Here are some helpful tips when you are invited to dinner at someone’s house:
· Do not come empty handed. A bottle of wine or flowers in a vase are always welcome gifts. Try to bring something that your hostess does not have to take time to deal with, such as finding a vase for your flowers.
· Offer to help with any preparations, from setting the table, to assisting with cooking, to keeping a young child(ren) occupied.
· Do not sit down at the table until your host invites you to.
· Put your napkin on your lap, and look to the hostess to begin eating.
· Honestly compliment the cook on some aspect of the meal after a few bites.
· Try to stay away from any controversial or offensive topics, such as politics or religion.
· Do not tell any off-color or racy jokes.
· If there are children present at the table, ask them questions to give them a chance to join the mealtime conversation.
· Give everyone at the table a chance to participate in the conversation – do not dominate it and do all of the talking.
· Only discuss things that are pleasant. Now is not the time to bring up anything embarrassing or uncomfortable for your hosts.
· Thank the cook for dinner after the meal is finished.
· Offer to help clear the table.
· Take note of how long you should stay after dinner. You do not want to “eat and run,” but you also do not want to overstay your welcome.
· Follow up with a phone call or note the next day to say thank you.
· Reciprocate the dinner invitation as soon as you can, by inviting your hosts to your house, or treat them to a dinner out.