Valuable advice from the 19th century about houseguests that is still relevant.
Learn about the pearls of wisdom from the 19th century about being houseguests, and they are still as relevant as ever.
The rules of society and how to behave keeps on evolving, but there are still several rules of etiquette that remains the same as it was a century before. One of them is being houseguests to your friends or extended family. Here are some of the nuggets of advice from two centuries back about being a houseguest and how these rules of etiquette remain as relevant as ever.
Casual invitations should not be taken seriously.
Writer Walter R. Houghton remarks in his book “American Etiquette and Rules of Politeness” that general or casual invitations are meant to be taken in good spirits. People generally pass on such invitations to appear friendly and are generally not sincere about them. Though, he points out that giving out such casual invitation are wrong on host’s part but accepting such invitations are even worst mistake. You should only consider a formal invitation where there is no place for doubt.
Surprises are the worst.
Walter R. Houghton stresses that one should never ever drop in to visit your family or friends unannounced. No matter how close you are, this is the first piece of etiquette one must keep in mind. But then he goes in to make an exception; he states that if a long-lost son decides to surprise the parents or a widowed mother, then the surprise would be more joyful than cumbersome.
The etiquette police in the 19th century dictated this rule firmly, never overstay your welcome. Try to make your visit as short as possible. They even provide you with a time frame,i.e. not more than three days. And also, make sure to let your host know prior how long you wish to stay.
Try to respect the traditions of the household.
During your stay, try to gel in the habits and traditions of the household. For example, if the household has breakfast in the dining room at 9 in the morning, try to abide by it.
Always bring in some present with you.
It is always nice and respectful to bring in some gifts with you for the host and their family members. The etiquette in the 19th century dictates that you must also give small presents to even the servants who wait upon you.
Don’t forget to thank them for their hospitality and also reciprocate the invitation to visit you.