Everything You Need to Know about Being a Houseguest

 

Hi dear readers! We recently traveled to California to visit our family, and words can’t describe how wonderful it was to be reunited after seven months. We built sandcastles at the beach, enjoyed late afternoon lunches overlooking the ocean, and even had an early birthday celebration (complete with confetti and the ultimate vegan chocolate cake) for my husband, son and stepdad. It was a magical week!

My brother graciously hosted us in California, and so as we packed our bags to leave for our trip, I started thinking about what it means to be a good houseguest, and what tips I could share with you. We’ve stayed with him before of course as well as with other friends and family, and yet I think it’s always a good idea to have an etiquette refresher on being a houseguest. You want to strike that ideal balance of being comfortable and relaxed during your stay, yet still on your best behavior. Staying in someone’s home or their vacation home is such an honor, and so it’s important to follow a few tips to shine as your best and most gracious self, and ensure the visit runs smoothly. Also, if you have ever hosted house guests, you have a host’s perspective, which is so helpful as well!

And so, here is everything you need to know about being a gracious houseguest:

Never show up empty handed: Bring a host gift to show your appreciation for the visit. It can be a basket of gourmet breads and jams (check for food allergies before bringing this!), personalized cups and their favorite cocktail makings, monogramed hand towels, chic beach tote, coffee table book, or a gorgeous pitcher filled with fresh flowers. Remember, it doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Instead, aim for thoughtful.

Make your bed everyday: Just as you would at home, strive to make the bed every day so your room is neat and tidy. Keep your bathroom clean as well.

Clean up after yourself: Whether you take folding chairs and towels down to the beach or decide to curl up in the den with a blanket and book or puzzle, be sure to clean up after yourself and put everything back in its place.

Help prepare meals, do dishes (unless the host objects): Pitch in with cooking, setting the table and washing dishes. It’s respectful, helpful and gracious – all qualities of an outstanding houseguest :).

Contribute to meals out and/or groceries (unless the host objects): If your host arranges for you to eat out during your visit (brunch, lunch, dinner, etc.), offer to pay for the meal. The same goes for groceries if you are staying for more than a long weekend and cooking meals at home. Your host will be touched and it’s yet another fabulous way to let the host know how much you appreciate their hospitality.

Show that you are having a great time: Be cheerful, engaging, helpful and fun to be around! And be open to whatever the host has planned, be it a low key morning or action packed afternoon.

Write a thank you note or send thank you flowers: After your visit, send a hand written thank you note sharing some of your favorite memories from the visit, and thanking your host for having you. You could also send a gorgeous arrangement and thank you enclosure card as another option.

Quick Tips

Houseguest Quick Tips

•••

Confirm how long you will stay prior to your visit and make it short and sweet (unless the host has invited you for an extended visit)

Follow house rules

Bring your own toiletries

Be present – phones and devices away!

At the end of your visit, ask the host if they would like you to strip the bed (remove the sheets and pillow cases). If so, be sure to spread out the duvet or blanket and place the pillows on the bed so it still looks “made.”

On the last day, leave your room tidy, just as it was the day you arrived.

 

 

Ask B: Is it ok to use your phone when when in the company of others?

 

Dear B,

Sometimes when I’m with family or friends I notice that people are on their phones, either texting or looking at social media. Sometimes I even find myself on my phone too because they are. I always thought it was best to put your phone away when in the company of others, however have things changed? 

Sincerely, 

C


 

Dear C,

I am passionate about this topic, and this is a question I am asked a great deal! When you are spending time with someone, from a fabulous brunch, to hosting guests at your home for the weekend, to a business meeting, to celebrating a birthday with a backyard bbq, be courteous and keep your phone (on vibrate) in your handbag or pocket. I encourage you to focus on being present and enjoy the beauty of every experience you have. If you are checking your phone every few minutes (likely scrolling social media or texts, am I right?), not only will you miss the magic of where you are, but you will also likely offend those you are with and send the message that your phone is your main priority. If you remember one thing from this post, remember this: etiquette is about kindness and respect for both yourself and others. Give those you are with your undivided attention, and I promise you will be so happy you did!

The one exception is that in the event you are expecting an urgent call, let whomever you are meeting with know, and kindly excuse yourself to take the call when the time comes. When you finish the call, place the phone back on vibrate and stow it away – out of sight and out of mind!

Modern Etiquette: Navigating The New Normal of Summer

 

Summer has arrived, and with it the desire for beloved warm weather traditions. While there are memories to be made, marshmallows to be roasted, and waves to be splashed in, this summer will also look a bit different, and so I wanted to share some etiquette tips on how to navigate the new normal.

Like everything in life, etiquette is dynamic and constantly evolving with our world. However, the heart of etiquette will always remain the same: to be kind, respectful, and make others feel comfortable. And so, here are my modern etiquette tips for this summer, and I hope everyone continues to stay safe and healthy!

 

RSVP’s, Events and Seeing Friends 

If you’re invited to an event this summer, be it birthday party, backyard bbq or swim party, it’s a personal choice on whether or not you feel comfortable attending. As always, be sure to RSVP ASAP. In the event you are taking a hiatus from seeing friends, be honest with the host and thank them for the invitation, and they will be sure to understand.

 

Weddings

If you were invited to a wedding this summer and choose not to attend yet already RSVP’d yes earlier this year, be sure to let the bride and groom know right away, and of course send a gift. If you were invited to a wedding and it was canceled, still send a gift as well, and consider a hand written note with well wishes to the couple. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness!

 

Greetings 

Hugs and handshakes were once the greeting of choice for so many, however unless it’s your family, it’s best to stick with a friendly smile and a wave for everyone else right now.

 

Masks 

It’s no secret that wearing a mask protects you and others. If you’re out and about and will be in close proximity to people at the grocery store, shopping, having your haircut, etc., I encourage you to wear a mask. It’s the considerate thing to do!  So many brands offer beautiful masks for children and adults, and even donate proceeds to incredible causes in support of COVID relief. I just bought this mask, and love this pack of three, and these adorable prints for kids.

 

Dinning Out 

As restaurants open up, you might consider enjoying a meal out. If so, be sure to check with the restaurant first to confirm if they require you to wear a mask (aside from eating your food), need a reservation, and if there is any other new protocol.

 

Playdates 

Just like parties and events, it is a personal choice as to whether or not you feel comfortable setting up playdates for your children. If you ask a friend to get together and they decline, strive to be understanding if they aren’t ready to be around friends yet. Conversely, if you’re invited and choose to not go, be honest and your friend will hopefully understand. In the event you do get together, try to play outside in the fresh air, keep a bit of distance, have everyone pack their own snacks and drinks, and bring hand sanitizer!