Recently I had a house guest who came in for the weekend. We were close in the past, but have only had contact via social media since she moved to another state to have her daughter 17 years ago. When she called to say she would be coming to town and would like to stay with me and my husband, I thought she wanted to rekindle our friendship. She and I had always been cool with each other despite the distance, so I was excited to see her and reconnect. My spidy senses went off a little when she invited herself, but I ignored it.
She arrived on a Friday afternoon and immediately made her presence known. The lady actually walked in the door, hugged me and started looking around while asking, “Do you mind if I look around?” The question was obviously thrown out as an afterthought, because the woman was already in the next room evaluating my living space. Later that evening, once my husband came home from work, we went to dinner and everything was fine. The next morning she was dressed and out of the house by 8:15. She went to an all day seminar, which wasn’t a problem because she informed me that she was going ahead of time. What got me was when she returned later that evening, after driving around the city and going shopping, she promptly disappeared into the guest room. I assumed it was to freshen up, but then she asked for my wifi password, exclaiming that her internet service was extremely slow and she needed to update some programs on her laptop. The rest of the night, she spent hanging out in the guest room. By the way, the workshop was not for business purposes, so she wasn’t working. She came into the kitchen for a drink, and then announced that she was going to her room to watch a movie. On my cable? Really? Who does that?
She left the following morning around 11 and I truly felt violated. Part of it was my fault. I allowed this woman who I hadn’t seen in years to come into my home under the pretense of friendship, and use my hospitality against me. I have been known to be too nice to people at times, but once you burn me, I’m done! I have tried for years to work on this aspect of my personality to figure out what is wrong with me. I finally determined, it is not my issue. There are just some people out there who are rude and willing to use others for their personal gain. For those who care about your friendships and relationships with your families, I wanted to write a post to inspire you to be the best house guest you can be.
As we approach the holiday season, I have some steady tips for those of you who may be traveling and staying with a relative or friend. These tips are not regulated for just the holidays. They can be followed any time you visit, but the holidays always bring out the worst in people. Here goes:
- Don’t invite yourself – People’s homes are their refuge from the world. Nothing can be more stressful than having your home invaded by an uninvited guest. Even if your host is gracious and welcoming, it’s just not something that is welcomed, no matter how close you are. Always wait for them to extend the invitation. If one doesn’t come your way, then maybe you aren’t as welcome as you may think. Don’t take it personal either. Some people just need to have a place that is their own, with no outside influences. Hell, there may be a BDSM den that no one needs to know about. Just remember, their home is their sanctuary and they may not want visitors there, no matter who they are. Respect that.
- Upon Arrival, wait to be shown around – Say you receive a warm and welcoming invitation from your hosts, what you do upon arrival sets the mode for the entire visit. It is fine to feel welcome in the home, every host wants you to be comfortable. However, don’t be one of those people who walk in like they live there and start looking around the house. This has happened to me and let me just say, it is annoying.
- Make yourself at home, but remember it is NOT your home – As I mentioned earlier, most hosts want you to feel welcome and to be comfortable. HOWEVER, please remember your manners. As a general rule, you should not be moving furniture around in the guest room. If things are not to your liking, tough it out. You can design the guest room in your house any way you like it, but if you are in someone else’s home, show some respect and decorum. It is just plain rude and obnoxious to move furniture and televisions to accommodate your liking in someone else’s home. The guest room is there for you to rest your head, not to move in.
- Spend quality time with your host – Nothing screams user more than a guest in your home who doesn’t feel the need to actually visit with you. Please do not use someone’s home as a free place to crash, without having the common courtesy to spend time with them. They are not running a bed and breakfast! If you are fortunate enough to be invited into someone’s home, remember it is a privilege. The least you could do is show a little appreciation by hanging out with them.
- Don’t invite yourself back – Once you have stayed with someone, they need a little break from having a guest around. If they want you to come back, believe me they will ask. Please do not insist on making another trip soon. You know the saying, ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’? Well, I am convinced whoever said it was talking about house guests.
Now that you are armed with a little etiquette to use when invading someone else’s space, I beg you to put it to use. Don’t be that person that no one wants to invite back. Happy Travels and remember…