Miss Manners: House Guest Cheat Sheet
[I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the epitome of prim and proper- heck, who really is nowadays? But looking around at the misguided youths of today *ahem drinking buddies*, I’m starting to think that Miss Manners might have been onto something.
While you may never need to know how to greet a duke or how to tell which fork is REALLY the oyster fork, knowing how to deal with people whom owe you money, how much to tip, and how to address the ever annoying licorice-in-teeth conundrum without being rude might actually come in handy in the real world. I'm not trying to be your mother - oh goodness, no - I'm just here to help you out of those little etiquette dilemmas. So here goes: a quick lesson in etiquette. The sh*t you might actually need to know.]
I love sleepovers. They are always so reminiscent of fifth grade slumber parties when, for one whole night, you and your BFF would stay up eating sundaes and talking about your favorite N*Sync member (<3 Lance).
Anyway, I still love sleepovers. Only now there are no sundaes (because we all know what happens when we scarf down a pound of ice cream at midnight), my beloved Lance is gay (in hindsight, I probably should have seen that coming), and the friend sleeping over part usually lasts waayyyy longer than just one night. Sometimes, the friend stays for weeks and instead of it being the super fun party you remembered, it kind of… sucks. I can’t complain though, I’ve done it myself – once I spent the entire summer at a friend’s while my house was being remodeled. So given the response to my last cheat sheet, I’ve decided to make another one: Miss Manner’s guide to being a good house guest…
Always clean up after yourself: If you even have to be asked to clean up after yourself, you probably aren’t being the best house guest. This is very simple rule: if you make a mess, clean it.
Offer to do chores: Yes, you may be the guest, but if the hosts are kind enough to let you stay rent-free, try to show your gratitude by offering to buy groceries or do the dishes. Even if they decline, at least they’ll know that you’re not just a lazy freeloader. It’s the thought that counts.
Don’t have visitors over without asking: While some hosts are generally okay with you having a friend over, it is always wise to clear it with them first. This is especially true if you are planning on having someone over at a weird hour (booty call) or if you wanted to invite someone to dinner (prep-time needed).
Always leave a note if you plan on staying out/not coming home: It might suck always having to answer to someone during your stay, but if you plan on sleeping at your bf’s for the night, remember to tell your hosts so that they don’t worry.
Don’t talk excessively on the land line: You have to be very careful about this one. I know it’s hard to believe but not everyone has unlimited calling and the host might not be so happy with her $500 phone bill. Watch out for long distance calling too. I once vacationed at a friend’s house in Texas and a bout of homesickness caused me to constantly call my parents- in NY! Boy, did I learn my lesson when her father came home steaming mad with the phone bill.
Replace anything you finish: If you use up the host’s [juice/lotion/conditioner/paper/ink/etc.], it is common house guest courtesy to replace it immediately, even if you bought it to begin with.
Don’t go too heavy on the water/electricity: Some people are generally more careful with how they use their electricity and water. Try not to run up their utility bills by taking hour-long showers or leaving a multitude of unnecessary lights on, especially if you know that your hosts have gone green. Actually, even if they aren’t into the whole conservation thing, you should still keep in mind that after you leave they’ll be the ones paying the bill.
Integrate yourself into the host’s schedule: If you know that the host has a strict rule about 11 pm bedtimes, then don’t fight it. Do not listen to music on full blast while they are trying to sleep. Do not talk on the phone until four in the morning. If you truly cannot stand their erratic schedule, try to work out a compromise. But under no circumstances should you b*tch and complain that they are being unreasonable. I hate to break it to ya, but as long as you are under their roof, you abide by their rules.
Last, always remember that you are a guest: Remember to be gracious – they are, after all, letting you stay in their home. I’m not saying you have to pay them (though I often feel obliged to leave something equal in value to a stay at a hotel if I stay especially long), but always let them know that you appreciate their kindness. If anything, offer to reciprocate the favor by opening up your home to them in the future.
Is there anything I forgot to add? Remind me in the comments section!