Have you ever had a shitty houseguest? Ha, rhetorical question! Shitty houseguests are as tough to avoid in the early 20s as ill-conceived hookups and inadvertent racism. But it doesn’t have to be this way. No. You can be sweet and pleasant and behave in a way that will make people want you to come back. Or at least that doesn’t leave them cursing your name before you’ve even made it through the revolving airport door.
1. Don’t plan to be there for more than three nights, unless you are staying with close family or your very very very best friend in the world. Just don’t. Four days is a long time to have a guest.
2. Bring a host gift — either some food (see below), a nice bottle of liquor/wine, or even just pick up some flowers while you’re there.
3. Your shit should be in the smallest, neatest, tiniest, tidiest pile imaginable. All of it. One pile. That isn’t even a pile so much as an elegantly sculpted column of belongings that soothes any eye resting upon it. Channel your inner obsessive ship-in-a-bottle-maker.
4. Take your hosts out to dinner, or cook for them, or just bring some delicious special things from where you come from. Cause there to be food in the house.
5. On that same note, don’t eat their special things. If they say “Make yourself at home!,” that means cook some scrambled eggs. It does not mean eat the entire container of prosciutto.
6. Should go without saying, but do your dishes. Be about four times as clean as you are at home. It’s especially effective if you tidy while they’re not around, and then they come home and hey, no dishes from this morning!
7. Whatever strange rituals, weird beliefs or animal sacrifices they subscribe to and engage in, you are down with. Or at least don’t comment on. This is a peanut-, tangerine- and frown-free home (allergies!) where everyone clips their toenails upon entering (cleanliness!) and words containing the letter ‘t’ are never uttered, so as not to introduce negative energy? No problem! In fact, you do the exact same thing at your house!
Seriously, you are the stranger here. It’s their damn house.
8. If you can, wash and fold your linens when you leave. If not, leave them in the tidiest, tiniest, neatest pile imaginable (you are still a maker of belonging columns, until you’re on your own turf again).
9. When you leave, send a super fucking sweet thank-you note. Everyone here probably knows what a pain it is to host people. It really is infinitely easier to travel if you have a place to stay. So properly appreciate the enormous favor your hosts have done for you.