Recently a friend from the past was driving through our area on a road trip, so we invited him to stay the night. Almost two weeks later, his four month supply of personal belongings was still floating around the living room of our one bedroom apartment. He would check in sporadically, often around mealtimes or when he needed a shower; he stayed some nights and then disappeared for a couple of days. I don't have a problem with hosting friends or even acquaintances, but some of his tendencies got me thinking: what is appropriate behavior for a house guest?
Here are a few basics for being a good guest.
Make your plans clear: This may seem obvious, but our third roommate, as we came to refer to him, didn't clue us in on any of his plans for coming and going until he was en route, and he also didn't let us in on his date of departure. Don't keep your host guessing — be clear about your plans.
Keep your belongings tidy: Staying in a spare bedroom allows for more flexibility, but generally speaking, make your bed/fold your blankets, and put your belongings in one organized, out of the way pile .
Take initiative: One of the redeeming moments we experienced was when our guest took it upon himself to take out the kitchen trash. If you're living with others and contributing to the mess you too, should help out with the house chores.
Don't be a mooch: One of the less redeeming qualities of our house guest was his ability to show up right at dinner time. I found myself dividing our dinner for two between three people. The first time I didn't mind, the second time I was annoyed.
Leave a small gift: It's always a nice gesture to leave a gift. If you're enjoying a meal with your host, wine is an easy way to go. If you're just sleeping there it would be appropriate to leave something at the end of your stay.
What's your weirdest house guest story? Share your tips for being a good house guest in the comments below.