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So you’ve decided to stay with friends in Denver this year for Pride. First of all, great job on saving cash that could’ve been spent on a hotel room! Who needs complimentary breakfast with questionable eggs and coffee as tasteless as Helen Keller’s fashion sense? Second, keep a good thing going by being an absolutely perfect guest. No matter how long or short your stay will be, there are a few tips to keep in mind to maintain your friendship and your dignity while residing in someone else’s casa.

Send Up a Flare

Be sure you have a concrete idea of how long you’ll be staying with your host or hostess, and whittle that time down to when you’re arriving and when you plan on leaving. We all have that friend who would likely tell us to “stay as long as you like,” but don’t take this to the extreme. Be respectful of your friend’s time, and be sure to let her or him know the moment your plans change or if you even think they may change.

On a related note, keep your friend updated on your schedule while visiting. This might not be too big of a deal if the two (or more) of you will be together most of the time, but if you’ll be hittin’ the streets, keep a brotha or sista updated about your wayward whereabouts.

Roll Out Your List of Restrictions

Allergic to cats? Became a vegetarian or carnivore since your friend saw you last? Don’t care much for dat Colorado stank weed? Whatever dietary restrictions, allergies, or personal quirks/preferences you have that might interfere with your trip, let your host/ess know. You don’t want to be welcomed with a painstakingly prepared home-cooked meal only to reveal that you’re on a special diet and can’t eat a blessed thing. Fantastic way to start off your visit, eh? And whatever you do, try not to be one of those prudish, insufferable veg-heads (I can use that word, I’m one myself) who ministers on the evils of the meat industry. Doing so is a good way to wind up on the sidewalk on your ass, and not in a way some of you might like.

Don’t Disrupt the Flow

• While you’re getting settled or before you arrive, be sure to ask your friend:

• When s/he goes to bed and wakes up

• If there are any household routines of which you need to be made aware

• How you can help keep the house in order

• About house rules

• If any food in the fridge or pantry is off limits

I know that most friends tell us to make ourselves at home whenever we visit, but it’s just good manners to be as respectful of the space into which you’ve been welcomed. Be almost like a ninja guest; there should be no trace you’ve been there. As my mom would say, “Act like you got some home trainin’.”

Keep Track of Your Personal Items

Be sure you put your clothes away, make up your bed, refrain from leaving your shoes strewn all over the floor, and that you not leave your belongings all up and through your friend’s place. Not only does organization keep OCD individuals like me happy, it makes it less likely that you’ll leave anything behind.

Just like it’s the host/ess’s job to make the guest as comfortable as possible, it’s the guest’s job to be as unobtrusive as possible. Make it your goal to put every other guest before and after you to shame. Guest them to filth!