Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Not Quite Your Momma's Miss Manners - Part 2

Hello, friends, and welcome to the second installment of my little ettiquette guide! Today, we're going to cover how one should behave when invited to someone's house. As we all know, a polite guest is a repeat guest, but rude guests are unwelcome.
Let's begin.

Being a Good Guest
One of my favorite things in the world is being invited to someone's home. It is a true honor and can be extremely fun and enjoyable, if you know how to be a good guest. Always remember - your friend is opening their home to you, which is a display of trust. Don't break that trust by being rude.

1) For a Meal or Party

When you are invited to someone's house for a dinner or a party, here are a few simple rules to keep in mind.
A) NEVER show up empty-handed. EVER. Unless you are just hanging with your bestie (and even sometimes then) or you are headed to your mom's (although it never hurts), you should bring something for your host: wine, beer, flowers, a fruit plate, something. It doesn't have to be expensive; this is more about showing gratitude for the invite. You can always ask your host if they would like you to bring something, but even if they say "no, you don't need to bring anything," please do anyway.

B) Clean up after yourself while you are there, and offer to help with preparation/clean up. This is super important. Don't cast your shoes off willy-nilly in their foyer, don't forget to use a coaster, and don't leave a mess behind yourself. Also, gentlemen, put the toilet seat back down if you use the restroom (really, just do this always).
C) Keep the controversy to yourself. If you have a political opinion, save it. Unless you are good friends with Rachel Maddow (in which case, please call me and introduce me to her *political girl crush*), a party or dinner is NOT the place for politics, religion, etc. I hearken back to my sorority days and stay silent on the 3 B's - boys, ballots, and bibles. If you encounter someone who attempts to wrangle you into this type of discussion, simply say, "I'm sorry, I prefer to keep those opinions to myself. How do you like the shrimp puffs?" Unless you aren't eating shrimp puffs, 'cause then you just look silly.

Be my friend, Rachel!
D) DO NOT GET DRUNK! You would think this is common sense, but it bears repeating. If you are at a party with your homegirl and your entire destination is Boozetown, party on Wayne! But if you are in mixed company or a situation where you are not among intimate friends, lay off the sauce, boss! You'll thank me for this later.

E) Write a thank-you note. This is perhaps (for me) the most telling sign of what Southern ladies call "good breeding." Take 5 minutes and 46 cents and write a thank-you note to your host. It doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't have to be long. Just write it. Make sure it is not TOTALLY generic, but it doesn't have to be excruciatingly detailed. Here's an example, similar to the note I sent my homegirl's mother recently:
Mrs. L,
   Thank you so much for inviting me to stay in your home over the New Year. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and your husband, and getting to know your family. I truly value my friendship with Homegirl, and it was lovely to spend time with her and her lovely family. I hope to see you again soon.
Again, we're not talking Shakespeare. Just a quick little note. I promise you are literate enough to do this.

2) Slumber Party!
If you are invited to stay overnight at someone's home, a gift is an absolute given (with the exception of besties and family, again, and still...consider it).  Thank you notes are, again, MANDATORY. Don't even play. Even for your family, unless it's Mom and Dad, go ahead and put one in the mail. All the rules of a dinner party apply, plus these:
A) Bedroom
Whatever room/sleeping space you get, make it up in the morning. It just shows respect for the house you are in. If you are on a sofa or sofa bed, fold the blankets and arrange the sofa so it can be used during the day. Also, keep your belongings in an orderly manner. No one likes clutter - especially me.

This should be you.
B) Always ask.
Many hosts will say, "help yourself," with regards to food, beverage, etc. but if you aren't sure, ask.
C) Bathroom
Again, keep your belongings tidy if you leave any in the restroom. Also, don't monopolize a shared bathroom by taking a long time to do hair or makeup. And don't you dare use up all the hot water - you don't have to take a Navy shower, but keep it short of 10 minutes.

Don't be that guy.
D) Phones
DO NOT STAY ON YOUR PHONE! Unless you are in your room for a few minutes, put the dang thing away. You are someone's guest - you should not be on your phone with someone else unless it is an emergency.


While this is not an exhaustive list of all the possible scenarios, it should (when coupled with common sense) ensure that you are a most pleasant addition to any party or event. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. PLEASE tell me that you used "Homegirl" in your letter to Mama-Long...laughing so hard right now!