4 Confessions of a Horrible Houseguest
Remember that houseguest who threw an all-night rager (without asking) and trashed your place? We’ve found a houseguest who’s even worse. His rep is so bad he’s been disinvited more times than he can count (You can imagine how horrified his wife is). In the interest of changing his ways — and maybe getting invited back for a change — he agreed to fess up about his worst-ever deeds (you won’t believe #3!) and share the lessons he’s learned. Click through for his confessions, and share your houseguest horror stories in the comments section!
Obey the Unspoken CurfewLast year, my wife Diana and I had fun over the holidays, staying with our friends in their huge NYC loft. We haven’t been invited back. Diana says I blew it the night I went out with some guy friends, lost my key, and ended up waking our hosts and their baby at 4 a.m. It also didn’t help that, in my drunkenness, I teased my bleary-eyed friend mercilessly about his bedhead and then proceeded to raid the fridge. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have stayed out so late in the first place. Next time I’ll ask my hosts about their nighttime schedule and obey the law. It limits my barhopping hours, but when I consider the alternative—a cot at Motel 6—I know it’s a smart move.
Don’t Do as You’re ToldOne refrain hosts love to use is, “Don’t worry about it.” I ask if I can help clean the dishes. “Sit down, relax—don’t worry about it.” I ask if they’d like me to change the bed. “We’ve got it—don’t worry about it.” What I realize now? “Don’t worry about it” really means “Just do it, you idiot.” Hosts will rarely ask for favors, but, man, how they love receiving them. So from now on, I vow to exceed their expectations: cooking a surprise dinner, supplying my own towels, and—drumroll, please—doing the dishes after every meal.
Do Crap You Don’t Wanna DoWhen we stay with people, we’re typically in vacation mode, so I treat it as such. But, apparently, there’s a difference between a holiday at a friend’s home and at the Holiday Inn. I’ve gotten dirty looks for sleeping in late, watching the game while everyone else is out at the Renaissance Faire, and bringing back Starbucks—just for myself. Once a friend grilled us salmon for dinner, and I sent it back because it had too many bones. Diana was mortified. What? I have a phobia of choking. Bottom line: I was only thinking about Numero Uno and needed to change. Little things, like offering to pick up DVDs or making a morning coffee run for everyone in the house, go a long way. Bonus points if you take their orders (no foam, extra hot, decaf—you get the idea).
Show Some Gratitude AlreadyWriting a thank-you note to your hosts is an absolute must. It’s also about as natural to a guy as French braiding. I often forget to do it, and even if I do remember, it’s difficult for me to betray my masculinity and stop by Papyrus to purchase the card. My solution for the digital age: a quick one-line email, e-card, or “thank-you” link to photos taken from the weekend. Or broker a deal: If your spouse writes the card, you’ll agree to do some annoying task your other half doesn’t want to bother with. The lessons here? I learned to treat being a houseguest as a privilege, not a free pass. I learned to pitch in and not sit back. Oh, and just so you know…we’re free on Presidents’, Memorial, and Arbor Day. So, when’s my invite coming in the mail?
Entertaining guests at your place? Swap hosting tips and tricks with other Nesties on our community boards here!