‘Tis the season of houseguests and if you live in a desirable summer location like I do (on a lake), not only do you want to share, others also want you to share. But first off, I want to say to anyone reading this who has been a guest at my house that this post is NOT about you. Obviously, if I were going to complain about certain houseguests, I wouldn’t be doing it in a public blog. I would do it behind their backs.
However, based on extensive houseguest experience, I’d like to give a list of Do’s and Don’ts, because I’ve found that some people just don’t seem to know the etiquette and effort involved in being a houseguest.
DO bring food. Assume that the beautiful, but remote location your host lives in also precludes the ready availability of grocery stores. If you are staying two nights or more (god forbid) you MUST bring at least one dinner.
DO bring alcohol. Lots of it. Even if you don’t drink, believe me, your host will.
DO bring a gift—just a little something—for your host so that she feels like you appreciate her effort. (If you bring enough food and alcohol, you can dispense with the gift.)
DO offer to help with the cooking and cleaning up. Your host will most likely refuse, but this little dance must be honored.
DO offer to drive if you and your host are going someplace. If your host insists on driving, DO offer to pay for gas, or buy your host lunch.
DO allow your host some downtime. Assume she lives in this remote location because she likes her solitude. Entertain yourself occasionally.
The Don’ts are pretty simple: DON’T not do any of the DO’s.
And in addition:
DON’T ask your host to bring you a little plate of cheese and crackers to tide you over as you relax in the living room while she is making dinner for everyone after having driven you both around the state for five hours.
DON’T be passive/aggressive. This is being passive/aggressive in case you’re not sure: “Oh, I thought we’d go to that crocheted marine life exhibit that is eighty miles away and you’d drive since I drove all the way up here to see you and we can catch up on things while we get there.” If your host is not interested in marine life rendered in crochet, she’s NOT going to want to drive you to that exhibit under the guise of “catching up”. But she will, if she is a good host. She will just feel like a ho, that’s all. And you will not be invited back. Ever.