By now you’re well versed in the art of fabulous hostessing. But what about staying at someone else’s home? Here are eight houseguest sins you’ve probably committed—and how to fix ’em for good.
MISTAKE: MAKING THE BED WHEN YOU LEAVE
The best way to ensure an invite back? Strip your sheets entirely and leave them neatly stuffed in a pillowcase at the foot of the bed. (The less your host has to touch your soiled linens, the better.)
MISTAKE: SENDING A THANK YOU GIFT
Remedy: Arriving with one
Think of all the prepwork your host has done for your arrival (cleaning, shopping, cooking, etc.). And you show up empty-handed? Not nice. We know you were probably planning on sending a gift afterwards, but showing up with an offering in hand gestures that you prepared for this too.
MISTAKE: BORROWING TOILETRIES
Sure, most hosts are happy to share their dental floss—but they shouldn’t have to. Furthermore, the less you bother them with things you need (“Hey, Suze—where can I find some toothpaste?”), the better. Packing your own pouch of essentials saves everyone trouble.
MISTAKE: BRINGING YOUR DISHES TO THE SINK
Remedy: Load the dishwasher (or hand wash)
Bottom line: As a guest in someone else’s home, it’s your duty to make as little work for the hosts as possible. Meaning: They shouldn’t have to physically handle your dirty dishes. Rather than corralling your dishware in the kitchen (a solid first step), make sure you load them into the dishwasher—or hand wash if it’s occupied.
MISTAKE: SENDING A THANK YOU EMAIL
Thank you emails are for coworkers who lend a helping hand—not for your dearest friends and fam who shelter and feed you. Keep it old school and send a piece of handwritten snail mail after your stay. It’s just so much more thoughtful.
MISTAKE: OFFERING TO HELP
Remedy: Proactively helping
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over our years of hosting friends and fam, it’s this: The best guests don’t ask for permission to do the dishes or pick up ingredients from the grocery store. They just do.
MISTAKE: STAYING A WEEK
According to Miss Emily Post, three nights is the max duration for not overstaying your welcome. If you must stay longer, make it a point to get out of the house for long stretches of time so your gracious hosts have a moment to do their laundry and take a nap.
MISTAKE: HANGING OUT WITH YOUR HOSTS CONSTANTLY
Remedy: Entertain yourself
You may feel inclined to invite your hosts on your various sightseeing excursions and rendezvous with friends, but equally important is giving them a breather…and planning some activities on your own.