How to Be a Delightful House Guest


An invitation to stay for a weekend, or a few days, ensures lots of fun.  But it can be a gamble whether or not everyone will leave as friends.  

This is probably why we hear funny stories and quotes regarding houseguests.  Benjamin Franklin's comparison to dead fish is one that most of us are familiar with.  But only because most people agree with it. 

Indeed, it can be difficult to host people in your home for days on end.  Any guest who has hosted should take note of the effort involved and show appreciation accordingly. 

Below are the things you can do to make yourself a delightful houseguest whether you're visiting friends, your in-laws, or crazy Aunt Joan.

A Delightful Houseguest Always . . .

Has an Invitation
Of course there are extenuating circumstances (and emergency situations), but a typical houseguest has been invited and has replied to that invitation so the host knows the date and time of their visit. 

Arrives on Time
This is especially important if a meal, activity, or event is timed around your arrival.  However, if you are traveling a great distance, delays are likely.  Remind your host about this likelihood before you travel, and make every attempt to stay in touch if there is a delay.  Someone will be worried about you.

Never Brings a Tagalong
A good guest would never bring someone who wasn't invited or conversational topics such as politics and other sensitive subjects.  Right?

Always Brings a Host Gift
It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, just a simple acknowledgement of your appreciation for being invited.  Flowers, wine, or some little trinket for the host's home will do.

Is Prepared
Know the agenda during your stay so you can plan your wardrobe and present yourself appropriately.  Will you go skiing?  Hanging out at the beach?  Is there a formal dinner planned?  Preparation is key.

House guests should be regarded as perishables:  Leave them out too long and they go bad.

~ Erma Bombeck

Knows the Schedule
If a typical day begins at 8:00 a.m. it might be rude to sleep in until 11:00 a.m.  Know what is expected of you.

Makes a Contribution
Contribute something during your stay.  It’s always polite to be helpful in general, but take it up a notch by treating everyone to dinner, or making breakfast one morning, or providing the table centerpiece for a special meal.

Shows Respect
You make every effort to keep all conversations civil and courteous, make your bed, keep spaces clean and tidy, and, in general, remain agreeable rather than high maintenance.

Knows When to Leave
You're having a blast, but all good things must end.  As noted above, Benjamin Franklin would say three days is long enough.  But if you agreed for a longer visit and sense that your hosts have had enough, an early exit may be best.

Sends a Thank-you
Just a little note to say what a lovely time you had, and to mention that you would like to host a visit in the future.

Going for a visit is fun and provides the opportunity to create meaningful memories with friends and loved ones.  Communicating expectations and remaining flexible are key to making sure a good time is had by all.

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