Experienced couchsurfers can predict how their stay will pan out within moments of meeting their host. They notice patterns in the character and personality of their hosts that tend to repeat over time. Below are some of the most memorable characters — both good and bad — that every couchsurfer eventually encounters on his or her travels.
1. The Absentee Host abandons you as soon as he lets you through the door. He has the personality of a potato, and conversations with him are one-sided and pointless. He never invites you to join him for a meal, and he leaves you to scour for pillows and blankets on your own. Internally, you’ll debate whether he has Asperger’s or if he just doesn’t like you. Regardless, he has a sick pad, and many surfers are relieved to find they have no obligation to socialize with him.
2. The Hoarder Hostess never should have opened her home to guests. She incessantly apologizes for her house being a mess — and for good reason. You can barely locate your bed among the mounds of clutter. She’s a nice girl, but her home is decidedly unsuitable for human habitation.You wish you could teleport to a hostel, but you’re already here. You have two options: break her heart and leave, or endure this pig sty until tomorrow morning.
3. The Serial Host accepted too many requests, and when you arrive at his place, you are surprised to learn you are not alone. There are two guests already staying with him, and five are on their way. He quickly becomes an outcast in his own home as his surfers bond with each other while he broods over the meaninglessness of human existence. He is withdrawn, emotionally unavailable, and mildly depressed. If you attempt conversation with him, he will answer your questions but ask you none. The truth is he doesn’t care about you. He is just using couchsurfing to fill the void of his empty life.
4.The Narcissist Hostess loves to hear the sound of her own voice, and your only purpose as a couchsurfer is to listen to her talk about herself. You and your trip are far more interesting than her, but narcissists will be narcissists. Indulge her. Let her feel smart. She will lecture you about things you already know. She will answer questions you never asked. Feel free to tune her out when your grow tired of hearing her life story. She won’t check if you’re listening.
5. The Emotional Host is the host who secretly likes you. He is keen to please you and tend to all of your needs, but, respecting the Coushsurfing code of honor, he never brazenly expresses his feelings towards you. He internalizes any perceived setbacks you encounter in your trip as being his fault and assumes you actively dislike him if you appear less than cheery during your stay. Don’t read too much into his behavior. He’s still working on himself.
6. The Cool Host is much cooler than you, and it’s a mystery why he even hosts couchsurfers. You feel inadequate in his presence and struggle to keep up with his wit. He invites you to hang out with his friends, which is pretty intimidating, especially because there’s a 100 percent chance they won’t be speaking English. Everyone is friendly enough, but speaking English for the sake of your inclusion is too much effort for them, so you retreat into your phone and pretend to be having a good time.
7.The Cynical Expat Host talks trash about your host country, and it’s hilarious. He’ll tell you you can’t trust the locals. He warns of scammers and fakes. He rants about the Albanian lover who stole his credit card, the Thai peddler who ripped him off, or the frustration of dating Japanese girls who never say what they mean. He’s not enjoying his time abroad and doesn’t really know how he ended up here. Take care not to let his cynicism rub off on you and color your trip.
8.The Bro Host is a well-meaning guy who takes you out for a beer with the buds, insists on playing Mario Kart, and asks if your country has “nice girls.” Surely he’s not the brightest tool in the shed, but he’s got a heart of gold.
9.The Sexy Host is a clean-cut young professional with an agenda that is not difficult to decipher. He has a dozen gloating references, and all of them are from attractive young women. If you hadn’t already taken the hint, you knew what you were signing up for when he included a winky face emoji in one of his messages. You told yourself you’d be a good girl, but he’s handsome and charming and you’re weak. He offers you two options: sleep on the couch in the living room or share the master bedroom with him. We both know which option you choose.
10.The Family Host experience is as warm and wholesome as it sounds. Mom cooks. Dad watches TV. You play with the kids. Grandma sits at the table and grins. Welcome home, loser.
11. The Lonely Host is a middle-age bachelor who lives alone and hosts couchsurfers to bring excitement to his solitary life. He has forty references, but most surfers avoid him because they are prejudiced against older men. This means less competition for you, and luckily he turns out to be a phenomenal host. He picks you up from the station. He makes you dinner. He does your laundry. He manages to do all these things for you without being the slightest bit creepy or inappropriate. You don’t deserve this host. No one does.