12 Tips to Being a Great Guest
This summer is seeing an increase in house guests. We are traveling by car more and making stops along the way to see friends and family we have not visited in years. It is a pleasant change. BUT, if you want to ensure you receive a return invitation, it is a good idea to brush up on the responsibilities we all have when sleeping over.
1. Surprise! Unless it truly is a surprise, I suggest not arriving unannounced. Give your host as much notice as possible. Personally, I offer to stay in a hotel. If they invite you to stay at their home, then you can make that decision.
2. Groceries: Offer to provide food for your weekend stay. Or, agree you will split the cost depending on your relationship with the host. Being an overnight guest should not be a burden. Do what you can to carry your load.
3. Sorry, Colonel and Louie: Our pets are our family! But do not show up at someone’s home with pets unless you have cleared this ahead of time. Not all people are as welcoming to our 4-legged friends. There also might be allergies you are unaware of. My father was deathly allergic to cats.
4. Fish and People Smell after 3 Days: The rule of thumb is 2 nights (3 days), unless you are family or close friends and have been given an extended invitation.
5. Hostess Gift: We tend to think of these for parties, but when staying overnight, it is nice to bring a gift. It can be anything from wine, a cookbook, or maybe a certificate to their favorite restaurant for the hosts to enjoy once you have departed.
6. Make Your Bed: No matter how loved we might be, guests disrupt a routine. Do everything you can to minimize the distraction. This starts with making your bed and keeping a tidy room. Include the bathroom in this, too.
7. Do Not Assume: If you need something, ask before grabbing! Do not rummage through cabinets looking for the item you forgot to pack. This is not your home. Do not take liberties. Are you hot? Do not assume you can adjust the thermostat. There may be a reason the A/C is set to a certain temperature. I am a big believer a hostess should provide guidelines for all house guests, but if she does not, you should ask for the rules of her home. Boundaries make everyone happy!
8. Servant’s Heart: Be self-sufficient. Do not rely on your host to transport you places, buy tickets to the theatre, provide your meals, or serve as your guide. In fact, if they are providing you a place to stay, I think the nice thing to do is for you to take on the role of hostess. If your friend has small children, offer to babysit them one day so she can have a break outside the home. Help her clean around the house or do some of her daily chores. Think of ways to make your stay enjoyable.
9. Be Invisible: Although you are a welcomed guest, everyone needs a little down time. In our family, after lunch seemed to be the time we would head to our rooms for a little R&R. This allowed us time to rest, to clean up for the evening, and rejoin the group refreshed before dinner.
10. Departing: Ask the hostess what she would like you to do with your bedroom upon departing. I ask my guests to strip the sheets and put them, along with the bath towels, in the utility room.
11. Thank You: A handwritten note is in order once you return home. Showing gratitude never goes out of style.
12. Bonus Points: Let your hosts relax in another room with a glass of wine while you prepare dinner. What a treat! If you can accomplish all twelve of these points, your friends will be begging you to come back again!
Together with you,