God has been very kind to provide me with two extra bedrooms to accommodate my houseguests. For the purpose of this discussion any person who stays at our place is a houseguest.
This also includes visiting parents, siblings or married children.
I often see my two guest rooms conversing with each other about the houseguests they entertained from time to time.
Sometimes, they look relieved after they left, because they were the once who spoiled their coiffure groom. Another time, they had an expression of sadness about why that particular visitor did not revisit?
The rooms keep their conversation secret, but some time ago I heard them talking about a perfect houseguest who visited us, and recently about a family who made these smell like a stinking fish.
It is this conversation that inspired me to write an article on houseguest etiquette.
These rules have no fixed protocol, but all of us owe a moral responsibility to follow the etiquette. Some guests are considerate and thoughtful. Once they leave they would be invited again. I call them Ninja guests. The second class is a slob. While they are with us, we put up with them, but after they left we adorned them with a non-verbal tag: “Not again!”
They do not charm us with their conduct.
I open my personal manner book. You open yours and pay attention what may or may not please you as a host.
When you gave someone the honor to be your guest, shared your home with them, invested your time, efforts and money to make their stay comfortable, but they did not show any courtesy and conduct with responsibility in being a guest, how did you feel?
Now is your time to be a houseguest. What should you be like? Read on.
I feel happy to give every joy to my guest. It comes with a twinge of guilt if I see them even strip their bed. That being said, I always make sure I do it when I am at other’s home even when my host told me, “Please relax. Do not worry.”
Be thoughtful. Do just the reverse. This is the first rule.
1. Giving comfort to the guest is her etiquette, not to accept it so literally is yours!
2. Please do offer to help. There are many ways we can do it. Help her clear the table. Keep your used plate at the place assigned by the host or just prepare your signature dish and give her some respite from the kitchen.
3. Keep a constant check on your naughty bambino. It is not your home, it is someone else’s. Give them a rule book or else you follow.
4. Take care of both your personal belongings and personal waste. Consider their bathroom as a room, too. Keep it neat. Close the commode lid and make sure there is no sprinkle left. Keep your room clean. It is impolite to leave your hosts to take care of your mess.
5. Do not clean your gut in the kitchen. You are not a kitchen vessel. Do not go by your convenience.
6. You host is not your nanny. Be sensible to your child’s needs.
7. Give your host some time to regroup.
8. Unplug your mobile chargers secure the cord neatly. Do not pick-up and start browsing their mobile phones. Use the internet only if you must. Do not show your computer skills and arrange their folders. It is very unkind.
9. Courtesies do not cost anything. Show them liberally. Dispense praise with honesty.
10. An organized houseguest commands respect. You would be most pleased to host such a guest who respects your time and planning.
The overriding principle: Act the way you would like your guests to behave.
Now, I come to a very important gesture. As a guest, I must do it, but as a host, I would not expect it, really.
It is a part of good manners to bring a gift on arrival or repay in the form of a parting gift. The amount of gift really does not matter, what matters is the thought behind it. Express thanks in a tangible way.
Rectify your mistakes what you committed inadvertently as a guest. Learn from a good host.
It is a gift if someone invites you over. Accept it graciously.
If you fail to fulfill the obligations as a guest it is the time your host sang this proverb: “Visits always give pleasure if not the arrival, the departure.”
Will you like your host to part with you with this thought?