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Be a good guest


Books have been written about being a good host, but being a good guest, that kind of has been left to the individual's discretion. This is probably not a good thing, seeing how the Northwest for some reason thinks a plaid REI shirt is good enough for formal occasions.

So with the assistance of Skikk og Bruk, here are a few random etiquette pointers you might want to take into consideration next time you're invited to a dinner party or whatever other type of formal or semi-formal occasion. Heck, you might even get to apply a few of them to informal get togethers.

  • Make sure to bring something. A bottle of wine is pretty standard. Even two bottles if you have a tendency to toss a few back. Bringing something, anything, is a good way to prove you're not there to mooch. 
  • It might be worthwhile asking the host what you can bring for more formal get togethers.
  • Don't bring food unless asked to. 
  • If dietary restrictions prevent you from eating any types of food prepared in the same area as the foods you can not eat... Probably a good idea to mention this before the party as opposed to during.
  • Give the host a head's up if you're going to be late. And if "late" means "an hour late" you probably should just RSVP with a "no."
  • On the flipside, getting there too early is not much better than being late.
  • No, seriously, a plaid REI shirt won't really do at a formal occasion. A tie won't help.
  • Complimenting the food (or anything else) is kind of a must. Unless it really is bad. Then words like "interesting" or "enthralling" could be used instead. You have to say something at least!
  • Don't bring kids to formal parties unless you check with the host that it's OK.
  • Running off to talk on your cellphone is kind of rude. Excuse yourself and step into a private area if you have to make a phone call or SMS or whatever.
  • Politics and religion aren't good topics of conversation unless you want to piss people off. (And that's kind of frowned upon during dinner parties.)
  • Don't leave before dessert -- Larry David was sadly wrong about that one.
  • On the other hand, leave gracefully at a decent hour. The host shouldn't have to ask you to leave.

Just a few good ones to keep in mind. We've all broken a few of those at least once, but hey, why not strive to be better?