A colleague told me that her son’s girlfriend was visiting and she asked her to help make the salad for dinner. The young woman said “no.” She was stunned by the response, and made the salad herself.
I couldn’t believe that someone would refuse to help, but my colleague assured me that she wasn’t making up the incident.
The story made me realize that in today’s fast-paced world, many people don’t know or forget the etiquette niceties needed when visiting with family, friends or colleagues. And since it's the height of the summer vacation season, here are some general guidelines when visiting others:
Remember you are a guest. It is not your home. Pay attention to how others live. Putting your feet on the coffee table in your family room may be OK, but it may not be OK in your host’s family room.
Bring a small gift. It’s a thoughtful way to show that you appreciate the kindness of your host. A friend stayed with us one night during our vacation and the next morning brought us fresh donuts. We immediately invited him to stay longer! If you are staying a few days with someone, buying your host dinner and/or paying for groceries is very considerate.
Offer to help. The host shouldn’t wait on you. Offer to help with preparing meals and/or organizing any activities.
Clean up after yourself. Your visit shouldn’t make more work for your host.
Say thank you; send a note. When leaving, say thank you and follow up with a handwritten or email note. My son’s friend recently sent a wonderful handwritten thank-you note after her visit. She can visit again anytime!
Business Etiquette Tips & Career Suggestions