21st Century Golden Etiquettes For House Guests


1) This is a general post utterly not calculated to offend anybody; but if the shoe fits, well then lace that bitch up.

2) It is absolutely not aimed at elders for whom our love is rather unconditional.

3) The post has been written in the context of guests staying over for more than 2-3 days and from the point of view of hosts.

Nowadays, the significance of etiquettes for being a thoughtful houseguest is diametrically overlooked. Being a decorous houseguest is, in a nutshell, all about focusing on how to enjoy yourself while being as helpful and unobtrusive as possible. Always remember that hospitality is a gift and therefore you must show a sense of gratitude towards your hosts. If you behave properly, you might even find yourself with the next invitation already up on your way as you are about to leave. Below are some tips that I have tried to outline if you want to be labelled the good, gracious houseguest.

  • 1st Rule: Communicate your plan 

Tell when you’ll be arriving, when you’re leaving and what plans, if any, you might have. This lets hosts organise their own schedules accordingly. Just because you are on a vacation does not mean everyone else is. On a side note, Marianne Moore asserted that, “superior people never make long visits”. Oh well, let’s take that with a pinch of salt maybe?

  • 2nd Rule: Follow house rules

I know I may say ‘make yourself at home’ but I don’t really mean it. So, always ask me where things are and how things work. And please be considerate of the noise you make. Don’t be a prick. Keep your hosts away from your ceaseless jibber-jabber. I am sure you do not want them to remember an ad rem quote from Oscar Wilde, “A bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you company.” Respect dinner time and sleep time; even if you find yourself staring up at a dark ceiling because you’re normally a night owl.

Another thing which breaches my level of tolerance is when guests feel free to offer their leftover food to house pets – be it a dog, a cat or a hippo for that matter. For crying out loud, this is an animal – not a vacuum cleaner to suck up any garbage. It has its own eating pattern (probably better than yours).

Do not forget that a toilet, spelt T-O-I-L-E-T, is a place meant for shitting and not to watch stupid videos or even to contemplate over your miserable life inside for an effing whole one hour. Geez! What do you think? Others will go piss and poop in the open backyard whilst you are too busy basking in the glory of your imagination? Moron! And please, for fuck sake, do not leave your antique pieces of lingerie in the bathroom, even by mistake. Believe you me! No one bothers to admire them twopenny craps.

  • 3rd Rule: Use, do not abuse

I have two types of shampoo in my shower, one very expensive in a tiny bottle and then a big bottle of cheap generic shampoo. Please use the latter. I love you and want you to have the most glorious hair but, this ain’t a hair salon. Be polite and don’t just assume the fancy shit is for you.

I totally understand you might not have brought along your cream, body lotion or any of those stuffs. It’s alright. Here’s mine. But do you know how much it hurts when I see you sprinkling a fuckton of my Givenchy perfume all over your clothes and applying copious dabs of my Biotherm moisturizer everyday on your potato face? Hello, these products cost me an arm and a leg. Kindly have the decency to use them moderately, unless you are replacing those, of course.

Now comes the famous free-rider problem concerning utilities. Psst, you are not staying in a presidential suite of a 7-star hotel where you can unabashedly indulge in all the amenities (civilised people don’t do that even in a hotel though). That said, please have the decorum to ask the adults, and not the children for their WIFI password. And, sorry to disappoint you but I do not celebrate Diwali everyday. So, if you wouldn’t mind, move your fat arse and turn off the lights when you are not using them, would you?

  • 4th Rule: Help around

To put it bluntly, I’m not your mommy. I’m your peer. Just because you are at mine does not mean I need to become your care-giver. You are big enough, well physically at least, to keep your things neatly concentrated in one place. Make your bed. I’d be happier if you share in some minor chores. Plus this is also a means for us to spend some nice quality time together which is the whole point of your visit, no? You want to have fried calamari with romesco as appetizer, lamb koftas, zesty couscous and mixed vegetables salad as your main, and mud pie with ice-cream for dessert tonight? Simply press that button and hey presto! You automatically have this feast to devour in front of you. Quite easy, nah? Jackass! Lend me a helping hand, for God’s sake.

  • 5th Rule: Do not be cheapy

You do not need to be an Economics or Finance guru to understand that today we live in an expensive world. Volunteer to pay for a meal sometimes. Chances are I won’t let you but the gesture will be enormously appreciated. Offer a small prezzie or at the very least, say a grateful ‘thank you’ when you go.

  • 6th Rule: Ban technology

“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” – Albert Einstein. Isn’t this downright accurate? Well, kudos Albert! We’ve reached this very epoch. Actually, I am a little confused as to why you would come at my place to stay and socialise with me, but proceed to stare into the screen of your phone every ten minutes. Anti-social much? Please, as tempting as it might be, do not be too focused on instagramming, facebooking, vining or snapchatting every single activity you are doing, hashtagged #familytime or #whatever #bullshit. It breaks the real human face-to-face connection. And do I need to say that it is plain rude? You do that? Take your baggage and off my planet, zombie!

  • 7th rule: Do not judge

Some visitors deserve an Olympic Gold Medal for ‘jumping to conclusions’ when they come at your place. They really need to remove that stick from their butts which compels them to be either demanding, finicky or judgemental. “Why did you do this? Why did you do that? No, this is not how it’s supposed to be done…and bla bla bla”. To tell you the truth my dear, I like your approach. Now let’s see your departure. Waster!

To sum it up, what is acceptable and appropriate varies from family to family but the basic concept seems to hold true in every household. Guest etiquette is definitely not a holier-than-thou rulebook that exists to make people feel bad or unwanted. On the contrary, these codes of conduct are simple tools and tips to make you feel more welcomed, loved and comfortable. Trust me, as long as you genuinely care, you’d do just fine as an ideal guest!

(Image borrowed from Google)

Author: The Little Mermaid

My soul is an enthralling mystery, delicately concocted with some chaos and a little glee.

228 thoughts on “21st Century Golden Etiquettes For House Guests”

  1. Hahaha loving it πŸ˜€
    And as for this : ‘Do not forget that a toilet, spelt T-O-I-L-E-T, is a place meant for shitting and not to watch stupid videos or even to contemplate over your miserable life inside for an effing whole one hour. Geez! What do you think? Others will go piss and poop in the open backyard whilst you are too busy basking in the glory of your imagination? Moron! And please, for fuck sake, do not leave your antique pieces of lingerie in the bathroom, even by mistake. Believe you me! No one bothers to admire them twopenny craps.Β ‘
    I’ll make sure I have it pasted on my bathroom walls πŸ˜€

    1. As far-fetched as it may sound Rabia, but been there, felt that! And please do it for those few brain-deads who spend ages inside the toilet thinking they will probably discover the ‘Law Of Universal Poop’ as their shit falls, much akin to Newton’s ‘Law Of Universal Gravitation’ as the apple fell.

      1. You never know, they might absorb the laws of plumbing and become useful. Do you want to be responsible for denying the world another Albert Sheitzenstien?

    1. I believe we can all relate to each point, in some way or another. Thanks for stopping by and giving it a read πŸ™‚

  2. I like this – really I do! I found it to be funny, well observed, informative, and a keen & insightful window into the way you think.
    But, this occurs to me – if you feel that it is necessary to write this for (I presume) people that have been in the past or might be in the future, your house guests, then maybe you ought to think seriously about getting a new set of friends! Just saying. πŸ˜€
    And by writing this, I am utterly not calculated to offend anybody; but if the shoe fits, well then lace that bitch up. πŸ˜‰
    (way to go to lose friends Robert)

    1. To be frank, I am very lucky to be surrounded by kind and caring friends and relatives, touch wood. It is just that I do not suffer fools gladly and if guests like I described in the post cropped up at my place (it did happen once), I would probably have to give them a good dose of lactulose in their food and get rid of them once and for all. Great idea, isn’t it, Rob? Haha!

      1. true,,,,,,myself and my mom were reading and really enjoyed it,,,,,,perhaps it was like a flash back….I have felt every word you penned out there in the last summer….never can I forget those days and those guest and their sons who nearly tore our house apart,,,,,,

  3. Rule #8: do NOT be a house guest in a Shakespeare play. It will not end well. See Scottish king who stays at Macbeth’s castle, Lear sent out into the storm, etc.

    1. Oh yes, he was King Duncan, if I’m not wrong. Well, I have decided that I will turn into Shakespeare’s Macbeth if my guests display the kind of uncouth behaviour I have elaborated on above. Haha!

  4. Can see your point, good post, I have a little saying regarding this also, “Guests are like fish, they smell after three days” !!!! obivously not literally…………..


  5. Bravo! This is excellent advice. That Einstein quote reminds me how sad it is that people who died over 50 years ago seem to understand the (hyper)-modern world better than us contemporaries.

      1. The pleasure is all mine. In fact I was just telling my friend that I can vastly improve my writing skills if I keep reading your work and get entertained at the same time. So nothing like it :p
        P.S : I’m handling the Better Yourself Books WordPress account :p

        1. That’s two in one. It sounds like a good deal. Haha!

          I’m pleased you appreciate my works. It gives me the confidence to do better each time. Thank you and keep in touch!😊

  6. Reblogged this on thepageofdaniel and commented:
    I have dodged this particular bullet, as I occupy a ” single – occupancy ” efficiency apartment, & as far as I know the rule is NO overnight / 24 – 48 hr. / weekend, etc. guests. It may suck not having my own balcony w / garden, but at least I don’t play host for more than a few hours.

  7. This is great! πŸ™‚ Makes me wonder how often you have already suffered from misbehaving guests though. πŸ˜‰ I had to snigger at Rule 1: My in-laws are planning to go visit my mum next week, and did not communicate their plans. So my mum was wondering how long they will be staying, but was to shy to ask… Sigh. So in the end, I phoned my mother-in-law, chatted a bit and then asked “oh, and I here you will be at my mum’s place next week, how lovely, for how long?” Got the information, rang my mum back, problem solved. πŸ˜‰

  8. At first, I was thinking you must host couch-surfers all the time. After a while, I realized you were talking about friends. Fortunately, the named generation has some fine exceptions.

  9. Good advice. Nothing new about the boorish house-guest, but you made them hilarious in retrospect.

    Not that we get many guests here at the ZASH, but we have one hard and fast rule.
    “Boorish house guests may NOT be added to the compost. They may contain inorganic food-like substances and a full spectrum of pharmaceuticals and heavy metals.”

  10. Anyone who like a post or a comment on a post gets a visit…et voila…well not a real one obviously otherwise being on here commenting would fall foul of rule 6 and clearly violate the point of visiting….however a virtual visit must utilise anti-rule 6 stating technology must be used otherwise WTF am I here for?

    Oh yes, a visit that was it. You got a visit down to a like. Pretty pleased I followed it up as it happens. Neat post and kudos not only to Albert for his resonance with the powers of foresight but also to you for a most witty reflection on what most of us think.

    Thank you for sharing…well..liking that allowed me to see your sharing…dammit I’ll just follow your blog then cut to the chase and say thanks for staring before I confuse the hell out of my own ramble πŸ™ƒ

      1. I’m not certain who this Larry chap is but rumour has it he’s certainly jovial… Is he a good friend of yours! 😜

        Don’t ask why I said that…it was the first thought I had and it’s early! Feel free to check mine out…it’s still a baby at present and widgets I am proud to say I know nothing about 😁 Look forward to seeing you again 😊

          1. Excellent…although I was going to check if he had a blog and test this theorum of joviality. Friend it is though which is proper cool…catch you soon πŸ˜‡

  11. Watching ‘FAN’ right now…
    It’s just amazing and mind blowing…
    I will give it three stars out of five.
    You can also watch it live at your place. Just switch it on and it will start revolving at an amazing speed on the ceiling!!!πŸ˜ƒ

  12. So useful post with lots of lollllzzz. Really thank you for this ( feel little guilty reading it for free πŸ™‚
    Enjoyed reading new words like fuckton etc πŸ™‚ :).

  13. Liked the comprehensive list reasonable but why not just say , “Don’t come” . Any person who sees this list most probably not going visit. If that is what you are looking for it, nailed it. Personally , I hate guests.

    1. Hi Aquileana, it is an honour for me to be nominated for a Blog Award by you. I accept it with much gratitude. It’s my first award here and I’m so excited. Whoop! Thank you again!πŸ˜‡

  14. House guests are like fish… After a while they stink… We very rarely have house guests and if we do it’s been discussed to the max. And hey, for all the beauty products: This is why I take soaps and shampoos and conditioner and whatever you get in hotels home. For house guests. Yup. That’s what they get put on their pillows the first day or on the towel they can use the first day they arrive. And then there is more in a bowl in the bathroom. And if they use all of it: The stores are just around the corner…

  15. These are good house rules. You should print this, frame it, and hang it in the bathroom. That way, it will seem to be humour, but will be a good reminder to guests, who may just need to be little reminder.

  16. You must have far to many relatives coming for a visit -or extended stay. This is hilarious. I am going to give it to my mom. I just don’t have her over because she is sooooo critical. I love it. Thanks for visiting my site.

      1. Not at my age -I don’t think so. There has to be an age where we are old enough. Maybe, I just don’t see it as her daughter and I should think about my own reaction to my adult children -huh. I think I will study that more.

  17. I love your blog… love that quote: β€œI fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” – Albert Einstein. And I’ve taken it to heart… YET… what a hypocrite I am! Here I sit… a guest in your virtual home and I’m using my tech… guess I should turn it off before I say another w…

  18. ha ha ha very nice. I think Indians and Pakistanis can better enjoy that post because they usually experience such those things πŸ˜€

  19. Oh, if I could post this outside the front door, put a reminder on their pillow, and mail a copy with the invite…rsvp only if you intend to follow the rules during the visit…love it!

  20. Oh I do agree with this. My mother-in-law sums house guests up well with this saying: “Fish, friends and relatives, after three days begin to stink.”

  21. Reading this post was a hoot; even the repartee in the comments. And I normally eschew lists of any sort. You got into this topic so thoroughly that you were misunderstood as having a poor set of friends. That is the mark of a great writer… I mean the ability to genuinely become immersed in your topic, not the crappy friend part.

    Now, from a male guest’s point of view… I am occasionally baffled by the myriad of products displayed at random in tacky hanging baskets on the shower pipe, having to squint in poor light at labels for interminable minutes. Believe me! Once I find “shampoo” I no longer care whether it’s Givenchy amine-free with globules of expensive gritty crud. I sigh with relief, take a small blob and apply it to the back of my head because it might slip off if I placed it on the smoother, slippery slope of my crown. Fuck the conditioner with kiwi or quinoa essences. (By the way, I believe those who consume quinoa should grow it themselves, rather than buy it from Peru, where the Quechua-speaking folk who invented it can’t afford it anymore.)

    No, the water is NOT running during this frantic follicle-friendly search for two reasons: first, because I conserve water, even turning it off repeatedly while brushing my teeth and second ………………… (Sorry about the delay – I was writing this on the john while defecating) because hot showers, so my cardiologist told me in 2000, are dangerous for someone with a heart condition.

    Your engaging, big writing style makes it tough to picture you as a “little” mermaid, though the mermaid part is totally believable. Living on an island, particularly one surrounded by water, would seduce me into growing a scaly tail. In that idyllic setting I would require no personal hygiene products whatsoever…

    1. Hahaha! Oh my gosh! I was rolling on the floor laughing while reading your comment which so funnily described how you have your way in the bathroom. Thank you for sharing your comical experience with us and for the compliments. It surely brought a huge smile to my lips. By the way, a “little” mermaid I remain..See you around! X :))

  22. Nice one, on the toilet front I would like to add that it would be nice for male guests to remember to put the toilet seat back down when done with their standing business. This was amusing and has more than a grain of truth to it. Some people are bad guests, but they can improve.

  23. I wouldn’t invite anyone to stay more than two or three days unless I knew I could count on them to behave in a civilised way, without me having to tell them anything at all.
    As far as I’m concerned, if people come to stay, then they are free to do as they please (I’m assuming they aren’t planning on burning the place down or raping us all in our beds) because they are GUESTS and, as such, are immune to “house rules” (should I ever come up with any such things).
    If I was that bothered about whether guests were going to follow a complex set of rules or not, I’d never invite anyone to stay.

    1. Hi there, please allow me to make things a little bit clear for you. This post alludes to guest etiquettes, which are axiomatically the customary codes of polite behaviour that are expected from visitors. Contrarily, house rules are specifically designed only for the members of the house. I hope you got my point.😊

      1. Oh, I get your point, I was just saying that I wouldn’t expect any guests I invite to adhere to guidelines of any sort. They are almost certainly going to be on holiday or spending some sort of leisure time in my company, so they will always be free to do whatever they like. Etiquette is for the nobility and finishing schools as far as I’m concerned.

  24. Ben Franklin had an interesting quote “Fish and guests stink after 3 days” , he may have read your blog post when he composed that one πŸ™‚

  25. πŸ‘ŒπŸ½πŸ‘ŒπŸ½πŸ‘ŒπŸ½πŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ™ŒπŸΎ! Hahah !! People late are really so anti social! I don’t get it

  26. Great post! πŸ‘πŸ» I remember, a few years ago, We had a friend visiting us and she was all over the place. Also she didn’t have a laptop, so she thought my was hers. She used it all day to Skype, email, Facebook etc. I couldn’t even do my work. Those days were terrible 😱

  27. hmn… I’m wondering just how impish i should beeee…. nah, I’m lucky enough to be trotted about once in a while…shining personality must remain hidden briefly. I’m curious though, what on earth would save me should i find that i’m horrendously guilty of any or all of this…that’s got to seriously be a trick prezzie. case in point – you simply like something I said somewhere else so pounce! here i am. did you lose a bet? you should be careful liking me. so I have to float not because of grand useful value or skill or much of anything else like cash to avoid this to be helpful within the family – everyone knows all about cant get out of its so i’m at a nice place hardwon and a tad pricey…lottery win for my usual circumstances. now i have to ask obvious things like what can i do what? when I can not look at a room and see/know what to do. everyone loves a right hand lamb or whatnot- but I’m not observant or picky, i don’t see well and thus out of sight out of mind and that haha about being crazy was grammatically free… I mean during my visit i borrowed from my extensive collection of ideas to produce fish tacos, maple chicken wings with lite but not lite enough sodium, cheese omelettes careful about colby jack cheese amounts it’s a tinge rubbery and thus can be over used, deliciously bad for one reheated cornbread battered hot dogs, tabbouleh and brought a bag of beans which was the additional offering. i succeeded in impressing my hostess and blowing her sodium level quite nicely which of course is so very kind of me. I helped move a pallet ofwood stove pellet bags, thank goodness 64 didn’t carry hers as far as big strapping young person male!… and as despicable as actual work can be when it doesn’t suit mr demille’s schedule here…hollywood director of the early for my grandparents times…but I helped shovel because her son joined the army after marrying my sister and even if useless i’d hate to have to explain why I arse appled my chances to aid an older lady….if you’ve not caught on well, I’ willing to help but rather bumbling. now I did both try to keep my space seperate and usable for other guests and made my bed. while not extensively rich or useful I did try. I’m taught two world on this point hence the question is it results oriented I’m a huge bastard sinner as there is limited results possible and poisoning my poor hostess as i’m a fine cook who even tried to moderate food to her needs too that i still saw the signature puffy ankles of failure? or is it the newer paradigm of believing and achieving attitude is everything I tried! succeeded in not wholly poisoning you and you might have a quicky go over as i seriously do miss the spot from time to time…? because if it’s simply giving back something… i achieved that without effort- it wasn’t my culinary prowess or utilitarian oomphs but simply walking the hill back ‘home” in pajamas and bedroom slippers because SOMEBODY wanted company to test our efforts of shoveling out and it’d be REAL quick! huffa huffa hump up the hill oh god please don’t let me fall down, this sucks enough already! oh noooo that sound! You look sooo CUUUUUUUTTTE deathblow to ever getting any …noooott cuuuuttte! I mean otherwise i would say I tried both talking and shutting up even at the same time…there’s a trick in that last one…ain’t learned it yet either. I did me chores not to make her boy proud but i did try to not let half or more be hers. I succeeded in only a mild poisoning….how utterly embarassing…I’m sodium restricted and had a heapin helpin…okay fib it was coated in real maple syrup or sugar and that was my last shot of insulin we were snowed in so i had to actually watch and do something called diet…but again is it acheivements oriented? or something more transcendant?… I probably should have mapped this one out so i could have used a proper sentence or two more and maybe a fancy paragraph break and ooo that spellin’ all my teachers were on about! nah. *again thanks for the clicks…as in likes )

    1. Whoa! That’s the longest comment ever written in history. And the sweetest one, too…You sound like the perfect and most entertaining guest one could receive, given the so many things you did graciously for your host. I envy her. Oh I wish somebody made cheese omlette for me too! I’m already salivating here. Care to make one for your ‘cute’ blogging buddy? Haha!

      1. Thank you! I love when people say what they have to say out loud. Blessings! Happy Friday πŸ˜‰

  28. I go along with your good advice.
    I also like your post on older men I have shared my life with my partner http://en.gravatar.com/pommepal for 34 years so can say age is irrelevant as there are three parts to age physical, mental and chronological.
    Commitment to caring and sharing are what matters.
    I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for noticing and liking the comment I put on Rajgopal post ‘Less Luggage’ _/\_

  29. Haha! Hilarious but truly true 😊 I think other than when you are visiting your parents you are supposed to carry your toiletries and the kind. Even when they are provided by the host you are supposed to use your own unless as you said it is a hotel and you have paid for them. Awesome post πŸ™‚

  30. All sounds good to me… I agree with most of this – pull your weight, be sociable, the odd gift of gratitude is nice and don’t tell me how to run my ship lol… great post!

  31. Can I just say…brilliant?! Absolutely LOVE the context of the Wilde and Einstein quotes and actually think these rules work not only for visitors but some permanent residents as well! Thanks for providing a smile as I read them. Like I said, brilliant, simply brilliant. ღ

  32. I love your style. How can some guests be so oblivious? For every great guest there’s 20 who i dance when they depart. Sadly the ones that need to read it, don’t.

  33. Awesome Post! Great quotation from Oscar Wilde: β€œA bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you company.”

  34. wish my mom could see this. she’s always the good sibling and letting her family stay over and intrude. And also my rude asf aunt who likes butting into what’s not her concern. and the rest of the shitty family members who aren’t there but crashes at our place in when they need help. thanks for this…nice to see someone else pissed about house guests.

  35. Ha ha..you summed it up very well..that was very touchy..and enjoyed the emotions attached..but hope people gain sense and be a good guest..but there is some things which even the hosts must be careful about…but i leave that to you to write….really enjoyed reading your post.

  36. Brillant, you really hit the nail on the head so to speak. My mum has a friend who always seems to turn up as and when she pleases despite the fact a time has been arranged lol

      1. You’re welcome, Little Mermaid. It was funny, and spot on. I’ve had dinner guests that had invited themselves to stay for an additional few days, so your post hit home for me!

  37. My number one rule to house guests:
    Do not enter my bedroom without my permission. The permission may not be granted, but take a chance if you want to see what the inside of my bedroom looks like, and ask. On the outside chance that you do get into my bedroom, DO NOT SIT ON MY BED. My significant other and I do unspeakable things on it. I don’t want your butt print on it.

  38. Brilliant! I’m going to print a copy and put it on the inside of my fridge to discourage late night pilferers (one of my house guest pet peeves.) Oh, and thanks for the like.

  39. This is exactly what every guest needs to read before starting to pack for the “wonderful” surprise visit they’re going to spring on you! “We were in the neighborhood!” Really? You live 380 miles away.
    I wrote a post (serious) on how to deal with unexpected guests http://wp.me/p81Z67-Xp but what I really do now is turn of the lights and lay on the floor until people stop knocking. A quarantine sign works well too, if you have time to slap it on the door before they see you.
    I love the way you think!

  40. Although I found this highly amusing, The Little Mermaid, I agreed with virtually every word and, as an exceptional rule keeper, look forward to my invite with great excitement πŸ˜‰

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s