Tuesday 03 December 2013 16:03. Viewed: 8319 times

How To Be The Perfect Guest

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By Alessandra Nixon

There is a little more to it than simply turning up and eating what’s put on your plate. Follow our guide to being the perfect dinner party guest to ensure your invitation never gets 'lost in the mail'.

RSVP IN A TIMELY FASHION
If you are lucky enough to be invited to an event, pay the courtesy of responding in a timely fashion. A slow or non-response doesn’t make you appear super busy or important – it’s simply impolite. Accept or decline the invitation within 48 hours. If you have any special dietary requirements, this is the time to let your host know. Don’t show up and expect that there will be vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free options available.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Always arrive on time. Show up early and you risk interrupting the final stages of dinner prep or catching your host just as they are stepping out of the shower. Show up late and you may be responsible for everyone eating an unintentionally chargrilled dish.

NO PHONES AT THE TABLE
Unless it’s a matter of national security, emails, texts and phone calls can wait. There is no need to check in at the dinner table, Instagram your plate or live-tweet each course. Turn your phone on silent and leave it in your bag. Be present and enjoy your time with the people sitting right in front of you.

NEVER SHOW UP EMPTY HANDED
A good guest never shows up empty handed. Ask beforehand if there is something specific you can bring and if the host declines your offer, take a small gift. A bunch of flowers, a nice bottle of wine, a bag of quality coffee or some fine cheese is a lovely gesture to thank your host for all their effort.

OFFER TO HELP
Ask the host if they would like a hand lighting candles, clearing dishes or pouring the wine. They may want to take care of everything themselves, but it is always nice to offer.

DON'T OVERSTAY YOUR WELCOME
If you catch your host eyeing their watch or mentioning an early start the next day, take the hint and call it a night.

SAY THANK YOU
The handwritten thank you note may be a slightly formal and outdated practice but the sentiment is not. An email, text or phone call the following day is a nice way to let the host know that their efforts were appreciated. Good manners never go out of style.


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