Several times I’ve compared this instance to my living room. I think that’s a powerful and accurate analogy and I’d like to explain what I mean by that.

Even if no one else came around, I’d still have my home and my living room. It’d be boring and quiet, though! I’d much rather be surrounded by friends, and if you’re in my house, I assume that you’re my friend. I’m glad you’re here and want you to have a nice time! I also imagine that we’re in an apartment complex, surrounded by other people who also have living rooms and have invited friends over.

As a homeowner, I have some responsibilities to my guests, to my neighbors, and ultimately to myself. While almost everyone understands how to behave civilly around others, there are a few conditions that I expect my guests to live up to. Here are some of them:
  • You don’t have to agree with me. In fact, it’d be boring if we all had the same opinions on everything.
  • You definitely don’t have to constantly tell me what a great person I am. If I’m being a jerk, tell me I’m being a jerk.
  • Sometimes even people who like each other get into spats. When that happens, the best course of action is often to ask them not to talk to each other for a while. I don’t want to get more involved in every disagreement among friends than I have to.
  • Other times it might be more just than a little difference of opinion. If a guest is being unspeakably rude to other guests, I’ll ask them to leave – maybe to come back later, or maybe not to come back at all. Even if they were here first. Even if they weren’t rude to everyone. Even if they’re a friend of mine. Even if they’re friends with other guests. I hope it never comes to that and it would make me sad, but I’ll do what it takes to protect my companions.
  • On hopefully rare occasions, I might send someone home without a second warning. There are certain things that you are not allowed to say or do in my living room, ever, and I’ll kick anyone out who says or does them. In particular, people who make my other guests feel threatened, unwanted, or harassed can GTFO.
  • I’ve got your back. If someone is bothering you, let me know and I’ll do what it takes to make it stop. Note that I’ll try to take the least action that fixes the problem, and I may not always tell you what that was beyond “I’ve talked to them”, but I will take your concerns seriously. If that doesn’t work, tell me and I’ll take further actions until it stops.
  • That also means that I don’t want you taking problems into your own hands (unless it’s an emergency). Please give me a chance to make things right before escalating a situation. I have kids and think nothing of sending everyone involved to their own rooms to cool down.
  • If one of my neighbors’ guests is starting trouble in my living room, I’ll ask them to leave and will have a word with my neighbor about their friends. If it becomes a problem and they won’t fix it, I won’t allow their guests over any more – even if some of my friends like them. Conversely, if one of my friends is causing problems with the neighbors, I might send them home.
  • If you don’t like it here, there are many other living rooms to visit. I’d be sad if something I said or did (or didn’t say or do) made you uncomfortable to the point that you’d leave, but I wouldn’t be angry with you for doing so. If you decide to leave because you had a bad time, though, I’d sure appreciate it if you let me know why so that I could try to fix it.

But all that really boils down to this: I like you, you’re welcome here, I want you to be safe here, and I want you to get along with the other guests. Welcome to my home. Let’s have fun!