Follow these tips to ensure you get invited back. 

By Real Simple
Updated June 21, 2016
Illustration: Bird house with guests
Credit: Dan Page

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Illustration: Bird house with guests
Credit: Dan Page

1 Someone who is part of the routine.

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

2 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

3 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

4 Someone who brings wine.

Lots of wine. —Angie Carey, Wichita, Kansas

5 Honesty.

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

6 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

7 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

8 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

9 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

10 Someone who cleans up after themselves.

Cleaning up after yourself in the bathroom is a big plus for me! #tidinesscounts —@drummersgirl07, via Twitter.

11 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

12 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

13 Someone who plays with my children.

We don’t live near family, so my husband 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

14 Mimic 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

15 Thoughtfulness.

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

16 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

17 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