House tours (not the Newport, RI variety): specific to American hosts?
August 9, 2014 7:42 PM   Subscribe

Do people outside of the US commonly go through the ritual of giving new guests "the tour" of their homes (i.e. a walkthrough, or at least peek at, every single room of the house/apartment, beyond what is necessary--not talking about overnight guests or housesitters, or showing folks the bathroom and where to put the coats)?

This is a ritual I've taken for granted, or felt compelled to perform myself, for years until it somehow hit me as odd when visiting a coworker's home for the first time for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm wondering now whether this is specific to the United States (maybe given the alleged guilelessness around class issues more common here?), or if it happens commonly elsewhere.

I've had this done for me just as surely and immediately as I've been offered a glass of water by a new host, in all sorts of geographic regions (and tax brackets) of the U.S., and I've automatically done it myself (to be polite?) even when just renting a single room in a shared home--when we were just going to have lunch in the kitchen before heading elsewhere.
posted by blue suede stockings to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This happens fairly commonly in my circles in Canada, though I think my parents generation did it more often (parents are boomers I'm Gen X). It's not a given, maybe half the dinner parties I go to the offer is made.
posted by Cuke at 8:09 PM on August 9, 2014

I don't do it when others visit unless it is a long-ish multinight visit in which people might have some reason to be walking around trying to find things outside of the living room, kitchen and guest room (raised in the western US, partner is from central US).

I always think that people do the "house tour" either because they're very proud of their place (whether it is a "keeping up with the Joneses" is up to you) or because they need an icebreaker.
posted by arnicae at 8:12 PM on August 9, 2014

In the UK: I have been shown round houses of friends who've just moved into a new place, but never that I recall if they're not already close friends and if the house isn't new.
posted by Catseye at 8:24 PM on August 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Some great discussion on this previously
posted by argonauta at 8:27 PM on August 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

I read somewhere that this was totally an American thing, but I don't think it is. Visiting someone's home in Korea I have gotten the tour probably 90 percent of the time, even though almost all apartments here have the same layout and really aren't that big. When I was living in Malaysia, all the Malays I lived near in Kelantan gave us house tours, but when we lived in KL people didn't really invite us to their homes. In Melaka, no Malay families ever invited us, but Chinese families often did and they usually gave us a tour.
posted by Literaryhero at 9:06 PM on August 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

My parents always want to give relatives tours of MY house. I hate it. (New Zealand)
posted by slightlybewildered at 9:56 PM on August 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

On first visit to a friend's house, probably 80% of the time in Singapore. But not the bedrooms unless they just moved or renovated and are showing the changes.
posted by viggorlijah at 10:27 PM on August 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

In Australia it is not generally done unless there is a particular reason for it, like you've just moved in and you are close to those receiving the tour. Also if people are staying the night, obviously. Apart from that I'd find it a bit weird.
posted by deadwax at 10:52 PM on August 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

My parents do this but no one else I know does. Maybe it's generational here (New Zealand).
posted by lollusc at 11:41 PM on August 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I (Northeastern US) always do it whether I'm in my apartment or at the place I spend the summers and I sort of think of it as normal, especially with good friends and especially the first time they see where I am living. So it's not like it's abnormal to not do it exactly, but a sort of "Well if you're going to be hanging out or staying here, you should know where everything is" but everything means "This hallway has bedrooms" in addition to "This is where you put your coats and here is the bathroom" sorts of things.
posted by jessamyn at 3:18 AM on August 10, 2014

Here in the Netherlands, we don't usually do this, except if someone just moved into a new home or made big changes to it, or if the visitor is a recent addition to the family.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:17 AM on August 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here in the Netherlands, we don't usually do this, except if someone just moved into a new home or made big changes to it

... as in this Dutch commercial.
posted by iviken at 6:39 AM on August 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm in the UK and I do it, and my non-UK partner finds it weird.
posted by Dorothea_in_Rome at 11:32 AM on August 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

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