Planning to stay over at a friend’s place for a couple of nights? You surely know there’s a lot of effort involved in entertaining people for the weekend, and everyone knows what’s expected in return. Then again, maybe not. But here’s a recap on house guest etiquette...
When your host asks: “What can I get you for breakfast?”, the answer is: “I’ll make myself some toast.” It’s not: “What’s on offer?”, thereby forcing them to start listing all the cooked options like a brunch waiter.
Don’t get up late or early. Both are equally tiresome.
When your host says: “Would anyone like a glass of apple juice?” the correct response is: “How lovely”, and not: “Ooh, have you got any (fill name of your favourite beverage here)?”
Do not spring any dietary surprises – as in suddenly announcing you’re not that keen on prawns on prawn night.
Do fit in with your hosts’ plans. If they’ve arranged for you to go out with the Whatsits, on no account say: “I think I’ll just stay here, if you don’t mind.” They do mind. Don’t sit out the walk, the swim, the visit to the arboretum – all rude.
Don’t ask if it would be OK if your other friends who live locally came over, had a look around, maybe stayed for supper.
Don’t be a lifestyle stalker. A certain amount of snooping is par for the course, and even flattering. But don’t wander around like an estate agent sizing up the fittings and furnishings and asking how much everything cost. A bit of: “Where did you get these lamps?” goes a long way.
Don’t have an opinion on their recent renovations; eg, “SO funny you haven’t knocked this wall through” or “Oh, I’d have made this into a bathroom”. Annoying.
Don’t steal. Some guests think certain items are on the Help Yourself list, eg, books in the spare bedroom, bottled water, hats borrowed for a walk.
Don’t take back gifts if they are not used. Just because no one ate the Gouda does not mean you can reclaim it.
Don’t pick a fight with their children, or the other guests, or alternatively show no interest in the children.
Don’t use all the hot water.
Do get on the right side of the dogs.
The Daily Telegraph