6 Signs You’re a Great House Guest

When you’re a good guest, your hosts can relax and enjoy the company of their guests. But there’s more to being a good guest than just putting out.

In fact, there’s also etiquette involved when it comes to dining out, sleeping in another person’s home and preparing for your trip from scratch.

So here are some signs that you’re pretty much an awesome houseguest—and how to keep them alive long after the big day has passed!

Getty Images / Xavier Lorenzo

You Show Up With a Gift for Your Host

When you’re invited to someone’s home, it’s nice to bring a gift. However, if you’re not sure what they have or what they would like, don’t feel bad about bringing something that isn’t too personal (unless they ask). Just make sure that it isn’t too expensive or weird—the last thing anyone wants is for their hostess/host to feel obligated by your presence in their life.

You Keep the Kitchen Clean—Even When No One’s Watching

You’re a great houseguest because you clean up after yourself.

If there’s food on the counter, it’s probably your fault. But if you’re going to leave dirty dishes in the sink and not wash them, at least put them away before your host has to do it for you. And if someone asks for some space at the table or puts something down that shouldn’t be touched—like a broken glass—you’ll recognize this as an invitation to clean up right away so no one gets hurt by the mess (and don’t forget to put all those used dishes into recycling bins).

You’re Respectful (and Talkative) at Mealtimes

If you’re having a meal with the host and their family, it’s important that you don’t make noise. If they are eating in their home, it’s also important that you keep things quiet around them. This includes not talking too loudly or talking about things that may be uncomfortable for the host (e.g., politics).

If there are guests at your table during mealtimes, try not to monopolize their conversation. While this doesn’t mean ignoring them completely—you should still ask questions and take part in conversations—it does mean keeping yourself reserved so as not to monopolize so much attention on yourself as well as other people at the table who may not want their time spent in conversation monopolized by someone else.

You Don’t Stay Longer Than Welcome

You should never stay longer than your welcome. If you’re not comfortable with the host, it’s not going to work out well for anyone.

If you’re feeling unsure about staying longer, ask the person if they have any other guests coming over if they don’t mind seeing you leave sooner rather than later. They may be able to point out another friend who needs some time with them before heading out too!

 Kristen Prahl / Getty Images

You Help With the Dishes

You should offer to help with the dishes. It doesn’t matter if your host takes care of their messes on their own, or if they have hired a cleaning service—you should still offer to help out.

Sometimes hosts will ask you not to do something, like clear the table after dinner; other times they’ll let you know ahead of time what they’d like done and that’s fine too! If someone asks you not to clear off their plates after dinner but then tells them later in the day that they’ve left something behind because they forgot about it (which happens sometimes), don’t take offense at this request because it’s actually just a polite way of saying “Thanks for helping me eat my food.”

You Leave a Note (or Flowers) to Thank Your Hosts

Once you’ve settled into your new home, it’s time to make a note of what a great host you are. If you’re going to be staying with someone for an extended period of time and won’t be able to stay in touch with them after you leave, leave them something small that shows your gratitude. A small token can go a long way toward making their lives easier when they return home from their trip:

  • A note on the fridge or bulletin board (if applicable) saying “Thanks!”
  • A bouquet of flowers purchased at the grocery store on your way out the door—this is especially nice if they’re ones they’d like but couldn’t afford themselves!
  • A small gift, such as a bottle of wine or some other item you know they like.

Remember that your host cares about you and wants you to have a good time.

Remember that your host cares about you and wants you to have a good time.

Hosts are people, too, which means they’re humans who get tired of doing everything on their own. They want the best for their guests, but sometimes things get in the way—like work deadlines or personal issues that keep them from being able to spend as much time with guests as they’d like.

When hosting someone for the first time (or if it’s been awhile since your last visit), consider asking yourself: How can I make sure my host feels comfortable? How can I make sure he or she has everything needed? How am I going to make sure nothing gets in the way of our friendship this time around?

 Torsakarin / Getty Images

Conclusion

Being a good guest is certainly a learnable skill, and there’s no reason you can’t develop this in time for your next vacation. Whether you’re house-sitting for friends, visiting a friend’s family, or staying at an Airbnb, being a good guest is nothing to boast about…but not doing so could make your stay awkward. On the flip side, being the perfect house guest can make all the difference in how your host feels about you. We’re sure you’ll agree that both of these are better than dwelling on who left stains in the toilet bowl.

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