Saturday, February 23, 2013

2 Days in New York

2 Days in New York is a Woody Allen style of movie about a French family visiting their daughter who lives in New York with her boy friend.  It's a funny movie about family and cultural differences. But beside culture or habbit, some people I know just basically don't get it. They don't know the basic manners for being a house guest. They have no idea on how to respect and consider other people. At first I was trying to understand them or even make excuse for them, then I noticed they are just plain "ignorance".

As we all know there are some basic rules and manner if you are visiting and staying at someone's home. Remember, what ever I am going to write in the following, the people I know actually did the opposite.

1. Letting your host know your plans and communicate clearly about your comings and goings from their home, make sure that you are not going to inadvertently inconvenience them. Don't leave their home, even for a short outing, without telling them! Your host should not have to guess whether you went out or you're in your room with the door shut.

2. Make a conscious effort to adapt to their patterns. To be clear, ask about their expectations of you during your stay. For example: ask if you are expected to share meals with them, what time they prefer you to turn out the lights, etc. It is especially important to arise when your hosts do (or at least when your own children do), and accept that others have to live in the house too. Realize that if your kids are creating chaos at 7am on the weekends (and you are still sleeping), this is probably something you should acknowledge that your hosts tolerate.

3. If you have your own bedroom, keep the door open when you are not in it, with the bed neatly made and your belongings neat and tidy. Take care of the sofa , don't roll your suitcase inside the home, Don't put your things around the house. Remember that this isn't your home - this is someone else's home, no matter how close you are with the host.

4. Clean up after yourself. Do not leave your dirty dishes in the sink. Even if you find that your host leaves their dishes piled in the sink, doing this yourself is considered very rude. You should leave the kitchen cleaner than you found it. If you notice that the floor needs to be swept offer to do it.

5. Be reasonable about sharing a bathroom. If the house only has one bathroom, ask when it is convenient for you to use it, knock before you enter, only children will go to a shared bathroom without knocking  and make sure you do the following:
  • Flush the toilet and put the lid down.
  • Be clean. Check that you have not left hair on the floor, or toothpaste splatters in the sink. Make sure to always leave a clean toilet behind.
  • If towels are not placed out for you in the guest room, don't presume that the fancy towels in a shared bathroom are for you.
6. When getting up in the night or very early in the morning, remember to be careful not to disturb your hosts. Loudly banging doors, flicking on lights outside their bedroom, or generally making a lot of noise will ensure that you're remembered as that guest they will never want to have stay again. Guaranteed.

7. Always offer to help at meal times. There is nothing more debilitating than having guests who sit around waiting expectantly for all meals. This is when a stay crosses over from being homey to like being in a hotel.  Collecting plates, carrying out dishes, offering to wash up or stack the dishwasher, cleaning off the counters, and taking the garbage out. You could even offer to cook a meal or two yourself. If you're not sure what to do, ASK! Even if the host may say "Nothing!", insist that you do at least one thing. If you are taking the time to cook for yourself, cook enough for your hosts - especially if you are using your hosts' kitchen staples and supplies.

8. Unless you are specifically told to "help yourself to anything" in the refrigerator or pantry, always ask before taking something, and never take the last of anything. This is especially true of left-overs which are not easily reproduced, or expensive items. If you must eat your host's food, a good idea is to pick up some more to replace what you ate. Follow the "you ate it, you replace it" rule and remember: buying the same product but keeping it in a separate area  or eating all of it yourself, or taking it with you when you leave does not mean "replacing" it.

9.  Offer to make contributions. Even if you're not eating at your host's home, offer to purchase the groceries (after all, you still need their toilet paper!). Remember that they have probably already been shopping for extra groceries and spent a considerable amount of time and money to get ready for your visit. You could either paid their next supermarket trip, or you could offer to go out and buy things for both yourself and for them (ask them for a list). If your host is embarrassed to give you a list, make regular financial contributions, like accompanying your hosts to the supermarket and paying at the checkout, or leaving money out in an obvious place on a regular basis clearly indicating it is for groceries.  Whatever the length of your visit, you should at least offer to take your hosts out for dinner. It should be the restaurant of their choice.

10. You're not staying in a hotel and your host will have to wash your sheets and towels when you leave. Make it easier by removing sheets, pillow cases and any other linens. Place them in a neat pile on the foot of the bed or in the laundry hamper. Better yet, start washing them for your host. If your host use a housecleaning service then offer to pay for it. You may even offer to contribute to the cost of cleaning supplies and laundry costs.

11. If you have to leave really early in the morning, say your farewells the night before. If you see your host come back home, say Hello. It's important to be polite.

12. Don't behave as if it's your own home. Be respectful of their belongings and adapt to your hosts' lifestyle.  

13.  Never, ever, gossip about or criticize your hosts, their homes or family members, It's disrespectful and rude.

14.  The Big No No- Don't be cheap. Nobody likes anyone who is cheap, especially a cheap house guest. If you're truly having financial issues, be humble and show appreciation and offer to do things around the house. You should feel even more grateful that your friend and his family is willing to help you out during a time of need. The wrong thing to do is float to the couch after a meal they cooked for you, not helping with dishes or other chores, and leave without  leaving as much as a thank-you note. If you weren't helpful, you should at least be grateful -- Cheap House Guest .. that is a nightmare of a house guest.

There are more than 14 points but I think the above is the basic list and everyone should follow. Some people said manner can be learnt but how to learn if they don't even care. Those ones who do not care are just totally ignorant and they don't even know how to teach their children, because they themselves behave like 10 years old,  they are being selfish and such a waste of time. The sad thing is, when those "Cheap house guest" reading this, they don't even know this is talking actually about them. Oh boy, they are the lucky ones, and I have to quote Sweet Brown here "Ain't Nobody Got Time for That".

Sorry this is not really a film review. But I hope someone learnt something from this.

No comments:

Post a Comment