How to be the Best Houseguest Ever.
“The best gift is the gift of yourself to another.” – Unknown
This post is part of my weekly series about how to hitchhike, hobo, couchsurf, and cheaply travel around the USA. If you have suggestions for an article, please let me know.
Today’s post is about how to be the Best Houseguest your host has ever had. I am a good houseguest. Sometimes, a great one. I am not perfect, but I always aspire to be the best houseguest ever. To leave my new friends better than I have found them. Here is what I have learned from my experience and from researching the topic extensively. The best article I found was by a much different blog than mine, but well written and beautiful. GalaDarling.com. Here is link to Gala’s article on being the best houseguest.
How to be the Best Houseguest Ever.
1. We Communicate Openly, Promptly, Honestly, and Considerately.
As the best houseguest ever, it is our responsibility to gather as much information as possible about our host. We need to figure out what will make our stay with them as enjoyable as possible. To do this, we must talk. Communicate! We must be willing to ask questions on the spot and be okay with awkwardness. In fact, the best houseguest ever does not let awkwardness get their way. We dive into awkwardness like a sparkling pool. We bring up the topics that must be talked about.
A. Determine arrival times and departure dates.
We blow in the wind. We don’t plan our time to get there or when we will leave, because we trust every moment and don’t want to miss one. BUT OUR HOST PROBABLY CAN’T DO THIS. So we adapt. Our hosts have bosses, relationships, schedules, engagements, and we must adapt to them. This requires lots of communication. Before I arrive, I usually try to give my host a heads up as far in advance as I know. Then as I get closer to wherever they are, I give as many updates as I can. As the best houseguest ever, we direct the flow of open communication. We take this on as our responsibility.
It is the same for planning our departure. We just don’t know… Maybe tomorrow, we will know it is our time to move on and maybe next month. We must take responsibility to start the conversation and direct it for our entire stay. We never stay too long. We are capable of living anywhere so we can live whenever we determine it is best for everyone. Remember, your host may be tentative to kick you out or tell you they are uncomfortable. It is our job as the best houseguest ever to always be aware of our hosts needs and wants.
B. Ask the House Rules.
When you meet your new host, ask lots of questions. Everyone does things differently. Figure out how your host lives and adapt. We want to be a positive addition to their life and not a drag or weight. If they take off their shoes, we take off our shoes. If they wash dishes right after they eat, we wash dishes right after we eat. If they break dance during every commercial, guess what, start spinning baby.
C. Turn Negative Host Energy around.
No matter how much you try, your host may have get annoyed or irritated. It is our job to address this. Remember, it could not be us though. It could be their job, girlfriend, boyfriend, the weather… who knows, so communicate. Ask questions about how we can resolve the situation. If it is us, then we must listen. Take feedback and be thankful they are giving it. It is hard to talk about potential disagreements, especially among friends. It is our job as the best houseguest ever to initiate and facilitate these interactions.
2. Do the Little Things!
We will always do the little things to make our interactions more pleasant. This is how we will distinguish ourselves as the best houseguest ever. We strive to be a warm glow in our host’s air. We are a pleasant smell that people don’t realize how much they love. We are the sunshine coming through the window. We are there but not always, and everything is always better when we are around. We are willing to do hourly acts to show our consideration and gratefulness. We are never dishonest or inconsiderate. We always act as if the whole world is watching us.
*Always ask to help in the kitchen.
*Clean up any mess you make.
*Ask if anyone is going to use the bathroom before you shower.
*”Make your bed” or put your sleeping stuff away.
*Offer to chip in for food.
*Don’t drink their juice, soda, beer, or wine without asking.
*Never assume anything is yours to use.
*Bring your own toiletries.
*Clean the bathroom after every use.
*Don’t take too long showers.
*Be aware of how loud you are.
*Don’t expect rides.
*We give hugs when applicable. A good hug too.
*We don’t grab that piece of day old pizza that no one will miss.
***Add your tip in the comment section****
3. We Balance Our Time.
We are attentive and are willing to go way out of our way for our host. But we also are independent and know how to make ourselves happy. Remember again, we must balance our time based on our host. Each host has different needs. Some will want to hang with us all the time and others will want a lot of alone time. As the best houseguest ever, we must determine what the balance is for each host. One tip is to imitate our host. Watch them and do as they do. If they are very social, they we must be very social. If they go to bed early, so do we.
But it is key that our hosts do not feel overly responsible for us. Therefore, we usually take some time away during the day. We give the host space in their home without us. We sometimes plan our own events at night, if we feel our host would like to do their own thing. We are cool to hang by ourselves or do what we want to do. We do not NEED our hosts. We appreciate their company and are grateful. But we could leave at any minute, with no regrets. We are a universe unto ourselves!
4. Invest in the Relationship of your Host & their Roommates!
As the best houseguest ever, we are not here just for a place to crash. If you are staying with someone and have your own agenda, then you are not the best houseguest. In fact, you are not even a good houseguest. You are a mouche.
We are hear to depend our relationship with our host & THEIR ROOMMATES. We are here to give to our host. We are here to bond with our host and make new friends. We are here to give these people love. We are here to give ourselves to our host, whether they are a friend, whom we are reconnecting with or someone we have just met. Also, we must do this with their roommates as well. Don’t forget them! We didn’t ask for them or choose them, but they are just as important as our host. We believe that everyone whom enters our life is there for a reason and we treat them as such. We are here to improve our relationships with everyone we meet.
BUT! HERE IS THE KEY!!!! The best houseguest ever does not have to fake this. The best houseguest genuinely loves and cares for his hosts. We are excited to be friends with them and we are grateful for what they bring to our life. We are willing and ready to do what we can to improve their lives.
The best houseguest ever gets excited about our hosts lives. We ask our hosts about their day. We slap fives, if they get a date. We compliment our hosts when we they rock. We tell our hosts the good things we think about them, as they happen. We share when we are having a great time. We share ourselves with our hosts. We are grateful. We don’t just say Thank You, we actually feel grateful. We feel it and we express it. And we listen. We Listen!!!
5. We Go Over & Above!!!
“It’s a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.” – Roberto Benigni
Leave your guests with a gift. We don’t have much money. We also realize that money is an uncreative gift. As the best houseguest ever, we strive to give of ourselves to our host. I am a photographer, so I like to leave my host’s with a homemade postcard or photograph. Or I get my host’s address and send them one from another part of the country. What are your unique skills? Are you a great baker? Then bake. Are a good joke teller? Tell some jokes. Are you good with computers? I’m not, so I can’t think of anything you could give there, but you know, because you are good with them!
The point is that we are giving them something that is very special. We are giving our host something that they could get no where else. We are giving a true gift to our host. Something that we thought of and tailored specifically to what we thought they would enjoy or add to their life. Be creative the possibilities are endless.
6. The Stay Does Not End When We Leave.
Keep in touch! As the best houseguest ever, we continue to give to our new or old friends. Don’t end your interaction now that we have parted ways. Keep it up! If we have been the best houseguest ever, we will have a better friendship with our host than before. We care about this! And we will continue to nurture this relationship. I like to send my friends photographs from my travels, digitally. It is free, yet thoughtful. I also try to send my friends as many personal message as I can. This will be tough if you are the best houseguest ever, because you will now have lots of friends all over. But we recognize that it is worth it and continue to do so and love to do so as well. This is why we live!
Ultimately, being the best houseguest ever is a way of life. It is about sincerity, giving, and making genuine loving relationships with all you meet. Eventually being the best houseguest becomes a way of life that goes everywhere with you.
Are you the Best Houseguest Ever? Or at least a darn good one? Or do you have tips that I neglected to mention. Please share your wisdom with others here, by commenting on this article.
Have came into contact with the WORST HOUSEGUEST EVER? Please share what not to do as well.
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Create Our World.
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahil Gibran
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