What You Can do to be a Great House Guest at a Dinner Party

dinner party guest

We can write for hundreds of pages about how to throw a fabulous dinner party, but rarely do

you find an article that explores how you can make someone else’s dinner party great by being a good

guest. A lot of our suggestions have to do with common sense. But like anything, it’s always peculiar to

see how obvious things pass us by.


So let’s start at the beginning. You get your invitation in the mail, or email, or by phone. If your

calendar is free, mark it down that you have a dinner party to attend. If you take your time to RSVP,

then you risk offending your host. Also, don’t surprise them with the fact that, actually, you’re allergic to

peanuts and can’t partake in the menu they prepared—tell them immediately! Otherwise they’ll feel

embarrassed, but the shame will be on you.


Now your date is set, and you’ve helped out your hosts by confirming their hopes that people

will attend. If something comes up, make sure you cancel as soon as you know. Hopefully, this won’t

happen and you can go. When you go, get there on time. Nobody likes a late show.

If you’re not witty, smile a lot and be nice. You can make a great impression and also be an

exemplary guest by bringing a gift. It doesn’t have to be something overly expensive, and it shouldn’t be

something that you expect your hosts to use that very night. Wine is a safe bet, always.

Once you’re settled in with the other guests, you’re most likely to notice a very, very common

gesture, and one which should cause you to feel ashamed. It’s the cell phone gesture. People are too

connected today—constantly checking e-mail and updates, and allowing the “pressing nature” of

incredible bandwidth to replace human nature entirely. Don’t be that guy or gal. Turn off the phone, and

be social.


Now the food is coming. If you really want to be the best dinner party guest imaginable, then

you need to realize that it’s not about you. It’s all about appreciating that your hosts have thrown the

party. That being said, don’t skip courses. Eat what is given to you, even if you’re not a big fan of yams.

Maybe they’ll have prepared them in such a way that you’ll be forever converted thereafter.

When I said “be social” two paragraphs ago, I didn’t mean that you should only smile and nod.

You should go out of your way to engage everyone. You’re going to be sitting at a table with two

neighbours. If your significant other is one of them, then spend the bulk of your time talking with the

other one. Otherwise, make sure you’re being social with both.


Finally, it will come time to go. But how will you know? Was there an end hour on the invitation?

And that’s how you make yourself the best dinner party guest around. Don’t forget a follow-up

thank you. You could send an e-mail, but you should overcome the urge to take the path of least

resistance—call them.

Photography via Style Me Pretty