January 9, 2020
I love to host parties, but I also enjoy being a guest. I don't have to clean my house and since I still don't have a dishwasher, cleanup is not my job! But, like most things in life, there are some guidelines to consider on how to be a gracious guest. Because I want to be invited to parties again, I mind my manners, offer to help, and show appreciation to the host/hostess. I've hosted several parties; I know that even a potluck entails a lot of work for the host.
One rule of thumb I try to follow when invited to a party, is to ask, "what can I bring?" If the response is nothing, I usually bring a bottle of wine, just because I hate showing up empty handed. I am also an inveterate shopper, especially in the dish and housewares departments. One great idea I thank my mother for; always check out the clearance shelf for random dishes, platters or bowls. (Marshall's & Macy's are great) I buy them and use them to bring cookies, cakes, or other goodies to the host and leave the plate as a gift. I have learned to pick out dishes I like, sometimes I'm lucky and they're gifted back to me.
Another "good guest" thought is to always compliment the host. Food, décor, drinks, music playlist, all have usually been well thought out and it is nice to acknowledge the effort that was expended, because I know, it is always a lot more than people realize.
Offer to help! Some people don't want the help. I am not one of them. You offer to help; I will put you to work. Help me arrange flowers, help arrange the candles; doing dishes-sure, gives me a chance to gossip with my helpers.
One of the most considerable things any guest can do, is BE PRESENT! Put the phone down, talk, get out of the corner and mingle. Your host expended a lot of energy to bring people together, so join in. Mother nature is wise, she provided us with two ears and one mouth. Hint; listen twice as much as you talk. Engage in meaningful conversations. It's amazing what you can learn about your friends and neighbors that you've never known.
It's a good time to meet new people. I am always grateful for the people who were so gracious to me when I moved here last year. I was invited to some parties, which led to invitations to other parties, which led to cultivating an amazing group of friends.
I recently went to a small get together at a neighbor's home, and the conversation turned to TV shows. I was amazed at how many of my friends were addicted to the Mandalorian. Now, I need to start watching so I can see what all the buzz is about. You can always discover something new in conversation, even if it's about a new TV series to binge on.
I have also perused my Miss Manners book to see if there were things related to good guest behavior I might have overlooked. There was a question about timing, and what does "ish" mean? According to Miss Manners; six-ish for drinks means six forty-five; Seven-ish for "a drink" means seven ten, but seven-ish for dinner means arrive at seven thirty but expect dinner at nine.
Miss Manners and I certainly disagree on "ish." If I say seven-ish, I may be ready, but you will probably be helping me with last minute details. The drinks will ready for sure!
What we do agree on is: a written thank you note is always appreciated and special.