As Emily Post says, “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” To put your best foot forward next time you are invited to an event, here are some tips to shine as a guest.
1. Don’t Come Empty-Handed:
Never arrive at a party without something in hand for the host. Whether you bring a beverage, a freshly baked treat, or a bouquet of flowers, a thoughtful hostess gift can go a long way in showing your appreciation. Hosting an event can be quite an endeavor to take on, and it’s nice to let the host know that you value being included.
2. RSVP Promptly and Respectfully:
Respond to invitations as soon as possible. Trying to guess who will be in attendance makes it difficult for the host to plan, and last-minute RSVPs can throw things into chaos. Whenever you receive an invitation, go ahead and check your calendar and either respond with enthusiasm to attend or regret that you can’t make it.
3. Dress to Impress:
Be sure to dress appropriately for the event. While some events (like weddings) will specify the dress code, other invitations may not spell out what to wear quite so clearly. You can use the invitation, the location, and the theme, if there is one, to make an educated guess about what you should wear. When in doubt, it’s better to be a little bit overdressed instead of underdressed.
4. Arrive On Time, but Not Too Early:
“Fashionably late” can be stressful for the host, especially if there is a meal involved. Aim to arrive on time—punctuality is a form of respect. Showing up too early might catch your host before they are finished preparing. To ensure you arrive on time, take traffic and parking into consideration deciding what time to leave.
5. Lend a Helping Hand:
Keep an eye out for areas where your host might need an extra hand. It’s always polite to offer help if you see a need, whether it’s a bit of last-minute setup, grabbing something from the kitchen, or helping clear dishes at the end of the evening. Hosting can be a big undertaking, and a few extra helping hands can make all the difference.
6. Mind Your Manners:
Remembering all of the etiquette rules can seem overwhelming, but if you remember a few basic rules of courtesy, you’ll be in good shape. Say “please” and “thank you,” wait for the host or hostess to begin eating before you start, keep your phone out of sight during the event, and make sure to compliment the food and décor. If you are attending an event with your children, this is a great list to run over with them before arriving.
7. Engage in Conversation:
Small talk can seem scary, but you are at an event to interact with others, not sit in the corner staring at your phone! Put a friendly smile on your face, and find someone to compliment. Once you’ve found a conversation partner, ask about their interests, look for connection points, and be a good listener. It’s best to avoid controversial topics in social settings—leave those discussions for another time.
8. Mind Your Table Manners:
An easy rule to remember when it comes to utensils is that they are typically placed in the order of use (starting on the outside, working your way in). If you are still trying to figure out what to do, discreetly pay attention to which utensils your host is using. Your napkin goes in your lap, elbows stay off the table, and always ask for someone to pass an item instead of reaching across the table!
9. Send a Thank You Note:
A handwritten thank-you note never goes out of style. It’s always appreciated to let your host know how much you enjoyed the gathering, and if you can compliment them on a specific aspect of the event, it’s all the more meaningful!
Bookmark this post:
Bookmark this post, and refer back to it next time you are invited to an event! You’ll be sure to impress your host or hostess with your graciousness as a guest.