Getting along with a house guest can be tricky business. The relationship may start off well, but you make one wrong move, and it can create a rift between you and your guest that will last a lifetime. Avoid this pitfall by following these golden rules:
Never speak against anyone to your house guest. Always remember that your house guest doesn’t want to deal with your baggage. Your house guest is, in fact, a guest, not a sounding board for you. Too, it might make your guest wonder what you say in his/her absence. Keep the conversations light, but warm and fun. Your house guest needs to feel as if your home is a safe haven from troubles.
Never criticize your spouse to your house guest. If things aren’t exactly right at home, don’t tell your house guest. This puts undue stress on the guest because your guest knows that your spouse lives there, too. Don’t make your house guest feel as if he/she is in the way. Too, noticeable tension between you and your spouse might make your house guest feel the need to walk on egg shells. If things are too bad, put your house guest up in a hotel.
Never place your house guest between you and your spouse. If, for some reason, you have words with your spouse while your house guest is present, don’t ask your house guest to take sides, or even evaluate the situation. As well, don’t discuss the situation with your house guest because this alienates your house guest from your spouse. Leave the problem between you and your spouse and keep quiet about it until after your guest leaves.
Respect tradition. If your house guest has a certain tradition, try to respect it. For instance, if your house guest says prayer before a meal, but you don’t, then indulge your house guest by allowing mealtime prayer. This doesn’t go against your beliefs, and it doesn’t mean that you buy into your house guest’s beliefs. This just shows that you are trying to be culturally sensitive by allowing your house guest to truly feel at home in your house.
Provide your in-laws with privacy at your home. Try to make sure that your house guest gets a room with a door that he/she can shut, even if this means giving up your own room. It’s never polite to ask your house guest to sleep in an open room on make-shift beds while you sleep comfortably in your own. Your house guest might decline your offer of your bed, and this is okay. At least offer your bedroom, though, if it’s the only one with a door.
Don’t expect favors from your guest. Don’t ask your house guest to pick up your cleaning or other daily activities, unless it is absolutely necessary. Your house guest is a gift to enjoy, not one that you can treat as a hired hand. Treat your house guest as a welcomed gift and try to send a gift home with your house guest when he/she leaves. The gift doesn’t have to be expensive. A batch of cookies or an inexpensive bottle of Sangria works.
*The bottom line is for you to treat your house guest as part of your family and send your guest off with warm wishes of his/her return.