We’ve spent a lot of time talking about hosting here, and don’t you worry your pretty little head, we’ll be back to our regular scheduled programming next week. But we would be remiss if we didn’t address the other side of this proverbial coin. With every great host, there is the equal and opposite. The wind beneath their wings. Their raison d’etre.

Dearly beloved, we’re gathered here today to celebrate that ever so essential element to every event: the guest. 

Namely, how to be a good one.

In this season of office parties, social events, and (the horror) Santa-cons, bad guest behavior is on full display. Ghosting when you’ve RSVP’d.  Hoovering down a buffet before anyone else can get to the shrimp cocktail. Showing up empty handed to the office gift exchange. Just participating in Santa-con at all. The list goes on and on.

Where are our modern role models? Where is Emily Post in this time of darkness and depravity? Martha, can you and Snoop deal with this Santa-ridden hellscape? CBD will only take us so far.

Dream guests are few and far between. We all have those acquaintances who we WISH would quietly Irish goodbye, but are inevitably left at the end of the night, pointedly not helping as you tiredly shut your house down and, with a sharp decrease in subtlety, nudge them towards the door.

My friend Dana is a dream guest. She is genuinely interested in how she can help you get ready, never shows up without some outrageously beautiful dessert, and is the first text the next morning to tell you what a wonderful time she had and to recap her favorite moments. She effortlessly co-hosts without taking over, making small talk with people who seem quiet in the the corner, carrying glasses to the sink as people finish them, and somehow always knows the right time to gracefully wrap up the inevitable debauchery that occurs when our husbands are together with tequila. Dana, a paragon of guest virtue. Add her to your invite list today.

Channeling your inner Dana? Here are our 8 pro-tips to be invited back again and again.

  1. The one time you don’t want to be fashionably late. RSVP on time. People are trying to plan and budget for the event. Letting them know if you’re coming is a first step in being a good guest and making the event more seamless for both of you—you want there to be enough food, right? Unless you’ve been given a plus one, only ask to bring another guest if you’re very close with the host or it seems like a casual affair. Be prepared for them to say no.
  2. Helpful or hurtful? If it is casual, reach out ahead of time to see if you can bring something or help in anyway. Some hosts will welcome the support. However, be prepared that sometimes the host has something very specific in mind, and your signature baked Alaska won’t be welcome at the outdoor BBQ they have planned. Same goes for wine—unless it’s more of a casual house party, your host might have already planned the wine for the meal. Don’t be disappointed if your wine is received as a gift and isn’t opened at the table.
  3. The early bird does not get the worm. You will absolutely throw off an event by arriving early, as people are often still wrapping up or using that time to unwind. . Show up (slightly) fashionably late , but unless it’s an open house, being later than 30 minutes is truly rude.
  4. As my mother says, “throw the ball back.” You don’t have to be a great conversationalist to have a few ice breakers in your pocket. Ask questions. Get to know people. Don’t expect other people to carry the conversation—as a guest, you all have the responsibility to connect. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something wild! We love our party crackers with ready to go party-starters to break the ice.
  5. Drop beats. Not names. The best party guests bring the fun without bringing the catty.
  6. Pull Cinderella Duty. If it’s a casual event, support lightly cleaning. Stack plates, carry glasses to the sink, take empties to the appropriate area. It helps the host enormously at the end of the evening.
  7. Ok, bloomer. Bringing flowers to an event seems nice, but can be a tricky gesture. Flowers without a vase? They send your host scrambling as you walk in the door and often people have already planned flowers for their event. We recommend sending flowers as a thank you the day after.
  8. Host-warming gifts we can get behind. Remember that the host or hostess gift is about the receiver. What would be consider or thoughtful for them to receive? Something for their kitchen or bar? A nice candle that reminds you of a trip you took together? It should be a gesture that lives beyond the moment and always accompanied by a card. Here are our favorites!

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December 08, 2021 — Brenna Gilbert