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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Jennifer's Gems > Good House Guest

by Jennifer Brown Banks

12 Ways to Take the Guess Work out of Being a Good House Guestl

If you're like the average American, the upcoming months will be filled with holiday festivities and fun-filled gatherings with family and friends.  And if you're lucky, a few match making opportunities to boot. ;-)

Tis the season to be Jolly!

So if you'd like to make a good impression and stay in the good graces of others, here are a few things to ensure that you'll cross the welcome mat the following year!

Blessed to be a homeowner for many years, I can attest that some visitors are a joy to have and make for beautiful company and meaningful memories, while others put it politely---a pain.

Don't be one of them.

Here are some of the usual offenders: folks that violate privacy by “secretly” examinining your closets and medicine cabinets, or those that cock their feet on table tops, or chronic complainers that can't be pleased, or costly free loaders. 

Here's the 4-1-1 on the proper protocol for “emotionally intelligent” visitors.

  1. Don't bring another guest with you unless the invite clearly states “and guest.” If unsure, ask. Sometimes a few extra mouths to feed require extra accommodations for which the host should be made aware in advance. Be considerate.

  2. When possible bring a small token of appreciation for the host's hospitality. It can be a bottle of wine, a fruit basket, or flowers. Remember, it's the thought that counts.

  3. Be gracious. Don't have a sense of entitlement in someone else's home. Eat what's being served without making a slew of additional, personal requests, (unless you have certain dietary restrictions or you're on an extended stay.) If you prefer Grey Poupon, Perrier, and Kosher foods, it calls for extra provisions and expenses on the host's part.  Try being accommodating--- after all, you're not at “Burger King”; you can't have it your way. Don't be ghetto, yo!

  4. Respect the wishes of the party giver. Refrain from arguing or being antagonistic about his/her preferences. If they say no smoking, drinking, or dirty shoes on the carpet, adhere--- or send your regrets and let your hair down at your own place!
  1. Show some class. Watch what you say. Off colored jokes, gossip, profanity, racial remarks and controversial topics are a no-no.
  1. Know when to say “when”.  Moderation is the key. For instance, don't suck up all the food and alcohol just because it's free. And don't over indulge in “spirits”, and later have to apologize for your wild and crazy behavior.

  2. Show up on time. Be respectful of other folks' time. Late attendance can often delay others from eating or call for food to have to be reheated.

  3. Offer to help. Whether it's with food preparation or clean up, it's a classy gesture.

  4. Don't bring children if it's an adult's affair. It makes others uncomfortable and makes for a long, restricted evening. And if they are brought, make sure they behave in a manner that reflects that they have some parental guidance and parameters.

  5. Keep your “two cents” to yourself unless asked.  In other words, don't come in to someone else's arena giving decorating tips, marital advice, meal critiques, parenting advice, etc. Who made you judge and jury? Get a clue.

  6. Don't overstay your welcome. Know when to exit. If the event is on a week night, consider the possibility that people have to work the next day. If it's a Saturday, perhaps there's church on Sunday morning. If everyone else has parted, you should too.

  7. Send a thank-you card or follow-up with a phone call a few days after to acknowledge the host's efforts and hospitality.

Take it from me, there's a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into having a dinner, barbeque, or party for others, whether the shin dig is small or big—from planning, to shopping, to cleaning, to prepping, to cooking.

Savvy folks recognize this and act accordingly. Be one of them.

Keep these twelve tips in mind as you navigate the upcoming entertainment season and you'll make even Emily Post proud!


Jennifer's Gems
is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday.
Click here to read her welcome letter.

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