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Guest Etiquette

Most of us enjoy hosting guests and entertaining them in a special way. But have we ever wondered, if besides being good hosts, are we making sure that we are good guests too?

Having been to social events and parties over the years, one thing I have noticed is that a lot of times, people tend to behave inappropriately as guests.

A few things one must take into consideration while being invited to a party:

If the party is hosted at home:

1. Check with the host, if there is a dress code

2. It is always considered appropriate to be aware of the time of the party. Always better to reach 10 minutes after the scheduled time

3. Always ask the hostess if there is anything you could bring along; whether its food or drinks

4. Nevertheless, it is always appropriate to take a gift of your choice; either flowers, something personal for the host or the hostess (if it is an occasion that they are celebrating), a dessert / a gift for the house

5. After arriving at the house party and the gift being given, make sure you offer to help the hostess, if she requires anything

6. When dinner is served, it shows appropriate etiquette to finish your drinks and move to the table and not carry them (besides wine)

7. While being served, unless you are averse or allergic to a particular dish, it is always appropriate to eat everything offered to you

8. Do not waste food as it shows disrespect to the host

9. After the meal is over, you can always offer to help clear the dishes

10. It shows etiquette to not overstay one’s welcome and leave post the dessert and small talk

If the party is in a Hotel / Restaurant:

1. If it is a celebration, then it is always appropriate to carry a gift along with you

2. If it is a buffet, make sure that you don’t change plates. Since hotels charge the host per plate, it is always better to reuse the same plate

3. If the host has booked a table in a restaurant, and if it is not a pre-planned lunch / dinner, and the option to choose the meal is given to the guests, it is always preferable, to choose a dish / beverage that is not too expensive. In case of doubt, you can always ask the host to recommend

4. If you are ordering, avoid ordering difficult or messy food

5. It is good to follow napkin etiquette, with the napkin placed on your lap, instead of being tucked into your shirt / blouse. While excusing yourself from your table, the napkin should be placed on the chair where you are sitting and kept until you come back

6. Avoid centering conversations around controversial topics, like religion, politics, sex etc.

7. Avoid picking your teeth in public

8. It is considered good manners to use the right cutlery while eating food. However, when it comes to eating Indian food like Indian breads (naan), or dosa for example, they should be eaten with hands

9. Once the party is getting through, it is better to leave on time and not overstay till the last few guests leave

10. Always thank the hosts for the party before leaving. A follow up thank you message the next day, would be considered appropriate

Being a good guest is always considered impressionable and goes a long way when it comes to interpersonal relations:-)

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