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to be everyone's favorite houseguest
problem with etiquette these days is that only some people know how the
game works. It’s like that annoying card game, Mao, in which you’re
never told the rules, but must instead deduce them as the game goes
along. Being a guest in someone’s home is a little like being the new
player in a round of Mao: your host has undoubtedly already formulated a
long list of House Guest Rules, none of which s/he is going to be so
kind as to divulge outright. Violate one of these mystery rules, and you’ll
probably never even realize it. Break too many and suddenly, from
seemingly out of nowhere, you’ll find your formerly happy, smiling
host muttering snippy remarks through gritted teeth. Of course, in the
name of politeness, you will never be told exactly what you’ve
actually done wrong.
Since few of us ever intend to be bad guests, knowledge is the one
sure cure. Before you pack up your little black rolly suitcase and head
off for a weekend visit with friends, make sure you arrive armed with
the basic rules on how to be the perfect houseguest.
The fundamental laws …
by the three day rule.
Unless you’re a blood relative, three days is really the ideal
amount of time to grace/inflict your presence upon a host. Any shorter
and you’ve barely had time to catch up; any longer and your host
begins to notice your many irritating quirks (you clear your throat too
loudly in the shower, you sing off-key while you do the dishes, you
guffaw out loud when you read). No matter how adamantly you insist that your
friend should just carry on with his/her regular activities, that you
don’t want or require constant attention – and yes, you should
insist away, as your friend is not there to babysit you – I guarantee
that your protests will be ignored. And while taking a break from real
life can be quite fun at first, it’s likely that s/he’ll grow tired
of it faster than you will. Say your goodbyes while your host is still
thrilled to see you – it’s the best way to ensure that you’ll be
welcome next time you’re in town.
over this way please
lounge . nourish
host . laze
. home .