For several years each spring I had the privilege of having a relative come for a visit. For her, this was an inexpensive getaway, and for me, a chance to spend lots of time with one of my dearest friends. I miss having more females in the house since my daughters left home, so having her come to visit provided the opportunity to compare clothes, do our hair, have afternoon tea, and watch chick flicks.
I am a reluctant hostess. I require lots of time alone to think and stay focused, and as a business owner with my operations centred in my home, having guests is a disruption I can seldom afford.
Usually, talk about acts of graciousness applies to the hosts, but little is spoken of regarding the gracious guest. Synonyms for graciousness include friendly, favourable, polite, kind, mild, gentle. I would add, with regard to being a guest - adaptable, accommodating, accepting, cheerful, thankful and helpful.
As a guest it is important to consider the feelings, habits and schedules of your hosts and adapt yourself to them as much as possible. Seek to please wherever and whenever you can. Offer to help, mean it, and do a good job of it.
During one of my guest’s visits, I experienced a particularly busy and stressful season in my business. She asked how she could help me the most. I replied that if she could take over some of the meal planning and preparation it would be a huge relief to me. Though she readily confesses that she is no cook, she cheerfully took on the task without complaint and we accepted her efforts gratefully. She also made sure to give us time alone and with each other. I thank her to this day for her willingness to adapt herself to our needs.
Another important aspect of being the gracious guest is in thankfully accepting what is offered. Your standards at home may differ greatly from those of your hosts, but remember that they have honoured you by inviting you to spend time with them in their home. To criticize, pass judgement, or “turn up your nose” about how they live is the utmost in bad manners.
By accepting what you are offered with grace and charm you eliminate the possibility of hurt feelings, and you will succeed in preserving a valuable friendship. Keep your moods and opinions to yourself unless they are cheerful. No one wants to spend time under the same roof with a disagreeable person.
The best part of being a gracious guest is that you will always be invited back for another visit. Because of her graciousness, kindness, and lovely disposition, my guest is welcome in our home any time. In fact, we hope she comes again soon to brighten our lives.
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