What exactly is a Host Family Handbook?

by cv harquail on June 21, 2010

We’ve got a lit of different terms floating around to describe the written information that we give our au pairs. We call them handbooks, manuals, guidelines, and rules. (And who knows what our au pairs call them!)

For the purposes of our conversations here on AuPairMom, let’s try to lock down the terminology.

A Host Family Handbook is that big binder, stack, or drawer-full of information that we give our au pairs. It is intended for our au pair, so it should be called an Au Pair Handbook. But we call them “host family” handbooks because what makes each handbook unique is that they reflect the concerns of a particular Host Family.

lana binders.jpg

The entire set of written, textual information that you have for your au pair about your family, your house, your community, and her general well being.

Household Manual:
All the descriptive information about how things in and around our hose work. Including, but not limited to, how to use the microwave, where to get a bus schedule, the password for the garage door, and a list of emergency phone numbers. Much of this is the sort of information you’d find in a well-organized vacation rental house.

Also, in the ‘manual’ section, you’ll have information about calling 911 and the Poison Control Center.

Your description of what you’d like your au pair to do with your kids, with your family, in your home, during her or his year. This includes “advice” like “Take the second to last train”.

Childcare information:
All the important information about your children, including their daily schedules and routines, the names of their favorite stuffed animals, and procedures for making bottles, making play dates and picking kids up from school. Some people might put this in the guidelines section, others in a section of its own.


“The directions that must be obeyed.”

“Those ‘guidelines’ that must not be broken.”

Rules  include statements that begin with the words “never”, “no”, “always”, and “We require”. Statements like:

  • No texting while driving.
  • No smoking.
  • Always wear a seatbelt.
  • Always put the children’s safety first.
  • We require you to get a state driver’s license before you can use the car for personal transportation.

    Rules vs. Guidelines

    We host parents make a subtle distinction between rules and guidelines. Rules are concrete, specific, measurable. Breaking rules will send an au pair into rematch, breaking rules will put our kids, au pairs and homes at risk.

    Guidelines are more like advice, explanation, directions regarding “how” we do things. Guidelines are what you want your au pair to follow. Not following a guideline will irk you or disappoint you, but won’t always send you and your au pair into rematch.

    We have rules but hate calling them rules.

    Personally, I dislike having to say to a 21 year old that we have rules she needs to follow. But guess what? It turns our that we have rules she needs to follow.

    I think that I have been embarrassed at times to call these things rules, so that I have lumped them underneath the word “Guidelines” to make them seem less draconian and to make me seem less like a control freak. But truth is, there are guidelines and there are rules, even if I use the same more gentle term for both.

    201006210901.jpgI probably should stop kidding myself into thinking that if I call everything a Guidelines that we seem less rigid, more flexible and more fun. But while we’re flexible and fun in some areas, there are areas where we are very very firm about what’s okay and what is not.   I think that in my next Handbook revision, I’ll make more of a distinction between rules and guidelines — in part to force myself to be clear about what our standards are, and in part ot make it easier for a n au pair to distinguish the “must do” from the ” really, really want you to do.”

    What’s in your Host Family Handbook?

    See also:
    R.T.F.M. Making sure your Au Pair Reads the Family Manual
    Sample Handbook from a Reader


    Binders organized by Lana Stewart
    Ninja Survival Kit by
    Veronica Belmont


    Jane June 21, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Under rules, we state first and foremost that there is to be no underage drinking and no fake IDs, as both are illegal in the United States. This is a house rule, a program rule, and a U.S. law. We talk about how strictly we follow this rule in the interview process, we discuss is at orientation with our LLC (the LLC usually brings it up before we do), and we give frequent reminders about it when we sense our au pair might be putting herself into bad situations where she might be tempted to break the law “because everyone else did it.” Our outgoing au pairs always warn interviewee au pairs that we are serious about no fake IDs or underage drinking–and they share their impressions with us as to whether or not they think the interviewed au pair will obey/understand that law.

    Well, we sent our au pair home on Saturday because of underage drinking in NYC with a friend’s fake ID. She documented all her exploits with her camera and then uploaded the pictures to our own computer, which she has been using ever since hers broke. She claims she didn’t think the rule was “serious.” I’m flabbergasted.

    SotaGal June 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    So many never do… We had a similar experience with underage drinking and lying about it – but she did it at our best friends house who are like family to us.

    We did have one underage AP who took a trip to Mexico with her friends that she met at orientation because they could drink there. We also suggested the resort/area they stay at, had visited there recently ourselves so felt confident that our AP would be safe while they stayed there. They had an amazing trip, got to go to clubs all the while being perfectly legal. Continued to follow our rules when she returned.

    NVMom June 21, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Thanks to this site I have written and rewritten my handbook and before we commit to a match we send it via email to our potential match. Then during the phone interview after getting to know them I ask them questions about it. This tells me 2 things 1) if they are really interested they have read it and 2) if they have read it there shouldn’t be any surprises. I too cover the underage drinking, people in our house, etc all the “normal” things you would find. My favorite was I found a potential AP and sent her the handbook, she emails me back that she didn’t have a problem with anything in it except for the discipline . . . . she didn’t feel it was her place to discipline my children because she wanted to be their friend . . . . needless to say we didn’t even phone interview her after that email . . . handbooks are very important and it’s very important for you to be honest with yourself (what you will and won’t accept) and be VERY honest with the potential AP . . . this way there are no surprises . . .

    StephinBoston June 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    NVMom: I completely agree, I do the same thing sending my handbook when we are interviewing. I tell them those are the rules and if they aren’t happy with them, it’s OK, there’s a family that’s a better match for them out there. So far, it’s served us very well.

    Jane: WOW, how could she even say that with a straight face? Amazing….

    Calif Mom June 22, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Jane’s experience doesn’t surprise me. There are young women who want the kids to just be friends, and don’t understand that AP’ing is a much more complex role, and involves her being in charge.

    I discovered the hard way that just because someone has excellent English does NOT mean they are smart, experienced, or the right person for your family! I realized rather late in my hosting career that I had mistaken both age and language skills as markers for maturity.

    I put a section early in our Handbook titled “What’s my job, really?” And I describe how we view that role as containing elements of many different roles: Teacher, Coach, Boss, Big Sister, Auntie, etc, but never ever “Servant”.

    PA AP mom June 21, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    We also email our host family handbook to all potential candidates before the phone interview. We don’t want to waste time telephoning someone who isn’t going to be happy with us anyway.

    Both of our APs were happy to know ALL the rules before arrival.

    SotaGal June 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I email what I call our family rules, which is about 4 1/2 pages long. This includes the “big stuff” that is of most importance to me. Safety of our au pair and children, cell phone use, curfew and responsibilities pertaining to working as an au pair and as a member of our family are on there. Some of our AP’s have told me that its helped them with their matching decision and also they liked that all of it wasn’t rules and restrictions, there are perks on there too. In fact, I think I plagiarized it from this site or from the APC site…. :)

    The things that are most important to me I stress in our interviews and make sure that they are well aware of it. We do not allow underage drinking and I tell them why. It is very personal for me, plus it is a LAW in the US. Rules about car use, cell phone and computer are often talked about too as it is an au pairs link to the world outside of our family.

    We also have a daily routine that I email if we are getting close to matching though I tell them upfront that it is LONG. This is one thing I need to shorten, and some of it is now in our family rules. The bulk of this is what happens with each of the kids on a day to day basis in great detail. I made this after we had a family emergency and needed to leave our very regimented kids with someone who only knew them socially. It includes meal ideas, nap/bed times and timing of when they are used to things happening, and also included when to change diapers and reminders to use diaper cream (because we had an au pair that would “forget” to do both). I remind them that this includes every detail for all 3 kids from the moment they wake up to the time they go to bed and that they will NEVER be responsible for the kids that long ever, but it gives them a feel for what a typical day is like. It also has a page of ideas for activities to do. Places to go, story times at B & N, Pottery Barn Kids and the library, fun nearby parks and lots of links for fun things to do around town with the kids.

    Yet another tab is how to use appliances, especially our HE washer and dryer. Many of our AP’s hadn’t even used a tumble dryer and they have been thankful to learn how to dry their clothes properly without ruining them since we have little room to hang things to dry. I also cover use of garbage disposal, oven/cooktop and microwave.

    Upon arrival, I try to cover things on an as needed basis and have our AP read over every thing while the kids are napping or at school. We try to touch on some things after they have been with us for a while, found their place with our family, gotten into the grove of being an au pair. I have found that I mostly need to review any additional responsibilities (usually cleaning/laundry) and when I expect those things to happen.

    aria June 21, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    SotaGal, this has nothing to do with handbooks, but since you mentioned it, I have to bring it up, because I’ve been wondering for a while- what is up with tumble dryers?? The fact that you said many of your APs have never used one backs up my recent observation that NOBODY outside of the States uses them!! (Has them, but doesn’t use them). I’m not sure if this is an American thing, or just me and my upbringing, but we never hung things to dry. Since I’ve been out of the country, hardly anyone I know uses tumble dryers!

    Sorry about the deviation from the topic; I’m done now!

    SotaGal June 21, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Must be a US thing… Where I grew up we needed one since it was too cold 6 months out of the year to hang things out to dry. Inside there was limited space to do so. And its easy and many things come out wrinkle free! Maybe its just another thing to support that Americans are just lazy ;) 4 of our 6 AP’s didn’t even own them, and in two of their countries even the wealthy didn’t own them. I wish I could do without – it sucks up so much energy in the summer months!

    Taking a Computer Lunch June 21, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    I hate them – I also grew up in a place where laundry hung to dry on lines next to the furnace for the six months a year that it was too cold to take it outside. Personally underpants dried in the dryer feel like they’ve been worn! I probably dry one or two loads a week – DH’s underpants & socks, The Camels washclothes and bibs, and towels (because even I hate crunchy towels)!

    Several neighbors followed me and put up outdoor lines.

    Chev June 21, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    We use them in Oz, not as much as i do over here, but all through the winter and on rainy days. I’ve never seen an outdoor clothesline over here, are they very common?

    Sota Gal June 21, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Not in our community. Our HOA won’t allow them, even in the back yard. We need to get approval for making virtually any change to yard or house (except for plantings under 12″) and clothes lines are absolutely not to be put up. Our neighbors can and will complain if you even leave a beach towel hung out too long. Any line drying must happen inside.

    AP-CA June 22, 2010 at 2:28 am

    well, that’s one of those pictures au pairs have of you us host mums :D all the agencies will tell you that people in the US love their tumble dryers and that they will put *everything* in there. …of course we do have them here too (Germany and the rest of Europe I know) – but we are a little bit mroe picky with which clothes to put in there.
    But don’t forget: it’s some sort of a prejudice. But still: I know at least two au pairs who went to IKEA to get a cheap clothes horse to dry their clothes the “old” way ;D

    MommyMia June 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Personally, I hate to iron clothes, but know some who love it, so most of our clothes are dried in a machine, even though we live in a warm, sunny climate! However, the agencies are mistaken if they tell you that we put *everything* in there. I always show and tell new APs to check clothing labels – many items say “hang to dry” or “lay flat to dry.” Nothing ruins a bra (or other clothing with elastic, lycra, etc.) faster than a hot dryer, which is why I always hang them to dry and expect the AP doing my kids’ laundry to do with special items. I’d much rather have things partially dried on lower heat and hung up to finish drying, than shrunk and ruined before their useful time!

    Should be working June 27, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Opposite experience here: I am very picky about what goes in the dryer–no lingerie, polyester, lycra sports gear, bathing suits, etc., but both au pairs we have had seemed to put everything in the dryer.

    pia Aupair June 22, 2010 at 7:38 am

    well the reason why we have one but barley use it in my family in germany is that it costs way to much energy. so why pay for it if you can have your cloth dried for free.
    Therefore my mom irons everything and i mean everything even the dish towels.

    Calif Mom June 22, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    The reason we use the tumbler is because of allergies. I would end up in the ER if I wore something that had been hung outside to dry. Yes, I cringe at the energy use, but make up for it other ways. (I have a section in the Handbook on composting, for example. Not that it’s her JOB, but so she understands why stickers have to come off the banana peels.)

    But yes, dryers is certainly a topic that needs to be included in Handbooks, because bathing suits don’t need to be dried on “hot”!

    Taking a Computer Lunch June 22, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Don’t get me started on composting – HD never removes stickers or the twist-ties and rubber bands that come around herbs! Most of my APs have gotten the composting sooner or later, and all get the idea that my son is the one to trek to the back of the garden year ’round and dump it.

    Pa Host mom of Two Au-pairs June 21, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I had an au-pair tell me that she thought the manual was used as a guide, she didn’t know she was to follow all the rules or duties listed. ummm.. Our manual has alot of information in it. You try to remember everything, but as most HM listed above you find yourself revising the manual after each Ap. I know we listed things like ” please use coasters in your room for the dresser ” below that that I write “tips” and explain why? to prevent the wood from warping. This gives them a good understanding as to why we have certain rules.

    I have also had my share of AP with underage drinking, and why the agency placed her with another host family is beyond me.

    Calif Mom June 28, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    OOOH! Interesting that the word “guide” or “guidebook” apparently translated badly and completely undermined your goal.

    I shy away from “Rule”, too, because it smacks of oppression, and I get worn down by being the bad guy all the time. Maybe using the word “Rules” is not a bad idea, though it feels harsh. But truth be told, host parents DO have some rules that must be followed, and we DO get annoyed when they aren’t followed. So why would we be anything but clear and specific when explaining that?

    Being nice is hard.

    pia Aupair June 22, 2010 at 7:53 am

    I know rules are important and guidelines are meant to be helpful but i sometimes get really frustrated.
    first of all what are guidelines when i am the only one in the family following them.
    eg the newest one is: when the two year old has a potty accident she is not allowed to get in the pool that day. but often i see my host parents just use the easy way out and let me carry the consequences. it makes me feel like i am always the bad guy and i dont think thats fair.

    also i feel like my hostmum just has an input on everything!!!!
    if i have friends that live more then 5min away she wants us to trade of the driving. like today i go over there but then tomorrow they must come over here. They gave me 40miles a day so why isnt she ok with me using them?
    she is always judging over my friends even though she might barley know them.
    and we would probably have more then one binder full of guidelines if she would write them down.from how to clean a mirror to how to fold a dirty diaper together before it goes in the trashcan.

    It sometimes makes me feel like she thinks i am dumb and that i cant ever make it right for her. Also her way might not always be the best way but there is no chance i could proof that to her.

    maybe you guys should consider giving your aupairs some freedom so they can show there hidden talents.

    DarthaStewart June 22, 2010 at 8:56 am

    My House rules are less than a half page long. The rest of the information is things like- contact information, US specific driving laws- like right on red, and the rules about open containers.

    I do give the AP ideas for things to do with the kids, and give her some ideas for discipline/schedules to start with, so she’s not starting from nothing.

    I personally don’t like to schedule every nanosecond, and an au-pair that can’t think for themselves drives me nuts.

    Calif Mom June 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Pia, it sounds to me like your problems are not with your family’s Handbook, they are with your host mom’s style!

    I know exactly how you feel; I was the one saying No all weekend, especially on Father’s Day! ;-)

    Thank you for the reminder to build in a lot of freedom on the things that aren’t super-important. For example, I offer a checklist of “Things that Need to Be Done Before HPs Come Home” and leave it to the AP and the kids to negotiate the timing, and the process used.

    I will look at my revised book and make sure the RULES are truly important, and explain them.

    Pia (and other APs), does it help if the reason for the rule is explained? I always feel more honored if someone explains to me the reasons behind a decision or a rule. Or does it just feel overwhelmingly negative to be given a book of rules, no matter what we do to soften them?

    pia Aupair June 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    yes it definitely helps. i thought it was a crazy rule that i wasnt allowed to drink anything in the car except of water (and that in the country of drive-throughs) but after seeing the old aupairs soda spills all over the floor matts i could easily understand that rule.

    i think i would have been happy to get some written rules before i matched instead of my hostmum trying to make me agree on everything once i got here.

    Jan June 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    It sounds like your host mom is probably making rules up as she goes along, has a lot of preconceived ideas of how things should be done and in turn expects you to do things her way. I agree with TaCL – be polite when asking her why she does something a certain way and then maybe say “I’m used to doing it this way. Is that okay?” Of course, you have pointed out that she would probably not like your way but it doesn’t hurt. Perhaps she will realize how overbearing she actually is.

    Taking a Computer Lunch June 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I once looked after a school-age child for three weeks while his parents and older sister went to Japan. The father spent 20 minutes explaining that I had to put the dishwasher on rinse & hold every evening until it was full, and then run it. Then we moved on to folding the kid’s clothes. Some people micro-manage because they can’t or won’t let go. This guy just wanted his house back exactly the way he’d left it, and I was getting paid enough to do just that.

    However, if you feel like you’re being micro-managed, then the best thing to do is to politely, in your nicest tone of voice, ask the reasoning. “I know you always feel that I drive my friends around, and I agree that it would be nice if they shared, but I’m driving less than 40 miles per week as we agreed, and I’m concerned there is a problem.” “Is there a reason why you clean the mirror this way?” but never “Why does it matter?” “I know you don’t think much of X, but she’s my friend, and it bothers me when you say bad things about her.”

    In my experience, some HP do want to micro-manage, because it’s impossible to do everything themselves but they still want it done their way. I’ve known a couple of young HM who expected APs who were close to their age to be best friends, and were disappointed and more than a little jealous when they realized that the APs had no intention of spending their free time with them.

    StephinBoston June 22, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Pia Aupair: I do exactly what you suggest, there are many things I don’t mention, I let au pairs figure it out and do it their own way. Personally I don’t care how the diaper is folded, or even clothes as long as they are put where they belong. The handbook is more about hard rules and suggestions for activities, the rest is going to mold itself with time. Everyone of my 3 au pairs have done things differently and I welcome that, it’s part of the cultural experience.

    aria June 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I WISH my HF had a handbook. This might be me thinking the grass is greener, but I almost would prefer to be micromanaged through a book of pre-written rules than constantly “reminded” about new rules that were never gone over to begin with.

    One thing my HM says that drives me nuts- “Aria, don’t forget.” It only drives me bananas because she says it whenever she’s giving me a completely new rule, and she usually says it like I already *have* forgotten.

    So in my naivety, I say APs with handbooks, be grateful!!

    NJMom June 23, 2010 at 6:18 am

    I think that’s true. My AP’s all expressed gratitude at some point in the matching process that we were so detailed in our expectations and description of duties, that it showed we cared and had put thought in to the process. They said a lot of girls never spoke to their host family on the phone, had a two paragraph letter that only explained the ages of the kids and where they lived. Imagine some of the nasty surprises when they got there. Most of my AP’s friends have rematched and/or gone home before their year was up. We have had two successful extensions and I know a lot of it has to do with the work I put in upfront on the handbook and hands-on training.

    Taking a Computer Lunch June 23, 2010 at 10:08 am

    That’s interesting that some candidates never talked to their HF on the phone. Our agency makes it explicit that the State Dept. requires that there be one telephone call during the matching process. Don’t know if it’s enforced, but we certainly use our telephone call as a screening device (one candidate that was perfect on paper and wrote English reasonably well in her emails turned out to have unintelligible English, so much so that DH and I called an early end to the phone interview. The only question she seemed to have understood was “Do you like cats?”)

    Should be working June 28, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Our AP, who we got from a transition, says she only spoke once for 5 min to her first host family (who did not work out). Our agency requires minimum 2 phone calls. What kind of HPs don’t want to ask a lot of questions and get a feel for personality?

    cafamily June 28, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks so much for this post – we are just finishing our first year with an AP and deciding about what to put in a handbook for our second one. We didn’t take it seriously the first time and now I see why we should have – after 11 months I’m having to tell her things like “Be sure the meat is cooked all the way before you feed the kids” but it is awkward and late to be telling her what to do, especially since she is shockingly uncommunicative.

    Pa Host mom of two au-pairs June 23, 2010 at 12:50 am

    I am lost for words when you stated that if the two year old has a accident that she is not allowed to swim that day, that is just brutal. My 3 year old isn’t fully potty trained and I would never think to punish him that way. That is why they are called ” accidents” I think the car issue is kinda restricted as well. But if that is what the HP rules are them you must follow them. I feel that there can be flexibility with rules if you are able to communicate with them. We state in the manual what is expected, but also give a reason why. Just wondering do you order a water when you get fast food to go? I think alot of HP has previous experiences from the prior au-pair and it henders on the new au-pair. What I think is important is that they give you the opportunity per say to have the “soda” if you can prove to be responsible with it. I personally can add that just because previous au-pair A wreck the car, doesnt mean new au-pair B is not allowed to drive. Communication is the key… best of luck to you dear…

    Host Mommy Dearest June 23, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I agree that sometimes what has happenened with past APs impacts how HFs handle things with future APs. I think it is human nature to compensate for what we perceive as preventable in any way, but hopefully we can avoid over compensating. It’s a fine line sometimes and hard to balance reasonable rules vs. overreacting.

    pia Aupair June 23, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    well since eating isnt allowed in the car either there is no fast food to go for me. ;-)
    I do get along with my hostfamily and are gonna finish my twelve month extension with them in july. I am just sick of discussing things like that since my hostmum usually has a made up mind that doesnt allow any changes anyway. my hostdad is a lot easier to communicate with. which brings us to the problem that my hostmum is annoyed that i dont discuss issues with her. but i know its better for both of us that way.
    I am just trying to give you the aupair perspective here. and even though i am very organized and love my calendar to plan everything out, too many guidelines from my hostmum just make me feel like i cant do it right and are not allowed to try another way. so especially when your aupair doesnt like to speak up for herself it can cause trouble for both parties.

    Karynsu5978 June 24, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Going to be a first time host-mom and would love to see a sample of anyones handbook- if your willing to share. I really don’t know where to begin

    Pa Host Mom of Two Au-pairs June 25, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Karynsu5978.. Do you have an email address? my area director ask me for my copy.. I think I have most things covered in mine..

    newbie HM June 28, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Pa Host Mom of 2 APs,
    I would love a copy of handbook to look at! Just getting into the process and need some direction. Would great appreciate it.

    1st-Timer HM-to-Be August 4, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Pa Host Mom of Two APs (or any other HMs willing to share),
    I’d also love to see a copy of a handbook, if anyone is willing to share! We’re expecting our first AP in just a few weeks, and while she and I have spent HOURS on Skype talking about the specifics of our sons’ schedules, info about our neighborhood, college classes, etc., I have yet to put it all in writing. Thanks in advance! Email address is mydogzuca AT hotmail DOT com.

    Hula Gal August 4, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    CV has posted a sample handbook which you can find using a link on the right of this page towards the top. I used it to get my book started about two years ago. My has become more of my own now but I thought this was a helpful starting point.

    cv harquail August 4, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    1THM2B —
    Just checking, did you look at the “Pages” here on the blog? There are individual handbook- guideline pages for different topics, and two examples of family handbooks…. Also, if you click on the category “guidelines” there is a ton of stuff. cv

    1st-Timer HM-to-Be August 4, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions! I had used the search field and had pored over the contents of a number of the categories, but for some reason I missed the “Pages” area. As a first-time HM, while the guidelines are very helpful, samples are even more helpful, given the amount of information many host families choose to include in the handbooks; it’s a bit overwhelming to start from scratch (and I’ll even admit that I’m a professional journalist by trade!). Will continue to peruse now, especially in the “Pages.” Thanks again!

    MomaBear June 26, 2010 at 2:43 am

    Funny enough – my handbook is not so big – about 12 pages in bullet point – full pictures and stuff – to keep it interesting but I have devoted one section to “our personal relationship” because generally I am not too much older than my AP’s (always within 10 years).

    I state quite clearly that it is obviously ridiculous for them to see me as a mom but I am not their new BBF (my handbook actually uses these words!). This is not included in my role. Sometime AP’s find it difficult to compartmentise this aspect as I am fun loving, affectionate and I laugh a lot. But I have my own friends and that is where I like to put my “friend energy”.

    I ask that they try to perceive me as an older sibling – one they can turn to for advice if needed. However I am not there to fill the friend gap and it is very important that they make friends to share their experiences with.

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