Take guesswork out of being a good guest
By Cindy Hoedel
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) It's high-summer party season. Are you being a good guest?
I recently polled some terrific party-throwers about their pet peeves when it comes to guest behavior. It was self-serving on my part, an attempt to make their lives easier so they'll keep having parties.
It wasn't easy getting the Superhosts to dish. That's because A-class party throwers tend to like people. They don't get their knickers in a twist over petty matters.
But once they warmed to the subject, most were able to rattle off a few minor irritations they would be happy not to have to deal with when they open their homes to others. As a public service, based on their observations, here is a little guide to being a good guest:
Don't come early. No matter what. If the invitation is for 7 p.m., ringing the doorbell at 6:59 is an infraction. "If the party's at 7, I'm just getting out of the shower at 6:45," one host explained. If you routinely allow yourself extra travel time and find yourself on your host's street a few minutes early, keep driving. There are no exceptions to the no-early-birds rule. And don't call to ask if you can come early, unless your request ends with "to help you scrub the toilets."
Don't park in the driveway. It's no fun if the host's car is blocked in when she needs to make an ice run.
Don't overstay your welcome. This doesn't mean you can't stay late. It means to let the hosts decide when the party is over. If your host begins to yawn and express wonder at the time, you probably missed some earlier cues to head for the door. When you are offered coffee, for example, whether or not you partake of it, the party is in its final stages. If there is no coffee, but the host stops offering to refill your empty glass, it's time to go. The next rule is a corollary of this one:
Don't assume you can spend the night. No good hosts are going to refuse you overnight accommodation on their couch, especially if you have over-imbibed. But you shouldn't put them in that position. Call a cab or ask another guest for a lift.
Don't wash the dishes. It's polite to offer to help attack the stack of dirty plates and glasses, but if the answer is "leave `em," step away from the sink. If you are one of those people who can't bear to face dirty dishes the next morning, tough. It's not your house. Maybe your host can't bear to see people cleaning at a party.
Don't ask if you can bring extra guests, children or pets. Of course, it's fine to bring kids, visiting relatives or Fido if they are expressly invited. But no prompting.
Interestingly, none of the Superhosts complained about guests who arrive empty-handed. That just proves good hosts are generous, which leads me to a final rule:
Bring something. It doesn't matter what. A handpicked bunch of wildflowers is perfect, and any offering of food or beverage is enough to show your appreciation at being included in the fun.
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Cindy Hoedel is a columnist for The Kansas City Star.. Send a note by clicking here.
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