5 Telltale Signs You’re a Bad Dinner Guest


The holidays are coming up and you know what that means: it’s guest season once again. It’s that time of the year when you get to host and be hosted by your friends and family. The best thing is all that time you’re going to spend with loved ones is most likely going to involve food. Get your eating pants ready.

Before you get too excited and get your sweatpants out, consider this: are you a bad dinner guest? *Gasp* What a horrifying thought.

You’re probably one of three things: you really are a good guest, you’re a bad one, or you’re in denial. If you fall into the first category, great, you’re invited to my holiday party. If you’re in the second, well at least you own it. Now as for the rest of you in denial, we’ve compiled a list of behaviors for you to check yourself for. If you tick too many boxes, I hate to break it to ya but join your friends in category two. On the bright side maybe all of y’all can celebrate the holidays together.

Sign 1: You arrive so late that everyone else has to delay their meal for you.

A dinner party isn’t a “show-up-when-you-feel-like-it” type of deal. Showing up late to a party is bad enough, but keeping people waiting while their food gets cold is a travesty.

Your hosts set a time for a reason, and if you’ve RSVP’d, you’re expected. The unspoken grace period is 15 minutes, MAX. This may even allow your host some extra time for final touches but isn’t late enough to be rude.

If you find yourself arriving too early, try walking around the block. Showing up early can often be more jarring than showing up late. If you really can’t wait, offer to help your host with setting up, s/he may really appreciate it.

Sign 2: Showing up with something you bought last-minute.

When showing up to a potluck dinner party, the worst thing that you could ever bring to the table is something that you just bought last-minute and didn’t put real thought into. Think about it, your host graciously opens up his or her doors and then has to spend time preparing food for you and the guests, so why not show a bit of consideration?

You don’t have to bring them something homecooked, especially if cooking isn’t in your wheelhouse, but be thoughtful. Try not to bring a dish that requires a lot of prep time, as you don’t want to crowd someone’s kitchen and then have him/her slave over a hot stove more than s/he has to.

Bring a favorite on your host and if you don’t know what that may be, don’t be afraid to go a little over the top. It’s the holidays after all! Maybe some delicious pastries from that overpriced bakery, or champagne you didn’t buy at the corner store.

Phubbing at the dinner table ruins relationships

Sign 3: Constantly using your phone while at the dinner table or engaged in conversation.

This one is actually a no-brainer. Phubbing people is just wrong and is actually hurting your relationships when you snub people you’re conversing with to use your phone (phone snubbing thus “Phubbing”).

It’s common courtesy to give people you’re talking to your undivided attention. So switch your phone to silent and put it away. If you can’t trust yourself not to check it, leave it on silent, in your coat pocket, at the door. Your status updates, email notifications, or Instagram stories can wait.

Or if you and your phone are inseparable, get your friends in on the action. You can play Phone Roulette to see which one reaches for their phone first. Whoever reaches first, loses. This is one instance where you’d want to be last.

Sign 4: Arriving in less than tip-top condition.

If you’re under the weather, don’t feel the need to drag yourself out of bed to attend a party. You’ll just end up subjecting yourself to unnecessary stress and other guests to unnecessary contact with germs. It’s better to just stay home if you’re too sick. Don’t forget to call and cancel first.

Don’t show up drunk and don’t drink too much while you’re there. It’s incredibly tedious dealing with someone who’s intoxicated and can ruin the evening for everyone. Just stick to one or two drinks.

Sign 5: Leaving without saying goodbye.

You can call it whatever you like: an Irish goodbye, a French exit, a Dutch getaway, or leaving the English way. Real life ghosting, if you will. Bottom line, don’t do it. You can’t leave without saying goodbye and thanking the host.

Unless you fall ill to the point of death midway through dinner (highly improbable), then there is no excuse to leave your host’s house without saying thank you or goodbye. While throwing parties and getting people together is a lot of fun, it also involves a lot of work. The last thing they want to see is their guests slipping away without acknowledgment of their efforts. It’s just the right thing to do.

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