Being a house guest or a host will more than certainly happen in your life and there are a couple of things both sides should be aware of. Keep in mind that when you are younger these things are usually pretty lax. They certainly tend to tighten up as you get older and have nicer things.
Step 1: COMMUNICATION!!!
As the host:
People can’t read minds. It’s usually pretty straightforward when hosting to tell a person where they sleep. After that all else is up to you. Are there pets? What are the rules with pets? Indoor, outdoor, feeding, kennel, what furniture to be on; how to clean up messes. Next comes food. What can your guest eat? What should they not eat? Should they drink the tap water? Locking up the house? Towels for showering? Clothing comfort level (some houses don’t mind nudity). Rooms to enter, or not enter? Things to touch or not touch? If you are older and more scheduled, are there times when the house should be empty? I have friends that come home for lunch. They don’t want anyone else in the house during that time. It’s their scheduled decompression from the days work bullshit. So I go for a walk for an hour. No big deal. Vehicles? Can borrow? It’s the hosts job to set out the rules. If you don’t express it completely then you can’t really get mad at your guest for not abiding by your rules.
As the guest:
First and foremost, clean up after yourself. You are a guest in someone’s home. This is not a hotel. Don’t come in and explode your shit everywhere. Find a corner out of the way and keep your shit compact, baged, or whatever. Ask if that corner is an okay place for your stuff. Some folks will have places for your things. Do your dishes. Fold your blankets. Leave the place at least as clean as you found it.
When it comes to cleaning others space for them, or cooking for them, it’s best to ask first. Some people have a method. Some people get weird when others touch their stuff. Food is a funny issue. What might seem like a gift from the person cooking might be a burden to the person eating. I know, sounds weird, but really, people at home are often weird. Ask before you use or touch things. It’s just a good rule. Obviously ask before inviting company over. Ask if there is anything you can do to be helpful or out of the way. Show gratitude. Thank your host for letting you stay. Show appreciation. If you can afford it, volunteer to buy some groceries or a meal. Not all hosts can afford to feed you. Check in with your host. If things feel weird, even for a second, don’t let passive aggressive silence build up. Ask if there’s anything wrong. See if things can be fixed. Often if the host isn’t happy with a guest they’ll just stay quiet because they know the guest will be gone soon. Remember, not all people are meant to live together. Even as a visitor sometimes it’s not that anyone did anything wrong, it’s simply that in close quarters you both aren’t copacetic to each others living habits. Nothing to get mad about. People are different.
I know that seems like a lot, and unnecessary, and why would you want to be friends with someone you have to try that hard with? The reality is just that people are like that. Don’t take it personally and honestly, it’s not hard to be a good house guest… it requires just a little bit more energy than absolutely no energy at all. If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, all of this should be a breeze. If you haven’t worked in the service industry, think about doing so.