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8 Etiquette Rules That Every Houseguest Should Always Keep In Mind

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Editor of Original Content at LittleThings. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for sites like BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Unwritten. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law and Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

Back in the day, being a houseguest was a much bigger deal than it is today.

Because traveling took more time and effort, people often stayed with friends and family for longer periods of time once they finally arrived at their destination.

Nowadays, many of us jet off for a weekend to visit a friend or take a quick drive to visit our parents and siblings.

It’s pretty normal for people to stay with family and friends while they’re visiting — after all, it’s more comfortable and less expensive than staying at a hotel.

Most of us know the things we should never do in someone else’s home, but are there things we should be doing?

Yes! Being a houseguest requires a certain type of etiquette — everyone should know how to properly handle themselves when staying at a friend or family member’s house.

Keep reading to find out the eight most important rules every houseguest needs to know!

Thumbnail Photo: Wikimedia / Russell Lee via Library of Congress

Rule #1: Bring A Gift

bring a gift
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

First things first, never arrive at your host’s home without a gift.

This doesn’t have to be something big — flowers, wine, or a box of chocolates will do — but just make sure you bring something to give them to show how much your appreciate them letting you stay.

Rule #2: Don't Be A Nuisance

don't be a nuisance
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

When you’re a guest in someone else’s home, it’s essential that you just go with the flow.

Make sure your host knows that you won’t get in the way and that they don’t need to entertain you all the time.

One way to ensure you’ll always have something to do is to bring a book or magazine to keep yourself occupied when your host is busy.

Rule #3: Give Your Host Space

give host space
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Often, hosts feel like it’s their duty to take care of their houseguests (even if they’re perfectly capable of caring for themselves).

Make sure your host knows that you’re happy to relax by yourself. Tell them they can still make plans, and they shouldn’t worry about you.

Giving your host some space can help guarantee that the time you do spend together will be more special.

Rule #4: Offer To Take Your Host To Dinner

take host to dinner
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Another nice thing you can do to show your host how thankful you are for their hospitality is to offer to take them out for dinner.

If you’re already planning on going out, offer to cover the bill — they may insist that they want to treat you, since you’re the guest, but tell them it’s the least you can do to repay them for their great hosting.

Rule #5: Let Your Host Know Your Schedule

houseguest schedule
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you and your host are planning to spend time apart from one another, make sure you tell your host what your schedule is.

It’s essential that you let them know when you’ll be leaving the house and when you’re planning on coming back, especially if you don’t have a key to use.

This will give your host the freedom to go about their own day without worrying about you needing them out of the blue.

Keeping your host in the loop is very easy — all you need to do is leave them a quick note if you’re leaving the house!

Rule #6: Be Social With Your Host

be social with host
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Although you should give your host space if they want it, you should also be social with them when you’re together.

That means putting away your phone and computer and committing to spending some real time talking and chatting with them. This shows them that you’re appreciative of them without you having to tell them directly.

Rule #7: Offer To Help Clean

help clean
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

The last thing you want to do when you’re staying with someone is be a burden.

To make it easier on your host, offer to help them clean up — whether that’s by running the laundry, stripping and making beds, or just helping to wash the dishes after dinner.

Remember that some people are particular about the way they clean, so even though your heart might be in the right place, your host may not appreciate it if you try to surprise them by cleaning.

Instead, offer to help clean anytime you see them doing it — they’ll probably be grateful for the offer (even if they tell you they don’t want help)!

Rule #8: Say "Thank You"

thank your host
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

A lot of us take it for granted that our friends or family will put us up when we need somewhere to stay, but they have absolutely no obligation to do so — they’re just doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.

Make sure they know how much you appreciate their hospitality by thanking them in person and leaving them a nice note. Don’t just text them or call them to say thank you — make sure it’s more heartfelt than that!

If you think everyone needs a reminder about these forgotten houseguest rules, please SHARE this article with your friends!