If you are a HOUSE GUEST:
(that means you're either visiting another's home or staying somewhere else)
- Be courteous - say "please" and "thank you" as the people who are hosting you will really appreciate being thanked. If they go out of their way to cook, clean, clear the snow off your car, keep a tidy house, have a well-stocked fridge they allow you to raid, etc., be grateful!
- Don't take for granted the Hosts "Rules" of the house. Do they want you to take shoes off at the door? Maybe they want you to speak and walk quietly as not to disturb pets or children. Do they want toilet lids closed to keep pets out of hazardous chemicals in them? Maybe they like all dirty dishes to be placed in the dishwasher. Maybe they like to recycle and have a specific bin rather than throwing it in the trash? Maybe they need specific bed times, or quiet times. Pay attention if it's your first time and ask if you don't know.
- Don't be a SLOB! Don't leave trash laying around. Clean up bathroom counters from makeup or toothpaste before you leave. Make the bed! Don't leave your things lying all over the house, it's not YOUR house!
- Offer to help! Even if they don't take you up on the offer, at least they know they can ask you to help if needed with basic household chores like dishes and setting the table.
- If you have restricted dietary needs or don't like some foods, send your host a list beforehand! And speak up if they take you somewhere you know you can't eat at! A good host wants to know what they can do to make you happy!
- Don't be afraid to state any requirements you might have as a guest - do you need a cold room at night? Or a hot one? Do you need more blankets when you sleep? Do you need an extra plate to separate out food? Do you have a certain bed time? Speak up! Come to an agreement ahead of time so everyone knows what they are getting into!
- Don't make your hosts repeat the rules to you every time you come over. If they've spoken to you about shoes at the door, etc. don't be a jerk and make them remind you every single time. Eventually they'll just stop inviting you over.
If you are a HOST:
(someone is staying or visiting at your house)
- Be as gracious as you can to your guests, they chose to stay/visit you! They didn't have to come, so make sure they're happy. Offer drinks or food if they are staying for awhile. Plan entertainment for overnight guests, ask them what they like, movies, games, or just quiet time doing their own things? Come to an understanding, have a conversation early.
- If your guests offer to help and you'd really like them to (say, do the dishes because they're in another room and you'll miss out on things, allow them to help!) let them help! Maybe it's just a matter of, "could you help me dry these?" or "could you put on some hot water for our tea?"
- Be ready to fulfill the needs of your guests, have multiple offerings, set up a menu ahead of time so they have time to suggest something else, have clean towels for bathrooms and clean sheets on beds. Make sure there is extra toilet paper and mention where they can find other toiletries, plates, cups, etc. if they need to get something for themselves during their visit.
- Don't have dinner in front of your guests or eat unless you've warned them ahead of time! If you're baking a cake and your guests can't have any, let them know the reasons, and apologize - or offer them some! Don't be rude and walk around eating in front of everyone unless you have enough for the 'class'!
- Make sure you warn your guests of pets, children, or other family. Maybe you need to quiet during a certain period of time, or maybe your guests are allergic to cats - let them know well ahead of time to plan on what they need to do.
- If your guests don't know about certain rules before they arrive, ask them politely to do such things as keeping specific doors shut or open, shoes off at the door, toilet seats down, or letting you know where to put the dishes or recyclables. Don't be rude about it, they've never been to your house before!
- Learn what your guests like and don't like. First time's a learning experience, but if you're always feeding the same guests dairy when they've said three times that they're lactose-intolerant, they'll probably stop coming over to see you!
- Communication is key to any host/guest scenario. Speak up, but then LISTEN to any answers given. Remember (even if you need to jot yourself notes, most smart phones have note sections in the phone number area!) the things that are set in place because then everyone will be happier at the end of the day.
- Don't demand to visit or demand visitors. If you want someone to come to your house, offer. If you would like to visit sometime, say "I'd just like to visit" - don't say "we need to have a cookout sometime" just because you want to use someone's grill or visit their pool.
- Spend time together. This does NOT mean spending time on your phones while sitting in the same room. DO SOMETHING together. You're visiting for goodness' sake! Act like it! Have a conversation, listen to one another about things going on, actively participate, and be courteous about covering both sides, otherwise someone might start thinking that the other person just wanted to talk AT someone instead of TO someone. Deep conversations with guests/hosts tend to make return trips a must!
- Limit your visits - as a host, let them know how much time you have free to have guests because it takes a lot of work! And as a guest, know when to go home!
Hope this is handy for everyone! If I find more things I remember I'll add them later!