There’s more to being a good guest than just turning up – be thoughtful, be appreciative, be kind and be engaged. Almost every invitation these days comes by email or text, so making the effort to respond isn’t so hard!
Do immediately let your host know if you are able to attend. Even if you’re not entirely certain whether you are a yes or a no (sure sure, we are all so busy socializing again) tell your host that you appreciate the invite, you’re checking on scheduling and you’ll circle back.
By responding promptly you’re letting your host know that you appreciate the invitation. You appreciate that they can be bothered to host you, entertain you, feed you. Who doesn’t want to be appreciated?! And a host does like to know you’re noting the effort it takes to throw a party. Reconfirm closer to the date of the salon.
Do bring your most interesting friends into the mix, what a gift! I have met so many wonderful new friends as a result of guests thoughtfully bringing along a pal whom they thought would enjoy a salon.
But don’t spring additional guests as a surprise unless you know your host is very chill. Some are, some aren’t. If your host appears cool and relaxed it is because your host is incredibly organized.
Not necessary, but certainly appreciated. And if you do bring one, put a tag on it whether it’s a bottle of wine or a book. It’s terrible as the host to wake up the next day and have no idea who gave you what. I lose sleep over this for fear of appearing unappreciative.
Another possible gift idea is to order a bouquet of flowers in advance so that your host can use them for the party. That’s very thoughtful! Of course, flowers following the party are also always so well received.
Come 10-15 minutes late. OMG don’t come early!! Your host will appreciate the bit of grace period. If you happen to be very good friends with the host, offer to come an hour earlier to light candles and generally make yourself useful while having some private time with them before the masses arrive.
Your food issues are your own.
Californians in particular love to share what they can and can’t eat that month with their host. Multiply that by 12 or 48 or however many guests coming over and you can understand that the host’s eyes may glaze over. Of course, if you’re going to die from being near a certain food, alert the host quickly!
Most hosts will ensure there are a variety of food choices so if you can’t eat meat there will be other options to enjoy. If you have a selective palate, by this stage in your life you know how to juggle meals and you likely will ensure you don’t go to the party starving. If you have a severe allergy and you always have an epipen close at hand, certainly do let your host know that. Ultimately all hosts want the minimum of drama, and ensuring that you don’t get asphyxiated is mutually beneficial to you and host.
Getting jolly is fine. Passing out on your host’s bed is not. Yep, that’s happened.
Do dress! After over a year of schlepping from your bed to your computer in a comforting soft fabric, it’s time to give your clothes an airing. Your host has gone to the effort of having you over, dress to show that you appreciate that effort. Indeed, make an effort!
For those who aren’t teenagers, I think we’ve swung over in the direction of putting our devices aside while socialising. Haven’t we? Your fellow guests and host are the center of your attention while you are at a party. Put your phone, that social crutch, aside.
Your phone is a tool; your fellow humans, the guests around you, are people with whom you have personal relationships – make them the center of your attention. Totally fine to pull out your phone to check facts as one used to pull the encyclopedia off the bookshelf in years gone past. Even cooler to pull a book off a bookshelf if that’s a possibility. SO ANALOG!
But looking at your phone constantly screams insecurity and as such will make you look unduly unattractive. Take that.
Don’t be on ‘send, be on “receive.”
Do you ever walk away from someone you’ve just met and thought, wow, I really like them, they were so nice? If you think back, it’s usually because they asked you questions, they were interested in YOU. Be curious. Ask your fellow guests questions. What a great opportunity to learn more about someone else’s world.
The magic words.
Maybe your host will have help in the kitchen, but they probably won’t. Personally I appreciate help with clearing away dishes. At the very least, I ask guests to bring their own dishes to the kitchen. Beyond dreading waking up to a disaster, the dog will eat all the scraps if plates are left lying around.
Anyway, take a temperature test, and if it seems it would be appreciated, make yourself useful in the most unobtrusive way possible. Don’t make a fuss, just quietly help clear and clean dishes, that sort of thing.
Your host probably woke up early to prepare for the salon. Now they are tired and perhaps you should go home?
If you have even an inkling that you should go home, then you’ve overstayed your welcome. If your host muffles a yawn, you should have left an hour ago.
Obviously, a must. To not extend a thank-you suggests you’re either ignorant or arrogant. Neither are attractive. In this day and age, for most events, it’s totally fine to text a thank you. Email a thank you the next day, that’s also thoughtful.
Or perhaps you’ll call and hash over the gathering with your host, that’s always fun. And if you like to write letters or postcards and trust the mail service, wow, go for a thank you that way.
Help the host help you.
Last but not least – this one seems obvious, but might require a little forethought.
When you RSVP that you are coming, also let them know a few updated tidbits about what’s going on in your life. This will help your host introduce you and start conversations about what you’re up to with their friends. Intros with easy conversation starters make for easier conversations!
The purpose of a salon, after all, is conversation. And you’ll typically know the topic of the salon in advance IF it’s that kind of salon. So you can read up in advance, listen to some relevant podcasts, HAVE A POINT OF VIEW, but also ask others what their thoughts are.
And if you’re hosting as well, read up on How to Encourage Guest Participation for more info on how to fully show up for optimized salon-ing and embody your most present, curious self.