How to Be an Exceptional Guest

I can recall many lessons that my grandmother taught me growing up. Things like: “If you have nothing nice to say—say it later” or “Never go to bed with a dirty kitchen.” All of these one-liners have served me incredibly well in my adult life.

However, the one thing I valued most from my grandmother’s wise words of advice were how to be an exceptional guest in someone else’s home. When you are staying with someone who has opened their home to you, it is important to make sure that you are not wearing out your welcome. Below are helpful tidbits to make your host feel like it was worthwhile to have you in their home.

Demonstrate gratitude and appreciation. Upon your arrival, show up with a thoughtful gift! You do not have to lavish them with anything elaborate, but a simple gesture like a bottle of their favorite drink or a bouquet of flowers is enough to say, “I am grateful for your generosity.”

Help. If your host is cooking a meal for you, be sure to offer a helping hand. Ask if you can help chop the food, set the table or pour the wine. If your host refuses your help repeatedly or even threatens to not feed you if you don’t sit down and relax, insist on doing the dishes—and do them! If you are going out for a meal, pay the tab and the tip. Make them feel just as taken care of. Offer to fill up their gas tank if they’re driving you around. Remember, it’s the little things that count!

Be conscientious/think ahead. Do not place unrealistic expectations on your host or compromise their time. Remember that they are people with lives that should be as uninterrupted as possible—unless they have expressed that they are able to accommodate your needs and show you around and spend lots of time with you. If you don’t have a key to their home and plan to stay out late, give them notice or ask them if it’s okay to use a spare for the night. Give them space, and don’t make them feel like inviting you to stay with them has become more of an obligation and a burden.

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