5 Ways To Be The Kind Of Houseguest Every Host Secretly Hopes For

December 16, 2015

Sure, you can bring a lovely “thanks for having me gift,” but to secure an invite back, you’ll need these five tips.

How to be such a dream houseguest you actually get invited back!




1. Contribute

The surest way to be gracious is to offer something in return. Reciprocate the hospitality your hosts are extending you by contributing to their home meaningfully. Whether you have a special talent for folding towels, you’re great with handling and occupying small humans, you’re killer at making omelettes, or you get into your zen-zone when doing dishes, find a way (offer most sincerely, but never to the point of being over-bearing) to contribute to the overall household.


2. Like, manners, you know?

It should go without saying, but that’s almost never a reason not to say it: if you care about being a great houseguest, you will absolutely clean up after yourself.

Keep your things contained to the space you’ve been given. Hang up your wet towels. Positively strip those sheets before you depart (bonus points if you can ensure they find their way into a washing machine, and even more points awarded for making up the bed you’ve slept in with fresh sheets).

Whatever you do, don’t even think about leaving a mess behind you after you’ve gone; dishes, linens, whatever it may be you’ve used whilst staying under your host’s roof should be neat and tidy and I do mean hospital-corner-status.

Your hosts, though they will generously offer to be, and try their darnedest to convince you of the fact that they’re delighted to be, housekeeping personnel are Simply not. Duh.


3. Don’t expect a never-ending parade

Right after “plays well with others” in the best-houseguest qualifiers is the invaluable “plays well with self.”

No matter how much your hosts genuinely love having you visit, there is still an element of hosting that feels like a responsibility. They feel responsible for your having a stellar visit. They feel responsible if you’re unhappy or bored. And, they’re also in their normal home environments, most probably as tired out as they would normally be.

Alleviate any stress on their part in their role as host by being independent and content to spend some low-key time by yourself.

Come prepared with a book or some work, and assure your guests that you are fully capable (and happy!) to occupy yourself while they attend to whatever tasks require their immediate attention.


4. Ask for what you need

Advocating for your own needs is the surest way to take care of yourself, and be kind to your guests.

Hosts feel they have to be “on” when they worry or assume guests will be too bashful to voice their needs. As a result, hosts feel like they have to continually make offers, check in about whether their guests are hungry, tired, and so on.

Your host being able to count on you to voice your needs is what allows them to relax. They’ll likely be more than happy to ensure those needs are met–only don’t make them work to figure out what they are, also.


5.  But also, go with the flow, hello. 

Do your best to gauge the speed of the household in which you’re staying, and the overall vibe, and then fit yourself into it, rather than trying to change it to fit you.

This is one principle I’m constantly practicing every time I go home to my parent’s house, a land where time as it exists in the outside world just doesn’t within those walls. If time everywhere else is sand in an hour glass, time in my family’s house is like a really gloopy sludge in a tiny-holed strainer. Things move slowly. The household rises late, coaxes itself from slumber, trucks along into the afternoon so that it’s breakfast at 11 and dinner at 11, and in between there has certainly been at least one person napping. The party starts late and goes way late: my house is bumping its bumpingest starting at 8pm.

I finally concluded that the only way for my daily workouts and my family involvement to co-exist is if I work out in the mornings, while the rest of the crew sleeps on. So, I’m a little more tired than usual when I’m home (up late partying as I am and then up early sweating it out). But it means I’m able to take care of myself and take care of my family.

Image credit: Refinery 29

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