How to Practice Dinner Party Etiquette

When a coworker, a client, or your boss invites you to a party, you have to realize that they are putting much effort and planning into making the party fun for you. You should repay the host by following some basic rules of social etiquette.


Avoid breach of etiquette as soon as the invitation arrives. RSVP to the host as early as possible and inform them of your intentions. It is a no-no to ask the host if you can tag another person along to the party. It is inappropriate, unless the invite says, "and guest."

Additionally, you must never ask the host about the food they will be serving, unless you have medical or religious reasons to watch what you eat. Whether you are a practicing vegan or are following a strict low-carb diet program, keep this information to yourself. Make do with what the host will serve.

Practice your best behavior

Watch your behavior when you arrive at the party. Limit your alcohol intake to save the host from taking care of you later in case you exceeded your alcohol limit. Be a good guest by avoiding doing anything extreme: extreme talking, extreme laughing, extreme eating, and even extreme compliments. These behaviors will cross over into the poor social etiquette realm.

Respect the boundaries

You should also respect the boundaries, pace, and mood established by the host. If a light classical music is playing, do not ask for rock or reggae music. If a tour of the home is not offered, do not ask for one. It is also improper to snoop around and go through darkened rooms and closed doors.

Follow directions

It helps to follow all the directions on the invite. If the invitation said that you do not have to bring a gift, then do not do it. Of course, you do not want the host to look uncomfortable and make guests who followed the instruction in the invitation feel bad. Depending on the event, it may be appropriate to give a small hostess gift. The gift, however, must only be a token, nothing more.

Be considerate

Pay attention to the host’s cues when the party is about to wrap up. Always be considerate to your host. If the invitation said the party would end at 11 pm, then plan on leaving around that time. If the schedule seems open-ended, pay attention when the host starts checking with guests about transportation home or serving the final cups of coffee. Always thank the host sincerely for a great time when you leave.

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