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May 28, 2012 07:15 PM

8 days a week

Hey Chowhounders!

I'm going to be staying at a friend's place for 8 days(!) while I do an internship of sorts (basically, volunteer work to test drive my future plans... which will probably still be volunteer work to start but that's another story). Aside from paying for groceries, cooking meals, washing dishes, and treating my friend to a meal (or two? help here too please) what else can I do to make this stay a pleasant one for both of us? I would like us to still be friends by the end.

I'm mostly wondering about how to be a good house guest - I've not done much travelling on my own or stayed at a non-relative's home for such a long period of time. I know to clean up after myself and to be as unobtrusive as possible to my friend's regular routine but what else? Do I bring my own towel? Can I bring my stick blender to make my breakfast smoothie? (That thing is noisy, so I'm probably answering my own question already.)

Thanks in advance for your help! I find Chowhounders are genuinely thoughtful with the food queries here, so I'm hoping you'll have some helpful house guest advice, too.

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  1. Just a reminder to keep suggestions and advice related to the hound-aspect of being a guest and not general house-guest do's and dont's - thanks.

    1. I think the stick blender would be fine, just ask for their okay before you use it. As to the rest, you seem to have it prettily well figured out. I would suggest you just ask them what you can do to help...if it was my house I might want you to just "disappear" once so I could have a non-guest dinner. At the same time, I'd want to make sure you were comfortable and well taken care of so would probably go shopping with you to get in the tea, cereal, snacks etc that you liked--if you paid the bill on those that would be wonderful. Be glad you have friends willing and able to be your hosts and think about what you would want if the tables were turned...and just remember it is their home.

      1 Reply
      1. re: escondido123

        Good tips, especially on the alone time! I think I'd need that too.

      2. Definitely do NOT bring your own towel! I would be thinking "what she/he doesn't think I have towels"? All your other ideas sound fine. Stick blender is okay - just suss out if your host/ess is an early riser or not. 8 days isn't that long if you're doing all the things you say.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Linda VH

          Thanks! No towel = more room for clothes! I like to pack for rain and sun, you just never know :) Funny, I have no clue if my friend is an early riser or not - I can always make the smoothie at night then give it a really good shake in the morning.

        2. Ask your host a few basic questions directly. It's better to know expectations from your host.

          4 Replies
          1. re: HillJ

            I think this is the #1 most important thing. Ask your host to run through the "rules" of the house/kitchen. Does he/she prefer that you use or don't use certain items? Where are the basics stored? (I have certain guests who, after 15 years of visits, continually put the dishes any old place when unloading the DW.) Where does trash/recycle go? When do the pets eat and should you feed them? On day one, try to absorb enough knowledge to fit in as gently as possible into the household. And cook a delicious meal or two! That wins most people over.

            1. re: HillJ

              HillJ and tcamp: this is very good advice too, thanks! Now to think of some yummy meals to make...

              After reading everyone's responses I feel like I'm on the right track. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something obvious. Thanks everyone!

              1. re: HattedKat

                So nice to have someone think about how to be a good guest. I've had some arrive and just basically act like they were at a hotel and then expected exactly the meals they wanted. Those only come once of course.

                1. re: HattedKat

                  Sometimes a local market buy, like a box of berries or fresh corn, can be just as lovely as fresh flowers or cooking a special recipe for your host. But the thoughtfulness you're showing is what they will remember first. Have a great experience!

              2. Obviously you know your friend, but I know people that cringe with the idea of people using their kitchens. I also know those who cringe, because they never use they might welcome you cooking for them, but cringing about any mess.

                This being said, I don't think you need to over do it. Offer a breakfast, maybe a lunch or two out and definitely a very nice dinner towards the end of your stay. If they invited you, they don't expect you to not feel like a guest....I would assume

                1 Reply
                1. re: jhopp217

                  Thanks jhopp217 - with all of this in mind too, it looks like it'll all going to work out as long as I pay attention and mind my manners :)