I did a post awhile back, about the 17 types of guests you want to avoid. It’s time to look at the opposite side of the coin, and examine the types of hosts you don’t want to be.
(1) Host Dollar Eyes
The Dollar Eyes Host is nearly completely focused on money. He or she wants money, more and more money, and got into the hosting business or any other business, primarily because it looked like a good way to make more money.
Now, we all need money, and making money is obviously something most all of us are interested in. However, typically people get involved in one career or another, one type of business or another, for reasons other than just making money. They may find it a good fit to their interests or skills, or enjoy meeting people. But the Dollar Eyes Host seems to have little ability to make decisions, such as about what business to go into, on any basis other than “how much money will it make for me.” The Dollar Eyes Host may actually have no skills or interest in hosting, meeting people, or helping people by offering accommodations.
Not only is the “Dollar Eyes Host” not a good model for how to host, but it’s also not a good way to live in the world at all.
Yes, an inordinate love of money, particularly when combined with an inordinate love of power, is not a good thing. Not in hosts, not in anyone. And for those who have not been paying attention the last few years —- just you wait and see what will be revealed over the next few months and years about the incredible evil that has been wrought on our planet by a small group of people with an excessive desire for money and power. Your skin will crawl when the truth is revealed.
(2) The Mega McHost
There are restaurants, cafes, and diners, and there are McDonalds. There are mansions, and there are McMansions. Similarly, there are hosts, and there are McHosts.
There may not be a very clear line delineating one from the other, but you can feel the difference. You can tell when you’re dealing with “real” people and real hosts, and something that seems “fake”, or maybe “supersized.”
I’m not suggesting hosts should not incorporate with an LLC if they want to, or that there is anything wrong with having multiple properties as a host. But at some point, if you are being honest with yourself and your guests, you should notice if you are crossing over into “Mc” territory and are now a MegaMcHost.
(3) Breach of Contract Host
The Breach of Contract Host is essentially someone who rents a property that forbids subletting, and then illegally sublets the whole space or part of the space, in order to make money from someone else’s property, when doing that has been explicitly forbidden by the property owner.
This is quite different from the person who gets the owner’s permission to rent the property to use it as an Airbnb rental.
If you’re going to break your word and your contract with your landlord to illegally rent out your space as an Airbnb host, then you have no legs to stand on to complain when your Airbnb guests break any of your house rules or rent out your space to anyone else. Because you’ve done the same damn thing.
A good business is not built upon scamming a property owner.
(4) The Fearful/Intimidated Host
The Fearful/Intimidated Host may have a lot of skills, a great property, be a friendly person, be sincerely interested in hosting, want to help people and get to know new people. However, all of that is for naught, if they are overly fearful, or easily intimidated.
Having house rules is of no use for those with no backbone to be able to enforce them.
Inviting others in to your home but being unable to say “no” to them, should they ask for something you don’t want to give or do, is inadvisable.
Being scared of your house guests is a problem. Being repeatedly scared, or repeatedly intimidated, by people you’ve invited into your own house, is going to mean hosting isn’t much fun. And you probably shouldn’t be doing it, until you have found a way around your fears.
(5) The Kick Me Host
The “Kick Me Host” is the host who is unaware that they have a “Kick Me” sign on their back, and are actively inviting problems. Of course, no one consciously creates problems for themselves — but many people do this without realizing it. Unconsciously.
One example of how a host could become a Kick Me Host, is someone who has a very strong attachment to a certain worldview, one which can create problems for hosting. For instance, it may sound wonderful to hear someone say that he believes in love, and peace and trusting people, but if he said that because of his faith in people, he didn’t need to put a lock on his bedroom door and “I’ve never had a problem with my guests”, I would say he doesn’t realize he has a “Kick Me” sign on his rear. So I wont’ be surprised when a few months later he comes tearfully to one host group or another to post that a guest stole his expensive camera equipment and a lot of cash from his room. Which he left unlocked because of his worldview that conditioned him to think that, in spite of the amount of evidence to the contrary, no one actually steals. Or at least no one I interact with.
Another way one could unwittingly become a Kick Me Host is by being the personality type that is very heavily oriented towards how things “SHOULD” be. As opposed to how things are in reality. Some people, and as it turns out, a great many people actually, are unable to cope with or orient themselves to the world as it really is. But this difficulty isn’t a conscious one, it’s unconscious. So it’s not as if anyone says to themselves, “oh, I can’t accept reality, so I’ll create a more comfortable fiction.” Nobody does that. Rather, it’s that they have unconscious dynamics in play which take over and cause them to live in what amounts to a detour from or rejection of reality.
This happens with people who do not know themselves well enough, and/or have not done enough spiritual growth work, psychological work, or self-reflection, to be able to understand their own psychology sufficiently. Which sadly, is the case with most people in the world. Actually very few people, comparatively, have much self-awareness. The rest live more or less unconsciously, as a result of their “programming” or unconscious drives, fears, and dynamics.
There are many types of unconscious dynamics. Some are less problematic than others, but they are all problematic in that they imply that we are not captains of our own ship. When unconscious dynamics run our lives, we are not actually “running the show” in our own lives. If we are being directed by our unconscious, we are not free, we are subject to early programming or various fears or complexes.
The psychological types who are heavily oriented to how things “should” be, are sometimes the Enneatype Ones of the Enneagram Personality system. They pride themselves on how they do things right, and are often castigating those who they view as doing things wrong.
The difficulty with this in hosting, is that in some ways, it can lead hosts to be frequently at odds with reality. And that then results in many problems for the host, that they are unaware they have invited upon themselves. They then become Kick Me Hosts.
To take one example: many hosts have learned, over years of experience, that guests do not read the whole listing description and/or all the house rules. Unfortunately, simply having the attitude that things shouldn’t be this way, doesn’t mean that reality is all of a sudden going to change to match your demands. And this is the key issue that Kick Me Hosts of this type cannot seem to understand. No matter how many times you scream into the wind that the wind should not be blowing, the wind will still blow. To constantly be surprised that there are stupid people in the world, is stupid. To act surprised that people can be irresponsible, is ridiculous, and in general, to be so extremely attached to your ideas about how things SHOULD be, that you totally fail to see how things actually are, puts a big KICK ME sign on your back and ensures that you will ceaselessly have problems as a host.
I actually believe some people set themselves up to have problems because they love to complain. The more they can complain, the more righteous they feel, therefore, they seem to be drawn to do things that will cause them problems. They are in a sort of “Kick Me” endless loop. They invite themselves to be kicked over and over, so they can endlessly complain about how wrong or stupid or irresponsible others are. This is a useless and destructive dynamic, not to mention a huge waste of time and energy. But some people seem to almost religiously devote themselves to this endless, pointless cycle, demonstrating that not only are other people stupid, but perhaps they are, as well.
So, for instance, if you know that most guests do not read the listing description or house rules, an easy way to address that is to put a code phrase in the listing description or house rules, and tell guests that in order to book they need to tell you the code phrase.
Another way is to convey key points that it’s important guests should know, in the message thread when a guest inquires.
A big clue that one is a Kick Me Host, is the host who refuses to consider ways such as these to solve problems. Because the Kick Me Host doesn’t actually want to solve problems. They want to be repeatedly kicked, so they can constantly complain.
(6) The Stack-Em-Up Host
The Stack-Em-Up Host , as this photo quickly illustrates, is oriented to having the most guests possible, at the cost of reducing the quality of the stay for all guests. They run their listings essentially as low quality dorm rooms or cheap hostels where there are multiple bunkbeds in all rooms and no one has any real privacy. This may be done to maximize income, with the theory that putting 2 to 6 people in one room increases your possible income for that room by a factor of 1.5 to 4.
This type of host might be considered a variety of the Dollar Eyes Host, although Dollar Eyes may have many different methods of trying to get the most money out of everything they do. For instance one method might just be to try to get more and more and more properties to rent. By contrast, the Stack Em Up Host is trying to maximize income at just one property, and has chosen a specific method to do that, which is problematic in the way it degrades the guest’s experience. Now not all guests have difficulty with this type of setting. Some like the option of a $20-30 a night stay. So this type of situation is not necessarily a problem for everyone, but it does look quite cheap and may be a disappointing experience for many.
(7) The Unskilled Host or Stoopid Host
As with the Kick Me Host, the Unskilled Host or Stoopid Host is not aware of what they don’t know or what skills they lack. They think they know enough to start hosting, but may only discover after a small problem escalates into a large one after they went on a name-calling rant with a guest, that they dont’ have good communication skills. Or that because they didn’t think they needed house rules, they now have 7 people in their home instead of 1, because they didn’t realize they needed to tell the guest they can’t bring their whole family over. Or that they end up with a several-hundred dollar penalty from Airbnb, because they “didn’t know” that they couldn’t cancel 5 guest reservations in a row, because they decided to go water-skiing.
People with generally good business or communication skills can probably dive into Airbnb hosting with little preparation, and be successful. But there are some Stoopidos who jump into this business having almost no skills, and they are in for a rude surprise.
(8) The TattleTale Host
The TattleTale Host, as you may have guessed, is the host who is often paying more attention to what others are doing, and looking for what others do right or wrong, than to her own business. She is the type who will jump on a host discussion group and proclaim that if so-and-so isn’t folding sheets in this particular way, or doing this particular type of cleaning, or using expensive mattresses, or even having the “correct” political views, then “you shouldn’t be hosting“. You see, the TattleTale was born knowing what everybody else should be doing, and keeps her eyes peeled to make sure they are doing it.
The TattleTale Host loves to scold, to judge, and tell others what they should be doing or should not be doing. If the TattleTale’s city has short term rental rules/laws, or taxes, fees or whatnot, the TattleTale doesn’t care if those rules or laws, taxes or fees are actually lawful or not. It’s the policing and controlling of others that the TattleTale is zealous about. The TattleTale loves the opportunity to judge, police, control or condemn others. If you get reported to your city for not having exactly the right paperwork to be doing your Airbnb hosting, I would not be surprised if a TattleTale Host is behind those shenanigans.
With regard to hosting guests, the TattleTale Host may be one of two types. They may either be particularly hard on guests, overattentive to disobedience by guests, or they may be particularly harsh on hosts, and inclined to criticize other hosts. Sometimes the TattleTale may have the view that all hosts “should be” extremely hospitable and gracious, even to the point where they don’t attend to their own needs, in favor of the guests’ needs. Anything and everything to make the guest comfortable! The TattleTale may feel that “the customer is always right” with a conviction that approaches that of a fanatical martyr or a walking doormat.
If there is one thing that makes the TattleTale Host angry, it’s the idea that people should be free, and should be able to run their business in a way that is comfortable for them and suits their needs. This in complete opposition to everything the TattleTale believes in most fervently, which is that there are rules, and everyone has to follow them! The question about where those rules come from and who makes them, doesn’t concern the TattleTale, who not surprisingly, is likely to be a big supporter of overly controlling governments, and government overreach. A nascent totalitarian regime might be right up her alley. Because to unlawfully or unethically overreach with inappropriate attempts to control, is just what TattleTale likes to do best.
(9) The Guest Who Suddenly Turns Into A Host aka the Sudden Host
Many of us have experienced this type of host, which is the kind of host you really don’t want to be. We think we have a guest coming to stay at our home, but come to find out, that guest turns into a host, and starts scolding us or criticizing this or that, saying that they are a host too, and that they don’t do things this way.
A common phrase from these kinds of “sudden” hosts, is “I’ve been doing this for X years, and I’ve never heard of anyone with this kind of house rule/this kind of bed/this kind of furniture/this kind of whatever”. It’s not enough, you see, for them to tell you this as a guest. They feel that the fact that they are a host, makes them right, and ensures that you are wrong.
Now the irony is that the guests who become “Sudden Hosts” in this way, are quite often young. And I mean very young. Not just 20 years younger than me, but sometimes 40 years younger than me. And pardon me if I find it unlikely that a 23 year old “host” from New York City has somehow already made enough money to buy their own home. The fact that someone who is a “host” because they’ve scammed the landlord and are renting out their space illegally, and who has never owned any property and is 20 years younger than me, is now lecturing me on how to host, is a very rich irony: one which seems to completely escape these Sudden Hosts.
This is the kind of guest-suddenly-turned-host, that you dont’ want to be!
(10) Weak Boundaries Host
The Weak Boundaries Host is someone who may have many skills, but they just can’t manage to maintain healthy boundaries. They also don’t realize how poor boundaries lead to problems. If guests ask for a favor, they have a hard time saying no, even though they really do not want to grant it. If a guest wants to borrow their personal belongings, eg use their computer, or borrow a jacket because “I forgot to bring one”, the Weak Boundaries Host will agree to these things, only to regret it later on.
If a guest wants friends over, a party, to bring over one or three dogs when the host has a no pet policy, the Weak Boundaries Host will find that they seem to be made of jello, and that they have no spine, and can’t really resist anything at all that the guest wants. Why is this? The Weak Boundaries Host doesn’t know, because they haven’t done enough self-reflection and personal growth work to learn why.
Somehow, the regret about the failure to maintain boundaries, never seems to lead to improved boundaries. The Weak Boundaries Host may see the problems they are getting into, but lack the will, or the strength, to avoid sliding right down the hill into yet another calamity. So much jello, you see.
Eventually, a Weak Boundaries Host will give up hosting, because they can’t figure out how to say no.
There really are people like this. I have a friend who has very weak boundaries, and some of the results of her inability to say no, or always be available, are quite astonishing, and would be hard for many to believe. For instance, almost every time I talk to her on the phone, she has to suddenly hang up, because (she says to me) “someone else is calling, I have to answer.” It seems impossible for her to allow anyone’s call to route to her voicemail. She absolutely feels she has to answer immediately to anyone’s phone call. It’s as if she can’t stand that anyone would have to wait 10, 20 or 30 minutes for her to call them back. She would feel like she failed them to do that, it seems.
And yet, she can’t seem to see the irony, that in order to be immediately attentive to the new caller (and by the way, often these are telemarketers!) she has to suddenly hang up on me, which is quite rude because I’m usually in the middle of saying something. She seems to see no irony in being quite rude to one person in order to be immediately attentive to some random other.
This same friend is also so unable to say NO to anyone, for instance a friend or family member who might want to stay at her house, that when she built an addition onto her home, a new room, she intentionally made it too small, only 6 ft by 8ft, saying “if I made it larger someone might want to stay over“. Yet she can’t realize how dramatically she is cutting off her own nose to spite her face: getting a tiny room which is barely usable, when she could have had a normal size room, just because she can’t bring herself to say no.
And THAT is the kind of Weak Boundaries Host (or person!) you don’t want to be.