Hello stranger teaHello stranger!

I’ve been welcoming strangers into my house for over two years now. 22 young men and women have come through my door, some for only one night, others for several nights. Their circumstances have been as varied as their backgrounds. I usually host one or two nights a week. In this blog, I’ll try to give you a glimpse into what it’s like being a host.

Last night, my guest was a young woman who’s stayed with me and my 17-year-old daughter several times before. In July, we sat in the garden, chatting about her prospects of moving into a shared house soon. That fell through, and the temporary solution that followed lasted only until the autumn. It was lovely to see her again two weeks ago, when she came to stay with us for two nights. We know each other a bit by now – we’re no longer strangers. She knew what to expect in our house, and I knew how she takes her tea! That makes things easier for both sides.

It’s not just practical things that I like about repeat hosting. The young person has more of a chance to relax when they know you and your house. And I can be more relaxed around them. It impacts less on my day-to-day life, as I know exactly what will be required from me, how much chatting I can expect, and what they might like to eat for dinner. When I host someone I’ve never met before, I’m anxious to make them feel comfortable, but I don’t know yet what they might need. Some people are straightforward about their needs. After the little tour of the house, they might say “Right, I’ll have a shower now, and can I use your washing machine later?”. Others might be more withdrawn and just sit on the bed with their phone… and it takes a while to find out what puts them at ease.

So – I said goodbye to my guest this morning, but we might see each other again, and that would be just fine.

Hello Stranger is a monthly blog post by a Bristol Nightstop Host