If you’ve been invited to a dinner party, you’ll probably feel partly excited, partly honoured, and partly apprehensive. After all, it’s been a while since we’ve been able to enjoy a good get together (and of course, any dinner party needs to be within the current COVID-19 rules, there’s no doubt about that), so you might be feeling a little rusty about precisely what it is you need to do to be the best guest.
You don’t want to seem ungrateful that someone is going to a lot of trouble to feed and entertain you, but neither do you want to go over the top and come across as over-enthusiastic and stressed. So what can you do? Here are some useful tips that will help you be the best dinner party guest you can be, guaranteeing you a seat at the table every time.
Arrive A Little Late
Most people would think that arriving late is rude, and not something a good guest would do unless it really couldn’t be helped, and that’s true if we’re talking hours late. Yet arriving 15 minutes late (and no more) is going to make you seem like the most wonderful guest. This is because you’re thinking of your host and allowing them a little breathing space.
Most people organise their dinner parties in one of two ways. It will either be a military operation with timings for everything and a strict regime to follow, or it will be much vaguer and looser, with approximate ideas as to when things need to be done. No matter which of these options your host has gone for, if you arrive 15 minutes late, they will both get that little bit of breathing room they need to gather their thoughts and be ready. Arriving right on time is more likely to cause panic than anything else.
Bring A Gift
“Never arrive empty-handed” is something that should be remembered by everyone. If you’re going to someone’s home, if they are inviting you in and giving you food, shelter, or comfort, you should take something with you. It doesn’t need to be an extravagant gift (although it can be if that’s what you like to do), but it should be something thoughtful.
Dinner party guests will often bring a bottle of wine, but if your host isn’t a wine drinker or you’re not sure what they’re serving so don’t know whether white or red is the best choice, you could opt for something from The Whisky World instead. Whisky is different and delicious, and your host won’t feel obligated to open it there and then when they’ve already planned the wine perfectly.
Other gift ideas include:
- Scented candles
- Something homemade
Or you could even ask if there’s anything your host needs for the meal such as a side dish or dessert. This will be appreciated even if they don’t need anything.
Give Your Full Attention
The call of social media or work emails is ever-present these days thanks to most people having some form of smartphone with them at all times. We’re used to it and think nothing of slipping those devices out of our pockets and giving them a quick check over. Sometimes, if we’ve got something of an addiction, we won’t even know we’re doing it. Alarmingly, 66 percent of the population has this kind of addiction.
This isn’t an issue when we’re on our own (unless it’s causing you to be less than productive), but when in company, especially at someone else’s house when they have prepared a lovely meal for you and made their home look attractive, it’s a good idea to switch the phone off entirely. If that’s a problem and you don’t think you can be without it for a couple of hours, leave it in the car or at home. If you need to make an urgent call, someone else will have one you can borrow.
When you aren’t playing on your phone, you’ll be able to give the dinner party and your host your full attention, and this is a great way to be a good guest. This is what they wanted when they invited you, so do your best to be present.
If you’ve had a great time and you’re genuinely appreciative of the effort your host has gone to, let them know (even if you didn’t like it so much, you can still say thank you, of course). Give them a reason to smile as you tell them just how much fun you had and what you liked best about the food they served.
To take things a step further, why not reciprocate and put on your own dinner party, inviting your host along to it? After all, they’ve worked hard for you, so you can do the same for them, ensuring you’ll be a guest that’s always remembered fondly.