When you visit a friend or relative, it’s important to remember how to be a good guest. Especially if you hope to get a second invitation! Since you are staying in someone else’s house, don’t treat it like it’s your own place. Their rules and habits may be different from your own. So here’s how to be a good guest, keep your host happy, and ensure that they’ll be delighted to invite you back …
The first step in knowing how to be a good guest is to always arrive bearing a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but try to put some thought into it. Don’t just turn up with cheap chocolates or a wilted bunch of flowers. Equally, don’t go to the other extreme and buy something expensive, or you will probably embarrass your host.
Since you are a guest in someone else’s home, it is important to remember that they can’t suspend their normal routine for your benefit. They may have to go to work, run the kids around, or do chores. So don’t expect to be entertained 24/7, keep them up late, or demand to be shown around town every day.
A very basic courtesy that some guests forget is that their host is not their servant. So don’t expect them to clean up after you. Wash up any plates you use, leave the bathroom clean, and make sure that you don’t create any mess. And if your hosts prefer shoes not to be worn indoors, remove your footwear as soon as you come in.
Having guests can be fun, but it does create extra work. So when you are a guest, offer to help out with the cooking and food preparation. The offer will undoubtedly be appreciated, even if help is not required. You could also take your hosts out to dinner as a thank-you gesture.
It’s important to be considerate regarding noise levels, especially if your hosts have children or need to get up early for work. So make an effort to keep any noise down, especially if you come back after your hosts have gone to bed. They won’t appreciate being disturbed!
Do what you can to help out, especially if your stay is of a reasonably long duration. Mind the kids one night, cook dinner, or pick up some shopping. The latter will especially be appreciated, as you will after all be eating their food, and that can add up to a fair expense if you stay for a while.
Never forget to thank your hosts when you leave! In the past, it would also have been considered courteous to follow up with a letter on scented notepaper … but this is the modern world. So a text or email would be fine.
Be aware of the possibility that even if you are invited to stay as long as you want, that may just be a politeness on the part of your hosts. It really is wise and considerate not to outstay your welcome. So don’t extend your stay too long, and be sensitive to any indications that it’s time to make your departure!
When you’re a guest in someone else’s home, always be courteous, considerate and helpful. And don’t make your presence a burden for your hosts. Your visit should be enjoyable for them, and not just a way of getting free accommodation (anyone who lives in an interesting city or on the coast will know what I mean!). Have you ever had the house guest from hell in your home?
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