17 Habits of a Good House Guest

Follow these tips to ensure you get invited back. 


Someone who is part of the routine.

Photo by Dan Page

I have little kids. I love it when my houseguests are willing to participate in their daily schedule (like during our very involved bedtime routine). It makes 
the visit so much easier, 
and the kids enjoy it, too. —Becky C., Cameron, Missouri


Someone who has an opinion.

Making all the decisions can be tiring, especially when it comes to meal planning. When we want to order in and I ask whether we should do pizza or Thai, I’m not 
just trying to be polite. You’re not being picky by 
 voicing an opinion, and I’m not a mind reader. 
If pizza gives you heartburn, it’s OK to say so! —Erin C.,
 Sacramento, California


They make themselves at home.

They’re comfortable getting their own beverages, looking around the 
 kitchen for what they need, and even jumping right in to help with 
cooking and clean up. They become immediate members of the family instead of just being guests. —Aimee Sarver, Lyons, Kansas


Someone who brings wine.

Lots of wine. —Angie Carey, Wichita, Kansas



I want my guests to have a good time, and if they say something is fine when it’s not, I can’t help. 
Tell me if the bed is hard, you were too cold, 
or the cat kept you up 
all night. I might be able to fix it. (But the cat 
goes where he wants. Good luck.) —Jessica Underwood, Waterloo, New York


They don’t judge.

Great house­guests are 
lifelong friends who have seen your house 
looking like a tornado hit 
it and love you anyway. —Linda Crossett, Bartlett, Tennessee


Someone who helps with the dishes.

Seriously, the best guests are the ones who chip in and keep things normal. —Danielle King Criscuolo, 
Norwell, Massachusetts


Someone independent.

A good houseguest is one who isn’t afraid to rent her own 
car in case she wants to explore. It’s good not to have to rely on the hosts to get around. —Kathy Johnson, Orlando, Florida


Visitors who unplug from their phones.

They put down the electronic devices and engage with their host. The reverse is also true. Your guests won’t feel very welcome if you, as host, never look up from your screen. —Frances Drew, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina


Someone who cleans up after themselves.

Cleaning up after yourself in the bathroom is a big plus for 
me! #tidinesscounts —@drummers
girl07, via Twitter.


They don’t overstay.

Limit your 
time and leave them wanting more. Also, take your host out for a meal to give the cook a break —Deborah Boehm, Kewaunee, Wisconsin


They let you know the reason for their visit.

Perhaps they just want to see the sights and catch up. Perhaps they’re 
in town for business and have only one night of free time. Maybe they came to town to catch a show and want us to join them. We can make anything and everything work—
we just need to know. Nothing is worse than a guest who 
says, “Oh, don’t worry about us. We’re easy. Whatever you want to do is fine.” —Robin Kelley


Someone who plays with my children.

We don’t live near
 family, so my hus
band and I are pretty much it. When 
somebody comes over 
and pays special 
attention to my kids, even for half an hour, 
and we get to sit back and watch them 
having fun, it is bliss. —Julia Brandon, 
Portland, Maine


your host’s sleeping patterns.

Please don’t blast the 
tele­vision late into the night or get the dogs barking at 5 a.m. because you cannot miss a day of your predawn five-mile run. —Prudence Baird, Brattleboro, Vermont



A good houseguest is one who comes bearing treats and goes 
leaving notes. —Masey Schrader, San Diego, California


They “keep their elbows tucked in.”

Which means put your stuff away, don’t spread out everywhere, and keep shared areas, like the kitchen, tidy. —Barbara Carr, San Diego, California


One who retreats.

A truly wonderful houseguest finds time to be alone every day of her visit, whether it’s by going out for a movie or escaping to her room to read. It allows the host to regroup and lets everyone take a breath. —Jean Facette, 
Hartford, Wisconsin