It’s easy to think that everyone treats their home the same way you treat yours, but that’s not a safe assumption to make. It’s always best to err on the side of overly polite when you visit someone. There are things that you may do that drive the person you’re visiting crazy, but they’re too polite to mention it.
Here are some things to not do when visiting someone else’s home:
1. Do not go to the side door, back door or door from the garage to the house. Especially if it’s your first time at someone’s house. Go directly to the front door. This is the main entrance to the house and the place where you’ll typically find the doorbell and welcome mat. When you’ve reached the back/garage door entry point with a family, you’ll know. Also, the last thing you want to do is stand in the rain at someone’s back door because they’re upstairs and can’t hear you knock, but are listening for the doorbell.
2. Do not take more than 2 steps into someone’s home without asking if they’d like you to remove your shoes. I say two steps because that’s far enough to close the door behind you but doesn’t typically get you off the rug or tile at the door and onto carpet. This goes for any flooring choices. We have all solid flooring on our first floor and you still aren’t allowed to wear shoes in my house. If the hosts says not to worry about it, then don’t. But if they’re a shoes-off house like mine, they will truly appreciate it.
3. Do not yell at, kick, spank or otherwise reprimand the pets that live in the home. This goes without saying for the children in a home. But people tend to forget that the animals, they may or may not actually like, live in the home and they are only guests. I’ve had a couple of cat haters visit us and the ones who have yelled, “Get away from me stupid cat” to my friendly furbabies, or kicked at them, don’t get invited back.
If you don’t like the animal, don’t pet it. If you’re allergic to it, tell the host and they will try to keep the animal away from you. If they have a dog that is jumping on you, ask the host if there’s a way to stop the dog from jumping on you and they’ll intervene. We live every day with our pets and sometimes forget that not everyone loves them like we do. But it’s my home and it’s the animals’ home, not yours. If there’s something my pet is doing that’s bothering you, please let me know and I’ll take care of it, don’t yell at them or discipline them, you don’t have permission.
4. Do not open doors or drawers. If you’ve ever been showing off a new home, you’ve probably had people open your closet doors or peek in the drawers as part of their house tour. If I want you to see the inside of the drawer where I keep my tampons, don’t worry I’ll show you. When we have guests, I tend to stash things in closets or drawers, if I want to show you the features of them, I’ll open them for you. Also, yes that closet is literally full of diabetes supplies. And no, that’s not weird.
5. Do not leave the toilet lid open or seat up. There’s probably never been a host in history who normally leaves their commodes open who has been offended by a closed toilet. However, many of us like to keep them closed. Overall, it’s more sanitary. People with newly mobile children or less than intelligent pets definitely don’t want to have open toilet water available to them. I once had to rescue a cat stuck in an empty bathtub, the last thing I want to do is rescue one from a toilet. Ewww.
6. Do not blow out candles, turn off warmers, unplug air fresheners, etc. If a smell is bothering you, please ask the host if you can blow out, turn off or whatever the thing with the smell. I get that scents can be bothersome or irritate allergies/asthma, but we want to have a nice smelling home, it’s polite to ask. If you ask, it will be blown out, turned off or removed. No further questions asked.
7. Do not rearrange their things. Please don’t move my glasses to the cabinet you think they belong it. Don’t move the furniture to different places in the room. It’s my house, they are my things and I put them where I put them. Usually it’s the people who view us as kids who want to either tell me where to put things or move them without asking.
8. Do not criticize the way they do things. If I put it in my dishwasher, it’s because it’s dishwasher safe… so yes, I put my pans in the dishwasher. It saves hours of my life. I fold my towels the way that works for me… they’re clean, they’re folded and they’re not at your house.
Most of these should seem like common sense and generally good manners, but every one of the things on the list has happened to me, in my home, within the last five years. I know that it’s not intentional rudeness, it’s often simply not thinking.
What kinds of crazy behavior have you experienced from guests in your home? What would you add to this list?