niedziela, 18 sierpnia 2013

How to become a Very Bad Couchsurfer in seven simple steps

You have no money, but you want to travel to some overpriced super touristy city in a high season. Barcelona. Or Venice. Or Paris. A friend of yours told you once about a website called Couch Surfing, which is basically about having free accommodation, and, if you're lucky, you can even get laid. Yay! What do you do? Obviously, you become a Very Bad Couchsurfer.

Check out a CS group called Funny Negative References, you'll find there
 ideas on how to be a Very Bad Couchsurfer!

1. First of all, you need a profile, but ain't nobody got time for that, so just add a picture of your dog, who cares. Or add a group picture, your hosts will have fun guessing which one is you. Or, if you really think you're ugly, upload a 100 x 150 px picture of you wearing huge sunglasses. Or just don't add a picture at all, your personality beaming from your profile should be enough. If you're a girl, set a half-naked selfie as your profile pic (boobs or GTFO), this will prevent you from getting invitations from other girls and will encourage dudes who want to score you. If you are a guy, make sure to upload every picture of you accompanied by hot chicks, that you have on your hard drive, it surely won't make you look like a creepo. Describe yourself as an open-minded and easy-going person. Don't include your age, after all, you value your privacy. Include some really cool and unique hobbies, like reading books, sport and music, so people would see that you're a very interesting person. Don't forget about travelling, because it may not be obvious, when you're using a travel-related website. You get three points if you manage to create your profile within 3 minutes. 

2. Now you have a profile. Excellent. You chose a city. Barcelona! There will be many tourists there, and you need to get a free couch. CouchSurfing system will be trying to suggest using a Couch Request functionality every now and then. IGNORE IT. Otherwise you'll have to spend hours on looking for a host, and you keep your motto in the back of your head. Post your request right on a dashboard, it doesn't matter that the Barcelona dashboard is flooded with requests like yours and nobody really reads them. Your sparkling personality will beam from your post anyway! Just write that you are coming and that you are looking for a couch. Here is a tip - you are looking for a couch, not a host. We don't want somebody to get a stupid idea that you want anything more than just a free hotel, amirite? If you're coming with friends, don't attach links to their CS of Facebook profiles, your potential host should trust you enough to let you bring to his house pretty much anybody! 

You may not get many responses for your message. Actually, after 5 minutes, you may find your message lonely, forgotten and relegated to the 4th page of a dashboard by eleventy billion new messages from other very bad couch surfers. Shit happens, you'll probably need to go back to that ridiculous Couch Request functionality. 

3. The nosy system will ask you about what are you going to do in Barcelona. Remember that you value your privacy, so write something very general. You have to use at least 100 characters. If you use words such as 'party', 'hang out' and 'drink', you'll need to use only 83 characters for all 'hahahah' and 'lol' that you'd like to use! Now, the system shows you a list of your potential hosts. Choose randomly. Reading their profiles? Come on, ain't nobody... Once you choose a person and want to send a request, this goddamn system will ask you why do you want to meet this person. Duh, because you have no money? (bonus 5 points for including this) And you're looking for a couch? (next 5 points) Really Couch Surfing, is it that difficult to guess? Click a 'send couch request' button and wait.

4. Wait 5 minutes more

5. No response. Go back to the dashboard, repeat numbers 3, 4 and 5 till you get an invitation (as an additional argument for hosting you, you may add that nobody wants to host you and you have nowhere to go. Add a very sad emoticon). Yay! Some very naive and potentially masochistic barceloni wants to host you, even though you gave more than enough signals of being a Very Bad Couchsurfer. Make an appointment with him, don't bother with exchanging phone numbers though. Get late (don't apologize!). During your stay, keep your things all over the place. Take a very long hot shower. Twice. Don't turn off the light. Eat something from his fridge (+ 10 points), after all you are the guest here. Make some noise in the night. If you're with your girlfriend or boyfriend, have sex on a couch and make sure that not only your host, but also all his neighbors (the ones from across the street too) know about it . (If you leave a condom behind a couch, you get additional 15 points). In the morning take an extra long shower, making sure that your host not only pays huge bills for water, but also gets late for work. If your barceloni host is not particularly smart, make him take you for a party. Get piss drunk, pass out in the middle of the party, it will provide him some additional adventures. (If you manage to puke on his shoes, you get additional 10 points, if you hit on his girlfriend, you get 15 points more)

6. After your surfing don't leave the references, unless you were hosted by a chick and you scored her (+ 5 points). In this case, make sure to include this detail in your reference!

7. Did you get more than 40 points? Congratulations! Go to the mirror, raise your right hand and tap your back. You've just became a Very Bad Couchsurfer. Some people may not like it, but don't worry, you're not alone!

23 komentarze:

  1. Ten komentarz został usunięty przez autora.

  2. Also, the new requests system is not encouraging the newbies to write proper requests, so they decide to do all those stupid things.
    CS is not the same anymore :(

    1. It sucks big time, but you know, as they say: Facebook has users, Microsoft has clients. CS has MEMBERS. We can't change neither crappy interface, nor what they do with money and data, but we can try to keep CS a community as it used to be. My part is being a bad (but courteous) policeman telling people not to post requests on a Warsaw dashboard. Sadly, BeWelcome is not exactly what is missing now in CS, it's simply hard to replace.

  3. I know.
    I opened a profile on BW too but I don't use it at all.

    I also miss the "sticky posts", those where useful to inform about the guidelines of the local forum.
    Now, when you start a thread, you must put it into a category and technically you can write about anything :(

    People is becoming lazier and lazier. Here in Mexico City we have a weekly meeting. The title says "Thursday weekly meeting". Every week I have at least 3 people asking when is the next meeting gonna take place...

    1. I feel your pain man... You try to be nice to people, but when they ask about when is Thursday meeting or if someone can let them take a shower, because they have a long stopover at the airport, I'm just tempted to give them high five. With a chair against their faces.

    2. They only need a hug... around their necks... with a rope :)
      I'll steal your blog entry and post it in MXC forum... if you don't mid :)

    3. Not at all! I'm preparing a counterpost about how to be a good surfer... Constructive criticism includes giving positive examples as well : )

    4. OK, I'll keep an eye on your blog... to steal that entry too ;)

    5. Wait till Monday then ; )

    6. Wow, Wow! My 1st instinct would be empathy....
      They aren't asking for a homed-cooked meal & tour guide after all! I would just assume this person had a pretty rough travel experience and, having been there myself, I probably wouldn't think twice if they seemed to be upstanding people, who've helped/hosted other travelers. Reciprocity is the gift that never stops giving! And karma may prove just as kind the next time you're in a similar situation.

      Just a different perspective.

    7. Hey Morgan, thanks for your comment. I'm always happy to meet people like you on my way. Calm, caring ones, who don't get mad at anyone. I mean there are just some people who don't feel bad after being treated badly. Don't get me wrong, I'm writing it without irony. However, you're an exception : )

      There are very few people who would react like you. CS has a very fragile balance. It's a balance between hosts and surfers as well as other kind of balances, like the one between genders. The initial unwritten rules were very well thought, so they could keep the community in balance. However, there are more and more freeloaders, so what I see coming is that there will be less people willing to host. Do you see what I mean here? If there are more people not really caring about you, just about your couch, coming to your house only to sleep, not to meet you, the experience is not that cool for a host anymore. So there will be less hosts and the whole idea will collapse.

      So it's really more about the future of CS as a gift economy, and a hospitality system you know? Will it exist in the next 5 years if it keeps going this direction?

      I had a very unpleasant talk at Warsaw dashboard today. A guy was literally 'looking for a couch to crash, because my friend and I are coming to the city to apply for master's degree studies and we want to look for a flat as well, so we need accommodation'. Some people tried to explain to him all the idea behind CS, suggesting to use either couch request or just a hostel, but then he got all cocky and very surprised about the fact that someone may consider CS as something more than just a free accommodation. "Calm your tits, after all it's about sleeping on other people couches for free, duh!". And that's the moment when that fragile balance is not that balanced anymore.

  4. Haha, funny & great post! You're writing is awesome :)

  5. All these points are true, I used to couch frequenly with Hospitality, and I met really amazing a respect people. But when I started with couchsurfing, I've couch people who do all this bad things in my apartment, and I decide dont couch anymore for the really bad experiences.

    1. I like how one ambassador had described his frustration with CS over the years: "it has become a community of entitled freeloaders." So true!

  6. Omg!! The most amazing post about CS, you make me open my eyes, thanks you so much!! Although I've hosted some people and I've been lucky but it'snice to know this!
    Best wishes :)

    1. Hey! I orphaned my blog some time ago, and it's so nice to see flattering comments! You know, CS is a community, so it's up to us wether we educate people or let the community die.

  7. Ha-ha-ha! Agree for 100%
    I'm original Ukrainian but few years I lived in Thailand.At my profile was signed that I'm from Ukraine, that I speak Ukrainian and Russian and I'm experienced hitchhiler.
    At once I got request from...Ukrainian backpacker, he wrote... by English language:
    "Hello friend! I coming from far Ukraine. I traveling by hitchhiking. I can tell you about hitchhiking and can teach you to cook Ukrainian borshch".
    He didnt wrote in Ukrainian or Russian, he wanted surprised me about hitchhiking and wanted to teach me Ukrainian cuisine. Hahaha.

  8. Hey romchykd! I feel your pain bro! I stopped even counting how many times I was called by NOT MY NAME. "Hey, Piotrek, would you like to host us..." "I'm not Piotrek" "...". And they get really nasty when you point things out!

  9. i was reading your post lady and really i couldnt help myself commenting

    wow.... the couchsurfer DARED to use your bathroom before you go to work
    that is a TERRIBLE crime
    i say we execute him no trial no jury lol

    i mean how horrible it must have been for your boring life to get inconvenienced one time in a year

    as for the other pearl of wisdom
    if the couchsurfer has sunglasses then he must be ugly....
    wow... first of all who told YOU that you are beautiful?
    your mother when you were 10? lol

    and secondly if the couchsurfer is ugly so what?
    this is couchsurfing not a dating site princess

    and closing
    you have a huge post saying 100 things a couchsurfer MUST not do
    and it makes anyone reading that feel like he is in a gulag or something

    lady you have issues
    i suggest medical help immediately

    just say that you dont like OTHER people, and stop couchsurfing and choose a dating site or something to find your prince

    when you host a person obviously you wont match 100 per cent and obviously you will get a little inconvenienced

    so get over it, or go do something else like cooking

    and for the persons that upvoted her
    how dull must you really be?
    get a life all of you and leave couchsurfing alone
    social butterflies

    1. Hah! Imagine that: I was super lucky with my guests, we were mutually respectful. We took this one extra step to make each other feel comfortable and this is the core of this blog post, you know? To think about the other side of the experience. If my long shower makes my host come late for work, then the best idea would be to take a short one.

      As for the sunglasses - it all boils down to how much you want to be hosted. People will have less trust to you if you don't show your face, simple as that. Put your brightest smile on, take a picture and make it your profile pic. Even the ugliest face with a smile is going to be more effective than super pretty face that is covered.

    2. But here you present a completely different face.
      In your first posts you are full of irony regarding people that will make the mistake of not obeying one of your 100 + rules for being a good couchsurfer

      Also you should keep in mind that there are some people in transit that dont have time to write a 5 pages essay, outlining why exactly they are a perfect match with the host. They will write a short brief message, and if you want to host them you just do.

      But the shower issue wasnt a terrible offense by the couchsurfer.. that was what i was trying to say.
      If this happened to me, i wouldnt even bother.
      As for the sunglasses it is the right of anyone to dress himself as he/ she thinks appropriate.

      And let me ask you a last thing
      You are telling me that for you trust is about seeing a man` s eyes?
      Because i have news for you lol
      He may have the most beautiful eyes, and still be a serial killer...
      So seeing the eyes of someone from the internet definitely doesnt give any points to safety issue.

    3. But I'm not holding you from wearing a burqa on your profile pic and sending a one-liner as a body of request. I'm just saying: good luck with that. It's not a secret that people would rather host someone that doesn't hide his face over a faceless stranger. I come across people whinning over how much CS doesn't work for them. Is it really CS not working or their unability to put themselves into their hosts' shoes? I am going to surf in Germany, in Bonn, this week. Almost half of hosts ask for a keyword to make sure they are not dealing with freeloaders.

      And you know, "someone is in transit", so what, good manners don't apply for people in transit? I still think that writing few nice lines to a host is a good deal, vs paying 10 euro for a hostel.

      (Also, last time I checked in the mirror, my face was pretty much the same)

  10. As a frequent host, I can say that the joking truthfulness of the comments made in the post are accurate in that they reflect that surfers these days seem to show more interest in my couch than their host! There is no entitlement inherent in the CS pact. I enjoy meeting new people and giving a helping hand to fellow travellers, many with whom I have remained connected/become friends. I have encountered all the issues mentioned in the original post, and they are all relevant in some fashion to the experience, good or bad, that I have with cs. For instance, I prefer to see a clear photo of the person I will host. They must have filled in their profile with some level of specificity and thought. Their request must show they have read my profile and added a tag phrase. For a newbie who hasn't fulfilled the usual info, I will often let them know the ropes to help them make better, more fruitful requests. CS is not intended to be a free ride (and a great deal of tons of requests I get leave me with this sense) - but rather it's a way to help each other and make new bonds and see the world in a more real way. I will be less likely to feel a bond with someone who is not considerate of my rhythm, taking showers, without first out of courtesy, asking if their timing to take one works for me (and using all the hot water and making me late for work), or leaves all their stuff sprawled all over, or makes and does not clean a mess in the kitchen, etc.. I don't think it takes loads of time to make a "good" request - only a bit of thoughtfulness when writing it: They are clearly in need of a couch, and I am clearly offering one...but why? It's an exchange. So tell your host what you are bringing to the table...poor musician? Sing me a song (for extra points, in a style you saw that I liked on my profile!). Handy in the kitchen? Offer to cook me a special meal you know and love. Have a bit of money but less time? Offer to bring your favorite bottle of wine to share over some stories on a subject you know about that I referenced in my profile...or teach me how to tango cause you saw I love ballroom dancing ...the possibilities are endless, quick, and immediately let me know you don't JUST want my couch, but rather a connection with someone who piqued your interest...I surf with a mindfulness to respect the flow of the person hosting me, to share some great moments if their/our time permits, and ideally, so that we both separate having become richer for the experience...and if all works well, not poorer in our pocketbooks!