You don’t have to go far on the internet to find people talking about time and/or stress-saving tips on how to host gatherings of any sort. I have my own tips here. But what people don’t talk about as much is how to be a guest at a fête. With any luck your hostess will have you feeling at ease as soon as you walk in the door, but there are a couple things you could be doing to pull your weight. Once Shauna listed her ideas, it got me thinking about what I’d add to her list.
1. Say hi to someone new. Chances are there’s going to be someone you haven’t met yet at a gathering, and it makes things way more fun if you start chatting someone up. It’s never a bad idea to be friendly. Help a hostess out.
2. Which leads me to my next tip, coupled with a major pet peeve in my life. Find someone to sit with who is not your better half. While the rules of etiquette are ever-changing to keep up with the crazy world in which we live, one tenet remains: couples should not sit together. There are any number of reasons why, but the one I hold closest to my heart is this: If you can only find something to say to the person with whom you walked in the door, the two of you would be better served at home. Not sure where this leaves you? See my first tip.
3. Find something about the food that is delicious and say something. Or find something kind to say about anything that has to do with the house/food/beverages/company and speak up. This can include but is not limited to: “Your house is so clean, you must have been working for days to get ready,” “Oh this _____ is amazing, what’s your secret?” “I’m always so glad when you get everyone together, hostess dear.” We like to hear when we’re doing a good job. Goodness knows, we’re trying. See #76 here.
4. Leave your phone in a pocket or bag. This one should be pretty self explanatory, but we invited you because you’re awesome and we like being around you. It’s worrisome when you whip your phone out to see if you have more lives in Candy Crush yet. We thought we were fun, we’re sorry if we’re boring you.
5. Clean up. Don’t just offer. Get off your seat while you make your pitch. “Can I help you with the dishes?” you’ll say, as you get out of your chair and walk your plate to the kitchen. Though your hostess will likely decline your help, when you get a move on, you have just put your money where your mouth is. My husband’s friend did this once and his offer lives in infamy in the guests we’ve had over hall of fame. My ex just grabs a sponge and starts doing the dishes before I’ve even gotten everything into one place. It’s the little things.
*Extra Credit* Write a thank you note to your hostess immediately after visiting. She’ll love that you took the time to do so, and it may just be the reason you’re invited back again soon.