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How to have a successful visit

August 24, 2000

How to have a successful visit

Experts say being a guest in someone's home means treating them with the respect you would expect if you were entertaining. Here are some tips they give to make a visit successful for both host and visitor:

For guests

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Bring a gift. "It's just a thank you to honor your host and hostess," says Anne Winters, national director of National League of Junior Cotillions.

It doesn't have to be extravagant. Potted plants, a bottle of wine and a fruit basket are all acceptable tokens of appreciation.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Pitch in around the house. It takes a lot of effort to have a guest, and hosts aren't there to wait on you hand and foot.


HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Follow the rules of the house. If hosts go to bed early, don't stay up until all hours making noise.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Be self-sufficient. Don't be underfoot. Respect your host's privacy, and plan activities you can do if they need to run errands or go to work.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Don't bring surprises. An invitation extended to you does not mean bringing a cousin, friend or pet unless you get permission.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Know when to walk away.

"The key to being a good guest is to be a desired guest at all times," says Internet etiquette expert Noe Spaemme. "Know when it's time to leave."

Each situation is different, but Spaemme, Sue Fox, founder of Etiquette Survival Inc., and others say anything more than three days starts to wear on host and guest.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Send a handwritten thank-you letter or note.

"It's an awful lot of work being a host," says Karen Mallett, co-founder of the Winnipeg, Manitoba-based In Good Company, which provides etiquette and protocol workshops.

"Writing a thank-you note shows you appreciate their time and effort."

For hosts

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Make your guest feel welcome. Fox has heard of hosts who invite people over with their kids but then put plastic covers on all their furniture.

"It works both ways. If you're having guests over, you have to go out of your way to make them feel comfortable," she says.

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