Making people comfortable is one of the hallmarks of hospitality and during this period of comfort, compassion and cheer. It is good form to express this in our preparation for house guests especially if they are staying several days. The following tips may help set the scene and also aid potential guests on good behaviour:
- Make sure you have enough bed sheets, blankets, towels, basic toiletries, including extra toothbrushes and toothpaste, hair dryer etc. and that the heater/air-conditioning/fan in the guest room is working properly.
- Let your guests know what the rules of your home are, like wake-up time, breakfast time, lunch time, dinner and bedtime. Also, if your guests go out on their own, let them know at what time they are expected to arrive home, especially if they are teenagers. Open communication saves relationships.
- Get plenty of napkins and serve no messy food on disposable dishes. Respect dietary restrictions and allergies. Use proper glasses and silverware if affordable and available.
- Set a limit if you are serving alcohol. Try to avoid your guests getting drunk, especially if there are children around. Also, have ready the phone number or details of a taxi service for your guests who need a ride home.
- Set your limits drinking alcohol. This way you will avoid saying the wrong things to the wrong people and behaving in an embarrassing way. You may regret it later, especially if they are your future in-laws.
- Avoid touching sensitive issues in your conversations. Think before you speak.
- Whilst your host might make himself innocuous for your comfort, please confine yourself to your space and avoid wandering around the house except you intend to “genuinely” compliment paintings, decor, photographs, ambience etc
- Send a “thank you” card, text or email to your host within a reasonable time. Praise, thanks and thoughtfulness are some of the great lubricants and compliments of life. Tell him/her how much you enjoyed staying at his/her home.
Richie Dayo Johnson is an experiential specialist and consultant in communication and human behaviour. He works with aspiring leaders, high net-worth individuals and multinational organisations in Europe and Africa. He presently oscillates between the two continents depending on work and family commitments.
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