Sunday, September 26, 2010

How To Be a {more} Thoughtful Guest

On the heels of Rebecca's (awesome!) post about being a better hostess, we thought it would be nice to share a few ways to be a more gracious guest.

* Realize that your hosts have gone out of their way to prepare for your stay. They've washed linens, planned menus, brainstormed activities, purchased food - be grateful. Take notice. Express your appreciation.

* Help with meal prep, dishes, chores. If you see something that needs doing -- jump in and do it. If you think this might make your host uncomfortable, ask first: "Can I load the dishwasher for you? Is there any particular way you like it done?"

* Be flexible and try to acquiesce to the family culture and routine of your hosts. i.e. If they sleep in, try to keep your children quiet in the morning. If they want to take you on their favorite hike - get excited about an adventure! On the flip side, when your opinion/input is solicited - offer it! Indecision can be paralyzing and frustrating. Your host wants to know what you'd like to do, what you want to eat, where you'd like to go, so if you're asked, share your preferences.

* If you have special dietary considerations, let your hosts know ahead of time. Warn them about the life-threatening peanut allergy, but don't mention the less consequential turnip aversion :) And be thankful for what you're served - your host has probably spent a lot of time and energy preparing meals suitable for company.

* If you have a large-ish family or are staying for a substantial length of time, offer to help pay for groceries or take your hosts out for dinner one night.

* Go out of your way to be kind, thoughtful and considerate. My favorite example of this? When our dear friend/cousin Joan stayed with Anne for a few days this summer, her visit happened to coincide with Anne's birthday. Anne had to be to an early morning meeting at church on her special day and while she was away, Joan made her German Pancakes for breakfast and had Blaine and Roger (Anne's boys) color some little b-day love notes for their mom. Does it get sweeter than that?? Guest of the year, Joan! Here's a pic to prove it :)


* When you leave, help clean up. Offer to strip the linens from the bed or start a load of towels in the wash.

* And when you get home, send a thank you note. Better still, send a small thank you gift. When Anne and her family came to visit us in Texas she made me a "Happy Birthday" pennant banner.

We love it! And when I pull it out I smile about the fun we had with them.

Those were just a few ways we came up with
to be a more thoughtful guest in someone else's home.

What else, dear readers?


Joan said...

Guest of the year!?! Wow! What an honor :) and a lovely way to begin my Monday morning!

Nicole said...

This is great! I'm going to be spending a night and day with my Uncle in FL in a few weeks and I haven't seen them in a long time. They are great hosts and I think this will help me be a gracious guest. THANKS!

Amy Jean said...

This goes back to the hostess thing, but someone gave me an idea to keep a guest book. I keep it on the dresser of our guest room with a pen. This way we have a record of who stayed in our house as well as events like if I host book club or something I make a note of it. I think when we move on to bigger and better spaces it will be a charming memoir of friends and family in this house.

Abbie said...

this is good one. it's so true. now that we've had more guests, i want to be much more thoughtful when i go stay with people.

Mandi said...

This is a great post. I think, as being a host a lot from living out of town for years in various parts of the country (and being a host a LOT), the most thing I worry about is my guests being bored. Anything a guest can do to show that they are not bored and are flexible and/or willing to do or not do is so helpful.

Rae. said...

Just had to chime in that Joan is quite the hostess too...we stayed with them a few weeks ago and were greeted with our favorite candy in little dishes, the latest edition of Real Simple Magazine, and big bottled waters next to our bed. With a sweet note tucked in to boot.

AND she made those awesome German pancakes!!! SO GOOD.

I'm hardly surprised that she makes a perfect GUEST too.

All this guest business has me itching to decorate my guest room properly. Darn budget!


Christene from WhipperBerry said...

I love this! This Spring I had the most fabulous house guests. There was a family reunion and I'd had a baby one month before. They did dishes, cooked us meals, got some of their own groceries and took us on a date. I so loved having them in my home! What I'd worried about turned out to be a beautiful time.