The Gracious Guest


Since the last blog was about being a Happy Host, I felt the need to balance out the equation and discuss the Gracious Guest.

A favorite saying in the Etiquette World is “Don’t make your host happy twice – once when you arrive and once when you leave.”

Many colorful characters make up the spectrum of bad guests, including the Inappropriate Conversationalist that can’t wait to roll out his latest ethnic jokes and ask fellow guest how much they are earning these days, to the Total Wall Flower that insists upon sitting away from the rest of the group so she can play on her I-Phone. All by herself. Shall I mention the Habitual Late-Comer , arriving at your dinner party 45 minutes late? After you’ve already started to serve dinner.

To ensure that you stay off the “banned for life” list, follow these suggestions for being the type of guest that everyone wants at their event.

RSVP Oh yes. These four letters deserve a blog dedicate to their purpose and I can promise you that you’ll see it soon. But for now, when you are invited to attend a function for any reason – work, social, professional – LET THE HOST KNOW IF  YOU WILL BE ATTENDING! Did I scream that loud enough? And might I add RSVP in a timely fashion – not the morning of the event.

Arrive On Time “On time” may look different depending on the function. I’ll be dedicating a future blog all about this topic too. Be respectful of your hostess’ time and efforts. If you know you are going to be late, let the host know beforehand.

Find The Host Say hello and thank him/her for inviting you. If you bring a hostess gift (a very nice and thoughtful gesture), make sure it does not require immediate attention. Flowers are always popular, but have them in a vase so the host doesn’t have to take the time to cut and arrange the gorgeous stems.

Mix and Mingle You don’t need to be the life of the party, but you always should take the time to introduce yourself to those you don’t know and engage in conversation. Most likely, you were invited because the host wants you there. The hosts enjoys all things You and wants others to have the same great experience! Have fun in getting to know different people. Be open to new opportunities through conversations.

Time to Put On Your Smiley Face No one likes a downer. Be upbeat. No complaining or criticizing.

Offer to Help If your host has prepared a delicious dinner for you, offer to help by filling up the water glasses beforehand or with clean up afterwards. No need to pull out the Comet and start scrubbing the sink, but “peripheral” help is almost always appreciated. I’ll often insist that the guests stay put while I clear the dishes and I honestly want them to stay put. When I entertain, I consider it a gift I extend to my friends. It makes me happy when others are enjoying themselves and relaxing. Lesson: always offer, but don’t insist if the host replies with a no thank you.

Respect Respect the host’s house and belongings. Remember the movie Meet The Focker’s: the roaming of  future in-laws house, searching the medicine cabinet,  falling from the window? I think dogs were involved as well. Don’t let that be you. Make a mess, clean it up. Clog a toilet, get a plunger. Yikes! Definitely don’t let that be you!

Leave on Time Don’t overstay your welcome. Leave them wanting more of fabulous You at a future date.

Saying Thank You Before you leave, find the host and extend a heartfelt thank you. A timely and hand-written thank you note is always appreciated. For the more casual of occasions, a phone call or e-mail the next day is also a great way to tell your host that you enjoyed yourself.

The most perfect way to thank your host for their hospitality is to be a gracious guest.

Mind Your Manners,






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