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How to be a Considerate Guest

Written by MJ Reporter Willow LaMunyon

You have an invitation to spend the weekend at a friend’s house. The house is beautiful, the area has a lot to offer in activities, and most important of all, the hosts are your good friends. You can’t wait to go, and you hope to be back many times. It is time to brush up on how to be a considerate guest. Here is a list of ways to ensure that your hosts want you to come back often.

1-Make sure your hosts know what time you expect to arrive; if you are going to be early or late, let them know. That way, the hosts will know if they should have a meal ready or wait up until midnight. Arriving very late is acceptable since the time you can leave home and driving time can force a late arrival. Don’t forget to give your departure time as well.

2-The hostess gift. It is lovely to give a hostess gift on the first visit for a weekend stay or a party. A bottle of wine, a cheese tray, or, to really impress, homemade cookies all make appropriate gifts. If you are a frequent visitor, it is not necessary for every visit. Staying longer than a couple of nights does give you an opportunity to show your appreciation by taking your hosts out to a meal. You are getting a free place to stay and free food, so a break in cooking for your hosts will be a real treat. Also, be sure to pay your way to special events unless your host has planned to pick up the tab for you.

3-Follow house rules. I sincerely hope no one gives you an actual list of rules but notice what is typical for your host. If people casually turn the TV on, feel free to do so yourself. Most people have a favorite chair in their home. If you notice that, find a different place to sit.

Should your host tell you to help yourself to the refrigerator, feel free to do so. Chances are, some of the treats you find were put there for you but be sure to ask what food is okay to eat. Also, if you need something, a towel, for example, it is fine to ask for it, but if your bed is uncomfortable, accept that as a necessary inconvenience. You can’t expect your host to buy a new mattress for your stay. If you see something out of place, damaged, or not to your liking, don’t mention it. If you notice a nice room arrangement, for example, be sure to mention it.

4-Offer to help with cooking and cleanup, but if your hostess lets you off the hook, don’t insist. Some people have their own way of doing chores.

5- If everyone else has their phone out texting, join them. However, if you are a good conversationalist, try to bring up an interesting topic or suggest a game. Almost everybody has a deck of cards around. It also can be fun to watch a movie together. These should be a thing your hosts already have planned, but if they haven’t, it will be a favor to help-out and make your visit more fun for everyone.

6-When it is time to go home, ask your host if you should make your bed or if they are going to wash the sheets. That takes the mystery out of knowing if you should make the bed or leave it. If you plan to stay past breakfast, it is a good idea to pack right away, so you don’t have to interrupt the flow of the last day of your visit. Your hosts should already know what time you plan to leave and be prepared to make whatever plans they may have to correspond with your leave time for the last day of your visit.

7-After you are back home, unpacked, and rested, send a note, email, or text to say thank you for a good time.

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