1. Thou shalt RSVP ASAP! (Respond please, as soon as possible).
The hosts have graciously given you the special consideration of an invitation; it is imperative and courteous to give them the reciprocal consideration of responding promptly, affirmatively OR negatively. Your hostess needs to know in order to plan and the general rule is, “If you do not respond, you are not included in the count”. It’s not polite to show up if you have not responded.2. Thou shalt keep your word, even if it HURTS!
Don’t wait for, or, accept a better offer if one emerges; or even worse, simply not show up when you have responded that you will attend an event. Hosts have spent money to include you and may not have invited others due to space limits. Your host is truly disappointed if you can’t make it.3. Thou shalt not inquire from others if they have been invited prior to an event or asseverate being invited after the event.
In the event that they were not invited, you have spared hurting anyone’s feelings.4. Thou shalt inform your host as soon as possible If it is “absolutely unavoidable” that you cannot attend after giving a positive response to your hosts invitation.
Inform your host as soon as possible with a personal call. This is the kind thing to do. Your host will appreciate this and may still be able to invite other guests to take your place.5. Thou shalt arrive as close to the starting time as possible.
Fashionably late is not considerate of your hosts planning and serving. It is a real challenge to time everything right to serve multiple dishes to many people and serve the hot dishes hot and the cold dishes cold. Having to wait for someone while trying to orchestrate a well-thought-out plan causes frustration, disappointment, disarray and over-cooked food.6. Thou shalt not DISPLAY or USE your cell phone during the event unless you are a professional who is on-call during the event.
Almost nothing is more annoying or rude to your hostess or other party guests. “Love the one(s) your with”. By spending time conversing, checking email or texting while you are at a party, you are basically saying with your actions you’d rather be with someone else, or be somewhere else. Not nice! In fact, it is really rude. This goes for restaurant meetings too!7. Thou shalt be a fun guest!
You have been invited because your company is enjoyed, this is one time to ask yourself, “What can “I” contribute to making this party a success?”
Every hostess loves people who:
- Have appropriate senses of humor, either creating it or enjoying it. Crudeness is not appreciated, appropriate, or welcome.
- People who engage with other people, who ask friendly questions, share, but not dominate the discussions.
- People who are good sports when games are played, questions are asked of them, or help is needed.
- Participating in the menu is a nice gesture, but be sure your hostess would welcome such a gesture. Sometimes they prefer to have complete control over what is served. Sometimes, your help is really welcome.
- Stay long enough to demonstrate they had a great time, but not so long as to overstay their welcome. Subtle signals are usually given when a host is ready to end the event.
- Do not drink too much alcohol. No one thinks this behavior is funny. It places your hosts and the other guests in an uncomfortable position. The event should not be about you--excellently or disappointingly, unless the party has been given in your honor.
- Do not bring up, describe, or elaborate in great detail about health issues. This is a time to have fun! Leave yours and other people's problems at home for a few hours.
- Offer to help clean up and do dishes. Many hosts would never allow it. It depends on the event. If you can see that there is a massive amount of cleaning ahead, offer to help if you are able. Your host can always say, “No, thank you”. If that is the response, honor that, as that is how they really feel.
- If you have a special talent or gift, you might offer your service to your host. Singing, playing an instrument, making special beverages, preparing a special dish, planning activities for the children, bar-tending, or assisting with the serving of food items, etc. Don’t continually ask if you can do something for the host. Once you have asked, they will know that you are someone they can ask, and they will if your assistance is needed.
- Be cordial to everyone, and try to have a conversation with each guest at the party, unless this is an extraordinarily large event.
- Be sure to take with you any items you arrived with. It is considerate to do this so that your host doesn’t have to track you down to give you your dish, coat, or whatever items you left behind.
- If you must leave earlier than the allotted parting time, search out your host and thank them and compliment something that made the event special to you. It is best to inform your host before you arrive that you need to depart early. This way, it isn't a surprise and they don't think you weren't having fun.
8. Thou shalt not complain about any aspect of the party or argue with spouse or another guest.
This makes everyone feel uncomfortable and puts a big damper on the evening! Agree to disagree agreeably.9. Thou shalt express thanks when leaving “and” send a “Thank You” note within days of the party.
Express your appreciation for being invited, what specific fun you had or thing that impressed you and another thing that will make your host remember the event positively. If something went wrong, encourage them for the next time. Guess who will be invited back in the future!10. Thou shalt reciprocate.
It is kind to invite people into your home whom have invited you into theirs. It makes people feel like you value their friendship and enjoy their company. “Relationships are like a tennis game. It’s a back and forth process. Don’t let the ball stay in your court. Return it with gusto!”
Follow these simple guidelines and you will always be considered a delightful party guest.
© Debbie Bolduc, MakeItDelightful.com 2011
Guest Etiquette Party Etiquette