How To Be The Perfect House Guest

Planning a visit with friends or family this summer? The etiquette of a house guest can make or break a beautiful relationship, send family members into warring camps or heal childhood bonds. Not to worry. What follows are 10 sure fire ways to ingratiate yourself with your hosts and be guaranteed an invitation to “come back again real soon, ya hear?”

1. Gifts: Arrive with a small gift of food or drink to contribute to the household. It is always a welcomed gesture unless you open the gift of scotch and finish it off by yourself within the first hour.

2. Self-containment: Keep your room tidy with bed made each morning, bathroom clean and toilet seat in the downward position. Be independent and arrange your own means of transportation and sight seeing itinerary especially if your host’s are working.

3. Respect: Be considerate of your host’s daily routine and allow them space to take care of their daily chores. Try not to come home late, loaded to the gills, singing Oh Sole Mio at the top of your lungs, when they have to get up early to work.

4. Replenish: If you are staying for more than 3 days replenish the food in the fridge, gas in your host’s car or take them out for lunch or dinner. For more than 2 weeks consider contributing to the rent.

5. Chores: Help around the house by doing a few loads of laundry other than your own, some weeding, sweeping, folding towels and linen or mowing the lawn. Treat their home as if it were your own. Come to think of it, treat theirs better.

6. Meals: Do not expect to be waited on for meals. If your host is amenable to having you in the kitchen put on an apron and throw some veggies on the grill. If you cannot cook order take-out from your host’s favorite restaurant. Most importantly, if your host cooks then you should do the dishes.

7. Communication: Let your host know if you have any food allergies or a medical condition they should be aware of. Go over your schedule each day with your host so they know where you are and can reach you if needed. Have their number in case you tussle with the local authorities and need to be bailed out.

8. Rules: Many households have unspoken rules and it is for you to figure them out and abide by them. Best to just ask your hosts, but if you are the shy type then notice people’s waking and sleeping times, when the computer is open for use, whose favorite chair you’re sitting in, consumption or not of alcohol and no smoking zones around the house.

9. Departure: Before leaving strip and remake the bed putting the used dry towels and linens in the hamper. If your host’s are really busy wash and dry towels and linens and leave linens clean and folded on the freshly made bed.

10. Post Visit: Take a moment to send a thank you note and extend an invitation for your host to visit you at some future date. If you are still on speaking terms they should be thrilled to see you again and spend time at your home.

74 comments

Emma S.
Emma S.4 years ago

It's a minefield, isn't it? Human interaction, I mean. Some people might not like you doing stuff with their washing machine. You have to use a lot of intuition, and ask questions. And be charming! There's an Arab saying that goes something like, 'Guests, like fish, begin to stink after three days.'

sandra m.
Past Member 5 years ago

I wish certain people would have the common sense for this type of etiquette.I grew up knowing proper etiquette and plain common sense.How many would love being "surprized" on a regular basis?.(even though,I've told them in the past I don't like it).....or better yet--play host to the stingiest people?AndThey wouldn't offer to pour a glass of water! I would LOVE to say something! I've been bursting at the seams! and even thought of posting "Being a good houseguest" blog and then putting it into cyber space,but the people are so good(I mean excellent) at playing "victim"..I keep quiet.They're also very closely related on my husbands side.GRRR!

sandra m.
Past Member 5 years ago

I wish certain people would have the common sense for this type of etiquette.I grew up knowing proper etiquette and plain common sense.How many would love being "surprized" on a regular basis?.(even though,I've told them in the past I don't like it).....or better yet--play host to the stingiest people?AndThey wouldn't offer to pour a glass of water! I would LOVE to say something! I've been bursting at the seams! and even thought of posting "Being a good houseguest" blog and then putting it into cyber space,but the people are so good(I mean excellent) at playing "victim"..I keep quiet.They're also very closely related on my husbands side.GRRR!

Tanya G.
Tanya G.5 years ago

The unspoken rules are definitely the hardest.

Iris M.
Past Member 6 years ago

Great things to remember. One more: don't hog conversations, but don't remain silent either. Moderation is the name of the game.

Kerrie G.
Kerrie G.6 years ago

Great tips!

Philippa P.
Philippa P.6 years ago

Good advice. Don't forget not to overstay your welcome. Short; but, sweet works best.

Monica Tervoort
Monica Tervoort6 years ago

Thanks for the posting.

Diane A.
Diane A.6 years ago

Even if one doesn't stay over-night the principals are the same.
Be generous, kind, respectful, helpful and don't make a mess. :)

Olivia S.
Olivia S.6 years ago

Common sense, most of it.