Rules of being a houseguest.

Okay, now for some dusting off of the soap box, and some high volume ranting about to happen. If you’d rather your ear wax stays unsullied hop on over to the next happy blog. If you’re in the mood to roll up your sleeves and do some yelling of your own, read right on.

Since I have been blessed with ample opportunity of having houseguests and being a houseguest, I declare myself uniquely qualified to write about the rules and regulations of being the kind of houseguest your host wont be making lines of the walls to count the days to riddance of. On my part, I do tend to follow most of these, and some I’ve made up on the way…

Here goes:

Kindly carry your own towel. I do have a shelf stocked with spare towels, which are washed clean and spiffy but I really dont feel like keeping them after I dont know where all the towel has been utilised to dig dirt out of.

Put the seat up. For the hundredth time.

Do not wipe your kajal/eyeliner rings with the handtowels in the bathroom. Ask and you will receive cotton pads and cleanser for the needful.

A helping hand would be appreciated. To lay the table. To clear the table. To clear the kitchen. To keep the place generally neat and clean and in the pristine order you found it in. Sitting back and cleaning out your teeth afterΒ  a meal is only allowed for geriatrics. If you cannot help, kindly dont go messing it up more just for the kicks you get in seeing me spring to clean up immediately with dustcloth and spray.Β 

Chairs preferably should be pushed back into position when you exit the dining table and not left at awkward angles for the child to crash into while scooty-ing through the house.

The maid will wash the bathroom you are using, but it would be nice if you took out the chunks of hair clogging up the basin and disposed them in the bathroom dustbin. Those were kept there for a purpose. Ever seen The Grudge. I will wish the hair in drains comes back with beady eyes attached and haunt you to hell. Also, do ask if you wish to borrow my shampoos/conditioners/creams/lotions. I will not ever refuse, but I would like to know how a full bottle of my new volume enhancing shampoo becomes half in a single day.

When I am sweating it out in the kitchen, if the cook is on leave, I donot expect you to come in and cook, but a polite offer to help would be nice. Refusing to even be in the vicinity of the kitchen and emerging only when its time for dinner makes me wish you choke on it. Or get the runs. It would also be nice if you offered to treat us to takeway instead of expecting to be fed a seven course meal at home every single day.

And donot criticise or pass expert comments on my cooking. It is a sensitive topic. I’m likely to go into hysterics. I get rabid. Insincere praise would be welcome.

Dont get underfoot in the morning when I am in a rush to get breakfast, self, child ready. I bite.

We all straighten our bedlinen and fold our blankets when we get up in the morning. And barring royalty, we think everyone else should too.

My car and driver are not on 24 hour call for your Mumbai darshan trips. And depositing the car back with the fuel tank on empty only for me to discover it midway on my early morning school drop run makes me want to employ bludgeons on your cranium.

Pay attention to the child when he’s trying to impress you with his toys/skills/ strength. You brush him off in order to make loud conversation on your life back home and you get ten strikes on my list.

And most importantly, be the kind of guest you would want to entertain. And I promise you, I will be the kind of hostess you would love to return to.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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32 Responses to Rules of being a houseguest.

  1. Sowmya says:

    I so agree! Towels and even soaps…eeeks how could one not bring in his/her own soap…what if I dont have a spare one!


  2. mummyjaan says:

    You’re awesome, Kiran. And hilarious. Thoroughly enjoyed your style of writing; and thoroughly agree with your advice.


  3. Sue says:

    Yick. I hate guests who leave hair in the drains. Heck, I hate family members doing that!


  4. Sue says:

    LOL! We’re having a party here? Hi! *hands MJ a lemon soda and some canapes*


  5. Poppy says:

    Esp the one about the car and driver. Bang on. If I offer that’s ok. But to act like he’s at your disposal? Sorry. I’m ok with towels, shampoos etc though the husband gets maha annoyed.


  6. Meira says:

    House guests? There are house dwellers who do half these things! Sigh. How do you handle them?


  7. BlueMist says:

    Phew…You spoke my mind. Please ask before using someone’s soap and shampoo. Even better lipsticks ( you can actually have the lipsticks !! )
    Feel like take a print out and put next to guest bed.


  8. manisha says:

    hope she’s leaving soon. πŸ™‚


  9. I hope she reads this πŸ™‚

    How about a nice poster being put up on the door of guestroom
    with these points in bold πŸ˜€


  10. Shruti says:

    Amazing post….
    I have always found guests acting like they are on vacation in a spa and hosts are the spa staff…!
    Love your blog….I have linked you as one of the blogs I read…


  11. Su says:

    Nice post kiran…the points that you put up were all logical and simple to follow..yet people tend to over look them. Its only when one follows the etiquette the relationship really grows and one can be expected to be entertained the next time in the house


  12. print and give handouts. ok. how abt leaving used chuds on the guest bathroom hooks!
    hope she scoots soon


  13. Anamika says:

    Nice one, brought back memories. In firang land, I have the luxury of having a spare bedroom and bath so its easier to deal with. My toiletries stay untouched unless specifically borrowed and thats good too. Just let them stay there the way they want as long as they dont stink. That…well stinks! Especially the “sprinkle when they tinkle in the toilet” types.
    We have cars but no drivers and need to drive to work so Tee Hee πŸ˜€ guests please rent your own, call a cab or stay till I am home to take you out which I will if you make me a hot cup of tea after I reach as opposed to wait to get that made by me. In which case I can always open my laptop and have a sudden emergency at work which requires me to shut myself in the study.


  14. Sands says:

    So with you on this post. I now have a different set of towels for guests. That way I get it all cleaned after they leave. The includes bed linen and the likes as well. As for car and driver, we are the drivers where we live. Thus even worse!!


  15. CA says:

    Toothbrush, Towels and soaps are a must … toothpaste, very much appreciated !
    About the bed linen … I get most annoyed with those unmade ones .. how can someone just get out of bed and leave it all wrinkled ?


  16. Rohini says:

    I would do all as a houseguest except offer to help in the kitchen. My cooking skills suck and I am a klutz to boot. I can however wash dishes with the best of therm…


  17. Gigi says:

    You can solve the towel problem by not using that towel at all πŸ˜‰
    Hair is my pet peeve. Great list!


  18. shilpadesh says:

    I so agree about putting the seat up. How hard is it?


  19. root says:

    I follow the ‘put the seat down, lid down too’ school of thought. So, put the seat up is because is more about cleanliness? Is it the acceptable default status? Are we not even talking toilets?

    questions, questions.

    -roots, drive-by stranger.


  20. Veena says:

    Agree with all of those except having guests bring their own towels and soaps/shampoos. That means they have to bring stuff that I can easily provide and have to carry their wet towels/soaps while leaving. Doesn’t seem nice somehow.


  21. JLT says:

    Bang on target!
    Also- what about making conversation at least half the people in the house are interested in?
    and not shouting at the top of your voice?
    and not insisting that ONLY your opinion is the one that’s correct and that matters?
    I don’t mind if the guest doesn’t help out in the kitchen, but at least she can keep me company in the kitchen while I make whatever.. instead of studiously staying away! Bah!
    Hope u have the house to yourself sooooooooon K.


  22. Serendipity says:

    did someone step on your nerves!?!?


  23. Happy Karma says:

    Oh god! that bit about “dont criticise my cooking” and please “Offer insincere praise” is so true. I dunno if visiting in-laws count as house guests. They do criticise.Praise almost never.


  24. S says:

    Love your list!
    I also hate when guests assume we should all change our mealtimes to adjust to their habits!
    And think it is alright for them to eat and drink in the guest bedroom and not bring out the dirty dishes. I am expected to go collect them and rign them back t kitchen for washing (No maids here in US).
    Please do not answer the phone if you are not capable of remembering a simple message.


  25. Kiran Manral says:

    Somya: They dont. You know.

    Mummyjaan: Lookit who’s here! How you doing dear?

    Sue: I know. Im inclined to get it over in one shot by pulling out the rest of their hair.

    Poppy: Just blew a fuse this morning discovering the car’s fuel tank is on empty.

    Meira: True. How do you deal with them?

    BlueMist: Maybe I should.

    Manisha: πŸ™‚

    Aniruddha Pathak: Good idea.

    Shruti: Honoured.

    Su: They are all simple courtesies arent they. But still.

    Itchy: Ugh. I feel for you.

    Anamika: I am shifting to firangland.

    Sands: So do I. But some people are so gross, I am inclined to burn the towels and bedlinen when they leave. You know.

    CA: Oh they can, they can. And they do.

    Gigi: I dont. It is a guest towel for a reason. But still. Some folks gross me out.

    Ro: You would help set and clear the table wouldnt you? You wouldnt keep your dirty plate at the table and expect me to clear it for you….

    Shilpa: Sistah!

    roots: Put the seat up for men while peeing. Flush and put it down. You know.

    Veena: I think I have double standards. People I am fond of, I dont mind supplying these things. People I must tolerate, it rankles.

    JLT: I hope so too.

    Serendipity: Trampled more like it.

    Happy Karma: All homes. Same story.

    S: All very valid. I forgot the leaving your dirty plate on the dining table….arggghhh.


  26. Priyanka says:

    [Standing ovation]
    Sooo true. [Vigorous nodding] on the car and driver part. We have both of them for a reason – our daily activities. Can we have them for at least half a day. Especially in a city like Mumbai?!
    Oh and the kitchen and helping out thing? Add this – ladies who stroll into the kitchen when I am slaving there, park themselves on the dining table/stool and proceed to chat, gossip, comment on my cooking methods and all… Seriously!!


  27. Kiran Manral says:

    Priyanka: Exactly….when I go anywhere, I hire my own cabs and pay through my nose. Ah, well, my cooking methods could do with a bit of constructive criticism, but not to my face…


  28. alvarez says:

    I have a question. I have a couple and child staying in my one bedroom apartment for two days. Why they would want to stay in a small place is a puzzle to me but I am wondering if me and my wife should sleep in the living room and allow them to stay in my large bedroom. The only reason I would suggest this is because it would be very uncomfortable for them to sleep in a small living room area.


    • Topaz says:

      No, you stay with people with only one bedroom, you have to take what is available. They should find accommodations elsewhere and you are very kind to even entertain the idea of having them with you. You and your wife pay the bills so you are the MASTER in the MASTER suite. I have had too many rude and ungrateful house guests in the past few hundred years and this is a habit you don’t want to start. Apologize and tell them this is the best you can offer. BTW, invest in a nice comfy air mattress…I have a couple of queens and people have slept beautifully in them.

      About the car, etc. I once had a very rude family member drop in with his family of four…OUT OF THE BLUE. He needed a job so instead of driving his car, he asked to use mine…and we lived in the country…to go to the next really big city to look for work. I let him use it and forgot to tell him, when the gas tank reaches 1/4 full, it is EMPTY. He ran out of gas on a busy city freeway and was he ever mad! Should have taken his own rattletrap. When he told me, I thought it was funny because I forgot and I am sure he was hoping to bring it home on fumes. He did not fill it up even then..only enough to get him back to our house. They stayed so long and he complained so much I had my husband tell them they had to leave after TWO horrible weeks. They left and never stayed with us again. And I was very happy about that.


  29. twofatsluts says:

    The best kind of houseguest is one who never arrives. I loathe having them and even more being one. I’d rather stay in a cheap hotel than with family, nothing personal.

    LOL. But sometimes, it is lovely to have family come stay.


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