7 ways of being a good guest


To be a good guest is an art.

It is a skill that involves both mind and heart.

What kind of guest are you?

When you take leave, is your host sorry to see you go?

Of course, if you are to be a guest, you should want to be a good one."

It has been said that what makes a good guest is personality, manners and delicacy of feelings.

Such may be true, but more basic and more likely to be in the reach of all is the requirement of empathy, that is, the ability to put one yourself in the shoes of another, your host or hostess in this instance.

Why is this so?

Let as consider a few factors to illustrate this:

1. Know whether to accept invitation

To be a good guest you must know whether to accept an invitation or not.

Even where the invitations is such that you would like to accept it, it often well to express a measure of reluctance, or least not too great a readiness to accept the invitation.

In this way the sincerity and strength of the invitation can be made to appear.

However, should the would be host be a diffident person, or one of humble circumstances, any undue reluctance on your part might discourage him further and so it would be better to answer such a person, “ why, I’d be glad to come!”.

In fact, under certain circumstances it may even be wise to invite yourself, in the case of a deserving person whom you who is in a superior position can offer some special help.

2. Know how long to stay

To be a good guest also includes knowing how long to stay.

Bear in mind that while you may have a two week vacation, it might be convenient for your host to have you only for a few days.

Far better is it to have your hosts genuinely thinking and perhaps asking, “Why go so soon?” than to have them wonder "when you will go?".

The same applies to how often you call by.

You may find it a pleasure to repeatedly drop in on a close neighbor, but if you are not careful, pertinently he will soon have sufficiency of you and disdain your visits.

3. Have good manners

Good manners have been defined as showing consideration in little things.

A good guest will find many opportunities to show good manners or consideration.

First and foremost you can do so by coming at the appointed time and in a way that will be the least trouble to your host; giving thought to what is most convenient to the your host rather than what is most convenient to you.

Try to be courteous, polite, and agreeable.

That is avoid doing things that may offend the senses, be they those of hearing, seeing, smelling or feelings.

On the other hand be neither over anxious to please nor indifferent about pleasing the host. You should avoid extremes but be reasonable.

4. Fit into the environment

A good guest fits unobtrusively into his environment.

You will not want to force you host to listen to classical music if your guest prefers popular music, nor want to dwell on your preference for German food if your host is a typical Italian.

The fact is that what your host serves is an expression of affection, and that is what counts, not whether it is one thing or another.

Therefore be modest.

Modest here means not thinking more of yourself than is expected of you.

Hence, modesty will keep you from offending your host in ever so many respects.
It will keep you from stirring up competition between you and your host and from expecting too much as well as taking too much for granted.

This will make you appreciative and content with whatever is offered to you.

For example, it would be wise to seat at the least prominent seat at your host dinner table or at least wait to be directed to your seat. This will not only save you embarrassment, but also save the host the embarrassment of asking you to move. "

No doubt displaying modesty will save you many embarrassing moments.

5. Sharing the burden


In these days of high prices that keep ever higher, the art of being a good guest may well include sharing the burden of the expense your stay entails.

While you might embarrass your host by offering to pay for your stay, there are other ways in which you might be able to help from time to time, especially if you are a guest for a week or more.

Having a guest invariably means more work for one or more members of the host family.

You might lighten that extra load by keeping your own room clean, your bed made, help with cleaning up afterwards.

Such offers of help might not always be accepted, but, even if not, they are appreciated.

If you are one of the menfolk, there are yet other opportunities.

Around the average home there is usually is one or more things that needs to be taken care of, especially if there is a lawn, a garage, an automobile in the garage.

Or there may be some minor jobs crying out to be taken care of because of the busy schedule of the man of the house.

6. Gifts and appreciation

You need not wait until after you have arrived to show your appreciation. At time you may want to bring a gift when you come.

For example, groceries is always fitting when your stay is brief; or an article of clothing for your host or hostess or something practical or ornamental for the home may be appropriate if your stay is longer.

A taste and appropriate gift betokens affection and appreciation starts off your stay as a guest with the right foot.

There is nothing like an expression of generosity or liberality to elicit the same from others.

Nor should it be forgotten that mere expressing gratitude, not exaggerated praise or flattery, can make others feel it was worth hosting you.

7. Giving of yourself

It is giving of yourself that differentiates you from other persons and really distinguishes your stay at the home of friends from your stay at a hotel.

After all hospitality is not extended or accepted to save on expense but to enrich each other in the heart and mind.

That is why it is well been said that it takes personality to be a good guest; it requires giving what you alone can give, yourself.

There are many ways in which you can give of yourself.

Give of your company, your association, your time.

Contribute to interesting conversation by sharing things you have learned, observations and interesting experiences or anecdotes.

Here your favorite hobby can also serve a useful purpose.

Often it can contribute to very enjoyable evening.

But a word of caution:

Do not let your enthusiasm make you unduly prominent, usurping the host’s position.

In conclusion

Much more might be said about the art of being a fine guest, but from the foregoing examples it is apparent you must go beyond your needs and contribute concretely to the enjoyment or up building of your host.

In this way you will make you stay worthwhile to your host or hostess - and even to yourself.

But how can you be a good guest to a sick friend you visit in hospital?

Please read the following article:

How to visit a sick friend?