4.2 min readBy Published On: June 20th, 2011Categories: Blog0 Comments on How to be a good houseguest by Heather Foley

When’s the last time you were invited over someone’s vacation house for a long weekend? 

Has it been a while?  Or maybe you get invited to someone’s house once and then never again?  Do people have weekends down the cape or up the mountains and leave you out?  I hate to break it to you, it’s because you’re a crappy houseguest.  But it’s okay, your buddy Heather is here to help you out, and just in time for summer. 
I’m going to give you a little refresher course on how to be a good houseguest, you’ll be mooching off friends and family before you know it.  And for the record, this isn’t one of my usual fluff pieces; this here is some hard hitting investigative journalism.  I’ve done research and everything!  I asked 10 people (if you round up) who have vacation homes their dos and don’ts for being a good houseguest.  Notebooks ready?

First of all, do be gracious. 

Everyone likes to feel appreciated; your host is no different.  Someone is opening up their home to you so remember to use those magical words, “please” and ‘”hank you”, and use them a lot.  Don’t assume your host gets a kick out of waiting on you hand and foot, they don’t!  They’re not waiting with bated breath to fill your wine glass or at the edge of their seat to bring you more cheese and crackers, so when they do show a little appreciation please.  And as far as a hostess gift goes, why not resurrect your pot holder making skills and whip a couple up to show your appreciation.  Who doesn’t like pot holders?

Try to help out, or at the very least offer to. 

Most hosts won’t let you do much around the house, but you at least have to try.  Make your bed, clear some plates, and bag the empties, etc.  Don’t push your seat away from the table, comment on what a mess everything is and then go read a book.  Also, don’t be a pest.  You might think you’re helping out by insisting on washing the wine glasses but breaking 4 of them due to your enthusiasm helps no one.

Do bring some booze. 

You really can’t go wrong with beer and wine (unless your host has problems and only drinks the hard stuff.) Find out what your host likes and bring plenty of it.  Try to figure how much everyone will drink and then buy even more.  And maybe pick up some stuff to make a signature drink to commemorate your weekend, something tasty like a big bottle of Aftershock.  Don’t only bring what you like to drink and bring only enough for yourself.

Do bring some food to go along with that booze. 

You’re probably going to have dinner made for you, but you should still bring some grub.  Since dinner is more than likely taken care of, how about dessert?  Who doesn’t like Fudgie the Whale or Cookie Puss?  I know I love them both.  Don’t show up with a lobster bib on and act all pissed if the menu is burgers and hot dogs.  Don’t show up with a bag of pretzels and expect a pat on the back.  Oh and if you have any weird food allergies bring foods you can eat because odds are your host doesn’t have a gluten free pantry and fridge.

Do reach for your wallet once and a while, or at least pretend to.

I’m not saying you should foot the bill for a 7-course meal for 12, but try to pick up a round or 2 of drinks, coffee and donuts for the house, something, and anything.  Don’t disappear right before the check is dropped, that’s my move.

Do have a good time. 

If someone invites you to spend the weekend they must like you and they want you to have fun.  So let your hair down and kick up your heels a little bit.  What the hell, have another glass of wine?  Don’t get so drunk you manage to get yourself kicked out of whatever local watering hole your host likes to frequent.  You might never be going back again and thanks to you your hosts are now too embarrassed to show their faces there.  Nice job Andy Dick!

So those are the biggies, of course there are million little things you should and shouldn’t do, such as you should put on pants (unless you have really nice legs,) shouldn’t puke in the rose bushes, but I’m pretty sure if you stick to my dos and don’ts you’ll be in good shape. 

As a matter of fact you’re going to be treating your hosts so good they won’t want to let you go (which is exactly what Julia Roberts said to Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, and look how great that turned out.)