The Good Dinner/Party Guest
Throwing a party nowadays is neither cheap nor relaxing. The host/hostess has most likely spent countless hours cleaning, planning a menu and Googling cocktail recipes [while at work of course]. If someone has invited you to a party that they are having in their home, it means that they are really making an effort and would really love if you attended. The gentleman who is the ultimate party guest –
RSVPs in Advance. Nothing irks me more than people who wait until the last-minute to RSVP or who have to be called to be asked if they are planning on coming. The host has better things to do, like tracking down the landlord to deal with the heating issue that popped up three days before the event.
Brings a Host/Hostess Gift. I prefer not to bring a bottle of wine, unless the recipient is an oenophile who appreciates the fact that you searched high and low for a decent vintage. I prefer to bring nicely packaged home-made treats, a box of pricey-looking chocolates or flowers. Just a note on flowers, if you choose to bring these, please ask the florist to make an arrangement in a vase. You can buy one from the Dollar Store and bring it to the flower shop or do it yourself. Otherwise, the host/hostess has to stop what he or she is doing, unwrap that cellophane, remove the leaves, find a vase, cut the stems… Yeah see.
Never Arrives Early. As a seasoned host, I still loathe that guest who shows up super early and just latches on to me like a remora and continually asks “oh so what’s that you’re making?” or “you make your own jam?!”. Arrive on-time or a few minutes late [up to 15 minutes].
Doesn’t Bring a ‘Rando’. Bringing a random person with you to a party for whom you did not RSVP is frowned upon. This happened to me once and I was just livid. It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough food, I knew nothing about this person and she had to cling to her ‘date’ the entire time, thus did not mingle. If you want to bring a new ‘friend’ ask permission and give the host/hostess some background about the +1. So in stead of “oh and you are?” the host will say “great to meet you! How do you find working at the Bay?”
Eats Whatever is Served. Unless it’s for health or religious reasons, eat what is placed on your plate. The fact that you don’t like parsnips or gazpacho is of no concern to the party-thrower. It’s a free meal, suck it up and be grateful.
Respects Personal Boundaries. Not everyone is comfortable at gatherings. The polite guest doesn’t egg on other guests or discuss topics that elicits heated reactions or result in open jaws and stifled coughs.
Doesn’t Dominate the Conversation. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to contribute to the conversation. Please place your UofT PhD in Comparative Literature in your back pocket and relax. No one likes a
prick braggart or the guy who always says “actually, if I can correct you…”
Displays Good Table Manners. Belching at a table is just uncouth. If you feel it coming, quickly excuse yourself and do it behind the Ficus in the living room. If it is sudden, burp into the napkin as this muffles the sound, and immediately apologize. I don’t need to talk about breaking wind do I? Also, the good guest doesn’t gesticulate with his utensils.
Uses Coasters. If none are provided, use a cocktail napkin.
Doesn’t Overstay His Welcome. Don’t be the last person to leave. Exercise the concept of the ‘three-hour max’. It’s better to hear “ohhh don’t go Miguel!” versus “Great! Here’s your jacket. Peace out bro!”
Says Thank You. Whether it is in the form of a hand-written note [mailed the next day], an email [sent later that night] or a phone call [made the day after]. Expressing your appreciation for the party thrower’s efforts is just the right thing to do.