Tara Tiger Brown

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just prowling around

Manners #1: Be a good houseguest and host

I complain about a core group of things that irk me and I figured that I would write about them in attempt to let the bad vibes out and to hopefully give and learn some tips on manners.  To be clear, I’m not saying that I have good manners, and I’m not saying I don’t do things that annoy people, I’m just pointing out the things that piss me off.

The first on my list is overnight guests.  There are some key elements to being a good guest and there are definitely some key elements to being a guest that never gets invited back. On the flip side, I am also attempting to be a better host, so I am exploring what I can do better to have a pleasant experience with house guests as opposed to counting down the minutes until they depart.  Let me know if you agree, don’t agree, have additional suggestions.

Some things that make a good houseguest:
– Be very clear about arrival and departure times
– Ensure that the length of stay is appropriate for the familiarity you have with the hosts
– Do not expect the hosts to be travel guides or entertainment for your entire stay, take the initiative to plan activities.
– Offer to pay for at least one breakfast/lunch/dinner or make one of those meals.  It can be expensive to host someone, extra food, water electricity, etc.  Think about how much you would be paying for a hotel.
– Clean up after yourself and participate in keeping the house tidy, and don’t expect your hosts to be your cleaning service.  If you want that, get a hotel. Don’t leave garbage behind. Leave the area that you slept in tidy. Clean sheets or at the very least fold them.

Some things that make a good host:
– Have a house policy with a clear definition of a guest. This way there is no passive aggressive behavior when they don’t clean their own sheets or help load the dishwasher.
– Know your limits.  As Miss Manners states “never issue an invitation that you do not want to issue.” If you need a lot of space, then limit the amount of time a guest can stay.  For me, I have an extra room that is used as an office, and if a guest stays more than a weekend, I lose access to it and it starts to really bother me.
– Do not propose an open-ended visit.  Be clear about the length of stay and don’t let it go over.
– If a guest asks to stay longer and you don’t feel comfortable, you should talk to them about it and work with them on alternative accommodations.
– Be clear on how much time you can spend with your guests. Something I disagree on with Miss Manners is that a host needs to include a guest in all of their social activities.  I agree if their stay is for a weekend, but if it is an extended stay, I don’t think this should be necessary.  What is necessary is being very clear upfront if you are working and can’t vacation at the same time as your houseguests so they know if they are on their own.

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