9 People You Don't Want Around the Table Slideshow
March 13, 2015
When planning a get-together, they're the characters you should think twice about before inviting
The Loudmouth Blabbermouth
Loose lips sink ships, and that's exactly what this person specializes in. They might be trustworthy with your pet or child, but forget about telling them anything top secret — it's bound to come out, whether they realize it before it leaves their mouth or not. Instead of managing the conversation so nothing juicy or otherwise unknown gets out (isn't that the fun part of dinner parties?), leave the big mouth off your list. After all, what happens around the dinner table stays at the dinner table, right?
The Person with the Big Ego
They perennially forget to bring a bottle of wine, even when you've said it's BYOB. They're the one who always arrives more than an hour late, only to get mad when they find out dinner was served without them. And they're always interrupting. They think the world revolves around them, and only them. When you're hosting a dinner to gather with friends both new and old, they're bound to set a dark cloud over the party, so save yourself the pain and leave them off your list.
You know the one — the person who works hard at being the best, whether it's at work, on the running trail, or even when battling you (yes, that is the proper term) at Words with Friends. Having a hard day? Don't ask them to be a sounding board or you'll just come away feeling more depressed after they drone on about how much work they have and saying "it was so busy I couldn't leave the office to have lunch — I had to order in and eat at my desk." Oh poor you — at least you ate lunch!
Your Silent Friend
Dinner parties aren't just about the food. They're also about connecting with your guests and having good conversations. So why would you torture yourself by inviting your nearly mute friend? It might be the nice thing to do, but as it's your party, you don't want have to take this person under your wing all night. Instead, invite those who can contribute to the conversation, and can also listen to what others have to say.
After spending all day cleaning and cooking, the last thing you want to see when you sit down for dinner with friends is for someone to decline your perfectly roasted chicken and fingerling potatoes. Nothing is wrong with it, nor do they have a dietary restriction. "It's just not as good as my mom/friend/favorite restaurant would make." Well, OK, of course not — you're not dining at their house!
Inviting the complainer to the table won't add anything constructive or positive to the gathering, so be forewarned. Furthermore, it's about the company, not the food, lest your guests forget.
The Person with an Entourage
You know the type — you invite them for dinner (not cocktails), and they respond with "Yes, and can I bring my sister and her boyfriend, too?" What, do they think you run a banquet hall or a restaurant? Should you make a bed for them to spend the night, too, should they drink too much?
You're seated elbow to elbow, deep in conversation, when all of a sudden as you're taking a swig of your red wine, the guy across from you makes a series of bizarre expressions and some funny sounds. Next thing you know, you can't keep the wine in because you're laughing too hard. He might be talented enough to be the next Jim Carrey, and the perfect person for happy hour or a party with plenty of young kids (they’d be the built-in entertainment) — but at a nice dinner party? Not so much.
The Friend with No Manners (or Hygiene)
No one wants to dine with someone who slurps their soup from the bowl, tucks their napkin in their shirt, or uses their fingers to eat (then dips their napkin in their water glass to wipe off their fingers). We've seen it happen, and it's not pretty. Sure, they might be your friend and a great hiking buddy, but when you have reason to suspect they shower (or change clothes) every couple of days (based on their hair and, well, aroma), it's best to spare the embarrassment for both you and your friends.
The Black Hole
They're the epitome of human tragedy — waking up on the wrong side of the bed and forgetting something at home is just the tip of the iceberg for this person. A breakup is like the end of the world to them (and better to console them at their place, with some Ben, Jerry, and Godiva, rather than have them over). Like Shrek, "Woe is me, nobody loves me," could be the soundtrack to their life. Unless you want your dinner party to be their pity party, it's best to leave them off the list.