The holiday season is the perfect time to go visit friends and family from another city or invite them to come stay with you and your family for a few days. It’s also the perfect time to brush up on our social skills and etiquette. That’s why I’ve decided to make my list of tips about what to do and what not to do in order to be a good guest everybody will be happy to invite one more time. So, if you will be going somewhere soon, read this or forward it if you will be accepting visitors. Here’s 7 tips on how to do things right:
1. Discuss the Details
Starting the conversation with “We would like to come over for Christmas” is completely fine, as long as you elaborate the “We” part after that. Your host will assume the “We” stands for you, your husband and your kids so if you’re planning on taking your sister, mom or cousin with you, you have to say that and ask your host if he/she is okay with that. When it comes to the number of people that will be joining you in your stay, always be precise and keep your host updated if that number changes.
2. Be Precise
I honestly don’t mind flexible departure date but I like to know when can I expect my visitors. Excuse me but if you’re planning to be a day late or a day early, at least give me the heads up, because I don’t want to welcome you in my PJs or worst, get caught doing the last minute preparations. Yes, I am a human too – my house is not always crispy clean and I don’t always have matching sheets and pillow cases ready. My fridge is not always 100% full either and I have plenty of my own things to do. I will prioritize in order to make sure my guests don’t miss on anything while they are under my care but, in order to set the priorities and organize, I need information.
Your hosts will make sure you feel comfortable and have your private space to relax, even if that means they are the ones to be sleeping on a couch. They will most likely plan some events and outings and tell you where to go or what to do to make your stay interesting in case they have to leave you alone to go to work. Accept these gestures and don’t try to impose your own rules or go out on your own whenever you feel like it. Try not to wake them up if you are the early bird and don’t make them stay up with you if you like to stay up late. If there is a sight or any other thing you want to see, feel free to say that and I’m sure they will be happy to take you there.
4. Tell Your Kids to Behave
A friend of mine insisted I add this tip and include her bad experience. So, she is living alone and she had a married friend coming over for weekend with the hubby and their kid. The 6-year-old boy has literally demolished my friend’s apartment! He broke everything he could reach, demanded to be fed with chocolate chip cookies every few hours, threw around food he didn’t like… and the parents just laughed and insisted that’s his normal behavior and that he’s just a kid. Does that sound like anybody you know? Hope not!
5. You Behave
Pick up after yourself even if you don’t normally do that at home. I, personally, don’t scrub the tub with Ajax after every single shower but I insist on doing so whenever I’m staying in somebody else’s home. I make sure my shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and razor are not left lying around opened and I return borrowed things (toothpaste, hair dryer) back to their original place. Why? Because when there is lot of people are living in the same space, mess is created very easily.
6. Take the Hint
If you haven’t specified the departure date, make sure you recognize when it’s the good time to leave. No self-respecting host will ever tell you, “Go home, I have stuff to do” but, sometimes, unpredictable stuff like urgent business meetings and important projects, may happen. A business call here and there is OK but, if you see your host is getting busier and busier, start packing the bags, thank him/her for a lovely time and leave.
7. Ask, Ask, Ask
“May I use your phone? May I use your Internet? May I use your computer?” Always ask before you help yourself with anything that’s not yours. If you’re visiting family, you probably won’t have to seek permission to use every single thing, but still ask the first few times and keep asking until they tell you you’re free to use anything you need.
And, finally, don’t forget the presents! Bring flowers for the lady, a drink for the gent and chocolate for the kids. Hope these tips were enough to remind us all what being a good guest really stands for. So, will you be hosting somebody for Christmas? Or, maybe you are the visiting one? Tell me, have you ever had a very positive or a very negative experience with your guests?