Living in a small town in Northern NH can certainly have more than a few surprises, whether it’s a power outage from a storm, or a seemingly random visit from a neighbor. In the season and month of giving it’s important for us to stop and reflect on how to be better neighbors, respectful guests, and or considerate friends. Characters run rampant particularly around the shorter daylight days and holiday season.
It doesn't matter where we live on this vast planet of ours or what our traditions are, our gender or economic status; the beauty of the world is that we all come from different places and backgrounds with different upbringings. With that said, there is no excuse for bad behavior as a guest in someone else's home, place of business or in your own home. I must admit I was a bit of a wild child in my family and I’ve broken nearly every rule and social etiquette at some point in my life, but I still feel it is necessary to show respect for others as well as myself. I expect respect from members in my home, guests coming to my home, strangers, or from my coworkers. With most people leading very busy lives without a lot time to reflect, it’s easy at times to be…dare I say it…a bit impatient with others? I’d like to share some important guidelines I’ve picked up over the years. Remember we are all human beings capable of respecting one another and each other’s space, whether among friends, family, strangers, or out and about in the community.
The tips below are things I would like to share with you. I’m sure all of you have experienced a time when you didn’t exactly know how to respond or react as a guest and therefore may have acted in a less than jolly manner. I’m here to help! I’ve learned the hard way, plenty of times. So sit back and relax, grab a cup of tea, raise your pinky and rest assured you aren’t alone- here are a few etiquette tips when visiting someone else property or home:
1. No surprises- don’t show up unannounced or without permission. What might be okay or normal for you may not be for someone else? Have a reservation or ticket (if it’s an event) RSVP if someone has taken the time to personally invite you. They may need a head count.
2. Gifting- you can never go wrong with a gift. Whether you’ve been invited to a party and can bring an extra drink or dish, or maybe something from your hometown if you have been invited to stay overnight. Gifting goes a long way no matter the reason for you stay!
3. House rules- follow them! If your host asks you to take off shoes, do it. If a campground or condo manager asks you to be quiet after 10pm, do that too. Don’t argue about it just be respectful of other people’s needs, not just your own.
4. Be appropriate- err on the side of modesty. This is New England folks, some people are downright old school and they have the right to be, and, do whatever they wish on their property, within the law of course. Live free or die is our moto but you can only take that so far.
5. Offer to help- dishes, trash, watch the kids, volunteer, take or watch the pets outside as they perform their duties, be considerate when you’re a guest wherever you are, in any environment. Remember It can be challenging at times having other people in your space especially when it’s a larger gathering.
6. BYO- bring your own hygiene products or snacks with you unless you’ve been told its okay to use what’s on the property. Offer to share if you have extra. Remember when we were little kids and we used to share and trade everything, with everyone and anyone? Try channeling that. It’s a great way to make new friends!
7. Leave No Trace- this applies to the great outdoors as well as being a guest. Pick up after yourself and remember if you do find yourself in the great outdoors, only you can prevent fires and careless accidents. Don’t rely on others.
8. Give Thanks- good things come in threes! Thank your guest upon arrival, during the stay, and afterwards with a thank you card, message or text- you are sure to be invited back after this!
Take care of yourself and one another. Be mindful of other people’s needs. Together we can make the world a better place, starting in our very own home!