A better guest than a host

Which one are you?

Gordie Jackson
2 min readApr 5, 2024
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

I had always thought of myself as someone who would like to host people until when a student at Shenley (1993), a German friend came to stay. During his stay, I experienced an overwhelming sense of responsibility while hosting acting more like a waiter than a friend. It drained me of energy leading me to want time alone to recharge.

In moments when I became overexuberant and almost uttered an invitation to stay the earlier experience would remind me that I am a better guest than a host. Even as a guest the need for my space arises and I feel awkward seeking time alone.

We needed to see our relationship at my home hence it was time for Chai to come to me. Chai and T’ would also meet for the first time.

As we walked into the flat it was as if I was walking in on myself, the stillness, the silence and the loneliness struck me. This space had become a reflection of my soul, a very private place yet into I was bringing Chai. It also seemed to put to flight the ghost of my past relationship. I was emotionally paralysed by what was evoked. Chai sensing it took the lead by moving us to eat and then go for a walk.

I am very grateful for the space I have yet by bringing Chai into it I was aware of how little there was. I felt the inadequacy of my ability to host.

An open-plan design in a small space did not help facilitate Chai and T’ first meeting. Add into it people working from home and it can feel more like an office than a living space.

In my own backyard, I knew I was different than at Chai’s. The roles of being a host and a father were prominent making me less than relaxed and of course that affects the other. Those feelings of ‘stuckness’ returned like when the screen freezes and often we need to reset. Resets on screens are one thing not so easy on a human and for the one interacting with it.




Gordie Jackson

Speaks with a Northern Irish accent, lives in Hertfordshire, England.