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Surefire Tips for Being a Great House Guest That Really Work

Tips for Being a Great House Guest
Are you planning to visit a relative or friend's place as a house guest and are anxious about your behavior? You need to follow the house guest etiquette impeccably. It will enable you to be an excellent house guest, and the hosts will probably look forward to your next visit. Here are some tips for being a great house guest.
Madhushree Kelkar
Last Updated: Mar 6, 2019
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.
- Benjamin Franklin
Most of us dread to have guests at home, mostly who make us pay for everything, make us toil hard throughout the day, demand that we cook French cuisine for them every single day, those that forget to wash their stinky socks which they always leave in your living room, or the inconsiderate ones who play loud music when your child is studying for his exams.
You become so desperate that you decide to go on a vacation every time they call you to tell that they will be visiting you.
If you don't want to be a part of a list which reads "guests who shall not be entertained", you will have to behave in a certain manner. You will have to take care that your presence does not alter the lifestyle of your hosts.
Not only this, you will also have to offer a helping hand to the hostess for cleaning, cooking, etc. Any mistake on your part will not be appreciated by the hosts.

The best way to avoid making mistakes when staying as a guest is to step in the host's shoes and imagine how.
Before the Visit
Communicate the Schedule in Advance
Speaking on phone
Decide the period of your visit and communicate the same to the hosts. Fix the exact time period (dates) for which you would stay as a guest; open-ended plans will not be appreciated.
If you are planning to visit the hosts, call them up instead of dropping an email. Inquire if they will be available during that particular period and if it is okay for you to visit them. If they say yes, share the details of your arrival and departure with them.
Keep Your Commitment
Lady welcoming guests
It is important that you reach their house on the scheduled date and time. Book your tickets and transportation in advance so that your plans will not alter. If you arrive too early, the hosts may not be prepared to entertain you.
Also, if you arrive late, they may think that you are not coming and plan something else. Hence, arrive on time so that the hosts need not change their schedule for you. They will be happy to have a guest who plans his visit and follows the plan as well.
During Your Stay
Bring a Gift for the Host
Giving gift to host
You don't have to spend too much but it will be a nice gesture to bring a small token of appreciation for your guests. It can be anything from a small showpiece to food and drink items.
It will be preferable to get something which is a specialty of the city you live in. The hosts will be impressed by your considerate and thoughtful nature. Also, if you are getting a food or drink item, see to it that you buy it in adequate quantity and check its "best before" date. Don't give a gift just for the sake of it.
Respect the Hosts
If your hosts go to work early in the morning, it is best that you don't make them stay awake by chatting with them till late in the night. Also, if you drink and create a scene in their room, it can offend them terribly.
If they are vegetarians and you mock them just because you believe in devouring everything that has a life, it will not be appreciated. You should not disrespect them, their beliefs, or their lifestyle through your words or actions.
Keep the House Tidy
Lady making bed in morning
Just because you have a habit of eating TV dinners by sprawling on the sofa, that does not mean that your hosts will allow it in their house. Do not litter in their house. Don't throw your clothes all over the room.
Arrange them in the closet and put away your bags in the cupboard. Make your bed every morning after you wake up. Help the hostess to keep the house completely neat and tidy.
Maintain Hygiene
Lady cleaning desk in bathroom
It goes without saying that you should take a bath every single day, brush your teeth twice a day, wear neat and clean clothes, and use a deodorant. Ensure that the sink, lavatory, and bathroom are clean after you use them.
Do your own laundry; you are not staying in an hotel, so don't expect the hostess to do it for you. If they are availing a paid service, use it and pay for your expenses. Maintain a clean and hygienic appearance. Don't repel the hosts with your unhygienic habits.
Be Considerate
Woman talking on land line
While at the dinner table, if you see that the food is not going to be adequate for your appetite, then don't bring up your greedy side.
The best thing to do in this situation will be to eat whatever they give you first and then go outside to eat something without letting them know. You should also use resources, like the phone, Internet, electricity, or hot water sparingly. Even if they can afford it easily, it does not mean that you should take undue advantage.
Offer Help
Lady helping in kitchen
Every time, remind yourself that you are not staying in a hotel where you will pay for people to wait on you. At no point, you should become a liability for the guests.
You must offer help to the hostess with cooking, cleaning dishes, running errands, etc. You should not only clean your quarters of the house, but also ask the hostess if you can help her to clean the house. This will reduce the workload on the hostess, and she will really like you throughout your stay.
Be Flexible
Family eating food on dinning table
Remind yourself every time that you are staying in someone else's house; ease your attitude to be flexible.
Just because you want salad in every meal, your hostess is not going to take extra efforts and time from her busy schedule to make it for you. You should be happy to eat whatever she gives you. If you want to eat something specific, you should cook it for everyone. It is their house, so you will be the one who will have to adjust.
Replenish the Things
So you finished their entire carton of milk and a cookie tin. Go out and buy the same items to replenish them immediately. No one likes a guest who knows only 'taking' and has zilch sense of 'giving'. Not only this, you should refill the groceries and fridge from time to time. If you are using their car, you must fill gas in it.
Woman buying milk
Follow the Rules of the House
Man watching TV at night
You must have heard of this phrase, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." Every house has their own set of rules, so it is mandatory to abide by them.
For example, don't feed table scraps to their pet, offer their children chocolates or junk food, stay up late watching television, play loud music, come home late, arrange a party at their house, etc., without the permission of the hosts.
If their house is a 'No Smoking' zone, don't anger them by smoking inside the premises. They may not like it if you keep on breaking the discipline of the house.
Communicate with the Hosts
Family doing breakfast
Whether at the dinner table or during breakfast time, you must find time every day to communicate with the hosts. They should not feel that you are using their place like a hotel.
If you have booked tickets for a program in their city or are going sightseeing, you must invite them to tag along. Whether they want to join you or not is their call, but you must ask them.
Also, if you are staying for a short span, you should ask them to join you for lunch or dinner at a restaurant. Of course, needless to say, you will be the one to pay the bill. You can also cook a meal for them.
Follow Safety and Security Norms
Man locking door
You will have to follow the regular safety and security norms that you adhere to in your own house. If the hosts are trusting you with keys of their home, ensure that you lock the house properly before you go out.
Don't leave pointed or dangerous objects within the reach of children. Ensure that all the faucets, gas burners, and lights are turned off before you leave. By doing this, you will ensure that your hosts are not exposed to a health risk, theft problem, or insurance hassle.
Just Before Leaving
Appreciate the Hosts, Their House, and Their City
Guest appreciating host
This is a serious mistake that most of us might have committed when we were visiting someone. We fall in the trap of casual conversation and often end up starkly criticizing the hosts, their house, or their city unknowingly.
For example, if you are putting a harmless suggestion that their house is not according to Feng shui, it may not go down well with the hosts. Talking about the dirt, litter, traffic, and rude people in their city may upset them.
Make a point to refrain from passing derogatory comments and appreciate the décor of their house, the beauty of their city, and hospitality of the hosts.
Depart on Schedule
Even if your work in their city has extended, or you need to stay for a few more days, you must depart from their house on the date and time as you had promised them. You may make an alternate arrangement for yourself for a few days.
When a guest comes to their house, people may feel that their privacy is getting invaded. Hence, even if they insist that you stay for a few more days out of courtesy, it is wise to leave on the decided date. A short stay is a pleasant one. If you extend it, the hosts may feel uncomfortable with your constant presence in their house.
Make Your Room Squeaky-clean
Folded bed sheet on bed
Before leaving, see to it that your staying quarters are neat and clean. If you have moved their furniture to accommodate your luggage, see to it that you move it back to its original place.
All the things should be in exactly the same position as they were, when you first came to the house. Secondly, see to it that you wash your bed cover, pillow covers, and bed sheet before you go. Dry them and put them on the bed.
Also, wash, dry, fold your towels, and leave them on the bed. Once again, ensure that the bathroom, toilette, and sink areas are clean. You don't want to be remembered as 'that guy who messed up our toilet' by your guests.
Thank Them and Bid Farewell
Don't leave without thanking them for their hospitality and kindness. Don't forget to mention how much you enjoyed your stay. If you are going to leave early in the morning, thank them in the night itself. Don't make the host get up early and drop you at the airport; hire a taxi instead.
Lady saying bye
If you are going to leave when the hosts are not at home, make arrangements to drop their key at the proper place and lock the doors. See to it that you have carried all your luggage; don't call up the host frantically to drop some important parcel at the airport which you have left behind.
After the Visit
Thank You Note
Thank you note
When you go back, send some flowers along with a thank you note stating that you enjoyed your stay. You can also send an email or an e-card. Thank them once again for being so nice to you.
Mention that you are grateful for the arrangements that were made for you. Also, write a line or two about the delicious food cooked by the hostess or the fact that you enjoyed their company a lot. This will make them feel very nice.
Invite Them Over
Don't forget to invite the hosts to your place so that you can return the hospitality. It is a good gesture to invite the hosts for a stay at your house. You can put this across to them on the last day of your visit or also add it explicitly in your thank you note. This will leave a positive impression on the hosts.
Some Useful Tips
✔ It is advisable not to extend your stay.

✔ You must do your own laundry.

✔ Don't damage any of their possessions, and if you do, compensate by replacing them.
✔ Don't invite other people to your host's house without their permission.

✔ If you are on a special diet, carry your own food.

✔ Don't say anything nasty about the hosts or anything related to them.

✔ Don't intrude the personal spaces of the hosts, like their closets, bathrooms, etc.
✔ Don't bring an indoor or outdoor pet along, it may not be appreciated.

✔ If you are traveling with your spouse, don't show your personal differences.

✔ Don't expect them to spare the family car for you every day.

✔ Be independent and arrange your own mode of transport.
You can utilize these tips for being a great house guest, if you aspire to leave a positive impression on your hosts. So that they will look forward to spending some more time with you and will welcome you happily every time you visit them. However, for an easier way out, consider what E. W. Howe has rightly coined, "To be an ideal guest, stay at home".