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The 10 Worst Things Houseguests Do, New Study Says

Avoiding these major faux pas could help ensure you'll be invited back.

Even if you know friends well, things take on a different set of rules when you're invited over as a houseguest. And if you're planning on staying for longer than just dinner and cocktails, etiquette becomes extra critical. That's why research company Talker recently surveyed 2,000 Americans about their experiences with people staying in their homes. Results found that friends beat out both family and in-laws for the most frequently regrettable guests. They also shed light on the worst things houseguests do.

If you want to get invited back, it appears there are a few manners to keep in mind and some mistakes to avoid. Read on to find out the biggest mistakes people make when they're staying with someone, according to the new study.

RELATED: 5 Things You Should Never Do When Hosting People in Your Living Room.

"Broken one of my belongings"

broken coffee cup and plate with spoon on the floor

Percentage of respondents: 17

The nightmare of respectful and well-meaning house guests everywhere is breaking something, be it a toilet or a vase. But accidents happen, and experts say there's a set of conduct you should follow if you've made this houseguest error.

"Generally, breakables fall into three categories: affordable to replace, out of budget to replace, and priceless and irreplaceable," Genevieve Dreizen, etiquette expert and COO of Fresh Starts Registry, tells Best Life. "If you can afford to replace the item, do it quickly, good-naturedly, and without being asked. The only thing that could worsen the situation is making someone chase you down to replace something you broke."

If it is out of budget, she suggests talking to the host, working out a payment schedule, or finding a meaningful way to help them. And if it happens to be priceless and irreplaceable, see if there is any sort of replacement or fix at all.

"In any of these three situations, an apology is always due," Dreizen says. "Leave space for your host to be sad or annoyed—or maybe both. Even if you are living with integrity and care, these things can happen, and we want to leave room for people to have their reactions."

"Drank too much alcohol"

Lonely mature woman holding glass of alcoholic drink while sitting on sofa at home during the day.

Percentage of respondents: 21

Most evenings spent enjoying wine or cocktails at a friend's home end once their party winds down. But if you're staying under their roof, it can be easy to forget that some people hold "last call" a lot earlier. Even if you're in high spirits about spending time with your host, data shows it's best to limit your alcohol consumption.

RELATED: The 6 Best Things to Ask Guests to Bring—If They Offer.

"Arrived uninvited"


Percentage of respondents: 22

Popping by someone's house for a quick hello when you're in their neighborhood might be perfectly polite, but it's a very different situation if you show up toting your suitcase. Make sure you announce your arrival well before you ring the doorbell looking for a place to stay.

RELATED: 6 Items You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen When Guests Come Over.

"Woke me up early"

A young woman wakes up the bed. the alarm on the smartphone is ringing

Percentage of respondents: 23

We all have different morning habits. However, staying with someone else is one time when you should try to change your own to mirror theirs.

"A good rule when visiting or staying with someone is to really try and make an effort to be as quiet as you can in the morning until you hear the telltale stirring of your host," Dreizen tells Best Life.

If you tend to wake up early, she says it might be best to sleep with headphones or a book nearby so you can entertain yourself in the morning—and if you must make a phone call, do it quietly. But there's still at least one way to begin moving about before your hosts leave their bedroom.

"If it's becoming reasonably late and you just need coffee, try and make a game of just how quiet you can be. That way, if you do wake your host, at least there's coffee! And, of course, never forget a well-placed 'I am sorry if I woke you!' won't go unappreciated."

RELATED: 6 Things You Should Put Away When Guests Come Over, Experts Say.

"Kept me up late"

Young husband yawning getting bored listening to excited wife talking for a long time, tired boyfriend not interested in girlfriend gossiping sitting on couch at home, boring conversation concept

Percentage of respondents: 32

Getting out of bed too early for guests may be one problem. But according to data, it's slightly worse to neglect their need for sleep by keeping them awake at night. Make sure to stay aware of the clock when catching up with your hosts and send yourself to bed before it gets too late.

"Hogged the bathroom"

Woman moisturizing face in the bathroom
gpointstudio /

Percentage of respondents: 36

Even if your morning or evening routine is relatively quick, it can be easy to forget that staying with someone else usually means you're now splitting that all-important room with others who need it, too. Data says hogging the bathroom will likely land you in hot water with your hosts.

RELATED: 6 Things You Should Never Do at the Grocery Store, Etiquette Experts Say.

"Made a mess in my home"

Woman frustrated by the dishes all over the messy kitchen

Percentage of respondents: 39

While keeping your home tidy is essential, it's arguably even more important to keep others' cleaner. Perhaps that's why it's not too surprising that being untidy ranked relatively high on hosts' gripe list.

"Your stay may be a burden to your hosts as it is, so why be more of a burden by leaving a mess? Show your appreciation for your hosts allowing you to stay by keeping everything neat and tidy," says Jules Hirst, etiquette expert and founder at Etiquette Consulting.

"Expected more snacks/drinks than I had"

Woman looking into her fridge while taking a study break.

Percentage of respondents: 44

Grazing on items in your fridge or helping yourself to a soda might be par for the course at home, but it's not the same when you're visiting someone else's home. Expecting a packed pantry ranked third highest on the list of irritating guest behaviors.

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"Overstayed their welcome"

young woman criticizing older woman on couch

Percentage of respondents: 45

Arguably, the golden rule of being a houseguest is not to stick around so long that you become a burden or nuisance. According to experts, it might be best to address just how long you'll be under your host's roof to avoid this problem.

"A length of stay should be agreed to at the beginning and should be adhered to," says Hirst. "Do not extend your visit as you have no idea what your hosts have planned afterward, and imposing on them can harm your relationship with them."

"Expected more meals than I planned to prepare"

Summer Food at Barbecue Party, Food Display with Fruit and Vegetables on a Wood Table

Percentage of respondents: 54

Cooking a meal for your guests is the ultimate act of good hosting. But because of the time and preparation it takes to bring it all together, it can become a heavy burden if you arrive to a visit expecting them to act as a personal chef.

Instead of waiting for the dinner bell, consider returning the favor by treating your hosts to a dinner out on the town or leaving a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant if they don't have time to join you during your stay.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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