Manners & Misdemeanors

10 Rules Every Houseguest Should Follow

After shacking up with a friend on this season of 'The Real Housewives of New York,' Tinsley Mortimer learned a thing or two about what it takes to be a gracious houseguest.
IMAGE Getty
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If you get invited to spend the weekend at a friend's summer house or boat, there's an expectation to be gracious to the host, or you won't be invited back. Here are the houseguest rules I grew up with:

1. Bring a small present to your hostess and present it the minute you walk through the door. My mother always gave beautiful silk velvet picture frames from her line of frames, but exceptional flower bouquets, scented candles, macarons, champagne, several bottles of wine, and chocolates are always good picks.


2. Go with the flow. Make sure your host knows that you are not high-maintenance, and that you'll fit into any schedule that is planned.

3. Don’t make the host feel he or she has to entertain you. Make it clear that though you are happy to do anything the host likes, you are also perfectly fine exploring or relaxing by yourself. Give your host his or her space.

4. Offer to take your host out to a lovely dinner…or two. Ask for suggestions of places that are special to them so that you can make a reservation. This is your treat, so absolutely refuse the graciousness of your host if they insist on splitting the dinner bill.

5. Let your host know when you are going out, and when you plan to be back. This is common courtesy.

6. A good host will point out food, snacks, and drinks that you're welcome to help yourself to, but if they don't, do not ask what is available. It sounds greedy. Simply go to the store and buy some special hors d’oeuvres you can share with the host.


7. Be sure not to be too loud or noticeable. You want this visit to be enjoyable for yourself and your host. Show the personality that got you invited in the first place, however.

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8. Don’t be wedded to your cell phone. Try to give it a break and put it away.

9. If there is no staff, before leaving, ask the host how to handle your linens. Some hosts do not want you stripping the bed down to the mattress…it’s too personal.

10. Warmly thank your host when you leave, citing special things you enjoyed about your stay. As soon as you return home, use your good stationery and write a lovely note thanking your hosts profusely. Do not  email or text your thank you.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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Tinsley Mortimer
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