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Be My Guest

Mar
20
2006

We have a new round of houseguests coming this week. Since we’ve moved around a bit and have family in different areas, we do get a decent amount of visitors. We’re glad about that. (Note to guests: really.) We’ve also done a lot of piling in on people ourselves; even, amazingly to me, since we’ve become a party of 4. Not just with family, who are sort of obliged to take you in, but friends too.
So I should have a nifty list of houseguest rules to follow, including the answer to that real puzzler: to strip the bed or not. (Which I’ve considered as a guest, and now that I think about it, strikes me as a really pointless question. Stripping the sheets off the bed is probably the easiest housekeeping task there is. A really considerate guest would wash, fold and put away the sheets. And if the sheets aren’t going to be changed, well, yuck.)
But I don’t have a list of rules handy. Even though guests have done things that drive me batty, and I’m sure I’ve done likewise as a guest and a host, I don’t think you should hold a friend to a long weekend equals one meal treat kind of rule. Because then you’ll get the visit where you’ll find yourself annoyed by being forced to go out. And if it’s just an acquaintance who took a boozy general statement at a farewell party too seriously and is visiting, then good luck. All of Emily Post won’t help you if that visit goes bad. Oh wait, that does remind me of a rule: don’t completely freeload for a week and then as a generous move offer to leave your foreign currency change when you go, value approximately 18 cents, weight approximately 3 pounds.
I can probably come up with a few more general rules if I think about it.
Like, remove all traces of intimate physical processes from public view or places that might become public view. This is true for both host and guest. This can include diapers, nail clippings, photos and/or videos you don’t want to share, etc., etc. On smells, hey, do your best. This rule only includes children if they are visiting and become particularly annoying. Then an excursion or bed is appropriate. Hosts, however, shouldn’t suggest an excursion at 3 a.m.
Or, hosts should clear a path through the clutter in their home so guests can find the bed and bathroom; guests should try to help maintain the space. If that’s not possible, guests should take up smoking so as to have matches available in case the host wants to make a bonfire with some extra possessions cluttering up the house. Hosts and guests should refrain from burning the others’ possessions without asking first.
Also, if you’ve reached the stage of only communicating by notes with a subtle undertone left on the refrigerator, it’s probably time to end the visit. For example, if the host writes, “Home late today. Work meeting at the Hilton, which has a special rate on 3-night stays,” or the guest writes, “Out shopping. Your heels on the wood floor at 6:30 this morning reminded me I need to buy shoes,” then it’s best to call it a day.
I’m just guessing about that last point. I mean, I’ve never done that. I leave my notes on the counter.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 7:12 PM | Permalink

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