As often as we are the host or hostess at a party, we're also in the role of being the guest. It's easy when you're the guest to feel like you have little responsibility for the success of the party. But if you'd like to be a guest who is always invited back for the next party, here are tips to make you the kind of good guest who is welcome at anybody's table.
1. R.S.V.P. ASAPRespond to your invitation as soon as you know (and no later than the stated RSVP date) whether or not you can attend the party. That way your hostess can make her plans knowing the exact number of guests who will be attending.
2. Ask Your Hostess What You Can Contribute, If Anything
Ask if you can contribute anything to the meal such as an appetizer, side dish or dessert. The hostess may be relieved to have someone else take charge of one of the courses. However, don't bring a dish without running it by your hostess. She may be making something similar or it may clash with her carefully planned menu. Similarly, if you bring a bottle of wine as a hostess gift
, you shouldn't expect it to be served with the meal. The hostess may have planned the wines to complement her meal.
Not a cook? Then offer to bring a table or buffet centerpiece or other decoration. Once again, don't bring this if your hostess has declined the offer. She may already have her own specific decorating scheme planned.
4. Assist with the SetupIf you have the time, offer to come a little earlier than the other guests to help with pre-party setup. But if your offer is accepted, don't be late - your hostess will be counting on you.
5. Be on TimeArrive at a dinner party on-time. Some hostesses plan the timing of their meals very precisely, and you wouldn't want to hold up the meal and spoil the food for everyone else.
When the meal is over, ask your hostess if you can help clear the table. But if her answer is "no thanks", then just relax and leave things alone. She may not wish for everyone to feel rushed as their plates are taken from them mid-bite.
7. Offer to Help with the Kitchen CleanupIf you see the hostess frantically cleaning in the kitchen after the meal is over, offer to help.
8. Chat with the Other GuestsDo your part to be friendly and make conversation with other guests. You're part of the chemistry that will make the party a success.
9. Don't Be ControversialDon't raise a conversation topic that you know will cause dissension among that particular group of guests. Save that for when you're the host in your own home.
10. Drink ResponsiblyDrink responsibly. Your hostess may be serving alcoholic beverages to complement her meal, but it doesn't mean she wants to have a group of sloppy drunks on her hands at the end of the party. Nor does she want any of her guests to be hit with a DWI violation, or worse, on their way home.