Tuesday 15 October 2019

Shane Watson: '20 things not to do when staying in other people's houses'

Do not bring your out-of-control dog with you
Do not bring your out-of-control dog with you

Shane Watson

We are now pretty much in peak 'Staying The Weekend With Friends' season. If you're lucky enough to have friends who want to entertain you for the weekend, this is when they are probably doing it. There's a lot of effort involved in entertaining people and everyone knows exactly what's expected in return.

Then again, maybe not.

Here's a recap on house guest etiquette…

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1. When your host says...

"What can I get you for breakfast?", the answer is "I'll make myself some toast". It's not "What's on offer?", thereby forcing them to start listing all the cooked options like a brunch waiter.

2. Don't get up late

...or early, both are equally tiresome.

3. Unless you have been specifically asked to bring your dog, don't

Especially if your dog is out of control (or whatever it's called when the owner pretends not to know what the dog is up to, and the dog is up to everything, including soiling all the carpets).

4. If your dog is discovered to have messed everywhere

...including the host's bedroom, act full factor 10 mortified and clear it up, rather than assume your hosts have it covered.

5. When your host says...

"Would anyone like a glass of rosé?", the correct response is "How lovely!" and not "Ooh, have you got any champagne?".

6. Do not spring any dietary surprises

As in suddenly announcing you're not that keen on prawns on prawn night.

7. Do fit in with your host's plans

If they've arranged for you to go to drinks with the Whatsits, on no account say "I think I'll just stay here if you don't mind". They do mind. Don't sit out the walk, the swim - all rude.

8. Don't know more about the area than they do

Very tactless. No one likes to think others got there first.

9. Don't ask...

If it would be okay if your other friends who live locally nipped over and had a look around, and maybe stayed for supper.

10. Don't be a lifestyle stalker

A certain amount of snooping is par for the course, and even flattering. A bit of "Where did you get these lamps?" goes a long way, but don't wander around like an estate agent sizing up the fittings and furnishings and asking how much everything cost.

11. Don't have an opinion on their recent renovations

E.g. "So funny you haven't knocked this wall through" or "Oh, I'd have made this into a bathroom". Very annoying.

12. Don't steal

Apparently some guests think certain items are on the 'Do Help Yourself' list, e.g. books in the spare bedroom, bottled water, hats they borrowed for a walk.

13. Don't take back the things you brought if they are unused

Just because no one ate the gouda does not mean it is yours to reclaim.

14. Don't pick a fight

...with their children or the other guests or, alternatively, show no interest in the children or the other guests.

15. Don't bang on about anything unless your hosts are clearly dying for you to

E.g. they want John put straight about the Healy-Raes, and you work for the Road Safety Authority.

16. Don't use

...all the hot water.

17. Don't eat

...the last biscuit/roast potato/mushroom vol-au-vent. People notice these things.

18. Don't dare

...ask if you can take a bath in the host's ensuite bedroom.

19. Don't mess

...with the tech. If the Wi-Fi isn't reaching your bedroom, that doesn't give you permission to reposition the wireless router.

20. Do get on the right side of the dogs

Hope we're all straight now.


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