How many of us have horror stories of house guests who were just impossible to please and difficult to endure? How may of us have ever given thought to being that house guest? Ooh, it makes me shudder to think that I would go into someone’s house and make them feel like they were there to wait on me and cater to my whims! When we go to someone’s home, we are guests, not one who owns the home or makes the schedule. When we are in the home of friends or family the main word to remember is respect.

Most of us realize the importance of showing hospitality to guests because as children we were taught to allow our guests to have first choice of games and activities and to always focus on our guest’s needs while they are in our homes. Certainly, we should teach our children these concepts of being good hosts and hostesses, and we should follow those rules ourselves. But the responsibility of teaching our children about guests doesn’t end with teaching them how to treat a guest. We must teach them to be good guests in the homes of others and we must know how to be good guests, ourselves. It is a balance of blessing and being blessed that we must always strive for when we have guests and when we are a guest.

Some pointers for being a good houseguest:

…be specific about dates. Arrive when you will and leave when you say you will leave.

…bring a gift for your host/hostess to thank them for their hospitality. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just thoughtful.

…Ask to contribute to the household. Imagine if you had another adult living in your household. What kind of expenses would you have? You should offer and be ready to contribute financially or materially to your host or hostess.

…ask about your host’s schedule and be respectful of it by being on time to meals and other events. And don’t hog the bathroom. You may be on vacation but your host/hostess may not. Getting ready for work in the morning is difficult if someone is already occupying the bathroom.

…Entertain yourself. Don’t assume that your hosts will be your taxi service. Make arrangements to get around town and do some things on your own. If you are going to be home late, make sure you have a key or have worked out how you will get in the house without waking everyone.

… keep your sleeping area picked up and straightened. Make your bed every morning. Keep your bathroom clean or if sharing a bathroom, keep your messes cleaned up.

…be flexible about meal times and activities, go with the flow of the family.

….try all the food that has been prepared.

…offer to help with household chores, and just get up and give an hand when needed

…be honest about your physical limitations

…leave a parting gift to say thanks, nothing expensive, but a nice token of your thanks.

…as Ben Franklin once said, “Guests, like fish, begin to stink after three days”, so make your visit short and pleasant.

…strip your bedclothes before leaving.

…send a thank you note once you are home