With holiday season approaching, holiday parties are part of the package. If you're throwing a party, then you should know about being a gracious host. There's also such a thing as being a gracious guest. And it's important. As you attend parties, keep a few things in mind.
:: RSVP. Preferably soon.
:: Your job is to enjoy the party and make sure that the hostess knows it.
:: Remember to say please and thank you.
:: Arrive timely, and if you're going to be late, let the hostess know.
:: Do what you can to keep conversation flowing. Maybe this is just me, but when I throw a party, I worry that conversation will stagnate and that I'll be left trying to awkwardly force my guests to have fun. So when I have a guest or two who make a point of leading conversation and keeping things flowing, it eases my mind and allows me to focus on other aspects of hostessing.
:: Compliment the hostess. It means a lot.
:: Offer to help clean up. The hostess will likely decline, but offer anyway. At the very least take the initiative to clear your dishes and throw away your trash.
Sometimes you have a party thrown for you, and that involves different responsibilities.
:: Arrive early. No excuses.
:: Let the hostess do things for you. Part of being gracious is accepting the service of others, and when someone is throwing a party in your honor, it's important that you accept that.
:: Greet each guest personally. Remember, they came there for you.
:: Handle presents graciously. Acknowledge each gift and make sure the group knows whose gift you're opening. Even though it's hard to maintain appropriate excitement for each and every present, do it. Each guest wants to feel that their contribution is valued. Say thank you for every single present. Even if a guest says that there's a gift receipt, don't indicate that you'll use it. Show genuine gratitude for what you're given, even if you don't intend on keeping it.
And no matter who you are, when you leave, you make sure that you find the host/hostess and thank them for inviting you. And it wouldn't hurt to throw out some legit and gushing compliments either. Being a gracious guest engenders a certain kind of trust between you and the hostess; not only will you get invited to more parties, but the party throwers will be legitimately excited to invite you.
This post is part of a 31-day series on gracious living. You can find the other posts here.