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How (and Why) to Be Everybody's Favorite Guest

When you practice basic etiquette (also known as manners or social skills), you can carry yourself with a certain grace and confidence—one that most people don't even aspire to.

But what about those who ignore basic etiquette? The ones who talk too loud, lick their fingers at a business lunch, or whose idea of "bring an appetizer" is to show up with corn dogs? (See Point #3 below) It turns out we all expect good manners. So in true holiday spirit, let's all do our part to move the needle.

9 Ways to Be the Ideal Holiday Guest

  1. RSVP. If you're saying yes, say it with enthusiasm—and of course promptly. Make the other person glad they invited you, even if it's "just family."
  2. Treat your family with as much warmth and respect as you would a friend. If they don't reciprocate, hold your head high and let them own that.
  3. If it's a meal at someone's home, ask what you can bring—and bring it. Yes, even if it's corn dogs. The point is to fit into the occasion.
  4. When in doubt, ask. For example, if you're asked to bring dessert, make sure your host approves your choice. Choose something that will complement the rest of the meal.
  5. If you have food limitations, cover that with your host well ahead of time. Most will be happy to adjust, especially if you present it as a request.
  6. Dress for the occasion. At the very least, how hard is it to iron a pair of khakis and put on a nice sweater? We feel better when we dress well. It's also a way to show respect and appreciation.
  7. Show up at the requested time. Text if you'll be more than ten minutes late.
  8. Never ever show up early.
  9. Don't leave without saying goodbye to your hosts—and thanking them.
What else would you add to this list? Enjoy your week and Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Decorum in the workplace isn't optional.

As a certified corporate etiquette consultant from The Protocol School of Washington, I have taught business etiquette to new hires nationwide and I know how to make it fun. If you're ready to make your workplace more polite and professional (and you've got the authority/budget to do so), please let me know how I can help!

Ideal Guest Tip #2: Treat your family with as much warmth and respect as you would a friend.

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at