What do you get when you combine our tropical North Queensland paradise, school holidays and Christmas? House guests! And generally, in plague proportions.

While we are never surprised by the fact that everyone wants to visit us in what is arguably one of the most beautiful parts of the world, what we may at times be surprised by is the behaviour of our house guests. Family and friends, whom we think we know so well when placed in our home, under our roof, can scarily morph into a species of person that we may have never seen them be before.

To assist you in preparing for the possibility of a plague of house guests at your place this festive season, here are five of the more common species of house guests that you may encounter and how to handle each breed:

1. The resort guest.
Whilst we all want to ensure that our guests feel like they are being well looked after when they come to visit, this species, takes it a step further; they treat you like you are an employee at a resort. They often have that amazed look on their face when informed that no, you don’t have bathrobes available or that dinner will be served when it is ready, regardless of their earlier ‘reservation request’ time.
To deal with this species, it is imperative that you do not let them near a bell or they will be ringing for your service nonstop! You need to be polite but firm with them. Try to crack them out of their ‘expectations’ by inviting them to partake in helping with household chores like cooking. Beware, if given the opportunity to be waited on, this species won’t lift a finger for the entirety of their stay.

2. The constant preener.
A tricky one to tackle as this species is often unaware, or worse, uncaring of the disruption their prolonged bathroom preening causes to the rest of the household. If you are a one bathroom household, then this species can wreak havoc on your family’s routine when they come to visit.
Dealing with this species can sometimes be a little confronting as who wants to question another’s use of bathroom time. However, for the sake of your family, it does need to be tackled. Try during conversations to stress the importance of routine in the running of your family, and how there are set bath times that need to be adhered to. If this species continues to ignore your subtle hints, send in the little army!

3. The messy guest.
After all the work you have no doubt put into ensuring your place is looking the best it can be for when your visitors arrive, there is nothing more disheartening than the messy guest species. Of course, we want our guests to relax on their stay with us, but this species tends to take it to the next level, appearing to create a trail behind them from the moment they enter the front door. This species requires polite encouragement to get them to engage in assisting with everyday chores. Like children, this species responds well to obvious but subtle hints. Questions like, “Is this shirt on the floor here going to be worn again today?” or you could mention how food scraps quite quickly turn into maggots in the tropics!

4. The busybody.
Your home is your castle, and when we invite guests into our castle, we are letting them into our inner sanctum. While this is not an issue with most guests, with the busybody species, a few additional precautions may need to be put in place prior to their arrival. They really just do not have any personal boundary filters; their behaviour is not intentionally malicious, it is just who they are. If they see a computer on, without a second thought, they have opened your photos file and are looking back over your memories. They won’t hide the fact as they bellow to you, “Oh, I didn’t realise you went to XXX this year?”

With this species of guest, the reality is that they really see no wrong in their actions, thus talking to them regarding their actions is futile, the only course of action is preventative. Ensure you have your computer programmed to close after the shortest amount of time and have it password protected. If you have anything that you do not want them to see, ensure you lock it away very safely!

5. The industrious guest.
This species generally arrives already dressed in their King Gee workwear with their toolbox in one hand and a very tiny backpack (as it only contains more singlets) in the other. This species thrives on being helpful and useful, and they generally are, particularly for those households where handy DIY skills are nonexistent.

Dealing with this species is generally quite easy as long as you are well prepared with the list of jobs of what you want done and a very well stocked fridge. Be prepared though to stand your ground as the industrious species can tend to get overzealous at times, and if you aren’t overseeing them, you may find you have extensions underway that you had never planned on. Also, be ready for the sound of power tools very, very early in the morning!

There are numerous other house guest species that love to holiday in our tropical paradise that you may encounter this festive season too including the shadower, the complainer, the over-inviter and the over-stayer. And while I think it is true to say that every house guest comes with their own set of intricacies to be dealt with, if we are all truly honest we know it is always worth it (even if we aren’t able to admit it until a few days later!).

This year, as your house guests arrive on your doorstep just remember how fortunate you are to have family, friends and loved ones to share your life with and I’m sure all their little idiosyncrasies will be all just that little bit easier to deal with.