Keep them happy, maybe they'll come back.

During my first year at Penn, I had a tiny, strangely-shaped single on the fourth floor of the freshman quad, so for all I know, my hallmate could have been Rapunzel. (She took forever to do her hair.) I told myself that the next year, I would move into an off-campus house where I would have space to at least open my closet without having to climb over my bed. But then I realized that that having my own space would provide some other great benefits as well—no RA breathing down my neck, my own kitchen, and best of all, the freedom to host friends whenever I want. I had talked the new place up to my friends from home, so I could finally say, “yeah, come to Philly! I’d love to have you.”

Now, let me tell you, there are some very easy steps that you can take to make your friend doesn’t completely regret staying with you instead of that friend they sort of made at sleepaway camp. As a senior who has surfed many off campus couches, this is not my first rodeo. This is going to upset my parents, but my apartment is clearly not a 4 star hotel, nor should it be. (Although I wouldn’t complain if I woke up with a chocolate on my pillow, Mom.) But that doesn’t mean a friend should leave town with sore back and a groggy headache. There’s an in between and I’m here to share some of the essentials that will make your friend’s visit to your place the best one they’ve ever had.

Futoff? Futon.

The beauty of a futon is in its versatility. Is it a couch? A bed? A place to fold laundry? It’s really anything you need it to be in a pinch. But when your friend is in town, it’s where they’re going to crash for the night. It’s comfy and it definitely beats sleeping on the grungy couch in the common room. You know, the one your friends found sitting on the sidewalk around the corner. Pass. You’re in your 20’s. The last thing you need is a backache.

Point Blanket

Once you guys are back from whatever rager, it’s time to settle in for the night. That means that while your guest has a futon to sleep on, they’ll probably want a blanket to snuggle up with. Once the lights are off, don’t take their silence as comfort; we’ve all been there as guests — “Oh no! Don’t worry about me! I’m completely fine sleeping on this sack of potatoes and turnips!” I’ve slept on many couches with only a sports jacket as a blanket. Don’t let your guest do the same.

Live the Dry Life (or Miller Dry Life)

So it’s the morning after your big night out, and naturally, your friend only has 45 minutes to spare before the bus leaves back to their collegetown. Sounds like the perfect time for a quick shower. What better way to help your friend beat those whiskey sours than a fresh new towel to greet them when they’re finished washing up. Of course, this isn’t a relaxation shower — it’s strictly to help wake up. Focus!

A Brush with Breath

Aaaaand they forgot a toothbrush. 25 minutes until that bus pulls away from the station. But you knew this was going to happen. Your friend was always the forgetful one in high school. Homework, lunch plans, birthday gifts — it’s was only a matter of time until it was something as basic as a toothbrush. That’s why you planned ahead and ordered a few extra. “Just… Just go ahead and take this one. Yeah, it’s fine.”

Snack Attack

You can’t send your friend off empty handed though. There’s no time for breakfast — no, this is a grab and go type of morning, and that bus isn’t going to wait. Good thing you have enough water bottles and Clif Bars in your fridge to share. So the long weekend ends with a tearful goodbye and a well hydrated friend on their way back to school thinking, “Hm, that was a great trip.”

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