I read an article in the New York times where the writer observed that;
“The real problem with entertaining is that it can’t be done without guests. And the real problem with guests is that you never know what they’ll get up to. They are, after all, only human – they can’t be timed like roast beef, arranged like flowers or turned off like a cassette.”
How true. I thought to myself. The best planned party can go awfully wrong if someone drinks too much, begins an argument or monopolises the conversation. And that is only a tip of what could go wrong.
Party season has officially started. Many of us are likely to find ourselves invited to one season party or the other. There is a lot you can do to make it easy for your host to have you. To ensure you don’t get blacklisted or worse still, lose your job for bad conduct at the office party.
Bring a gift!
It’s lack of common courtesy and decency to show up at someone’s house empty handed. Everyone everywhere knows this. Even the village women know it.
Growing up in the village, I observed my mother and her friends gifting each other baskets of whatever fruits and tubers were in season whenever they visited. It is good manners to bring your host a gift. This is the practice.
If you didn’t know, now you know.
I also observed that the gift baskets were never returned empty. It’s a cultural practice in some communities which you might want to adapt.
Compliment your host
So, the food could have been better; they didn’t have your choice drink? They didn’t have any vegan choices, and you don’t like sea food? Find something to be appreciative about. Whether it’s the décor, the music, anything.
Your host meant well in opening their home to you and offering you their food. I have personally found that the people who criticise others parties the most are the ones who never invite anyone to their homes. In fact, no one knows for sure where they live.
They are the ones who will show up and go “Haiya there’s no booze? Si you know me and vodka”.
Don’t snoop around
There are people who have to know what everything costs – your apartment, furniture, dress, food. They don’t stop there; they want a piece of it too.
They will walk around their host’s house trying on shoes, oohing and aaahing with suspiciously loud enthusiasm about how well the said shoe goes with their dress. Just because you brought a gift basket doesn’t mean you are at liberty to walk around your host’s house deciding what should be returned with your basket.
Ask if you can bring your children
We get it; your kids are adorable. I mean we’ve seen WhatsApp photos and videos of little Angel’s every imaginable milestone. But understand this, sometimes people just want to have a meal and undistracted adult conversation which, cannot be achieved with children around. Some guests assume that because the host has children, their kids are automatically invited too. Ask.
If you insist on taking your children everywhere, remember they are your responsibility. Some guests bring their children and promptly forget about them the moment they walk in through the door leaving them to run amok.
Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. I ony take mine to places I know they can be accommodated. Getting the green light also allows your host to plan for their entertainment.
On the same note, If it is a children’s party, please note that you are NOT the invitee. Your child is. Your role is to chauffeur them to and from. I have seen mothers accompany their kids to a party and bring along their adult friends to hang out. Seriously? And you wonder why your child stopped getting invited to parties.
Don’t order for drinks whose names you came pronounce just because someone else is paying. Most importantly, don’t start drinking if you never have.
This especially applies to office parties. Don’t do or say anything you wouldn’t normally in the presence of your colleagues. Don’t think you can blame your bad behavior on the alcohol. The rule with office parties is simple, stay for the minimal polite duration after the formalities have been dispensed with and take your drinking and bending over elsewhere.
Finally, mix and mingle. Don’t cling to your host. They must divide their time among all their guests. A party invitation is an opportunity to make new friends. Remain polite and approachable. Be a gracious guest. Leave. Don’t over stay your visit.
Enjoy the party season