Having travelled to some of the farthest reaches of the globe, I’ve met the best and, unfortunately, the worst types of people imaginable, especially when living in a hostel on a long-term basis.
So, here I proudly present to you the four worst types of people you’ll meet in a hostel and how to handle them without alienating yourself and others around you.
The Constant Complainer
Complaining about your unfortunate circumstances from time-to-time is natural and there’s no inherent shame in wanting to vent to those closest to you – it’s actually an incredibly therapeutic practice that acts like a crane lifting a solid weight right from the top of your chest.
However, there are people out there who make a habit of complaining about the smallest, most irrelevant things, almost as if their proverbial molehill never existed in the first place and the constant mountain they make out of everything is in competition with the Great Mount Everest.
Whether it’s the weather being too hot, the food being cooked for them isn’t exactly how they wanted it, or their travel partner scratched their arm the wrong way, this particular group of people will find any reason to find fault in something – and they will do it loudly and proudly, often with a loud huff and puff for extra bonus points.
You see, their personal achievement revolves around getting the high score in the negativity game and you shouldn’t have to put up with it if it starts affecting you.
How to Handle a Constant Complainer
Approaching the constant complainer about his or her annoying habits is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, challenging their negative perceptions on life will most likely increase the chances they’ll complain about you challenging them, which, in turn, will increase the intensity and frequency of the corresponding complaints.
On the other hand, complainers like to also play the victim, so you’ll more than likely be made to look like a bad person for even bringing this honesty to their attention.
In saying that, I propose honesty being the best policy all round and if you’re made to look like the devil incarnate for being a stand-up person and calling them out on annoying bullshit, then it’s worth a few sly and unwarranted remarks from others for doing so.
If this makes you feel uncomfortable, you’re going to have to put up with it and/or ignore it.
The Bad Drunk
Without sounding like Grandpa Joe in the corner, limiting your alcohol consumption (especially if you know you’re a total douche when you’ve had the liquor treatment) is a valuable life tool and something I wish was instilled in everyone from birth.
Look, before anyone reading this claims I’m mounting my high-horse with an air of superiority, I’m absolutely no saint. I’ve been incredibly lame and stupid when I’ve had a few in me and it definitely took me a while to realise my bad side often came out when the shots of sambuca were presented to me in all their glory.
However, after a couple of goes around the drinking Ferris wheel and becoming sick after too many spins, I became conscious of how I acted and how much drinking became more of a burden than an enjoyable pastime, which is why I cringe and recoil into myself every time I see someone acting like an inebriated moron.
The problem with a bad drunk is they’re unpredictable as soon as the inhibitions start lowering. Sometimes, you’ll see them crying on the floor over a bad breakup that happened years ago, or you’ll see them put up fists with their so-called “best mate who they love for than anything” for spilling their drink. Other times, they’re in your face and invading your personal space, which, quite honestly, is uncomfortable.
How to Handle a Bad Drunk
Ok, this is a tough one and shouldn’t be handled when said person is drunk; inebriation throws rationality out of the window and will most likely cause more issues, especially if they tend to be aggressive.
There are two ways to approach them:
- Talk to them on a one-to-one basis and tell them their behaviour is unacceptable. Don’t do this in a group and certainly don’t set up some intervention – interventions are reserved for best mates and family members, not acquaintances in a hostel.
- Completely remove yourself from their company, which, of course, is very difficult in a hostel. If it’s not possible to remove yourself, make an effort to limit contact with them when they’re drinking.
The “Mum” Who Makes up All the Rules
The self-elected “mum” who makes up the rules to govern others in a hostel is, frankly, an insufferable, controlling know-it-all. Their main ambition in life is to magically transform into an oversized fun sponge and soak up any shred of fun or enjoyment seemingly polluting the air they breathe.
I met one particular “mum” in Australia.
She was a sweet girl at first and had a fairly bubbly personality that was, admittedly, quite infectious; however, underneath the niceness lay a someone with a vicious controlling streak who would attempt to make anyone feel guilty for going against what she deemed unsavory or against her own draconian policies.
In her mind, no-one could make any noise whilst she was cleaning the hostel nor could they play music after 8pm when she went to bed – she even snitched to the hostel manager about her “friends” staying up in the common room until 1am.
If anyone went against her she’d either erupt or play the victim as if the “perpetrator” was antagonising her. It was tiring, annoying, and tedious.
In the end, everyone grew tired of it and, after many arguments, she left, much to the relief of everyone around her.
This type of person is probably top of my “people I dislike” list because I don’t like people with no authority telling me what to do, which is perhaps why I dove into the world of self-employment and freelance work. I like having as much personal and professional autonomy without someone micro-managing every single move I make, which is what this particular person attempted to do to me and every single other person living in the hostel.
How to Handle a “Mum” Who Makes up All the Rules
This particular type of person is difficult to handle and not gender-specific. Both males and females can attempt to police and micro-manage people using aggression or self-victimisation.
Ignoring the problem won’t go away because you’re still going to be walking on eggshells. Being aggressive back will force them into playing the victim. It’s a total lose-lose in both scenarios.
The best way to handle this is to catch onto this sort of behaviour very quickly and confront it as soon as it starts happening in a calm but firm manner. Don’t pander to their aggression and certainly don’t give any attention to their victim playing. Simply address your issues to them directly and walk away.
The Fridge Thief
Unfortunately, sticky-fingered hostel rats are more commonplace than people think.
One day you’ll buy some of Uncle Ben’s best tomato sauce in your section of the fridge and the next day they’ll be enjoying some of Uncle Ben’s best tomato sauce without you even noticing.
You see, this is the worst aspect of fridge thieves: They’re sneaky, covert, and will bide their time before reaching into your belongings and taking what they think is rightfully theirs without a second thought to how it’ll affect you.
In fact, fridge thieves don’t stop at your food and drink. I personally had clothes stolen from an outside communal clothesline whilst they were hanging out to dry. This included t-shirts, a hoodie, a pair of swimming shorts, and a whole loads of socks and boxers (no idea why anyone would ever want to steal those but whatever).
This person was never caught and I’m still kind of bitter about it.
How to Handle a Fridge Thief
My emotional reaction to fridge thieves is to give them a beating but let’s face it, violence isn’t going to solve anything other than you getting put in handcuffs for overuse of force.
I know, I know. You want to lay them out on the ground for stealing your belongings, but personal things can eventually be replaced; a clean criminal record cannot.
Your best bet is to report anything like this to the hostel manager. If the hostel has CCTV, make sure they check for footage showing the thief in action and call the police.
If you catch the thief red-handed, don’t beat them down. Let them take it, get a good clear look at their face and then report them. You’ll thank yourself for it later.