Hosting guests overnight is an incredibly kind and generous act that deserves appreciation and recognition. However, just because you are opening your home to others does not give you the right to treat them poorly. According to Jackie Vernon-Thompson, founder of From the Inside-Out School of Etiquette, it is important for hosts to consider etiquette protocols to ensure their overnight guests feel comfortable, welcomed, respected, and appreciated. These protocols may vary depending on your relationship with the guest and the nature of their visit.
Regardless of the circumstances, you don’t have to spend a fortune or sacrifice too much of your time to be a considerate overnight host. All you need to do is think about the Golden Rule and follow some basic dos and don’ts, especially the don’ts. Below, etiquette experts share some common rude behaviors when hosting guests and provide advice on how to avoid these mistakes.
1. Not Providing Clean Sheets or Towels: Even if you don’t go all out with elaborate meals and fresh flowers, you should still provide clean sheets and towels for your guests. Tami Claytor, an etiquette coach, emphasizes the importance of easily accessible freshly laundered linens and towels. The most basic need of an overnight guest is a comfortable and private place to sleep, so make that a priority. Test out the sleeping arrangements beforehand to ensure their comfort.
2. Hovering: Give your guest some alone time. Jodi R.R. Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, suggests not listening at the door or tapping gently to check if they are awake when the guest excuses themselves to their room. Similarly, avoid turning off the lights the moment the guest leaves a room. Provide your guest with privacy and avoid constantly cleaning up after them unless necessary.
3. Ignoring Allergies: Before your guest arrives, have a conversation with them about any food allergies or dietary restrictions they may have. This is crucial to avoid causing them any harm. If you have the allergen in your home, suggest alternative accommodations nearby. Additionally, be mindful of any other sensitivities your guest may have, such as asthma or fragrance allergies. Ensure that your home and products won’t trigger any adverse reactions.
4. Not Welcoming Your Guest Into Your Home: Make an effort to greet your guest at the door and usher them in. Allow them to settle, freshen up, and then offer them light refreshments. This initial welcome sets the tone for their visit and shows that you appreciate their efforts to be there. If you are not able to be there when your guests arrive, leave a welcoming note with instructions, snacks, and drinks.
5. Not Sharing Important House Information: Provide your guest with essential information such as the Wi-Fi password, phone chargers, extra towels, and where to find coffee in the morning. Consider writing or printing out a note with details about your home and any peculiarities it may have. Specify which bathroom your guest can use and let them know which areas are off-limits. Avoid strict rules but make it clear what is available for their use.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your overnight guests feel comfortable, welcomed, respected, and appreciated. Hosting guests is a wonderful experience when done with thoughtfulness and consideration.
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