So this year, I found myself in a very tough spot financially but I was determined to relocate to Lagos due to several reasons, primarily career related .As a lawyer, it was a wise career move since the big firms are in Lagos but as a person, I was broke as hell. I didn’t have family in Lagos, I didn’t have cash to make the transition but I had friends that were staying with their parents and I figured it would be too weird for me. Luckily, I had a friend that was always willing to house me and it really made things easier for me. I spent the better part of this year shuffling between law school and their apartment in Lagos. During this short but blissful periods, I learnt a lot of lessons and I also spoke to friends about their experience, which knowledge I am about to dish out here. The do’s and don’t ‘s are all intertwined but I hope you all get the gist.
1) Define and set boundaries:
Please, let this be the very first thing you do once you find yourself squatting anywhere. Don’t be sentimental or overly emotional. Ignore the fact that you are friends or family or they treat you like one, kindly set boundaries. Ask questions, as your guest what should I or shouldn’t do. Where can I go in the house? What chores should I do? Know all these ahead of time, that way, your host doesn’t mentally expect you to do things tou wouldn’t have ever thought to do in the house.
Squatting is a relationship in every sense of the word but it is built on unequal grounds. You are never ever on the same wave length as the host. Trust me, I learnt the hard way.
2) Always be willing to help out.
Regardless of the chores expected of you, go the extra mile. Be the helping hand in whatever way it is required. The simple truth is that human beings are wired to expect a lot from whosoever they are housing. So whatever you do is mostly never good enough. If you sweep, it’s expected that you mop too and if you cook, you better be ready to wash the plates. After all, you are being housed and fed🤷 So, simply save yourself all those unnecessary conversation and be everywhere and anywhere unless you are specifically asked not to be.
3) Contribute finacially:
No amount of work you do is enough. There will always be something that was expected of you but you failed to do it. So for your own peace of mind, contribute financially. Even if it’s just to stock up on the toiletries or buy fuel into the house, do that. Don’t be a squatter and a leech as well, that combination is horrible.
4) Don’t get overfamiliar:
Please and please, no matter how nice your hosts are to you, kindly don’t get over familiar with them. Remember rule 1, keep that boundary clear and defined always. Being over familiar will cause you to forget where you actually fall in the scheme of things and the period where you start forgetting is likely the time it would come back to bite you in your behind🙊. It’s that time that you get a very rude awakening and realize that what you think as one big happy family is definitely not it.
5) Don’t overstay your welcome
Kindly know when to pack up and leave. If the place is comfortable and you just don’t want to leave it behind, knock yourself and receive brain😂😂. Your hosts might be too nice to ask you to leave but you shouldn’t wait to be asked. Have a time line, know when to pack your bag. Even if your host expresses a desire to have you stay longer, it is either they are just being polite and where they are not, make sure the extension is clearly defined. That way, nobody wakes up one day and asks you to move out🤷.
The experience usually varies for everyone. I had a wonderful time but some of my friends didn’t and then it was time to leave. It’s better to leave on good notes than make a mess of a relationship built over time.So keep these rules in mind whenever condition requires you to squat like me😁.