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)