5 Tips for Being a Good Guest

This is the time of year for parties, dinners, and celebrations. As one who has thrown many parties, I can say that there are some things that make hosting easier. Below are a few tips of little things that you can do as a guest that maybe you never have thought of before.

Arrive 5 minutes after the party start time. One Christmas, I remember arriving right on time for a party and no one was there yet. The host was still putting out beverages and snacks and seemed distracted. Later, my friend told me that his mom had taught him that the proper etiquette rule was to arrive 5 minutes late. Arriving 5 minutes late allows time for the host/hostess to put together the finishing touches that may have taken longer than planned. You can arrive later than that but not more than 15 minutes, unless there is an unforeseen reason, like traffic. And of course if you are running late, sending a text is the proper thing to do. I can’t tell you how many times I have hosted a party and been sitting there for 30 minutes before anyone arrived! There have even been times when everyone came an hour late, and people did not even text to say so. This can make the host question whether anyone is coming after all and wonder if all their preparations were for nothing.

*Many people think they are the only ones running late or cancelling last minute and so it is not a big deal. But I can tell you that quite often there are many others doing the same.

Prepare your food ahead of time. If you have offered to bring food to a party, bring it already prepared and in the container to serve it. When you come to a party and plan to chop the vegetables, cook it, or put the items together there, you are using the space that the host has prepared to set out food. When you need to borrow utensils and dishes from the host, you are distracting the host from their guests. When more than one guest comes needing to prepare items, it crowds the kitchen and makes other guests have to wait. If you do not have time to prepare items, then buy them already prepared from the store.

Put your jackets and purses in a designated area when you arrive. If the host has not been able to ask to take your coat, then put it in a location with other coats, such as a coat rack, closet, or hooks. If you cannot find a place, then ask. When you arrive and put your jacket or purse on a chair, couch, or table, then you are taking away space from other guests to sit or put their plate of food. Keeping furniture uncluttered creates a welcoming space for all.

Make an effort to start conversations with other guests. Often times a party will have someone who does not know many people or who is shy. Taking the time to start a conversation saves the host from needing to monitor all of the socializing. Often times, the host may need to greet a new guest, pour someone a drink, or be in conversation with another person and therefore cannot be available to help someone else to fit in. When there is a lull, if you can step in to ask a question or tell a story, this helps both the host and the other guests.

Have fun! This is no doubt the best thing a guest can do. But of course, there is no pressure. Having fun doesn’t mean you have to be dancing and laughing, it can simply be sitting back and relaxing. If there is anything a host can do to make you more comfortable, then let them know. They want to you to be happy!

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