Dad has offered me opportunity to co-host, but won't explain responsibilities

New here, this is my first post, so please let me know if there’s anything I should be doing differently.

I’m a 30 year old autistic woman, currently living with my parents and looking to get back out on my own. My family owns a beautiful old farmhouse, about a mile away from my parents’ farm. My dad started renting it out on AirBnb this past spring. After telling him multiple times that I’m interested in moving into the house (both of my younger brothers have rented it from him previously), he gave me two options.

1 - I can rent the entire house for $1000/month plus utilities (which I can’t afford at the moment, but hopefully will eventually be able to).

2 - I can live on the main floor of the house (with the bedroom and parlor being private areas, living room, bathroom, and kitchen common areas, and upstairs for guests) and be an AirBnb co-host.

Problem: He refuses to tell me what he would expect of me as a co-host.

We’ve had multiple conversations about it that go nowhere and mainly consist of, “So, what would my responsibilities as a co-host be?” “What do you want them to be?” “What are my options?” “Whatever you want.”

I finally came up with what I thought was a good plan.

Due to being autistic, dealing with people can be difficult and exhausting for me, even when I enjoy it.

I usually do well face-to-face, as long as I have some warning of the potential for interaction beforehand. At my seasonal job at a nearby campground, for instance, I know that while I’m there, I will potentially be dealing with park guests on and off all day, so I’m prepared for that. I also know that when I go home, I can go to my room and be alone for the rest of the night to deal with any overload from the day, rest up, recharge, etc.

I do not do as well with phone calls, particularly unexpected ones. I have some mild auditory processing issues, and deal with anxiety in addition to that. Again, when I’m at work, I can deal with this, because I am prepared for it, and I know I only have to deal with it for the 8 hours I’m there.

I communicate best through writing, but unexpected messages can also very be anxiety-inducing and it can take me time to gear up to read them, not to mention having to come up with a reply afterwards.

So I had the idea that my dad could deal with the booking/reservation portion, and I could greet the guests when they arrive, take care of any issues while they’re there, and do the cleaning afterwards.

That way, I would have some warning about when I would have to be interacting with people - I would know, “Okay, this guest is coming in this day, so I will have to be prepared to greet them at this time and welcome them to the house. They’re staying until this day, so I will have to be prepared to be on-call for that period of time in case they need anything.” I think I could deal with that.

What I can’t deal with is having to be prepared for phone calls or messages the entire time I’m awake, day in and day out. I know it would hardly be constant, but just the idea of having to be prepared to take a phone call or reply to a message at any time makes me anxious. And knowing that there will be days that will go by with no phone calls or messages, but I will still have to be expecting them, and then end up being anxious all day for nothing. It honestly makes me want to cry just thinking about it because I know how stressful and exhausting that would be for me.

When I tried presenting this idea to my dad, he immediately shot it down. First because, “Well the booking part is easy, that’s not any work at all!” (My unspoken thought: good, then you should be able to handle it!). Then because he thought it would be too complicated having both of us deal with a single booking (isn’t that the whole point of co-hosting?) - he’d have to communicate with me about the guests and bookings and such, and the guests shouldn’t have to deal with more than one person (how hard is it to just say, “My daughter will greet you when you arrive, and you can contact her with any issues you have during your stay”?).

I’ve tried bringing it up since then, but the conversation never goes anywhere. I’m trying to come up with a way for this to work, but he just continues to throw obstacles in my way instead of trying to help me figure it out.

I’m hoping someone here will have some ideas that could help me - either some help figuring out what some specific co-host responsibilities might be, or some help figuring out a plan I can present to my dad, or a better way to approach him…I’m open to pretty much any suggestions. Even if it’s just, “Your dad is an abusive jerk, forget about it and move far, far away.” :stuck_out_tongue:

(That last one is actually probably my best bet - I know I probably didn’t share enough details for anyone to actually come to the conclusion that he’s an abusive jerk, but it’s true. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to be hopelessly optimistic that he means well, despite all of my experiences to the contrary. Also, I grew up in that old farmhouse - we lived there until I was 14 - and I really, really love it and want to live there. Otherwise I probably would just forget about it and focus on my side plan to get out of here and move far, far away.)

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Wow, rarely do we get someone post who is so expressive and literate.
An idea occurs to me… what about getting a roomie or two for the space?

Guests always come with things to deal with. You will definitely get some unexpected and stressful things that could cause you anxiety.

With roommates you are in charge and they pretty much have to live by your rules. The house seems big enough to?

Or… what about applying for aid for the disabled? Not saying you are, because you are clearly capable and can work, but you might be able to secure some assistance just by being diagnosed autistic. There could be money out there to help autistic live independently?

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Hello @autiefarmgirl

A great post.

If you want to know more about co-hosting have a look at here.

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/help/article/1534/what-can-a-co-host-do

However based on what you have said I agree with @konacoconutz. I am not sure this would be right for you. Some guests are wonderful, but some can be stressful to deal with and some can be down right unreasonable/rude.

Managing guests including having messages and queries to deal with in advance of guests staying and then having to deal with queries while guests are with you.

A room-mate or two would sound like a better solution. You can then vet them in advance to make sure they have personalities that you feel comfortable with. Hopefully this would give you the income you need to afford to live there.

Good luck whatever you decide to do.

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Hi @autiefarmgirl,

Well done for sharing your story. I have an autistic girl working for me at the moment so a lot of what you say is ringing bells. I am gaining some insight to your condition, but also understand it’s a spectrum and everyone is different.

It’s a real shame your dad is not more supportive / understanding of your condition. Can your Mum help somehow to mediate and bridge the gap with your father? What you propose with the split of responsibility seems entirely reasonable, in fact, on reflection, that is exactly how we operate; I manage the listing, the calendar, all the pre arrival communication; and then my partner takes over for the arrival, greeting etc. And it works well.

I think there is some good advice in the above posts, and certainly worth considering the housemate route as well.

Finally, I’ll say to you what I say to the girl working for me (27 yr old autistic, working part time, and living with parents, wanting to get a place of her own… very similar to your situation):

Allow youself to be surprised :slight_smile: and say “Wow. I actually handled that better than I thought I would”. Take strength and comfort from each experience, and over time you’ll build a ‘library’ of just what you’re actually capable of. And you might actually surprise yourself, if you allow yourself to be surprised. Return and repeat.

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I’m sorry I don’t have a plan, just empathy.

My father was also a jerk and I moved out of the house, though not out of town when I was young. His saving grace was that he died when I was 40 so I didn’t have to put up with him my entire life.

You clearly have the self awareness and intelligence to be successful and the more distance between you and your father the better. But until you get to a point where you can move you’re stuck. I don’t think airbnb is for you for all the reasons you so expertly described.

If you do end up co-hosting we are here to help. Welcome to the forum.

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Heya,

That was a lovely post, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us here.

Sharing a house with different people is not easy, you don’t know the people, their behaviours, or their traditions. You can get amazing people stay with you but you can also get difficult people than can make it very stressful.
A huge part of hosting is cleaning and preparing everything for your guests. It can be time consuming and tiring. Not all guests adhere to staying in their own areas in a house. Your own space is essential for you and for all of us hosts but guests can over step over the boundaries either accidental or intentionally. I escape to my bedroom sometimes when I need a break but I leave the husband to sort it out, it can be difficult without that back up.
I would consider taking in a room mate as others have mentioned. I think it would be just very stressful for you, you have to weigh up the pro’s and con’s of each situation, room mate V airbnb guests. Read the threads here, ask yourself how would deal with a specific issue or problem and make an informed choice and one that is less stressful for you. x

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Yes, your Dad is a jerk.

You have outlined all the reasons that co-hosting WITH him will not work. He won’t create a job description, he minimized how much work is involved in securing the bookings, and since he has all the power, he feels quite comfortable using it.

Now to some specific points about hosting. I have received exactly two phone calls during my 18 months as a host. One was from a guest and one was from AirBNB about a guest. All other communication has been via the message system on AirBNB [with a few foreigners contacting me via WhatsAPP, which I discourage.] As you have inferred, you do understand that responding to those messages quickly is essential to ensuring that guests feel well cared for. It reduces THEIR anxiety levels, but sounds as though it would increase yours.

The other attribute that I think is important for a host is quick adaptability. No matter how long you have hosted, something new will always come up and one has to be able to quickly problem solve in a way that doesn’t compromise your parameters. I have gotten better and better at this. It is a learned art form, I think.

You clearly have some [hard-earned, I bet] self-awareness. Only you can decide how much you are willing to tolerate from your family in order to live in that farmhouse. I admit that I am a flawed person. I would probably scrimp and save and stash every dollar into an account for yours with the intention of buying the farmhouse directly.

All the best.

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I am very impressed with you and your self-knowledge. Most people with or without any type of diagnosis are less self-aware than you are. Kudos! I only wish your father could see how well you do life based on all you know about how you operate. It sounds like he’s wishing to somehow “cure” you of your autism by telling you to operate differently.

First he tells you to tell him how you want to co-host, and then he tells you that what you know would work best for you isn’t possible. Dad or no dad, he’s not the business partner you want. So your best bets are, in my opinion:

  1. Wait until you can afford the $1,000 rent and rent the farmhouse for yourself then.
    or
  2. Get a trusted roommate who understands how you need to live.
    or
  3. Get as far away from your dad as you can, and live a happy life as you know suits you best.
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Ditto this!! And now I have to say more because the system needs more characters.

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Thank you all for your helpful and encouraging replies! You’ve given me a lot to think about - it may take me a few days to process it all and write a proper reply, but I wanted to at least let you know that I’ve read your posts and appreciate all of your advice and encouragement.

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I have been thinking about your post for a couple of days now. I was immeasurably moved by your eloquence in describing your difficulties with autism, and with your father. You have a degree of insight that many are not, sadly, gifted with. What is at the fore for me is that as someone who is vulnerable, yet undoubtedly gifted, you are living in what is absolutely an abusive situation; emotionally, behaviourally, and psychologically, and potentially, financially. From what you have described, your father seems intent upon controlling your life almost with coercion. These are all alarm bells for me as an ex Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults expert in statutory social services.

Now I’m retired, and have been hosting on Air for only three months, I can honestly say that hosting needs almost as much resilience, at times, as turning round failing departments in social services. I’ve had 93 odd people through the house in that time and my professional background certainly helps, but there are times when I could surely weep; with frustration, with anger at people’s rudeness, and with utter exhaustion. I don’t get many telephone calls but constant messages, including through the night, i-pad pinging at the same time, because people are in different time zones and give this no thought. I now leave both phone and i-pad downstairs at night! All this, with an informal co-host, my husband, who manages the behind-the-scenes complexities of pricing /seasonality etc. Then again, I have met some brilliant people I wouldn’t have missed for the world.

But back to you. I suspect you really know what you need to do already, but perhaps I can offer a few questions to ask yourself. Whilst I perfectly understand why you want to live in the house where you grew up and love, is a mile far enough away from your father? Do you have any independent support available to you? I know that here in the UK people on the spectrum receive no professional support, post assessment, if they have an IQ above 90 and you are certainly way, way above that. We do however, have some brilliant on-line forums for people with autism here, which have really helped a friend’s son move on with his life in the last two years.

I love the idea of you finding compatible room mates but only if a mile away is sufficient distance!

I wish you all the best in coming to a decision, as I’m sure everyone else here does. Please let us know how you are, even if not hosting. We’ll be there for you.

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Lovely Joan. Thank YOU for your eloquence and heartfelt response.

I took comfort from it, because I just yesterday got abused by a bad bad guest who called me a crook and liar. Waiting for Air to remove the review, I hope the supervisor approves it. I’m gobsmacked by how this guy shook my hand, said thanks and goodbye and had a knife hidden and jammed it in my gut.

Joan, I hope you continue to participate on his forum. I just love having your contributions. :heart:️:hibiscus:

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I am so sorry to hear of this happening to you. We do moan about crap guests but when a really, really horrid one dings you suddenly, it is so hard. I think I read somewhere else that you wrote that you are going to take a break for a month, and good on you girl; go for it! Come back refreshed; you have been a mainstay of my three month journey!

I will be back in the morning. Have been next door, had a tad too much to drink, don’t have to get up (yeh!!) early, and it’d the last night of the Proms on telly. Great fun and more to drink!

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Cheers my friend!!! …

Ditto the comments about your eloquence and understanding of your position.
My brother & I are on the spectrum, very mildly though, and bro has a son with Asperger’s so we have an understanding of how things might be for you. Bee also worked for many years in a school that helped many kids with similar issues.
My first thought was for you to write out for your Dad the (very sensible) plan that you’d thought out. Then I thought about you renting the farm and sub-letting as many rooms as necessary to help,pay the rent - then I saw that the ever-sensible konacoconutz suggested the same thing. And I would suggest that approach would be the best bet for you. If you were to define the rules of the house that were comfortable for you, explaining your situation, I’m sure you’d find accommodating people. (Pun there. :wink: ) There’s also the next step from just renting and that is to try and buy the farm. Much more complicated, but for not much difference in monthly payments the place could ultimately be yours.
Forget co-hosting. As others have said, it can be very trying!
Incidentally, could your Dad be on the spectrum? It may explain things somewhat.
Very best wishes to you in your ventures.

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I am sorry but i did not understand that…

You are a autistic woman and your father asked money to let you stay at his “vacation” house?

No @johnteki

Her family own a farmhouse which they currently rent out generating an income from it.

@autiefarmgirl would like to live there as her brothers did previously renting it from their parents.

Her father has offered her two options 1) she rents it out as her brothers did or 2) she lives that and acts as a co-host for airbnb guests.

She is interesting in option 2, but not sure what a co-host is expected to do and how this might work as she is autistic.

Thanks again, everyone, for your kind replies. I apologize that it’s taken me longer than anticipated to get back to this.

I did end up having a somewhat-productive conversation with my parents, thanks in part to all of your advice and encouragement, and in part to my mom’s intervention. While my dad is still loathe to give me any straight answers, it’s become pretty clear to me that, at this point, he would prefer that I not move into the house. He believes (and is likely correct) that one of the main draws of his listing, since we are in a rural area without much for tourist attractions, is the fact that the guests have the entire house to themselves. It’s a good place for families, couples, groups, or individuals to just get away for a few days and relax. So if I were to move in, the amount of bookings he’s getting would likely decrease.

He did say that I’m welcome to stay over there when it isn’t booked - which I initially thought was kind of ridiculous, since I’d have to be moving back and forth between two houses all the time - but he pointed out that sometimes it might be nice for me to just get away for a little while, which is true. If I look at it as more of a retreat than moving between two houses, it actually sounds pretty nice. And he said if I wanted to do the cleaning, he would pay me for that, so depending on if/when I find another job (my seasonal job ends in October), I may take him up on that.

After putting some more thought into it and taking all of your replies into consideration, I really don’t think co-hosting would be a good option for me anyway. While I’m sure I could do it if I had to, I suspect my mental health would suffer. Honestly, I think part of why I was so determined to make it work - besides the fact that I love the house - is because I wanted to prove to my dad that I could do it. Despite how hard I’ve worked to be my own person, I still find myself getting caught up in subconsciously trying to change myself into being the daughter he wants, to prove that I’m “good enough,” to win his approval. And I often don’t realize that I’m doing it until I get some outside perspective that reminds me that I don’t have to be that person. In this specific case, that maybe co-hosting isn’t for me, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Thanks to all of you who offered that much-needed perspective, and thank you for doing it in a way that didn’t make it sound like you thought I was incapable of the job, but rather that it just might not be the best option for me.

A lot of you mentioned the idea of roommates - it’s definitely something I’ve considered. I’ve had roommates before, and I don’t have any problems getting along with people. Actually, I tend to be overly accommodating, often at the expense of my own health and happiness. One of the many issues of growing up in an abusive home that I have yet to conquer. Basically, I’ve been made to feel like a burden and a bother for most of my life, so part of me feels like I have no right to take up space or have needs or preferences unless I am given “permission” in some way by others - when other people are around, they are always more important and more worthy (and yes, I realize that logically, this is ridiculous - unfortunately, knowing that doesn’t stop the feelings). So while roommates are still an option if necessary, it would be best for me to have my own place.

In any case (though again, my dad won’t say it outright), I have a feeling that renting the house isn’t really an option anymore either. With all of the work he’s done with the airbnb stuff, I kind of doubt that he’d want to shut it down at this point. And he seems to be enjoying hosting quite a bit.

My mom brought up another option for me that I had been unaware of - there’s a farm in a nearby town that’s jointly owned by my great-aunt, and my mom and her siblings (my grandma was co-owner until she passed away a couple of years ago, so her co-ownership went to her kids). They’ve been trying to sell it for a few years now, but haven’t had any luck. The land is being rented and farmed by neighbors, but the house is vacant at the moment. I knew all that already, but my mom thinks they may want someone living there and taking care of the house until it can be sold, especially over the winter, and may be willing to rent it to me at a much cheaper rate than I’d be paying to live in the airbnb house. I have to talk to my great-aunt and my aunt who is the executor of my grandma’s estate about it, but they’re both much more reasonable than my dad. Plus that particular aunt happens to be my favorite aunt, and we’ve always been pretty close. Anyway, it would still be a temporary thing until I’ve managed to save up enough money to move away and get my own place, but it would be better than living with my parents. :slight_smile:

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Unfortunately, I’m not sure how much (if any) disability services/aid I’d qualify for, due to some complications with official diagnoses.

Long story short, I wasn’t diagnosed as a child and only seriously started looking into the possibility a few years ago. At this point, my official diagnosis is actually Nonverbal Learning Disability (NVLD), which isn’t even in the DSM yet, and whether it’s part of the autism spectrum or not is a point of contention among professionals (the clinician who did my testing does not believe it is; my psychiatrist, on the other hand, does).

Among the autistic community, NVLD is generally accepted as part of the spectrum, so I feel confident in identifying as autistic, but that doesn’t get me anywhere in terms of services. I do have official diagnoses of recurrent major depression and general anxiety disorder, however, so I may qualify for some help due to that. It’s something I’ve been meaning to look into, but often find myself getting overwhelmed when I try. I did run across a website the other day for an organization that helps disabled people navigate finding appropriate services though, so I’m going to give them a call.

@Stuart_Ingram, thanks for sharing about the autistic woman who works for you, it’s always good to hear not only about other autistic people succeeding, but non-autistic people who are understanding of our needs. It’s good to hear that a similar split of responsibility works for you, with the way my dad reacts to things it can sometimes be hard to know if I’m being reasonable or not. My mom does try to mediate between my dad and I, but he doesn’t always treat her very well either. Sometimes she can get him to loosen up and be a bit more reasonable, though. :slight_smile:

Thanks, that’s really encouraging. Actually, I think I’m going to write it down so I can refer back to it in the future when I’m feeling stuck again. :slight_smile: One frustrating thing about being autistic is how easily I tend to get caught up in rigid, black-and-white thinking. I have a tendency to swing between the extremes of “I can handle anything that’s thrown at me,” (to the point where I take on too much and end up in a mental health crisis) and “I can’t handle anything,” (to the point where I don’t even try). Sometimes I need some help to see a middle ground - or even just a reminder that there is a middle ground!

Thank you for articulating this so clearly! That’s exactly it.

Definitely in the plans for the future - as long as one of my brothers doesn’t snatch it up first! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks! :slight_smile: Yeah, my dad seems to think that his way is the only way (or at least the best way) to do everything - sometimes it’s like he can’t comprehend that other people might be different from him. If he can do it, why can’t everyone do it? If something is easy for him, then it’s unfathomable that it could be difficult for someone else.

Thank you so much for the reassurance that I’m not overreacting. :heart: Although I know these things logically, it can be easy to doubt myself, especially when I’m living with them and it once again becomes my “normal.” Sometimes I really need that outside reassurance that yes, I am living in an abusive situation, and yes, my dad really is being controlling. He has a way of manipulating situations to make it appear that he’s being helpful - like, in this case, not outright saying no and offering me a couple of options that he knows likely won’t work for me, but sound reasonable to people who don’t know the full story. So then if I make a fuss about it or turn him down, he can easily turn it around on me and make it look like I’m the one who’s being unreasonable.

I actually suspect both of my parents are! Unfortunately, it’s a possibility that neither of them seem to be open to exploring. I’ve tried printing out articles or tagging them in links I post on facebook, if only to help them understand me better, but they don’t seem interested. My mom more or less refuses to read them at this point because they remind them too much of herself and it makes her feel like something’s wrong with her. :disappointed: And since she tends to be the one who is more open to discussion generally, I doubt the conversation would go over well with my dad. I see the same sort of rigid thinking patterns in him that I do in myself, and for him it seems to go to the extreme of refusing to consider (much less admit) that he could be wrong about anything.

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