It's been a hot second since I was hosting house guests, but then I got to thinking about house guest rules. There are of course the rules nearly everyone follows when guest is in town:
- Your house is always supposed to be
sortofclean when a guest comes over.
- You always give your guest clean sheets and clean towels. (And if you don't you are freaking nasty…)
- You should always have an itinerary of things to do/places to take your guest.
Then there are the other house guest rules, the less-common ones. I specifically want to talk about one that impacts finances. This is after all, a financial etiquette post.
House Guest Rules: Who Pays for Dinner?
My brother is a college student. He paid for ALL my meals while I was in town. Granted, this was because I made the trek from Atlanta to Tuscaloosa to act in his short film, but still. Most good hosts cook breakfast/lunch/dinner for their guests, but what about if you want to go out to eat? I have had hosts who have paid for meals out, and others who have not, and I haven't been offended either way. Still, after the debacle, I described in my other financial etiquette post (you know, the one about gift cards..> I know better than to think what I feel is acceptable is a common belief among others.
I did a little research, and by research I mean I polled my friends about their own house guest rules. Apparently paying for meals out depends on a variety of factors:
The number of people staying at your house– Some people would be willing to purchase one out of town friend dinner if it was just the friend in town, but never for a family or multiple people staying over. If I had a large group of my sorority sisters staying with me I'd probably just offer to cook dinner for everyone, instead of chance-ing a restaurant.
The distance traveled-Most agreed that if you live within driving distance they probably wouldn't spring for dinner. However, if you bought a plane ticket and traveled thousands of miles, a dinner might be in order. Most often to cook for their guests no matter how much distance is involved, but going out to seems to be another situation for most folks.
Who did the inviting?-Are you crashing on a friends couch so you can take a prestigious job interview? Then YOU better be the one buying. Did your friend beg you to come visit her in Milwaukee before her baby comes? Then yeah, she should probably offer to buy you dinner. These, of course, are just my opinions.
I don't think there are any hard and fast rules for how/when to treat your guest, ultimately it is up to you and your discretion. I had a friend in college who took a group of us to Disney World and paid for all of it. He had more money than Midas, but he also enjoyed being generous. Still, I think it is an interesting subject to ponder over.
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