The art of the perfect houseguest

It is very important, when staying with someone, to be a good houseguest. Some people think that being a good houseguest is all about tidying up after oneself, or not drinking all the wine. Those people are mistaken. Since last night, I have been a houseguest, and I am happy to generously come down from that expert level of experience and share my wisdom with you.

The key, naturally, is to arrive 2 or 3 hours after you have suggested to your host that you might. Be sure to ramp up excitement by not turning your wifi on, and therefore missing increasingly anxious messages about your location/ alive-ness. When you do arrive, make sure your friend knows how happy and excited you are to see her by exclaiming loudly ‘I’m so excited…to take a shower!’ and rushing past her into her walk-in wardrobe. (The latter, naturally, was a mistake. I assumed it was the bathroom. But spending a bit of time in anyone’s walk-in wardrobe is a pleasure I highly recommend).

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When asked what you would like to do for dinner, be open to suggestions. ‘Anywhere you’d like,’ I called out cheerily from the bathroom, before emerging from it in my pajamas. Save your host the bother of working out what you’d like to do after dinner by simply falling asleep on the sofa when they leave the room to go to the loo*.

In the morning, wake up as early as possible. Check on your friend several times, to ensure they don’t need anything/ want to make you a cup of tea. Leave the apartment sneakily, wearing their shoes. (You have mysteriously lost your shoes, and don’t want to be presumptuous by asking your host where they’ve put them).

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Head to the local supermarket, and purchase things for breakfast. Feel free to increase your host’s neighbourhood standing by cheerfully accosting other people who you pass, and asking them questions or advice.
Return, laden. Realise after several attempts to open your friend’s front door that you don’t know how to do so. Re-group. Take a small nap outside your friend’s appt. (This has the dual purpose of further endearing her to her neighbours). Finally enter your friend’s appt. Use all available bowls and pans whilst making breakfast, only to be told that your friend has to go to work, and also doesn’t like eggs. Sit outside in the sun, smugly eating delicious home-ccoked breakfast, safe in the knowledge that you have admirably fulfilled your houseguest duties.

*This is part of a different advice article, about the powers of suggestion. In it, I cover how to ‘suggest’ to people that they always do what you want.* 

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