Being a guest in someone’s home is a huge honor … they’ve invited you into their personal space and asked you to be a part of it. What an amazing opportunity to get to know this person on a deeper level!
We understand that it can be daunting to be invited over to someone’s home (or doing the inviting!), especially the first time. You may not be sure what to expect, which can cause a lot of worry. But fear not! We have a few tried and true ways to be a gracious guest. So, whether you’re attending a dinner party, a viewing party, or a sleepover, take a deep breath and read on!
Offer to Remove Shoes
Every culture, country, and family has its own ruling on footwear in the home. Some households have no preference or the gathering at hand is apropos for footwear. But in other homes, socks are preferred. Be prepared to go shoeless if you aren’t sure. Wear well-kept socks or hosiery to be prepared for anything.
When you arrive (and after greeting at the door), just ask their preference. Even something as simple as, “shoes off?” can go a long way in easing into things.
Don’t Come Empty-Handed
Bringing a small token of your appreciation for your host’s generosity is always appreciated. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t have to be lavish. Here are a few of our favorites:
- A modest bouquet of flowers
- A bottle of their favorite drink (we love sparkling cider)
- A cookbook
- A nice smelling candle
- A pretty serving bowl
- A simple basket with some of your favorite products
These are not a requirement to attend a dinner party or other event, so don’t feel bad if you forget or can’t swing it this time. But if you’re looking for a way to express gratitude with more than your words, this is a good place to start.
Ask to Help
Look for ways to help the host. Are there more chairs needing to be set up? Is food still being prepared? If you see a need, hop in and help. There are times you’ll want to ask what step in the process something is in, but if you see a way to help, just do it.
Even if the host gives the standard response of “we need you to go enjoy yourself,” look for opportunities to silently be an asset to the event. Clean up after yourself and work to be as self-sufficient as possible. If time permits, stay a few minutes extra to tidy up a table or other people’s plates.
Thank You Notes
Always plan on sending a thank you note to your host a day or two after the event. This shows your gratitude, which is often all the thanks your host needs. Include a few details from the event to show you were paying attention and appreciate the work that was put in. Be sincere … if you didn’t like the crab cakes, don’t pretend you did when writing about the food. Keep it light and brief, and your note will practically write itself.
Whether it’s a dinner party, business meeting, or just a casual get-together, being a gracious guest is vital to furthering all types of relationships. Be yourself, enjoy yourself, and look for ways to show appreciation to your host.
Learn more about being gracious in your life through servant leadership here.