It is often said that a great party centers around a gracious and organized host. However, when you are invited into someone’s home it is also important to be a gracious guest. Simple etiquette is an absolute must when attending a party. To behave otherwise is ungracious and rude. Unlike many people today, I went to a finishing school as a child. Ever heard of it? Well, it is a lot like refinement school. It polishes you and smoothes out the edges. It teaches you proper manners, etiquette, and how to be gracious. I still use many of the techniques today and I find that because they are so foreign to most people I stand out. To this day I still handwrite thank you cards. I write ten a day. I send gifts to people on special days and I send gifts when I am thinking of them. I help people when they are in need and I do everything I can to bring people together to build a sense of community. And dinner parties are an excellent way to bring people together and make life feel full!

In a world that has become incredibly selfish, rude, and disengaged, I think it’s time to bring etiquette and graciousness back. And no, I’m not trying to set women back fifty years. I’m trying to bring both men and women up to speed on how to treat each other. We are all going through something. Life is hard, so learn to take care of one another because kindness is the new rich.

Here are my top 13 guidelines on manners when attending an event or going to someone’s personal home:

Modern etiquette How to be a gracious guest | GatesInteriorDesign.com

  1. Chew with your mouth shut, and do not talk while chewing!
  2. Avoid slurping, smacking, snorting, blowing your nose, or other inappropriate noises. (If necessary, excuse yourself to take care of whatever it is you need to take care of.)
  3. Don’t use your utensils like a shovel or as if you’ve just stabbed the food you’re about to eat.
  4. Don’t pick your teeth at the table.
  5. Remember to use your napkin at all times.
  6. Wait until you’re done chewing to sip or swallow a drink. (The exception is if you’re choking.)
  7. Cut only one piece of food at a time, and eat slowly.
  8. Avoid slouching and don’t place your elbows on the table while eating (though it is okay to prop your elbows on the table while conversing between courses.)
  9. Instead of reaching across the table for something, politely ask for it to be passed to you.
  10. Always say ‘excuse me’ whenever you leave the table.
  11. Never ever look at your phone while eating at the table, and be mindful about using it while guests are mingling – it appears unsocial and rude.
  12. Control your alcohol consumption. You are there to socially relax and mingle – not party like a sorority girl.
  13. Be tactful and polite when speaking to guests, and avoid hot topics like politics and religion unless that is what the party centers around.

These are not archaic, outdated ways to live. These are manners that remind us to be kind to one another and respect each other’s views. Everyone has a right to their own opinion and way of being, it’s through perspective and opening ourselves up that we give ourselves the ability to learn a new way. Have fun, learn about each other, and have an open curiosity about what makes individuals tick. This is what makes life fun!

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