You have the perfect guest room. You love being the hostess. You love bringing people into your home and pampering them with love and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. But now it’s your turn. You’re the guest. The roles have switched and now you have to remember how to be a good guest. Just because you’re not the host/hostess, does not mean you don’t have the opportunity to be gracious. Let’s look at some important things to remember when you play the role of guest in someone’s home.
1.) Remember, you’re in someone’s home, not a hotel. You may think it’s ok to leave trash everywhere and the bed unmade while you’re at the Hilton, but these are things you should never catch yourself doing when staying in someone’s home. Be respectful and keep things clean and tidy.
2.) Ask about house rules, then follow them. For example: If there is a no smoking rule, do not smoke in your bedroom. If your host asks that shoes be removed at the door, do not stomp across their carpet in your dirty sneakers. You should always show respect for the home you’re staying in.
3.) Do talk about your length of stay ahead of time. Don’t tell your host that you need a place for three nights, and then stay for a week without discussing with them your need for extending the stay.
4.) Always make your bed. Every morning when you get up, that is the first task that should be completed. If you want to go above and beyond, then at the end of your stay, strip the dirty sheets and fold them neatly. Continue to make the bed up and place the folded soiled sheets at the foot of the bed.
5.) Use a coaster or keep your drink in your hand. Whatever you do, don’t be the person that leaves a ring on the wooden furniture, or ruins their decorative coffee table book with water spots.
6.) Be tactful during conversation. You do not have to agree with your host/hostess on matters of politics or religion, but don’t stay as a guest in someone’s home and constantly attack their beliefs. If they initiate the conversation, then it is ok to engage, but do so tactfully and graciously. (Hostess Tip: this same rule applies to you. Do not bring guests into your home, only to constantly attack their beliefs and lifestyle.)
7.) Remember your dining etiquette. Chew with yours mouth closed, keep elbows off the table, and keep your phone put away during meal time. If you’re offered wine and wish to partake, know your limit. If you cannot control yourself, decline the wine. If you do not drink, it is ok to politely decline, but don’t launch into the 20 reasons you don’t drink while your host is holding out the bottle. A simple “no thank you” will do.
8.) Leave the bathroom clean. You are not obligated to get down and scrub floors, but do leave the room clean. Make sure all toothpaste has been washed out of the sink. Be sure to rinse all hair from the shower and sink. Hang any wet towels and neatly fold the dry ones that have been used. Wipe down the surfaces and be sure to clean your toiletries out of the shower.
9.) Say “Thank You”. You may choose to say thank you with a text message, an email, or a phone call. This is acceptable in this modern age. However, if you want to go above and beyond, a beautiful hand written note is still very much appreciated. For a longer stay, you may want to bring a small gift for your host/hostess.
Ideas for host/hostess gifts can include:
A personalized board with cheese spreader
A small potted succulent plant
10.) Be ready to return the favor. You may not have an entire room to dedicate to guests, but you may have a couch or an office with an air mattress. Return the favor to your host, or pass along the kindness to another. It doesn’t have to be luxurious to be a blessing.
We have a wonderful opportunity to be gracious, even when we are the guests in someone else’s home.