Get Invited Back! Be the Perfect Houseguest
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We're Here!1 of 9
By Naomi Jaul
You've been vying for an invite to stay at your friend's to-die-for beach house and the offer has finally arrived. So far, so good—but if you want to get that invitation again and again, follow our expert guide to being the kind of houseguest anyone would happily have back.
Exit Strategy2 of 9
"Have an end date in mind," says Lizzie Post, co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition. While your host will usually invite you for a specified time, it's important to establish when you'll leave before you even arrive. "Simply ask your host, 'What looks like a good time frame for you?'"
No Plus Ones3 of 9
"Good guests only bring the people who are specifically invited," says Post. And that includes children and dogs. "If you do have a guest you'd like to bring, rather than asking outright if they can come, it's best to find a work-around that won't burden the host. Then the host can always extend the invitation." If you want to bring Fido, for example, ask if there's a kennel nearby—leaving the ball in your host's court.
Contain Yourself4 of 9
"A good host will set aside space for you, but it's not always possible to give guests a lot of room," says Post. To avoid an explosion of your stuff ending up all over the house, pack just the essentials, and keep them confined to your space. "Do not leave a trail of your things everywhere."
Make an Offer5 of 9
"Always bring a hostess gift or take them out for dinner," advises Post. "A good guest recognizes the burden they're putting on the household and it's always nice when someone offers to contribute to grocery shopping or suggests they'll cook a meal. Even if the host doesn't take you up on it, always offer."
Off Limits?6 of 9
When it comes to bathrooms, the refrigerator and other bedrooms, where can you go? "Your host should dictate that, but if they haven't told you to help yourself to anything in the kitchen, you can say, 'I'm just going to grab some things from the grocery store for snacks—can I store them in the refrigerator?'" Stick to the rooms that you've been told are yours, Post adds, and if doors are closed, think of it as a "Do Not Disturb" sign—do not open them.
Accidents Happen7 of 9
Uh-oh … you accidentally broke a crystal wineglass and Fido dug up the heritage tomatoes. The only fix here, says Post, is to offer to pay for a replacement, repair or cleaning. "It happens a lot, particularly when dogs and kids are involved. A good guest is aware that they should leave everything in the condition that they found it."
Give 'Em a Break8 of 9
"Even though you're on vacation, if you're staying for longer than a weekend, it's considerate to give your host a break. Just saying, 'Hey, I'm going to read on the porch for a couple of hours,' or going for a walk gives you both the space that you may need. You can even ask them when might be a good time for you to find something to do on your own so they may have some downtime," says Post.
Show Thanks9 of 9
While sending a thank-you note after you've left is a must, you can also show your appreciation even before you've packed up. As Post says, "The best guest ever is the guest who goes above and beyond to find a gift, or does something that is meaningful to the family they are visiting. Maybe you're a great photographer and can do a portrait of the family or maybe you have a green thumb and can help out with a project in the yard. And of course, the best guest ever is the guest who leaves on time."
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