in my parlor and when I complained that that was the height of disrespect as she hasn’t even seen my own bf spend the night in my house.. she said I was uptight. My dear I gave her 2days to get her things and leave my house and that was the end of the friendship.. so since then I made a conscious decision no more house guests except my siblings.

  11. Ariere

    June 25, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Lolz. I had a bank manager friend who was suspended from his job indefinately. He said he needed to clear his head and needed to get away for a couple of weeks. I Accepted his request to stay With me. Those weeks turned into 2 months! With stress and agony to go with it.

    U see, my friend isn’t all bad. I do enjoyed his gists and comedy And TV recaps after I return from work, but his bad side is really bad! Dont get me started with the fact he never cleaned Up after himself. He would use the shower and not rinse off the sappy forms off the tiles, invite his gfs over and entertain them with my food and drinks like he bought them there (this guy never contributed Nada financially while at my house), leaves the bed unmade after sleeping on it, eats like an elephant!. He will damage something in the house and not tell. He will wait for me to discover it myself! At one point, I wasn’t even free in my own house and dreaded going home after work. He will do his biz with a babe in the bedroom and I wanna collect something from the guest room and I will be so awkward about knocking, so I have to wait. Even my TV remote and Explora got a new master. He expected me to pay His recharge Cards, Uber and even for his gym monthly payment (N9500 a month o) I’m driving home from work, he would call for me to buy N2000 suya or something annoying! This dude stayed home all day and still expected me to return home and still make us dinner. Whenever he wanted to cook, it’s would be one of his gfs he would invite to do so. I was always the one who cleaned up the kitchen only for it to be messy again when I return home. Lolz

    What really really pissed me off and gave him an ultimatum to leave was the matter of food. I didn’t mind the other house expenses I was running for us both but I was really spending a lot on feeding. I was literally spending 3x my normal budget on provisions on a weekly basis. I have not seen someone who eats more than this dude. He is insatiable! He would eat the very last chocolate or indomie or last scoop of ice cream or last portion of food in the container and leave the empty carton for me to throw into the bin. I’m like, “Why couldn’t u just throw it away since ur the last to finish it?” “Or don’t u think it would be cool Bad respecful to leave the last bit of portion for the person who bought it in the first place? “Imagine you re on ur way from work and ur dreaming of sinking into ur couch with ur bottle of red wine and microwaved pizza While watching a new episode of Jane the Virgin and u get the rude and awful sight of an empty bottle and pizza carton staring at u!

    Well, K had enough when I came back from home and saw that he entertained his guests with most of the food in the house and a champayne that I had bn saving for a while. Something that was a gift from a relative and I was like gonna pop of a special occasion. Needless to say, the kitchen was a mess! I waited for his guests to leave and I told him The very piece of my mind. He was shocked I could stand up to him that way. I gave him 3 days to leave! Nd I told him he must clean up my kitchen that night. Which he did. He left the next day. I couldn’t be more glad.

    We re still friends, maybe not as close cus I don’t really want to be anymore.

    Sorry for the long epistle but some visitors just don’t try. Now I’m so wary of inviting guests over for long periods. Like a few days ago, someone asked if they could stay for a week. I had to lie that I wasn’t around. What if one week turns into an indefinite stay cus they don’t wanna leave?

    • Na wa

      June 25, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      Mehn Ariere, you seem like a really generous person, a lot of people cannot take one quarter of all you’ve listed up there.

      My problem with a lot of Nigerians is once you let them take a step, it’s gonna become 1000 miles. Growing up, we had a lot of cousins come and go for various periods of time, some were okay, but two in particular were very problematic. They gave my parents more headache than I and my siblings combined ever gave them.

  12. Bee

    June 25, 2016 at 10:32 am

    What a timely article! I had one in my house o…Until just last month. She came with one yeye story that she’d stay for 2 months until she sorts out her accommodation. 2 months turned to 8 months of severely bad behavior! I knew there was a problem from the get go when she came with not two, not three but six suitcases!!
    She did nothing around the house, not even make her bed, not even mop her bathroom floor or wipe the walls after showering as she seemingly splashed around a lot and once she forgot to flush after her number two! ? She left everything for the help to do and caused a lot of annoyance by coming in late everytime. To top it all off, she could eat!!!! Even if she comes in at 2 am she will wake the hell up to get her something to eat and that upset everything cos the help will wake up late the next day, kids will be late for school. Ask the house help why she woke up late, she’d say Aunty woke me up at past 2 to fry plantain and eggs and I didn’t hear my alarm cos I slept just before 4.
    Meanwhile said guest will not buy even sweet for the kids yet she buys biscuits for herself to nibble on.
    The day she pissed me off the most was when she asked the help to ask me to give her dettol cos she ran out of the one I’d kept in the guest bathroom that she’d used for 4 months was finished.

    Abeg. Let me stop here. Thank God I told her to leave cos her cup was full. Only thing is it has ruined our family’s relationship with hers but I don kia!

  13. Marthilda

    June 25, 2016 at 10:51 am

    When i was a little girl, i didnt experience all this visitor crap because my parents had rules for visitors. If you agreed to abide to the rules you were welcome to stay and if you felt the rules were not for you then you dont stay as simple as ABC. The rules were stuff that we the children already praticed daily. 1. Always inform the day before if you have plans. 2. Always be back before 7pm. 3. Take care of the guest room where you stay which includes its toilet and bathroom and always clean after yourself 4. You cant have guests over until you take permission. 5. Stick to your plan and if changes occur inform them or you will be asked. 6. Break any of these rules and you may be required to leave, so the choice is yours. I tell you because of the aforementioned reasons we rarely had guests. Many knew they couldnt comply, such is life.

  14. Titi

    June 25, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    There’s one leech in my house right now, she used mago mago to come and stay, it’s been months now and she’s not say anything about leaving even after all the attitude I’ve been given her. I tire!

    • Jules

      June 25, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Welcome to my world dear Titi. I’m watching the one in my house now with 3d. Very disrespectful and manipulative, yet looks innocent.

    • Nunulicious

      June 25, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      @Titi, Discreetly ask her if She reads bella naija and urge her to read today’s articles. Use style do am oh

    • I love Shea butter

      June 26, 2016 at 9:35 am

      Titi don’t dull yourself, you can use mago mago to ask her. When she will be leaving.some visitors can be so annoying and shameless.

  15. Adebimpe

    June 25, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    hmmmmmmm………. infact such is life, my parents are the pitiful type, that likes taking pity on ppl, ve also had my share of ppl staying with us , cus when they don’t participate in house chores, it wud ve to fall on my siblings and i, we do the house chores ourselves and take the blames for whatsoever the guest and her kids ve done, but my mum is getting tired now, cus it is almost six years of staying, she said she needed just 2 months to sort out her apartment but it has turned to six years , the worst is that her kids are spoilt brat and she doesn’t like ppl correcting them atimes, Don’t tink i can take that wen i get married, no no no no way!

  16. Nammy

    June 26, 2016 at 1:33 am

    All bad experiences here. My bad experiences far outweigh the good ones but for today, I’ll tell only good stories.
    Story 1.
    A girl got admission and was to stay at ours till she got accommodation, she never did any house chores, my parents spoke to her about it and she started helping out, we became very good friends and even when she got accommodation she still came around for weekend.
    Story 2
    A young man was coming for an exam and was to stay at ours, I told my mum that I wasn’t going to fill up the drum in the guest bathroom cos the guests use up the water and never bother refilling it, she agreed with my idea. Mr.Bright came, in the 3 days he Spent, he filled up the drum, swept parlour, and was never missing out in the kitchen. It’s been years and I have never seen him again since then but we still talk occasionally on phone and we are friends on Facebook.

  17. Henry

    June 26, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Nice write-up. My own rule is: if you necessarily have to stay in the home of a relative. My dear, just go to the one where you are related to the wife. It will be easier for you.

  18. bibi

    June 27, 2016 at 11:20 am

    i like the stick to ur plan let ur 3days be 3days and if any change let the host know….. mine was a similar story infact i knew not the ingrate girl from anywhere my friend hollared at me to pls accommodate her friend for 3weeks as she just got a job in lagos and no place to stay…… as per good Samaritan i said ok ooo this was how this girl came o i was very hospitable to her made sure she was comfy 3 weeks turned 3 months na so she still stayed and didnt even tell me anything that she can’t leave now etc i had to gather liver to ask her babe whats happening now what is the plan…… story come get k leg she started keeping malice with me in my own house cooking her food separately buying her water separately when her friend asked her she said why its the way i asked her that why did i call her in the office to ask her that kind of question. December last year i just told her before april pls find somewhere else to stay. she left my house this year for 2weeks without telling me where she was going but comes when im not around to pick one or 2 things cause she has spare key. na so i come back from work one day called Carpenter to change my locks sent her a message that pls dont be angry o i don change my locks since she has found somewhere else to stay and whenever she wants to pack out she should let me know na so she take pack commot. she will see me on the road and walk and pass even comes to my house to visit my flatmate but the person that housed you for 7months not even hello. tbh some people are just ungrateful

  19. mia

    June 27, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    I stayed with my cousin for about 18months and myself and his wife are closer than i am to my cousin. why? i did not compete with her, i gave them their space, i helped around the house as much as i could, i rarely ate at home because of work and when it was obvious that the family was expanding and they needed the room i was using, i moved out. When i was going to move out sef, it was the wife i called and explained to, i could literally feel the relief in her voice as i told her my plans. This however is a rare case and that is because we the two key people involved no get wahala.

    In my opinion though, accommodating people for long rarely end well, the people involved could end up resenting each other. I have heard about siblings turning each other to maids especially those abroad and becoming enemies for life.

  20. AnonymousPeter

    January 4, 2018 at 7:07 am

    I feel that it’s possible to overstay your welcome even with family members.

    When I visited my uncle and aunt for the first time, I stayed with them for about a week. The time flew by so quickly and I very much wanted to visit them again at some point in time. I went back about three years later after they had their second child. This time, I spent two weeks with them. Although I enjoyed the visit, I couldn’t help but feel like I had overstayed my welcome.

    They were both working very long hours and I didn’t see them as much as I had anticipated. Since their children were still fairly young, they needed to devote more time and attention to caring for them whenever they were at home. They took me to a few places, which was enjoyable. However, I noticed that they often encouraged me to venture out and explore the town by myself, which was not the case during my first visit.

    I feel that my presence started to become troublesome after about a week because of their hectic schedules and parental responsibilities. I offered to help out as much as I could to no avail. By the time I left, I felt that I shouldn’t visit them again for awhile.

    Looking back, it seems that the both the duration and timing of my stay was not appropriate. Perhaps, I could have waited until their children had been older and they had been settled into their respective jobs. I definitely overstayed my welcome. Hopefully I can visit them again when the timing is appropriate.

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