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How to Be a Perfect Guest

Updated on November 27, 2012
Époisses de Bourgogne cheese and white wine with home-made naturally leavened (sourdough) bread.
Époisses de Bourgogne cheese and white wine with home-made naturally leavened (sourdough) bread. | Source

Guest Guidelines

As we start to navigate the holiday season, your likely be invited to holiday parties, dinners and to an evening out with friends. Before you know it, spring will be upon us and weddings will be blossoming, summer will erupt and parties will be happening full force. If you're hoping to be on the invite list, read to find out what makes a sensational guest.

The Dinner Party Do's and Dont's

  1. When you receive an invitation to a friends dinner party, do RSVP. Don't show up without letting them know you will be attending because your host will most likely be preparing a meal that is based on the number of servings.
  2. Do mingle and mix with the crowd and if you see someone who is standing alone, make it a point to speak with them.
  3. It's courtesy to drink wine if it's offered and if you prefer however Don't drink too much and give the host a reason to call you a sober cab.
  4. Don't be vocal about your personal eating preferences or personal diet. If you don't like everything that's on the menu or you're currently crash dieting, simply take what you enjoy eating and leave more for the other guests.
  5. Do put your cell phone on silent before your arrive. Your company has been requested for a reason and it's not to listen to your person phone conversations. Be respectful of your host and the other guests.
  6. Do respect your RSVP. If the invitations says the party is an "Adult" party, find a babysitter. However, if the affair is child-friendly, don't allow your kiddos to run amok.
  7. Do bring a small and appropriate gift for your host. Wine isn't necessary since it's often served. Consider a flame-less candle, a nice frame, a candy dish, a plant or a holiday decoration.

How to Use Your Silverware

The most simple rule of thumb when it comes to the formalities of silverware is start on the outside and work your way in. It's customary to leave your silverware on your plate when you are finished. True etiquette artists will tell you that you should place them side by side from 6 to 12 (clockwise) or 10 to 4 and always side by side. The purpose for placing them side by side is that when they are in a "V" pattern, the waiter or host knows you are still eating. When they are side by side, it is the signal that you are finished.

Note: It's never a good idea to put your napkin on your lap. You might need it for dessert. Wait for your plate to be removed, fold it and place it on the table. You may also place it on the back of your chair.

Table setting can be very confusing
Table setting can be very confusing | Source
Stephen King Home
Stephen King Home | Source

A Weekend Away

You've been invited for a weekend and you're not sure what to bring or even where to start. Some things you need to consider as you pack are:

  1. Location of your destination
  2. Weather
  3. Duration of your stay

Make Your List

Weather your headed to the vineyards or the mountains, you need to plan what you'll need. Ask your host if there is an itinerary for the events of the weekend. If there's not a formal agenda, find out what you will need as far as restaurants, tours, getaways or travel plans. If you need specific equipment, write it on your list or lay it out to pack.

Check the weather forecast for the region you're traveling to and check the extended forecast as well. Don't attempt to be a brave expeditionist and pack lightly for a trip that might involve chilly weather. Your best bet is to layer your clothes and lighten up as the weather gets warmer.

Pack appropriately. Whether you're shopping in Chicago or spending the weekend at a comfy Bed and Breakfast in Missouri, refrain from over-packing items that you'll just have to bring back home in a crumpled mess. There's no reason to bring additional outfits, swimsuits or prescription medications.

If this is the first time you're traveling with this companion, don't fret. You can make it look easy and have a blast in the process. The important thing is, you have to decide on your personal boundaries before you leave the house. Don't allow conversations to get too serious and don't accept more than two drinks per meal. If you're scheduled for a tour or trip, be on time.

Los Arcos, Cabo San Lucas
Los Arcos, Cabo San Lucas | Source

Personal Invitation to the Castle

Martha called and invited you to the vineyard for the weekend. Aside from the previous packing tips, it's customary for you to follow some good house rules.

  • Always arrive with a smile and grace. Regardless of the space you're offered to stay, be grateful of your accommodations.
  • Keep your space tidy and neat. Don't drag your stuff all over the place. In fact, keep it folded or hung up.
  • Respect your host, their space and their time. If you find yourself with nothing to do, grab a cab and see the sights.
  • Conserve water and energy. Don't use too many towels. Don't over-shower and remember that if you intend on eating your weight in food, you should buy some groceries to restock the pantry.
  • Don't feed pets from the table.
  • Don't offer your guest's children special treats. Before you ante up the gooey Godiva gems, ask permission so that you don't have disappointed kiddos if parents don't approve.
  • When you've been invited for a long weekend, the choice of host or hostess gift should be in good taste. If you're buying something to be displayed, make sure it's in good taste. The idea is to be invited back.
  • When you depart, leave your space neat and tidy.


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    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 2 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Larry, Thank you for reading and commenting. I love that you agree with me and I would be tickled to hand these out on the corner or at the bus stop. Have a great day! -K

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very good list of common courtesies. Now if people would just follow them:-)

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 3 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Perspycacious, Thanks for reading. It's a handy tool this time of year, you're right. I appreciate the comment. -K

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Just the right time to resurrect another seasonal Hub with tips to make the season bright.

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      lindacee, Thank you for the comment. I'm hoping to revive the idea of proper etiquette somehow! There is hope for us if we teach our kiddos how to be good guest and hosts. It's great to have your input. Have a wonderful holiday season! -K

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      These are great suggestions for the holidays and beyond. It is so important to be a considerate guest. I think, as a society, we are less concerned with social graces these days. Your Hub gives me hope that proper etiquette is indeed alive and well! Good job, K! :)

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Om, I strange when kiddos are at adult parties where adults are soused. I don't think kids should witness that. Sometimes adults aren't appropriate or they fall down and do things only drunk people do. I'm with you that adult parties should remain adult. Thanks for reading and commenting. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      billybuc, As always I'm laughing in my boots. Luckly they're on the floor and not the couch! I'd be in big trouble. My friend was just telling me she has a GPS and her kids all have portable video games....I don't have any of those because I don't travel or get invited anywhere either. Boo for me. Love to hear from you always. Thanks for the input. -K

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      Great tips. It does bug me to see some people bring their kids to an adult party. It's just kind of awkward.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent suggestions! Maybe this explains why nobody ever invites me to their house. :) Seriously, my parents were big on proper behavior, so most of this I learned as a teen. Good job!