How to be a Good Guest

By Frederick Daniel Hardy (scan of painting) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If you are a likeable person, sometimes you will be invited over to someone’s house for a meal, a party, or even for an overnight or multiple day visit. Here are some tips to ensure you will be invited back:

  • Always RSVP and honor your RSVP, aka don’t be a flake. Technically, etiquette says that you must accept all invitations as long as you don’t have a conflict. Personally I think having a date with your Netflix counts as a conflict. Also if you do have to cancel, try to make another plan.
  • Show up on time(ish). For a big, general party, this obviously isn’t as important. But for something like a dinner at someone’s house, you need to be pretty close to the time stated. THOUGH! You shouldn’t be there EXACTLY on time. Try aiming for 10-15 minutes late so you the hosts get an extra few minutes to finish setting up. For extremely close friends, you can be earlyish, but be prepared to help out.
  • Bring something! A hostess gift is a small present you bring to give the person throwing the party. Bottles of wine, boxes of chocolates, a jar of jam are all good ideas. Flowers aren’t recommended as much because the host/ess has to deal with them right then and there, but I think they are still nice. Hostess gifts are for the hostess, so don’t expect that they will pop open the wine then and there, they may have specific wines planned to complement a meal, though they often will. Obviously this type of advice is more for a dinner party, but even for a general house party, you should probably bring something, though in that case, I would expect for it to be eaten/drunk at the party.
  • Be good company! Part of your duty of being a guest is making a party a success. That means being pleasant to all the other guests (this is where the reciting times tables to dinner partners you can’t stand comes from in Jaya’s post about turning the tables– you want to give the impression you are having a good time) and doing your best to mingle.
  • If you really want to impress your hosts, send a quick thank you email/text/note(super fancy!) the next day to tell them how much fun you had.
  • If you are visiting for a couple of days, clean up after yourself, offer to help out with chores, perhaps cook or treat your hosts to a meal, and definitely send a thank you note! Also try to remember that fish and guests start to get old after 3 days, so try not to intrude on your friend’s hospitality too much. [INDIAN FISH STAYS GOOD IN THE FRIDGE FOR AT LEAST A WEEK, HOW DARE YOU-Jaya]
  • There is actually a DEBATE in the etiquette world about what to do with your sheets when you leave, making the bed vs stripping it. Just ask your host what they prefer!
  • If you are staying for a long time, try to do some things on your own. My mom once had a friend visit her in New York City and the guest spent the week on the couch watching TV. When she could have, you know, seen New York.

3 thoughts on “How to be a Good Guest

  1. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your blog?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people
    could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  2. Pingback: How To Be A Good Host | Uncommon Courtesy

  3. Pingback: The Etiquette of Weed Pt. 2: Enjoyment | Uncommon Courtesy

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