How to Be a Good Guest

Dinner party

A lot of emphasis is placed on how to host a party or event.  But a party isn’t a party without guests.

And when guests don’t fulfill their protocol obligations, it can turn hosting into a miserable chore.

Let's review what it takes to be on the good guest list.

A Good Guest . . .

Sends an RSVP

It's such a joy to receive an immediate reply to an invitation.  Your host will definitely appreciate this helpful gesture.

Arrives on Time

This is especially important for dinner invitations.  The last thing a host wants to deal with is starving, annoyed guests when she is running low on appetizers and the roast beef is drying out in the oven.

Never Brings a Tagalong

A good guest would never bring someone with him who wasn't invited.  An exception may be if you called the host to say you couldn't attend because your cousin was visiting, and the host asked you to bring her along.

But be careful about calling your host to specifically ask if you can bring someone with you.  This borders on bad guest behavior.

Always Brings a Host Gift

It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, just a simple acknowledgement of your appreciation for being invited.  A small bouquet of flowers or some little trinket will do. 

If you bring a bottle of wine or a food item, do not be disappointed if your gift isn't served at the party.  It was, after all, a gift for your host - not the other guests.

Isn't Afraid to Mingle

Even if you don't know anyone else attending, you agreed to be there and are obligated to be fully present.  If you tend to be on the shy side, ask your host to introduce you around.

Shows Respect

This includes not over-indulging in the open bar, keeping all conversations civil and courteous, and avoiding the irresistible peeps into the medicine cabinet.

Knows When to Leave

You're having a blast, but all good things must end.  Unless you are close enough with your host to stay and clean up, or have been asked to stay longer, it's time to go once things start to wind down.  You don't have to be the first to leave, just try not to be the very last.

Sends a Thank-you

Just a little note to say what a lovely party it was and how much fun you had.

And when the time is right, a good guest also returns the invitation.

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