How to Be an Awesome House Guest

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 5 , , 0

How to Be an Awesome House Guest | by Lisa Tufano of THINK LIKE A BOSS LADY blog

Hosting holiday guests this winter? Need a friendly reminder on house guest etiquette for the next time you visit a friend? Here is a list of 10 boss lady-approved tips for ensuring that you are remembered as a fabulously thoughtful guest.

Let me know if I missed anything by leaving a comment with suggestions or any house guest horror stories you’d like to share!


1. No one likes surprises when it comes to house guests, so don’t just show up unannounced with your bag in hand. Ask for permission in advance, and give as much notice as possible with specific arrival dates/times. Don’t be wishy washy about the dates, or expect to change things up at the last minute. Last minute changes = be prepared to spring for a hotel out of courtesy for your hosts.

2. Don’t assume that you can borrow the car. Unless your host offers voluntarily to loan a vehicle or chauffeur you around town, you should plan on taxis, public transportation, and rental cars.

3. Another big no-no is inviting additional guests into the home. This includes bringing a pet without pre-approval, inviting other friends to the home without permission (whom your host may or may not know), and engaging in one night stands or other intimate behavior with random people.

4. Don’t forget to check-in. Although it’s not a hotel, we are all adults here and you should still ask for a breakdown of the house rules and habits.

For example, do your hosts need to be in bed early? Do they have rules for their pets? Is smoking okay? Should the shoes come off while inside? If your hosts don’t wear shoes in the house and don’t feed the family dog certain foods, then you will look like a major jerk if you clomp around in your heels on their nice hardwood floors while feeding their dog morsels of the burrito you brought home for dinner.

5. Prepare to entertain and feed yourself, especially if your visit will last longer than a couple of days.

Generally a host shouldn’t be expected to supplement their household food bill for the week just because you rolled into town expecting to be wined, dined, and snacking on anything not bolted down. Determine a plan for food in advance. It’s one thing for a thoughtful host to pick up coffee creamer or a couple of breakfast items that you’d enjoy, and another thing entirely for them to meal plan for your entire stay.

Schedule your shared activity time in advance as much as possible. Budgeting one-on-one time including meals/activities ensures that your host has ample opportunity to attend to their own errands and leisure time.

6. Squeegee the shower. Seriously, if the guest bathroom has a glass shower, chances are there is a squeegee somewhere inside and the polite thing to do is to quickly squeegee the glass surfaces when you’ve finished your shower.

7. Do your own dishes or at a minimum offer to help with the dishes.

8. Turn off the lights when you leave a room, especially the guest bathroom/bedroom. This one drives my boyfriend nuts.

9. Don’t destroy the guest room/bathroom. If it looks like Linda Blair had an exorcism in the guest room after your departure, chances are you’ll never be permitted to stay over again.

Take a moment to tidy up a bit while you’re packing. At a minimum, put any trash into the trash can, as well as dispose of any obvious hairballs or other biological souvenirs you might unintentionally leave behind. I have long hair and shed constantly, so I try to be mindful of sweeping up loose hairs from the bathroom floor on a daily basis and into the trash or toilet they go.

10. Be gracious.  There’s no need to show up with a gift, flowers, or a bottle of wine in hand at the start of your trip.

That said, one of the easiest ways to show house guest gratitude (other than following rules #1-9) is to treat your host(s) to a nice meal during your stay. Another option is to send a handwritten thank you note within a couple weeks of your visit and include a gift card. A $25-50 Amazon gift card is a safe bet.

Valentine letter

5 Comments
  • Terri S
    December 5, 2014

    These are great tips. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  • Camille
    December 7, 2014

    These are such great tips! I can’t think of anything you’ve left out, really! I especially love that you’ve included treating them to a meal as a “hostess gift” of sorts. This is one my family really loves, as people like my grandmother can’t help but go all out for each meal when they have guests. It forces them to take a break from playing host and relax!

  • mai tran
    December 8, 2014

    “Don’t destroy the guest room/bathroom” is the most important issue to keep in mind, I think. I’d be the most furious about that. Nice tips!

  • Melissa George
    December 9, 2014

    I loved the “Don’t assume that you can borrow the car” tip, which is a must to follow as one should never take anyone’s car without their permission and if the hosts are not comfortable with it we should not think of their car.

  • Maria Iemma
    December 10, 2014

    I have been a host and a house guest. It is easy to be great at both but you have to use your common sense and communicate well .

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