It’s More Than just Showing Up: On Being a Good Guest

There is more to being a gracious guest than sitting up straight at the dinner table. With the arrival of warmer temperatures there is sure to be an uptick in hosted parties and weekend getaways.  

  1. For a party, don’t forget to R.S.V.P. as this can create frustration for the host or hostess. Most invitations include an email address, so there is no longer an excuse to not respond.
  2. Never ask who else is on the guest list because it sounds like you are only trying to assess whether or not the party will be a hit. Once you’ve committed to an event, be sure to attend! The party will be as fun as the positive attitude you have when you arrive.
  3. Never discuss an invitation received even in close circles, remember you don’t know who was invited.
  4. If your invitation doesn’t include the wording “and guests” or “additional guests welcome” assume they aren’t. If you have a conflict such as a guest in town decline noting why. If appropriate, your host will tell you to bring them along.
  5. Be sure to bring a thoughtful gift for your host or hostess. A gift doesn’t need to be elaborate and luxurious for it to matter; it can be small and simple like flowers or a fine bottle of wine.
  6. At a dinner party, engage those seated next to and across from you at the dinner table. It’s a smart idea to avoid conversations about religion and politics unless you know for sure that everyone is on the same page.
  7. Ask questions regarding someone else’s experiences and don’t be shy to share your own—it all comes down to being open, genuine, and receptive. Nothing makes a host or hostess smile more than seeing their guests happily mingling with one another. 
    Image courtesy of: http://www.homefashionsu.com
  8. Help your host or hostess in the kitchen and when clearing the table – don’t ask. In the event your hostess has employed help for the evening do not interfere with her management of the evening.  Your help will always be appreciated!
  9. There’s no need to poke around your host or hostess’ home! Feel free to ask your host or hostess if you can’t find something you need. A good host or hostess wants to make sure that you feel comfortable in their home.
  10. If you are staying at a host or hostess’ home overnight, be sure to clean up after yourself. It will make a huge difference for your host or hostess if you wash your own dishes, make your bed, and tidy up any small messes. When you leave, be sure to strip your bed sheets and bundle up your used towels. It’s thoughtful to ask your host or hostess where you can place used towels and sheets to make the clean up a smooth and easy process.
  11. Write a kind thank you note to your host or hostess.  In my notes, I like to capture a special moment I shared while staying with a friend or family member. It shows your host or hostess that you cherished the time you spent with them.


Madeleine Garone,


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