Dos & Don’ts of a Good House Guest

I’ve spent a good portion of my life being a guest in someone’s home, for an overnight visit or a week-long stay. My journey into learning how to be a good house guest started when I was little. My parents modeled good behavior at first. As I got older, my mom would tell us what they did and why, teaching my sister and me proper etiquette.While I’ve made etiquette mistakes and have not always been a perfect guest, I do attempt to demonstrate good manners when visiting friends and even family, including my parents.

Dos & Don'ts of a Good House Guest

With the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaching, I thought I would share my Dos and Don’ts for being a good guest in a person’s home. 

DO:

Always be clear about your plans with them ahead of time. The sooner you can let them know your plans the better. Oh, and plans include the day and time you anticipate you will arrive as well as who is coming with you.

DON’T

Make them contact you to figure out your plans or only tell them your plans a couple of days before the visit.

DO: 

Clean up after yourself and your family.

DON’T:

Leave a mess and expect your host to clean up after you. If your children make a mess, it is up to you to clean the mess up. Your host is not a maid.

DO:

If you have kids, be sure to monitor their behavior just as you would at home.

DON’T:

Expect your host to suddenly parent your children. That is not their job. It is yours. Your job as parent doesn’t stop just because you are at a different location.

DO:

Offer to help your host. When dinner is being prepared, volunteer to help. When dinner is over, offer to help with the dishes. Your host may not accept your offers, but they will appreciate your efforts.

DON’T:

Act as though your host needs to wait on you hand and foot. 

DO: 

When it is time to leave, offer to strip the sheets and remake the bed. Many people might refuse the help, but most people I have stayed with appreciate it when I take the sheets and towels to their laundry room for them. It leaves less work for them later.

DON’T: 

Assume they don’t want you to strip your sheets and not even offer.

DO: 

Put away your iPhone, iPad, laptop, etc and actually interact with your host. There may be times when using gadgets is appropriate. Use them only then.

DON’T:

Use your gadgets all the time and NOT interact with your host. What is the purpose of a visit if you aren’t going to participate?

DO:

Bring a gift or even send a gift or thank-you note afterward. For family, often just a verbal thank you is enough.

DON’T:

Be unappreciative. 

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