The Art of Being a Good Guest

When I invite someone  to my home I usually have a well thought out plan. A carefully prepared welcome, good food, a nicely set and decorated table. A comfortable place to sleep for overnight guests. Breakfast rolls, fresh coffee and orange juice...

I like to be prepared and make my guest comfortable. Sometimes I've even made a mental note of conversation starters or planned games to break the ice. 

These are the topics that most hospitality and home entertaining books and blogs cover. 

But have you ever stopped to consider that guests also have a responsibility?

I know that my actions and behavior as a hostess can sometimes make or break a party. The same can be said of the guests.

Have you ever hosted a party and one of the guests had to much to drink? The loving couple from church had an almost come to blows fight? Or no matter how hard you tried you couldn't get the new neighbor to utter more than a few words?

Yes, when we're invited to someones home we do have a responsibility to contribute to the party or gathering. I have a few rules that I follow when I'm a guest.

  1. Arrive on time. There is no such thing are being fashionable late! 
  2. Call if I'm going to be late. Once my husband and I had a small fender bender while on the way to dinner with some friends. It wasn't serious but it still took over an hour to get a police report made. I called to let our host know and told them to please don't wait dinner on us. They went ahead and ate and we joined them later for dessert. Being a good host there were two plates warming in the oven for us:-)
  3. I try not to be overly vocal about my convictions. I tend to be a little opinionated (my husband would say very opinionated!) but I've learned over the years that expressing my opinion can be offensive to some. It's hard to completely ignore topics such as politics but I try not to bully my opinions on anyone.  
  4. Contribute to the conversation. A good hostess knows how to get the ball rolling but everyone should take part in keeping it going. I take the initiative and introduce myself to someone I don't know. I've learned to ask questions and listen when people answer. I don't wait till someone speaks to me because that may never happen!
  5. Don't monopolize the conversation. There are some subjects that I'm very passionate about but I've learned that if people begin starring at me glassy eyed it probably means I need to take a breath and give someone else a chance to speak.
  6. As far as alcohol goes I know my limit and so should you:-) 
  7. Offer to help. Sometimes my offer is accepted and sometimes it isn't but I like to let the hostess know I'm available and willing. 
  8. Don't complain about the food. This is something I taught my children. You don't have to eat it but you cannot complain about the food!                                                                                                 I was horrified once when a guest at my table actually spit food out in to her napkin! I had prepared a simple dish of spaghetti and meatballs, salad and garlic cheese bread. The guest in question had eaten a couple bites of  this bread when she told me it was delicious and wanted to know how I made it. When I said it was made with cheese and mayonnaise she spit it out and said I was going to make them all sick! She seemed to think that heating the mayonnaise under the broiler would turn it bad. As calmly as I could I explained to her that yes if you make something like potato salad with mayonnaise and sit it on the picnic table when it 90 degrees outside and you leave it for several hours you probably will make everyone sick. Cooking with mayo is a different story.  BTW no one got sick.                                     So please don't complain. If I don't like a certain food I discretely take a small amount, push it around on my plate and eat a lot of what I do like. 
  9. I don't overstay my welcome. I'm sure we've all been guilty of this. It's especially hard to leave when I'm having a good time. I try to be considerate of the hostess and make my goodbyes at a reasonable time. Or at least before the host and hostess change in to their jammies;-)
  10. I write a thank you note. This is something that isn't done much anymore but a simple thank you note can mean so much. I know how much work goes into planning a dinner or party. I appreciate it when I receive a little note so I make a point to always send one. 
So there you have a few of the things I do to be a good guest. 


I'm leaving you with the recipe for the offending garlic cheese bread. 

Eat it or don't eat it but please don't complain!

Garlic Cheese Bread

Easiest way is to split one loaf of french or Italian bread long ways or cut the bread in to slices.

In a small bowl mix:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese (or a combination)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan 
2 - 3 teaspoons of minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano 

Spread the mixture evenly over the bread. (make additional spread if you need it to cover the entire surface of the bread)  
Broil on high until the cheese is melted and it's all brown and bubbly. 
Cut into serving pieces. 





  1. Really enjoy your blogs. I love to organize and to entertain. You had some great ideas for entertaining and for being entertained.

  2. Thanks Teri, and I enjoy your blog too. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Patti, it is a shame that some people need to be told these things. Not drinking too much and couples fighting are both things we've experienced. It can be so awkward! The recipe sounds wonderful.

  4. This is a great post! The world would be a better place if we all learned to follow these simple guidelines. I love your admonition to "be kind to someone today!" And I think that bread looks delicious!

    Thanks for joining Grace at Home!

  5. Great Post! It's very nice to read this info from someone that actually knows what they are talking about.
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