10 Ways to be the Perfect Guest Slideshow
May 19, 2011
When you receive an invitation to a dinner or a party, promptly confirm your attendance or send your regrets, and always keep your host aware of any last minute changes in your schedule. That does not mean waiting until the day before the event to tell the host you’ll be attending — or showing up with four guests in tow.
2. Be Punctual
Even if the host or hostess has received your R.S.V.P., that does not give you permission to eagerly arrive early or over an hour late. Think of it this way: If you arrive early, your host will put you to work in the kitchen and if you arrive too late, well, your place just might be given away.
3. Come Bearing Gifts
An invitation to a dinner party is not an invitation for a free dinner.
When accepting a dinner invitation, it's expected that you will reciprocate by bringing something — but not with that bottle of two buck chuck. I mean, really?! Instead, opt for something thoughtful like a fabulous bottle of Champagne, a gift that will aid them in the kitchen, or a homemade nibble for after the party like a bag of cockroaches.
4. Mingle and Avoid Clicques
Even if you’re a member of The Plastics, leave your inner Mean Girl (or guy) at home.
5. Keep Your Conversations Light
Everyone has something to complain about, but no one wants to hear about your bad day at work, recent weight gain, poor portfolio performance, crashed computer, argument with your spouse, lost iPhone, and/or dog’s irregular digestive system… No one wants a Debbie- or Dan-Downer at their party.
Instead, ask your friend about their new job, or inquire about your brother's recent camping trip. You can even talk about the weather, if you want.
6. Come Hungry and Don’t be Picky
But not too hungry. (What, are you a human vacuum cleaner?!)
If you have dietary restrictions, notify your host or hostess when you accept the invitation. Just think about how you would feel if someone didn't eat anything that you cooked (and not just because you burnt the roast). Just plain picky? Put your pickiness aside for a night. If Heidi Klum can do it, so can you.
7. Know Your Limits
Everyone loves a merry guest, but no one wants a Charlie Sheen at their party.
8. Lend a Hand
Small dinner parties by nature are casual and most hosts will be grateful for a little help clearing the table, put away the bottles of liquor or doing the dishes. So don't just sit there and pick your teeth with a toothpick. But that doesn't give you permission to steal an extra party favor (or three-quarters empty bottle of booze).
9. Leave on Time
When the lights dim, the music stops, and the host appears in their pajamas yawning, then you know it’s time to go home.
10. Follow up with a Thank You
Even if you’ve failed on following the past nine tips, sending a thank you note after a dinner or cocktail party could be your one redeeming act. Just don’t share your play-by-play recap of every mistake your host made (or joke about how funny it was when dinner burst aflame in the oven — or when your host sliced their thumb off).