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Manners for Overnight Guests at a Family

Manners for overnight guests at a family home

IF you are going to visit an American, and have to stay overnight, there are some manners you should know and obey.

1. You should take your toothbrush, toothpaste, and pajamas (睡衣).

2. Ask clearly about times — when to arrive and when to go home.

3. Ask about the family schedule (时间表). For example, go into your room at a reasonable hour, perhaps nine or ten p.m. to allow the family to be busy with their things after you go to bed. Ask your host before you go to bed, what time they will be ready for breakfast. If they say eight a.m., come out of your room at eight a.m.

4. Bathroom use — if you are sharing a bathroom with others, never stay in it for longer than 30 minutes at a time. When you come out, leave it clean, dry and all your things taken out.

5. Phones — ask before you use the host’s phone. Talk no longer than five to ten minutes at a time. Do not call before eight a.m. or after ten p.m.

6. Meals — it is polite to help in preparation and cleaning up after meals. Ask if you can. If not, you can stand and talk to the family members while they are busy in preparation or cleaning up the dishes.

7. Children — you never have the right to criticize or scold other people’s children. You always have the right to praise them and talk to them, showing interest in their things.

8. Pets — if you are afraid of cats or dogs, it is best to ask if the family has one before you go to their house. You never have the right to criticize or hit other people’s pets. Sometimes people treat their pets like their children.

9. With each meal, snack, or helpful favor, always say an immediate “thank you”. When you leave, say “thank you” to the host. The next day, you’d better mail a thank-you note to the host.

10. Each time you leave the guest room, leave it neat and clean. Make your bed and put your things away. Do not close the door when you are out of the room. Do close the door when you are in the room and want to sleep.

11. If you break anything, tell the host at once and say “sorry” to the host. He or she will not be angry and will forgive you.

12. The host will set the temperature of an air-conditioner. If you are cold, put on a sweater, but do not touch the controls.

13. Do not borrow the host’s brush, comb, or toothbrush.

14. Do not attempt to tell your host when to go to bed, how to care for his or her children, what to eat if he or she has a cold, and so on.

15. A closed door usually means that someone is inside. Knock and wait to be invited in before entering. Americans usually do not lock doors in their homes such as the bathroom and bedroom. Closing the door is usually enough.