You’ve been invited to an amazing dinner party, or maybe even overnight. You’re traveling over the river and through the woods to get there, you should definitely expect some sweet treatment from your host, but you have some responsibilities as a guest, too.
If you want to be the superb guest, and leave your hosts begging for you to stay, you have to follow some of these tricks:
- Never arrive empty-handed. This is the cardinal rule. Your hosts are going out of their way to make you comfortable, you be sure to arrive with something to offer. Appropriate gifts for dinner parties include wine (a red or white, ask your host’s preference), desserts, or a tray of homemade food. If you’re staying overnight, a more appropriate gift would be a bit more personal to the host, such as a beautiful plant, a gift bag of bath and body goodies, a gorgeous scented candle, or even something technological, like the Amazon Echo Dot.
- Offer to help set-up and clean-up, but be sincere about it. If your host insists you just relax, then just slip in and do some little things to help out, like clearing plates, or grabbing extra ice.
- Ask permission before opening someone’s fridge or cupboard, and only really enter these realms if absolutely necessary.
- Silence your phone and stay off of it while you’re at the table. In general, keep phone use to a minimum, and if you absolutely must use your phone, excuse yourself to step outside or use the restroom. Stay present with the people around you.
- Be neat and tidy. If you happen to spill anything, promptly clean it up. When in the bathroom, make sure you fold your towels and everything is as it was.
- Keep your belongings out of the way. Stash your purse somewhere out of sight, but easy for you to reach if needed. When staying overnight, place your clothes back in your suitcase, make the bed, and toss used towels into the hamper.
- Graciously accept whatever your host offers you (unless you have allergies or a strict dietary preference). Always compliment your host genuinely – if you loved the food, music, decor, find something positive to stay.
- Keep politics and religion out of the conversation! If this discussion incurs without your doing, just be an active listener, but do not engage to avoid any awkwardness or hurt feelings.
- Don’t just eat and run, but read the temperature and tone of the room to get signals when it’s time to leave. Don’t overstay your welcome.
- Do not take a doggie-bag unless your host insists. Do not even ask to take stuff home, just wait for the offer – and if the offer doesn’t come, don’t worry about it.
- Respect your host’s home. If you smoke, go outside, if there are no shoes allowed, take yours off. They may not be the same rules you follow, but when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
- Mingle with other guests. In the famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, one golden piece of advice he offers is to ask lots of questions. In a study he conducted, people who said nothing about themselves, but asked dozens of questions to others, the others found that person incredibly intriguing. Play on this fact – people love talking about themselves! Of course, make sure your conversation and questions are topical, appropriate, and non-invasive.
We wish you a beautiful holiday season, and no matter whether you’re the guest or host, gratitude is the greatest gift and presence you could ever offer.