Being a Good Houseguest: 7 Helpful Tips

by | May 6, 2024

7 Helpful Tips for Being a Good Houseguest –

The rules and expectations for what it means to be a good houseguest have a lot of variety from culture to culture.  If you have been invited by an American friend to have an overnight stay, you might be wondering what to do and what to expect. Here are some tips and suggestions to help ensure a good experience for all—and maybe even a second invitation in the future!


 Tips for Being a Good Houseguest

  1. Communicate Clearly: Before your visit, communicate your arrival and departure times clearly with your host. This helps them plan and ensures they’re prepared for your stay. Also, if you have any dietary restrictions or need any special considerations, make sure your hosts are aware. Nobody wants to experience the embarrassment of being welcomed with a big, expensive steak dinner when you don’t eat meat! You may need to purchase some food items of your own if your diet has especially challenging restrictions or requirements. Additionally, be sure to let your hosts know ahead of time if you will have specific appointments or times that you won’t be available due to other obligations. This will help you coordinate your schedules and help ensure you don’t get to the end of your stay never having spent quality time together.
  2. Respect House Rules: Every household has its own set of rules and norms. Be sure to respect them! If you arrive in your own car, make sure you ask about the best place to park so you don’t inconvenience others. Don’t borrow household items without asking—this includes jackets, hats, and sports or outdoor equipment. If you’re unsure about something, don’t hesitate to ask your host for guidance.Tips for Being a Good Houseguest
  3. Keep Your Space Tidy: Make an effort to keep your living space clean and organized during your stay. This shows respect for your host’s home and makes it easier for them to accommodate you. Don’t leave personal items in a shared bathroom space (unless they say it’s okay), and take time to make your bed each morning.  At the end of the stay, plan to take the sheets off your bed to help with the laundry, unless told this isn’t necessary.
  4. Offer to Help: Don’t wait to be asked; offer your assistance with tasks such as setting the table, washing dishes, or tidying up common areas. After every meal, you should sincerely offer to clear the table and wash dishes, and then follow your hosts’ instructions. Your willingness to help will be appreciated!
  5. Be Considerate of Noise: Remember that you’re a guest in someone else’s home, so be mindful of noise levels, especially late at night or early in the morning. Avoid loud conversations or activities that may disturb your host or other residents.  Again, it’s best to communicate clearly: ask your hosts questions such as, “What time do you all usually go to bed and get up in the morning?” This is especially important if there are kids in the house. Try to follow your hosts’ lead and notice when it might be time for you to allow the family some personal space. Doing some activities on your own, like going for a walk in the neighborhood or planning your own special activity, is a great way to accomplish this.
  6. Follow Basic Etiquette: Practice common courtesy, such as knocking before entering rooms, respecting privacy, and refraining from using items without permission. These small acts of politeness contribute to a harmonious and pleasant stay. Be sure not to over-use facilities at the house, such as taking multiple long showers or sitting too long in front of the television. Being inconsiderate in these areas can lead to a bad impression very quickly!Tips for Being a Good Houseguest
  7. Express Gratitude: Show appreciation for your host’s hospitality by thanking them for their kindness and generosity. Small gestures like bringing a gift when you arrive and writing a short thank-you note before you leave can be very meaningful to your hosts.  Common gifts include a favorite drink, flowers, a scented candle, or something meaningful from your home country that your hosts will enjoy.  Treating your hosts to at least one meal at a restaurant of their choosing is also a great way to be considerate and say thank you.

By following these suggestions, you’ll not only be a good houseguest that leaves a positive impression on your host, but you’ll also have great opportunities to get to know one another and to see life through the perspective of someone new.

Thanks for reading these helpful tips for being a good houseguest!

For more great etiquette advice, take a look at Modern Etiquette Made Easy by Myka Meier (available on Amazon)

Also, be sure to see my article about 4 Steps you can take to have Confident Conversations in English


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