Being a house guest can be a source of great relief if you need a free place to stay or joy when visiting your friends and family. However, staying with family or friends makes it easy to overstay your welcome or become burdensome to your host. To avoid cultivating any negativity and discomfort in someone’s home, you need to observe a few etiquette rules.
How to be a great guest
1. Ask for the house rules
It may be easy to trip over your hosts’ boundaries. Small issues can easily escalate and lead to resentment. Ask them about curfews or a spare key if you’ll leave too early and arrive late.
Other rules are unspoken. Don’t expect your hosts’ staff to do things for you. You should clean up after yourself as a guest unless you’re invited to do otherwise. Also, avoid eating the last pieces of food. If there’s one last piece of meat or fruit, don’t eat it or ask for it. If you do eat the last fruit, restock them. Follow their habits. If they shut their windows by sundown, do the same. If they don’t leave lights on, keep them off.
2. Make contributions
Whenever things run out, help by buying what you can. If you’re completely broke, you can help by shopping with your hosts and helping pack and load groceries. You can also help during food prep, babysitting, dog-walking and being a source of convenience for your host. Guests shouldn’t feel like an extra responsibility.
3. Respect their privacy
Being a guest means you may not know which spaces are off-limits. A good rule of thumb is to avoid the master bedroom and the study. Stick to the common areas. People can also be touchy about things they consider sacred, like old notebooks. Don’t go reading through them. Don’t touch your hosts’ bookshelves unless invited or ask if you can take a book out of the shelf. Also, a guest should avoid posting selfies of the house on social media unless they don’t have a problem with it.
4. Be grateful
Show your hosts your gratitude as often as you can. Depending on your hosts, you can say thank you or buy them a thoughtful gift. A spa day can be a great gift if you’re living with a busy parent. You should also show that you’re enjoying your stay. A bored or unhappy guest can make hosts feel like they’re not doing enough.
As you and your hosts are adults with varied personalities, it can be easy to irritate each other. If your hosts are rude or passive-aggressive and you can’t leave, you need to sit down with them. This helps clear the air and avoids ruining your relationship. You can also move in with another friend or family member to avoid wrecking the relationship further. Try to ensure you don’t leave with any resentment between you.
6. When you leave
If you finally find a place to stay and can comfortably move out, ensure you carry all your belongings. Dispose of your clutter in a way that doesn’t give your hosts extra work. Leave your hosts’ towels, bedding, and any clothing they offered you clean and folded. Thank your hosts once more for giving you a place to stay.
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