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How to feel more comfortable with guests around dinner time?



As a fairly new host (7 months) I find it very uncomfortable to have our own dinner with guests coming and going. Our home is on one floor and is pretty much open floor plan. No matter what time I try to plan to serve dinner it seems to be the wrong time. How do others who are sharing your home deal with this.


I couldn’t share my home if I 1) felt uncomfortable and 2) had a time that I “served dinner.” I live alone and when I was sharing my home I’d just take my dinner into the study in front of the computer or out on the patio. In the rare cases where I had people over and guests I’d ignore the Airbnb guest or on RARE occasion I’d invite the guest to join us. They never really did. I’d have guest join me and a friend for drinks. I did have a guest who clearly wanted to eat with us and offered to buy dinner and it was kind of a special case. I’m leaving out details. I hosted her twice and while it was uncomfortable in some ways I’m not sorry I did it.

If this is happening frequently you need to make some changes.


Not all Airbnb accommodation includes self catering for guests or use of a lounge. You could just do bed and breakfast if you like. Or you could give guests a kitchen time, like 7 to 8pm, which fits in with your own dinner time. Don’t let guests make you feel like a stranger in your own home!


oh my gosh, I didn’t intend to have my post come across as so formal “serving dinner” .I very much enjoy having guests and all our reviews have stressed great hospitality, etc. We have breakfast items for the guests and snacks during the day usually some homemade cookies, if they are around. I guess it just goes back to the way people my age were brought up “It’s impolite to eat in front of others,” and so on.
At 83 I guess some of the old rules still poke me once in a while. I really have enjoyed meeting so many new people and having great conversations. Airbnb hosting is a wonderful way to keep current and to supplement our income as well.


We find most guests seem to show up around dinnertime. We never eat in front of guests. We’re fortunate enough to have other rooms where we can go to eat where guests can’t see us. But it does often interfere with the meal prep and we try to make something quick or get takeout. All part of doing business in your home. There are inconveniences when you share your space with others.


Before I separated the two levels of my house my AirBnB guests used to come upstairs to use the kitchen and would usually hang out and eat up here as well. I usually eat at 5.30pm so would be done cooking and eating myself but would like to hang around and chat as it seemed a bit rude watching tv right next to them. After a few times when my guests made me feel unwelcome not talking English, and I couldn’t even watch tv, so I would go and hide in my bedroom I decided to make the guest area downstairs separate with its own lounge, bathroom, kitchenette and dining table. I also charge more so it has paid for itself many times over. If I like a guest I’ll ask them upstairs for a drink at sunset and even share a meal occasionally but I don’t miss the interaction and prefer my own space and company (as well as the dog, cat, fish and turtles of course).


I’m 53 and with you on that one. Sometimes you can say to people “please start eating and don’t let me hold you up” but in general i wouldn’t start unless they told me to. I even had a friendship end over this.


I would feel awkward too. Sharing a kitchen is difficult (almost as difficult as sharing a bathroom) with guests. I admire hosts who can do it well.

I like the idea proposed earlier in this thread of blocking off time for your use only of the kitchen. Then the guests and you have flexibility to use the kitchen or not during the other hours.

Meaning, if you like to prepare your dinner & dine between 7-8:30 close your kitchen to guests during that time. Other times are access for all. This is not ideal but if the guest has access to a dorm refrigerator, coffee pot, & microwave & alternate dining spot (like a patio) it could work.


thanks for all the suggestions from you all. Usually we have dinner before the check in time for guests, as we know the approximate time, etc.
after the guests are here a day or so we can usually gauge when they will be coming home. It’s just the random day here and there that our dinner time is when they come in. Our kitchen and dining room are situated just as you enter the house. Our guests do not have full kitchen access just breakfast, and use of the microwave, refrigerator. I think I made it seem as if it were a really serious problem, it isn’t really. Usually if we are in the middle of dinner, I offer them a cup of coffee to sit with us, but they usually don’t, just go onto their room. Thanks for your suggestions, I have learned a great deal from reading all the posts on his forum. I even now know what a futon is!!!


We would never do that! We make sure never to be having a meal when guests arrive. If I were a guest arriving and my hosts were eating their dinner, I’d feel really uncomfortable walking in. It’s already an awkward situation going to a strangers home. I even try to go outside to welcome them if I see them pull up just so they don’t feel uneasy ringing the doorbell wondering if they’re at the right place. Try to put yourself in their shoes. They go straight to their room because they feel they are intruding on your meal.


I guess I didn’t make myself very clear. On arrival day, of course we know when guests are coming and dinner is long over and dishes done, kitchen spick an span, everything ready . When guests arrive, we greet them and help them into the guest room, talk with them about what they can expect, etc etc.

I only speak to the random day here and there when guests who are here during stay come home in the middle of dinner. Sometimes the guests will join us for a cup of tea or coffee, usually not. I would never be in the middle of dinner when guests are arriving for the first time.


Welcome to the world of hosting.

Guests will not turn up when you are waiting for them, and will turn up when you are having diner, having a shower or on the toilet. Somehow they know… :roll_eyes:


I also thought it might be when guests arrive, but if this is a day when they are already staying I don’t see that there is a problem (apart from you feeling awkward). Guests know they are sharing a house, they know you are human and therefore have to eat. A cheery hello, how was your day is all they need at that point!


More of a problem is guests not communicating properly and not caring about punctuality for check in and as a result the host doesn’t know when the hell to eat. Most guests seem more than confident on Airbnb these days.


Rita- you sound too sweet. No Kitchen use or limited kitchen use. I have 2 kitchens and its a liability when guests cook. I have guests make themselves tea at 11:00 pm and leave the gas on overnight. Luckily i do a walk through before bed. Hotels only offer rooms so when we are offering them a kitchen its extra. Please limit your kitchen access. You will be much happier. It is just me but I think its rude to use someone kitchen to cook a big meal. Makes me feel very awkward when guests cook in someone else’s home. I feel if they are on vacation they should explore the place not my home or my kitchen.


My second airbnb guest, came up to me and said while i was cooking dinner" am heading to bed and dont need any dinner" i just said no problem. He must have read the rules as it did not happen again.


I haven’t had any problems with guests using the kitchen for anything other than in the house rules, microwave use and of course storing foods or drink in the refrigerator. I provide very varied breakfast items bur few guests It seems eat much for breakfast. One exception was a woman who came prepared with eggs out of the shell, which she wanted to scramble for hubbies breakfast. They had been with us for a few days and really were very nice and congenial people, so of course I let her scramble away, she was happy, hubby was full. and we got 5 stars and a wonderful review. Actually since I started hosting there has not been less than 5 stars and I was made superhost a few months into it. Of course, I expect that someday the guest from hell will arrive . Until then I guess I will just keep on doing what I have been doing, and maybe start eating a hearty breakfast, and a large lunch, and skip dinner at all. LOL.
thanks all for taking time to weigh in . I appreciate it.


Thank you for sharing your situation and seeking the wisdom of the host community, @ritaP. I have to say, I ADMIRE someone who takes up something this adventurous at the age of 83. You go, girl!!!

I’m polar opposite to most of the hosts commenting on this question. I was raised in a huge family, with people coming and going all the time, including during dinner. In college, I lived in a 13-bedroom communal house with 20-ish people (it changed all the time), and their friends would come and go constantly. After college, I nearly always lived in group houses.

So, for me, it’s perfectly natural to have people coming and going during dinnertime and every other time. I just go about my life, smile and chat with people if they come through the dining room during dinner/lunch, casually offer beverages or any food I have in a pot on the stove (if I like them), and sometimes they join me/us and sometimes they don’t. It all goes smoothly on that count. I think what people find “awkward” often depends on the attitude and comfort level of projected. My attitude is: guests know I live here, and that I work, sleep, and eat like everyone else. So it’s on them to get that my whole life won’t revolve around predicting when they will and won’t be in the house. I think this projects a degree of casual acceptance that’s contagious. So my guests do the same.

That said, I totally get the issue of the cultural norms in which we were raised requiring some big adjustments when Airbnb enters the picture. I can only HOPE I’m as brave and spirited about trying something THIS different (and hard!) when I’m in my 80’s. Hat’s off to you!


This is very important. If you are at ease, it will help to make guests feel more at ease. Likewise, if you’re eating and a guest walks in and you seem uncomfortable with it, they will pick up on that and feel uncomfortable as well.

However, not everyone will be completely at ease walking in during a host’s dinnertime no matter how comfortable you project to be with it. Just because it’s something you are used to doesn’t mean everyone is. We have to try to put ourselves in our guests shoes and for some of them it could be a very uncomfortable situation. This is why we eat in a private room when guests are expected and not in the kitchen area.


thanks for the encouragement, trying something new is not unusual for my husband and I. we have done a few ventures together, and have enjoyed them all. My first instinct with guests is to sit them down and share the dinner meal with them, but since I am not the greatest cook, that would be a sure way to get a very low scoring review. LOL Breakfast is really fine, it gives us a chance to get to know the guests a little, and sets the mood for the rest of the visit. All our reviews have stressed how we make them feel at home, and are totally at ease. My husband and I have always enjoyed having visitors and long stays with our grandchildren, friends, etc. Since the grandkids are no longer “kids” and family and friends are not traveling as much, hosting Airbnb has filled the void. We are loving “taking care” of guests, even though the work involved is considerable. Our house has never looked as spic and span, and we have never slept better. We started with the idea that if we didn’t like it after a month or so, we would quit. we are still going 9 months in. This is the slow season here, so we are working on small projects .

Thanks for including me in your group. I have enjoyed reading all the posts and have learned a lot.

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