Staying in a new environment with people you don’t know can be intimidating.
However, if you know what is expected of you and what to do and avoid, it isn’t always an awkward situation. People love respect and kindness, so always remember that at the heart of this experience, they want these traits. Let’s take a look at the best house guest manners to adopt when venturing in a new place.
House Guest Manners To Follow
Politely introduce yourself to your guests, and remember that first impressions matter greatly. Try to look presentable. This might not always be possible if you’ve travelled far and are feeling tired, but do try to make an effort. These below house guest manners were created with you and the hosts respect in mind.
1. Help Out
The most important tip for house guest manners is to help out around the house. We’d like to specify that we’re not talking about offering to help out with chores and errands, but actually being productive and doing things.
So many people ask: “would you like help with cleaning?”, but naturally, the listener will refuse help out of politeness and awkwardness. Hinting and making false promises that you’ll help out with anything if you’re asked doesn’t score you brownie points either.
Alternatively, help out by asking where the cleaning products and equipment are so that you’re actually taking action. This’ll be appreciated and recognized a lot more than meaningless promises.
2. Clean Up After Yourself
It goes without saying that you should clean up after yourself throughout your entire stay at someone else’s house. Notice how the occupants live. Do they like things to be put back, or are they quite relaxed with shoes left in the hall?
It’s important that you have a discussion with them at the beginning of your stay to ensure that you live by their rules. Try to keep the place looking the same as it did prior to your stay. Obviously, you’ll have belongings, but keep them out of sight and organized. Don’t leave your coat in the living room because you normally would at home if the owners don’t do that.
There are simple things to do in order to clean up after yourself. Make your bed every day, fold your clothes, and keep your room in a respectable manner. Although the owners want you to feel as comfortable as possible staying in their home, don’t take advantage by invading their space. It might also be a good suggestion to ask which rooms/areas are out of bounds and private, as well as which areas are temporarily yours.
3. Never Use Anything Without Asking
It’s common courtesy to ask before using anything which isn’t yours. This includes the shower, Internet, computer, oven, phone and anything else you’d like to use. It’s important that you respect your owners and your new surroundings. Although the owners might comment that you can use anything in their home, it’s polite and respectful to ask before.
If you’re given permission to use something that’s not yours, don’t take advantage. Respect it and live it in the same way you found it. For example, if you use the shower and adjust the temperature, it’s common courtesy to put it back to how you found it for the owners.
Of course, you don’t need to go overboard with this point and ask to use the toilet every time. However, you should ask before using pretty much anything else. To respect your house guests, we also recommend being aware of when they use facilities. For example, do they routinely shower between 7-8am? If so, avoid using the bathroom during that time.
4. Ask About What is Expected of You
It might be an awkward conversation to have, but part of good house guest manners is asking what is expected of you during your staff. People have different opinions and values, so it’s important that you respect your house guests’. Make the effort to adapt to their preferences and patterns, even if it doesn’t 100 percent suit you. Here are a few questions to consider asking:
- Would they prefer privacy at the dinner table or for you to accompany them?
- Are there specific times to turn out the lights at night to not disturb anyone sleeping?
- Do they have certain times they’d prefer you home by?
- What times should you avoid using the bathroom to not inconvenience anyone else?
- Are there certain areas of the house which you shouldn’t go in? For example, perhaps there are important documents in the office which they’d prefer you to refrain from going in. It’s important you understand and respect their decisions
5. Respect the Owners’ Lifestyle, Family and Culture
You might not agree with the owners’ way of life, but that doesn’t mean you get to express your opinion in front of them. They might own a dog, but you don’t like pets. It’s not your place to comment on their decision, but to ignore it and continue going about your business.
One of the worst things you can do is insult the owners, their religion and family. Refrain from asking personal questions – especially when first meeting. You might get a sense of their values, beliefs and religious standpoint from their house. As a result, be aware of not saying anything which could insult or hurt anyone.
Never criticize your hosts’ preferences and lifestyles. Go with the flow and even try to learn about their experience and lifestyle if they don’t mind. However, if there are certain actions and foods to avoid because of your religious or cultural beliefs, inform your hosts prior to your arrival. By doing so, you will avoid any awkwardness and discomfort when you arrive at their house.
Do You Have Any House Guest Manners to Share?
If you’re temporarily living in someone else’s accommodation, it’s extremely important that you respect the people and their lifestyle. Even if how they live is very different to you, refrain from making personal comments.
Are there any house guest manners we haven’t mentioned above, you’d like to share which? If so, feel free to leave a comment with some advice and tips to remaining respectful in a different household.
Related Article: The Benefits of House Cleaners and Why You Should Have One