Act like a guest

danielxu85

Senior Member
Mandarin Chinese
I would be very grateful if you could let me know the most idiomatic way of expressing the italicized idea in this context:

My landlady is providing the dinner money for me and a new housemate from Angola, who has never been to the United States. She wanted me to show him around the town, so I asked him what type of food he would like.

My housemate: you can make the decision, because I am new here.

Me: Don't act like a guest.

As soon as I said it, I realized that my English has been 'molded' by my mother tongue. What would be a phrase that a native would use to indicate that the other party is being too polite.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    One of the simplest ways to convey this information would be "Relax." English-speakers have many different ways of expressing the idea: "You don't have to walk on eggshells", "You don't have to be on your best behavior", "Make yourself at home", "There's no need for formalities", etc. Idiomatic use of these expressions depends on context. In the situation you describe, I'd probably just say "You don't have to worry about offending me. Do you have a preference?"

    That said, your housemate may truly have wanted you to pick the restaurant. After all, he wasn't familiar with the restaurants in town and might have been content to let you pick a good one. :)
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    You're talking about picking a restaurant, so I would avoid the "home" or "guest" references -- you'll be out on the town. Just pick a restaurant and get to know the person with a little dinner conversation. But before you pick, ask if he has any dietary restrictions (vegetarian, no pork, no MSG, etc.) to help you decide.
     

    danielxu85

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    Wow! Thank you so much everyone for your wonderful input. I certainly feel $1million dollar richer with so many different colloquialisms of expressing the idea. By the way, the dinner turned out to be a blast!

    @ Don, thank you so much for teaching me the importance of checking with him about dietary restrictions. That's very helpful! :D
     
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