I believe in the art of being a wonderful dinner guest. Maybe you do too. In which case, let me give you a few quick test questions:
- Do you pull out the chair for another guest, or simply take your seat?
- Do you show interest in what other people have to say and give them the chance to shine, or endlessly talk about yourself?
Do you leave your phone on the table, or keep it on silent in your pocket?
Although dinner parties don’t have to require a performance on our part, they should be a seen as a chance to display us at our best. If you’ve ever wondered how to be the guest that everyone wants to invite over again, in this week’s episode of LOVELife I give you 5 SIMPLE TIPS for blowing away your host and making a great impression on every guest at the table.
Five Ways To Be A Great Dinner Guest
Today we are talking about the five ways to be a great dinner guest on today’s show. I’m excited about this because I feel like too often when we go to dinner, we see ourselves as going to a place where we are going to be entertained.
Someone else is hosting. Someone else is putting on the show. And we’re just there to soak all of it up.
And I would like to defy this idea and say that we are there to be part of the show. We’re there to be part of that performance. And we have to bring something to the table, excuse the pun. We have to be someone who actually adds value to that situation. Otherwise, we won’t be invited again.
So how do we add value? How do we be a great dinner guest? I have five ways.
#1 – Observe Etiquette
I’m going to get this out of the way because it’s an obvious one. But number one, observe etiquette. So in other words, be the person who can pull out the lady’s chair next to you. Pace your eating. Don’t feel like you’re going to rush your food and finish before anyone else has even gotten close to finishing their food.
Even when it comes to the way you eat, people would say, “Well, I’m just going to eat the way I always eat. I’m going to be myself.”
Well, kind of.
I know the way I eat at home on my own is not the same as the way that I eat when I go to dinner. I don’t think I would want everyone watching the way I eat at home. But when I go to dinner, I do want to be more of a gentleman. I do want to put on a slightly better performance than I normally do. And I think that’s okay. I think that’s part of being around company and trying to be slightly more proper because you are around other people.
Your phone shouldn’t be left on the table. Please don’t ever be one of those people who sits there with their phone on the table facing upwards, text messages going off, all of that stuff. It’s vibrating constantly. Put it in your pocket and really give yourself to the situation. Be present, be involved, be a contributor instead of someone who is divided between what’s going on around them and their phone.
#2 – Come With a Story
Number two, come with great stories. I think you should come with a couple of stories locked and loaded to any dinner. And people say, “That sounds a bit contrived. And do I really have to plan in advance?”
Yes, because, otherwise, you’re going to be the boring person at the table. Yes, you do have to come with something to say. And I think that stories are important.
We as human beings have a history of storytelling that goes way back to the caves. We are good at storytelling. We’re natural storytellers. If we’re not used to telling stories, we should start getting good at it. That may be a topic for another day.
But for this today, I want to talk about you bringing stories to the table. When you’re at the table, always have just one or two stories that you can reel off.
They might be from today. They might be from the last week. It might be a story you’ve been telling for 20 years but you know is a great one. Have that story ready to go so that you can contribute and be part of that performance.
#3 – Be Current
Third, be current. Know what’s going on at any particular time. Read a newspaper that week. Read a couple of journals. Go on a couple of websites and find out what’s in the news.
I’m not talking about knowing every piece of celebrity gossip. I’m talking about actually being aware of what’s going on in the world around you. There is nothing worse than being at a table where you say to someone, “Well, what about that thing?” And you start describing something, and they go, “I don’t know about that thing. What do you mean?”
It shows someone who’s boring. It shows someone who’s ignorant. It shows someone that is not interested in anything outside of their bubble.
Great conversationalists have the ability to converse on different things that are going on at any one time. And that includes things that are current.
That leads me to the fourth thing…
#4 – Have An Opinion
The fourth thing is to have opinions. When things that are topical come up, when current stories come up, be prepared to have an opinion on those things.
#5 – Be Inclusive
The fifth part of this is to not just give your opinion, but be inclusive. Once you’ve given an opinion, ask the opinion of someone else.
In other words, don’t finish a sentence without saying, “Mark, what do you think of that? What do you make of this whole situation?” And actually pass the ball to someone else.
Lest you be someone who just is seen as enjoying the sound of their own voice too much, pass the ball to someone else. Involve them.
Be that person who can lead the table and bring in different people, especially sometimes the quiet people who don’t say a lot. They’ll actually appreciate you for bringing them in and making sure that they’re part of the discussion as well.
To Sum It Up…
So that’s it, the five tips to becoming a great dinner guest:
- Observe etiquette
- Come with great stories
- Be current
- Have opinions
- Be inclusive
I hope you found those useful. Go use them at your next dinner that you get invited to, and let me know how you get on. Leave me a comment. Let me know what you thought of this topic on Facebook or in the comments below. I look forward to discussing this with you there. Take care!