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An amicable guest is as important as being a very gracious host. I enjoy having guests at our house. Since we live in one of the five boroughs of New York City, we have had many guests (family and friends) of different characters and personalities. Most of them have made themselves at home and enjoyed their stay while visiting the city. This in turn always made us feel happy that they were our guest. I like to help our guests to plan their sightseeing and provide all the comforts necessary. My experience as a host has made me aware on what I should do as a guest.
Not all our guests make themselves desirable. I feel that being a guest is an art that is forgotten and needs to be polished. Here are some guest etiquette tips that I am sure will be useful to make the host and the guest all smiles:
By Raji from E. Elmhurst, NY
Staying with Family
One of the great things about staying with relatives is you can always use the washer and dryer to wash your own clothes so you don't have to bring as much. Always offer to do a load for them too. I stripped and washed the guest room bedding right before I left and then made up the bed so that it would be fresh for the next guest. My son's graduation party was held at his house and because of the heat, he made it a pool party. We did a couple of loads of towels so my daughter in law did not have that hassle to contend with. People with kids always have things that need doing, so make yourself available. You might help with homework or add that special touch to a school project. After a long sleepless night with the new baby, I took her and let my daughter sleep while my son in law took his son to daycare. It was only a couple of hours but it made her day. Every mother could use a nap every once in a while, so make the offer if your hostess is looking weary. If you know your way around their kitchen, surprise everyone with breakfast one morning.
These are quick and easy ideas that everyone can do and should make you the most welcome of guest in the future.
After an overnight stay with friends or family, I leave a thank-you note and some nice chocolates on the pillow. I think this definitely lets them know I appreciate all they've done as hosts.
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My sister and I are soon going to my cousin's house to meet her and him for the first time and we are having a sleepover/visit thing for 4 days and I would like some tips for being a good guest and making a good impression!
Mackenzie from Millington, Tennessee
Take it from somebody who's had a lot of bad houseguests, your kin will appreciate the following:
pick up after yourself -- they are not your servants. Eat whatever they serve and say it was good whether it was or not -- they are not running a restaurant for you. Live on their schedule: go to bed and get up when they do, eat when they do, etc.... Offer to help with the chores. If they take you someplace, offer to pay some of the expenses. Don't hog up the TV, and watch what they watch. Don't use up all the shampoo, toothpaste, etc.... Don't be afraid to ask questions like, "What do you want me to do with the wet towels?" If you want something, ask -- don't go looking around in other people's stuff. Say "please", "thank you", and "may I" a lot -- your relatives like to hear it, too. Bring a nice gift that the whole family can enjoy(e.g., a box of candy, a puzzle, etc...). When you get back home, send a handwritten thank you note. Give it a personal touch by mentioning something that happened or something you did while there. As you can see, being a good guest is mostly consideration. Have a good time meeting your cousins!
Joan(who now tells her relatives to go to a hotel)
take a stash of snacks in your personal luggage, just to have in an emergency. Give your hosts time away from you at least once a day, especially after the second day, tell them you are going for a short walk round the block or down the road, just a 15 min or so walk to give them a few minits to be "off duty" as hosts. be low maintenace, leave the cell phone off and devote your visit to them, not the folks back home (my inlaws spend more time on the cell phone with relatives 'back home' while they are here than talking to us who they supposedly came to visit! have fun and be positive, and thank them for everything!
I'm with Joan! Clean up after yourself. Clean the bathroom upon your departure and at the very least make up the bed unless they want you to strip it. Don't put your feet on the sofa even if they do. Have a great time and be the kind of guest you would dream about having in your home! Mitzi
I'M WITH JOAN ON THIS ONE TOO
Hey, it's great that you even thought to ask. If you continue to be this considerate, you'll have no problems. Everything everyone else wrote is perfect.
A lot of good tips here and I don't know that I can add anything else other than don't be demanding, be grateful for the free accomodations, meals and whatever else is offered. You might consider taking your cousins out for a meal one day too.
Clean up after yourself, make dinner, wash dishes, take them to dinner and bring a nice food gift (cookies, cheeses, cake, brownies) when you arrive. When you leave mail them a nice thank you card with a gift if their hospitality needs to be rewarded.
Sweep their floors, vacuum for them ... all the little touches that will lift some of the responsibilities off their shoulders.
Take your camera (or buy a disposable one) and take some pictures of the host and hostess and their family. It's a sure bet that either the host or the hostess is the regular family photographer and is rarely included in pictures. Then send them prints of the pictures after they are developed back home.
Also, be sure you tell your other relatives how much you enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of your cousins.
You might also ask any family members where you live if there is anything they'd like you to deliver to your host and hostess.
And, I suggest that you tell them that you'd like to treat them to a meal out while you are there, and that you'd like them to choose the place. If that will be too expensive, offer to put $10 of gas in the car, or get out and pump $10 worth and go right in and pay for it! That would be a nice surprise that they are sure to appreciate, espcially if they are driving you around to see the local sights.
Write back and tell us how your visit went, OK?
Nancy in Florida
I just have to say.. I have alot of guests that come out to our house and spend the weekends with me and my husband. The one thing that really helps me is knowing that they are comfortable and feel at home. If your cousins tell you it's ok to do something... they mean it!!
They are just as stressed as you are and wondering how they will be able to make you feel comfortable and at ease. I guess the only added thing is to bring them a momento from your side of the family. Something you put some thought into. My sister brought me a picture, framed of our home when we were little :)
Have Fun and be yourself
Family is all important...Treat them the same way you want others to treat you. If you follow what Joan has said and the others that have written here ,you will be the best guests..Have a great time and don't forget to take and share pictures..They will be your memories later on. Leave their home as clean as it was when you got there. Have fun and be sure to invite them to your home for a visit. Taking fresh flowers or flowering plant for them is also very nice. Great Granny Vi
Thank you everyone! I had a great time but there was one problem... I forgot to add that I am 11 and my sister is 8, and my cousins are 11 and 6! Im sorry... But great advice anyway!