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Where Did the Manners Go?

Updated on August 7, 2016

I took the weekend off from working just to relax a bit and spend some time with my kids and family. I was worn out and needed just a little time to myself. After the kids went to bed tonight, I was reading an article about manners and being invited to a dinner party.

What was the most interested with this article was the comments. One comment in particular was how a woman was offended because someone brought a side dish to the dinner the poster was hosting. Apparently the poster had stated they would take care of the whole meal and was mad because someone was thoughtful enough to bring a dish.

Now I understand that the poster may have had some theme in the meal or wanted to make things easier on the guests. The few times I have hosted people at my home, I took care of everything from drinks, main dish, sides, dessert, and everything else. That was always just common curtesy for me. And I never asked anyone to pay for anything, another issue that is becoming more popular in today's world.

But I also don't think this is something that needs to be made into that big of a deal. Yes, you had your ideas of how the night would go, but at least someone was thoughtful. I was raised in a household where you never went over to another persons home for dinner or another event without bringing something along to help out.

Now, I know that a lot of people choose to bring wine or something similar. I know absolutely nothing about wine, having maybe one or two glasses in my whole life, and would probably insult the hostess more with my wine choice than not bringing anything at all. Chocolates or candy could be a good idea, but with so many allergies and issues with peanuts, this could be bad as well.

I am more inclined to bring along something that will help out the meal or for the hostess to eat later on after the party. As the hostess, this should be graciously accepted, even if you don't like how it clashes with your meal. I honestly wouldn't mind if you didn't put it with the rest of the meal, but if the guest insisted, is it really that big of a deal to put a spoon in it and place it on the table? If no one eats it, oh well, you at least tried.

If the guest doesn't mind and you want your dinner to be a certain way, say thank you and place the dish in the fridge. No one is going to know if you eat the dish or throw it out, but at least you look like a gracious host.

And this is just one of the issues that have come up with our current society. Everyone feels that they are entitled to something and get offended if this doesn't work out for them. I think it is time for all of us to go back to etiquette school and learn how to be nice. But until that happens, here are a few rules that you can keep in mind

  1. You should bring something to a dinner party to thank your hostess. Whether it is a bottle of wine, something for dessert, or even just flowers.
  2. As the hostess, you should be gracious and thankful for the small token of appreciation that you are given.
  3. If you invite someone over for a dinner party, you do not charge them for the meal. If you can't afford to pay for the meal, you either don't have the party or change it into a potluck meal and ask everyone to contribute to the meal.
  4. Just because you are getting married doesn't mean you are owed anything. No one has to pay or give a gift in accordance to how much you spent per person on the wedding. You could have gone to the court house and spent $20 on getting married to so anything above that is your own choice. Enjoy the people who came, thank anyone who chose to give you a gift, and enjoy your special day.
  5. No one owes you anything. If you have a party and invite someone to participate, you should be ready to take on the costs. Asking others to help out is not cool and makes you look horrible.
  6. Do not use birthday parties or other parties as free babysitting. The parents are already busy taking care of their own kids and running the party. They do not need to take care of the invited guest plus your three other uninvited children so you can have a free day.
  7. Keep in mind that a wedding is a joining of two people together. It is not a chance to make as much money as possible. An engagement party, several wedding showers, the wedding, and other parties up to the event are just draining the pockets of others. Keep this in mind as well when choosing where to have the wedding.

In short, remember that people are already going out of their way to celebrate a special time with you or to spend time with you. Be polite and enjoy their company, and you will find it is a much better time.

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