Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Etiquette Series: Part I

I have some opinions on etiquette, I know you're shocked. :) And the other day, a friend and I were talking about the many social faux pas that people our age (twenty-somethings) tend to make, so I thought it may be a good idea to do a little series on etiquette, especially with the holidays right around the corner. You may disagree with some of what I say, and that's just fine. These are just my personal opinions, and I am well aware that there are exceptions to every rule. :)

Part I - Being a Good Houseguest
In my opinion, being a good houseguest is more necessary than you may think. It's very important for the person who has invited you to stay in their home to know that you are thankful and appreciative of that. Otherwise they may not do so again. ;) 

1: Respect customs and traditions of that household.
For example, if the family you're staying with prefers not to watch television after 8pm, don't insist on turning on the TV at 9pm because you can't bear to miss Desperate Housewives.

2. Always, always, always, no matter how much you don't want to, offer to help with dishes and other household chores (especially if you're staying for an extended period of time). Many hostesses will refuse your offer but it's important that you offer, preferably after every meal.
Please do not be the disappearing houseguest who mysteriously disappears during dinner clean-up and then re-appears just in time for dessert.

3. Keep your junk in your trunk. Ok, not literally. But don't spread your crap out everywhere. Try to keep your things packed away when you're not using them, except for maybe a book on the bed stand or something else small.
I know my parents are literally rolling on the floor laughing right now, but in truth, I try really hard to do this when I'm not staying with Mom and Dad or a very close friend. (Sorry, Elizabeth)

4. Go with the flow. If the family/friends you're staying with are doing something as a group that you're not particularly interested in, do it anyway for the sake of being social. Don't insist on doing your own thing and going against the grain, it's irritating, and rude.
Obviously if the people you're with are insisting on doing drugs or something else illegal then, duh, don't do it. But if they're just going to a restaurant you don't care for, get your butt in the car and go, and be happy about it while you're at it.

5. Like the Girl Scouts say, leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.
I'm by no means saying you need to have a marathon cleaning session before you leave, but for the love of God, please don't leave your toenail clippings on the bathroom floor.

6. Finally, by all means thank your host/hostess before leaving. Be sure they know that you appreciate them opening their home to you, because they could have made you pay for a hotel. ;)
After you leave, some would consider it appropriate to send a thank you note or small gift thanking your host/hostess. I think the longer your stay, the more you should consider a thank you note/gift. Use your judgement depending on the situation.

Stay tuned for more in the Sunday Etiquette Series. Next week: Being a Good Party Guest.

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