Older female guests lately who feel “weird” staying in a stranger’s home with them there

This past week I’ve had two older female guests who have gotten weirded out by staying in my home with me there. Then they left early hardly saying a word which, maybe I’m too sensitive, I feel kind of insulted. Yes, I’m there—I live there. With the second couple of older women I purposely stayed out of their way by going upstairs. But they left very quickly this morning. No “thanks for opening your home” or “thanks for your hospitality.” I am a 70-year-old woman and it hurts my feelings. It would be nice if my efforts were appreciated. What about how weird it feels to me sleeping across from strangers almost every day? I’m starting to get apprehensive about accepting older women because I feel they’re not going to be happy. The younger people have been more considerate. I am a “Superhost” but these ladies make me sad.

Even though you are opening your home, Airbnb is pushing a hotel model. Yes, the original vision of Airbnb still exists in 1000s of homes across the world but there are many millions more guest who see this as a business. I wouldn’t advise getting too emotionally invested in having paying guests meet your emotional needs.

I was a teacher for 27 years so I learned to take the good and let go of the bad. It works with hosting too.

Also, in the specific cases you’ve mentioned, you’re really trying too hard to be hurt by nothing. You’re saying they were “weirded out” but give scant evidence. Did they tell you that? Maybe they were tired, or shy or hard of hearing or any of a dozen things that have nothing to do with you.


Thank you for your comment. I am just a little bewildered by guests that book a room in someone else’s home but get uncomfortable when they realize they’re not alone in the house. I’ll move past this. There’s a lot of mixed messages. There is advice about warm and interesting decor, and advice how to imitate an hotel. I was a 5-star (pre-Internet) hotel maid. I know what a turned-over room looks like. But I also think it’s important to be a little unique. Just venting.

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About the “weirded out” comment: Yes, the first lady this week said exactly that and left one day early. I’ve had an older woman criticize our “small” (not) living room right off the front door with hubby and me in it and being uncomfortable. That particular population group has been the most difficult for me. One grandma felt “uncomfortable” that my husband and I have our bedroom door propped open a little bit. It’s so our cat doesn’t make a racket when he wants to come in or out.

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I just stayed in two different Airbnbs, a whole house where I never met the owner and an attached ensuite to a home where I did meet the owner, her kids and her two dogs. There’s a vast variety and guests don’t know what they are going to get when they book an airbnb. It has a lot of challenges and sometimes I’m amazed the model survived well enough to make the founders billionaires.


Truly, if you’re going to be a happy host you shouldn’t worry about it at all. You know that you provide good accommodation at a good price so forget about any guests who are strange. (Many are, actually :slight_smile: )

As long as they pay and you’re making a profit, that’s the main thing.


:laughing: That’s fer sure. I think I have a predictably good guest tonight. He likes Shakespeare. “Probably gay.” says hubby.


That’s the best guest. :wink:


Don’t take it personal. Some people are just plain rude. I would ding them on communication when writing their reviews.

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@Oreberry, I completely understand you. I also host in my home and can indeed be very uncomfortable when people are so rude. I don’t know how many guests you’ve hosted but I can tell you that it’s not just older women who can be like this.

I’ve been hosting for years (must be getting on for 700 guests by now) and such people can be any age and from any place. Right now I have a couple who are ok but the first thing one of them said was ‘do you live here too’. My heart always sinks when this happens. It’s like, wtf? What part of “Private room in a house” didn’t you understand? Sometimes I’m tempted to say, well normally I do live here but when there are guests I retire to the cellar and only come out at night to clean the bathroom…

You just have to take the bad with the good in this game. It might help to have a look at this thread where you get the opposite problem. Might make you thankful that your guests left early!


@Oreberry Emily, I’m so sorry you’ve had some bad experiences with your older guests. Perhaps your listing needs to be clearer that you live there and that your guests will share the home with you. Perhaps guests think that there is a private entrance and that they will not actually be interfacing with you on a day to day basis. Is it possible that guests are not really aware that a private room in someone’s home actually means that you are there and that the guests will be sharing the listing with you?

I’m trying to make it really clear when I respond to their first request for booking: “You realize you’re booking a private room in a house where we live…yada yada yada.” I’m trying to head off that kind of misunderstanding. I think they realize when they’re here that the arrangement doesn’t appeal to them so they bail quickly. It’s the real novices on Air that do this.

Oreberry, I am so sorry you have had a such double dose of such rudeness, nd that this has saddened you so much. Like Magwitch, I am in a similar situation to yourself and have had my fair share of ‘’ what, you live here too?’’. I’ve even been asked, in a strong Afrikaner accent, ‘‘why are you cooking in my kitchen’’.

There are some really awful people amongst the splendidly lovely ones we meet on this journey. Whatever their age, these are the ones who get angry if they have failed to read a listing well enough to meet their expectations, and them blame their host.

Ignore them. Be glad that they left early. Their problem, not yours, and no refunding them!

Focus on the guests who bring you joy and who appreciate your hospitality.


Right now I have a couple who are ok but the first thing one of them said was ‘do you live here too’.

I’ve had a weird amount of people ask me this! (I rent out a private room in my house, and in the listing, I say that my boyfriend and I live and work from home). I totally have the same feeling of WTF haha.

The worst that happened were these two guys who booked my space–asked me a bunch of questions ahead of time, etc. (so you’d think they read the details… the guy even runs his own Airbnb…) They show up and are surprised to find that I live here. They tell me that it’s not what they wanted (also accusing me that my listing is inaccurate–even though the house is categorized as a “private room”), so I offer them a full refund even though it was past the cancellation period, but just to be nice (and at this point I really wanted them to just leave). A few days later they leave me a negative review dinging me on overall, value, and accuracy. I mean, I was a bit mad about it but it did not seem worth my time to be argue with this guy, and it got me thinking about how I needed to be more clear about expectations.

So now, in my welcome message after a guest books, I tell them right away that they are renting a SHARED HOUSE and that I live here, and I haven’t had issues since. I think some people new to Airbnb see “private” in “private room” and they just assume the entire space is private.

Love it!
And if that doesn’t make them feel weird! :slight_smile:
I had a guest who thought the private comments in the review were for Airbnb and not seen by me. She wrote, “The host moves really quickly through the woods.”
I decided it was praise…


No, William Shakespeare would be the best guest.
Then gay after that.
then me.


Gay and bald.



Exactly. I’ve not had a single problem since about a year ago, when I decided to be ultra clear in my message after any enquiry, request or IB: very politely but unambiguously, along the lines of;-

''Thank you for your (IB/Request/Enquiry) today Jane. Based on past experience, we like to ensure that we can meet our guests expectations, and they are not disappointed with what we offer.

''You will be staying in our home, where we live, and offer a small amount of B&B. There may be other guests staying at the same time as yourselves but there is plenty of space for everyone, enhanced by the lovely country pub next door. We also have two small, energetic kittens, and ask our guests to help keep them safely inside, and out of guest bedrooms.

‘‘If we do not offer what you were hoping for, I will understand completely if you withdraw/cancel your booking.’’

I think raising my rates has possible had an impact too; I’ve not had any problem or unpleasant guests since December, and I’m feeling much less hyper vigilant! I’m thinking of keeping them up over the winter months too, just to see what impact that may have.

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Here are two little strategies that I have discovered more or less accidentally by updating my website, so guests should TOTALLY know this isn’t a whole house rental:

I’ve added what is called a “slider” to autoplay past reviews in the right hand column. So when guests go to any page (room descriptions, house manual, how to get here), that is playing to the side of the main text of the page. And it’s overwhelmingly clear that I’m on site and ready, willing and able to help with any and all questions about my challenging city. And by inference, not in a galaxy far far away.

Just added verbiage to the intro to the House Manual (which MUST be read to have the WiFi code and door code provided) noting as follows:

Every homestay is different. At Charm City Homestay, you are staying with a retired journalist and world traveler, who is still a writer and a lover of the outdoors. It may sound like a contradiction, but I love peace and quiet AND social interaction with my guests. These house rules are designed to allow us to share this historic Charm City rowhome, built in 1848, harmoniously.

If you smoke, have animals, wear perfumes or fragrances, or want to bring in family, visitors, etc., another accommodation would be better for you. If you accidentally booked without knowing these limitations, please contact me immediately so we can get you into a different accommodation.

This link shows the reviews autoplaying:


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Providing you have made it very clear you are offering shared accommodation your guests shouldn’t be surprised by your presence! That said, not all guests check out details clearly, you could always reiterate what you offer before accepting the booking?

Being on-site can be a positive, and you sound like a sociable host with a lot to offer. It’s nice to offer something a little more unique than a run-of-the-mill hotel experience, but not all guests like a chat and a cuppa.

How about offering extras in terms of breakfast, afternoon tea, lunch or dinner for a little extra? Having a guest at your table could prove socially satisfying (and they get a home-cooked meal or the like)!

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