Etiquette Tips: On Being A Good House Guest

Posted on Jul 12 2017 - 4:16pm by Samantha Clark

When being invited to someone’s house, regardless of relationship, whether visiting or staying, it is important to be a good house guest. Especially as we’d likely expect the same courtesy.

The summer is ripe with functions and occasions, we’re more social beings when the sun is shining and our moods reflect this so we wanted to share some etiquette tips on being the best guest to help make things easier on the host and more enjoyable all round.

What’s key is putting the feeling of others above your own, this starts from the receipt of the invitation.


As they say, communication is key. Let your host know you are coming one way or another. If you commit to attending, ensure you attend unless you’ve good reason- they’ve likely made special accommodations to have you over whether that’s extra food, drink etc. that’ll likely have come at a cost to your host/hostess. If you’re no longer to make it, for whatever reason, make sure you let your hosts know at the earliest opportunity, ensure you’re profusely apologetic and if it is considerably short notice, send them something as a way of apology. If they feel messed around, you’ll unlikely be invited to the next occasion and you’ve potentially restricted from someone else being there.

If you don’t RSVP and don’t communicate with the hosts, they’ll likely expect you’re not attending, it’s therefore not acceptable to not RSVP and assume you’ll still be welcome, particularly if the host is having to make accommodations for their guests e.g. ordering in food.

Don’t forget to make your hosts aware of any allergies or dietary requirements, this is a strictly must needs circumstance, it isn’t appropriate to be fussy.

If you’re late for any reason, though really try not to be, call or message your hosts to let them know you will still be there but running behind.


Always be respectful of your host/hostess and that includes their home and their possessions. Whether you’re a relative or close friend, always treat their home with the utmost respect. We all have different expectations, house rules and behaviours so it’s probably not wise to ‘make yourself at home’ initially, particularly if there is a large function going on. For example, check if it’s ok to wear shoes around the house before entering; appreciate there may be boundaries on where you go- it’s probably not appropriate to go into their bedroom; and don’t just go into cupboards or the fridge without asking your host/hostess.

In our modern time we feel it needs to be said. When you’re at any kind of function or event keeping phone use to a minimum is expected. Your hosts expect you to be in the moment and if you’re on your phone this shows disinterest. Checking things briefly and fact checking is ok, particularly if you have children, but scrolling through your Facebook timeline isn’t.


Offer to contribute to the occasion- whether that’s bring a dish, cater for the desserts, offer up some of your decorations suitable to the event or even help with the dishes whilst you’re there. Every little bit helps after all. Even if your host refuses, we’d still recommend you take them a little something.

If you’re taking your children, always tidy up behind them. Don’t make the assumption that just because they’re at someone else’s house that it isn’t your problem. They’re still your children and their behaviour reflects on you.

Thank you’s

Thank your hosts. It’s something that seems to have gone awry in recent times but it was always courteous to give a little gift to the host/hostess. After all, time, effort and probably money has gone into having you over. Although of course they did this off their own backs, they really didn’t have to and it’s nice to feel appreciated. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; it could be a bottle of something, a  small box of chocolates or even a handwritten note after the fact.

Is there anything you’d add to the list? Do you have any particular bugbears as a host? We’d love to hear from you!

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