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HOUSEGUEST ETIQUETTE: How to Be a Considerate Guest and Thoughtful Host


How to Be a Considerate Guest

  • Do be clear about when you are expected to arrive, and when you are expected to leave; and don’t go earlier or stay longer.


  • Do take a house gift; and if you are staying longer than a weekend, offer to take your host/hostess out to dinner one evening.


  • If possible, have a means of transportation so you don’t have to rely on your host/hostess to chauffeur you around.


  • Do not ask to bring a pet with you, unless you have a small “perfect” dog, and you know they won’t mind. Large dogs and cats should left at home.


  • Ask what the attire will be for the weekend so that you are able to dress appropriately for all of the weekend’s festivities, and will not have to borrow your hosts’ clothes.


  • Do think of activities to occupy you for at least part of the day. Don’t expect your hosts to keep you entertained from morning until night—unless you know your host is expecting you to accompany them on all of the outings during the day, such as to the golf course, tennis court, beach, etc.


  • Don’t leave your wet bath or sandy beach towels on the floor.


  • Do try to keep your room fairly neat. Make your own bed each morning unless there is a maid to make it for you. Be sure the bathroom is kept neat as well.


  • Do pack a robe. You may have to walk down the hall to go to the bathroom; and you may want to go to breakfast wearing one if it’s acceptable in the house you are visiting.


  • Ask what the rules of the house are. Are shoes allowed in the house? What time does everyone wake up and go to sleep?


  • Don’t treat your hosts as your personal servants. Offer to help with the cooking and dishes.


  • Don’t expect your hosts to follow your diet regimen. If you are on a strict diet, it might be better to save your visit for another time when you can eat what your hosts are eating.


  • Be on time for meals and activities.


  • Don’t complain about your bed, your room, the food, or the activities that have been planned for your stay, etc.  In other words, be an appreciative guest.


  • On the day of your departure, take the sheets, blankets, and pillowcases off of the bed, fold them, and leave them on the top of the bed—unless, of course, your hosts have full-time household help, or they would prefer that you leave the bed as it is.


  • Do remember to send a thank-you note to your hosts when you get home.


How to Be a Thoughtful Host

  • Do invite guests whom you know fairly well and know will enjoy the kind of weekend that is enjoyable to you.


  • Let your guests know when you would prefer for them to arrive and leave.


  • Give your guests an idea about what you have planned for the weekend and the clothes they will need to bring for the various activities.  If you are taking them to your club for dinner, and jackets are required, that is something they will need to know.


  • If you are inviting friends you don’t know that well, it is a good idea to ask them if they have any special dietary needs or allergies.


  • Do stock your kitchen and bar with your guests’ favorite foods and drinks.


  • Do give your guests some free time during the day. It isn’t necessary—nor is necessarily appreciated by your guests—for you to have every minute of the day planned. Do, however, have some group outings/activities planned.


  • Let your guests know what time you usually have your meals—particularly breakfast. If you are a late sleeper, and they are earlier risers, show them where you keep the coffee and let them know they are welcome to make their own breakfast.


  • Give your guests a map of your town if they are new to the area.


  • Check to make sure the guest room is ready for your guests: fresh sheets, flowers, snacks, reading material, an alarm clock, pad and pen by the bed, a couple of empty drawers bureau drawers, extra coat hangers in the closet, a mirror, and anything else you think they might like or need in their room to be comfortable. And also check to see that the bathroom they will use will have everything they need.


  • Do let your guests know if there is a limited supply of hot water in your house. They will be embarrassed if they unknowingly use all of the hot water before the others in the house have had a chance to take a shower.


  • Try to anticipate your guests’ special needs—if there are any. Remember, that as a host, it is your number one responsibility to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable in your home.



 By: Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick


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