I recently had a house guest who frankly, I don't like having over. She's rude and lacks basic courtesy. So I thought of compiling a list of some do's & don'ts that one should be mindful of while staying at someone's house. Because, you know, it's very important to be a good house guest so that your host likes having you over. These are the "rules", so to say, according to me. Let me know if you don't agree with some or have a few to add.
- I’ll lend you a towel but for heaven’s sake, carry your own clothes!! I do not like lending my clothes to you unless you’re my sister or a very close friend. And I do not like lending them to you especially if you stink or I have any doubts, vague even, about your personal hygiene.
- PUT THE TOILET SEAT DOWN. Anyone who has doubts, go here. It’s not a sexist issue, really. It’s simply being considerate of those around you – the same as helping clear the table after meals or putting your dirty clothes in the hamper.
- Put your dirty clothes in the hamper where they belong (and not on the floor!!)
Similarly, wet towels are not meant to be left on the bed to dry. Hang them to dry.
- Don’t leave the bathroom wet after you shower or every time you use it. There is a floor swipe in all my bathrooms for a reason. Also, I don’t see why you need to wet the entire bathroom if you’re simply washing your hands or relieving yourself. There is a sink & a commode for exactly those purposes!
- Help clear the table after meals, if there’s no maid in the house. Splaying out on the sofa with your feet up on the coffee table & watching TV after lunch/dinner is reserved for the handicapped.
- Again, if there is no maid around and the host has to do the entire post-meal clean up, offer to help. I doubt washing a few dishes will compromise your dignity.
- Clean up after yourself. I’m not your mom.
- Fold your blanket and make your own bed, even if there is a maid in the house and this is part of her job description. And especially if there’s no maid. Unless your father is the Maharaja of Chhatisgarh, of course.
- Ask before you borrow/ use anything of mine. This is plain good manners. I will not refuse but I would like to know what’s being used so I know how much of it I have left and when I need to refill it. Because you know, it’s NOT funny when I get into the shower and realize I’m out of my L’Oreal Professionnel Absolute Repair shampoo! My cousin who was staying with me during the summer had a friend over one day. There was half a bottle of fairly expensive wine in the fridge that he polished off without even asking me, and my cousin did nothing to stop him. I was equally livid at my cousin as I was at him. It’s plain rude. Oh, and if you’re using one of my sanitary pads, PLEASE let me know. I might have only one in the house for emergency.
- Don’t get in the way. Especially if the maid has failed to show up that day, and I’m busy doing the dishes or cleaning the previous day’s mess. I’m already pissed off due to the maid’s absence, chances are I’ll claw your pretty face.
- Also, if the maid/ cook hasn’t been coming to work for a few days in a row and your host is cooking every meal, do not make a face if he/ she suggests ordering in or having a ‘Ready’ meal. Be thankful you aren’t being asked to cook! If ordering in, refrain from making exotic suggestions (such as asking for pizza if the host has suggested Indian/ Chinese food which are lighter on the pocket) UNLESS you’re willing to foot the bill.
- Do not wipe your make-up/ eye-liner with the hand/ face/ body towels. Ask for cotton pads & cleanser. I have those things. I’m not a woman of the wild.
- If you borrow my car for the day, return it with the same amount of fuel you got it with. I’m not asking you to fill up the tank.
- Remember to switch the lights/ fan off when you leave the room. We have to pay for electricity in the civilized world.
- If you’re using my cell phone, keep the conversation short especially if you’re calling long distance. I don’t enjoy paying a couple of hundred bucs more because of your call. And if you’ve called international and spoken for an hour, offer to reimburse. Long distance calling has become much cheaper but some countries are still a bitch!!
- Don’t give my maid/ security guard of the building a tip without checking with me whether it’s OK to do so, first.
- Don’t dispose off your cigarette butt in the toilet. It does not flush. And do not spill cigarette ash all over my house. Ask for an ash tray.
- People don’t use toilet paper to tie a turban around your head. If I see wads of unused toilet paper lying in the dustbin, be ready to explain.
- Discard your waste – whatever it might be – in the dustbin and not around it. Things don’t have a way to miraculously find their way to the dustbin, so aim better. Or make the effort to walk to the dustbin.
- Do not clog the bathroom drains with your hair. It’s utterly gross. Pick them up & throw them in the dustbin.
- Don’t walk all over my house and my rug with your dirty shoes that you wear outside. A lot of homes have a designated area whether you can take your shoes off before entering the main area of the house. This is not some superstition. It has a scientific basis – the shoes that you wear outside carry a lot of dirt & germs, which you would be smearing all over the house if you wore them in. Remember to take your shoes off, especially if there is a crawling child in the house.
- Do not try to eavesdrop on the conversations of family members.
- The same goes for interfering in their personal matters.
- Don’t lecture, preach or tell them what to do & what not to do with their lives.
Overall, be mindful of the house rules. Of course, no house has a white board with the "rules" written down but there are unwritten codes of conduct in each house that all the members follow. Be observant. And be courteous, well-mannered & respectful of their space. Remember they are being nice to you by opening up their home to you (unless you’ve traveled to another city exclusively to see them, in which case it’s only fair that they offer you a place to stay), so be thankful.