‘Tis the Season to Be Entertaining Etiquette

When people receive you into their houses for a party, do you enter and then leave without making to the hosts some nice, thoughtful comment on what you have observed about their entertaining grace?

Your hosts have probably made some preparations and formal adjustments to their home pertinent to the occasion of your visit. They probably have furnishings of interest for which they have some pride in showing, things that give them pleasure and may also be a source of pleasure to their visitors. There are some things present that may test your perspicacity and reveal to the hosts something about your good eye and the quality of your appreciation and tastes, about your background that justifies their self-congratulation for knowing you and inviting you.

Surely, what they have done in some special effort to entertain you warrants the simplest expression of gratitude at the least, without excessive gushing. Something you say to them may make your participation memorable, in a good feeling the hosts can take to bed after their exertions of the day.

Good party guests make comments to the host that show a general interest in the good things of living.

To enter and take everything the hosts offer and say nothing about the experience can and probably should be taken by the hosts as a low evaluation of the their efforts to entertain. If the feelings of the guests are negative, should they keep quiet rather than speak the truth? Is silence better than saying the negative? It is the responsibility of the guests to find the right words that communicate exactly what they feel about the evening.

If the hosts failure was absolutely perfect, that terrible fact should have become obvious to everyone who was there, probably including the party-givers. However, there just had to be at least one thing that was the saving grace of the evening and worthy of comment. The hosts will use each observation in their analysis of the party. Not one person should take for granted that the party was a success.

If there is a discrepancy between what the guests tell the hosts to their faces as they leave and what the guests say to each othet in the car going home, then there is a clear ethical problem in the guests’ self-concepts. For that, there is little to be done short of taking the course of treatment.

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Published in: on December 14, 2008 at 9:53 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. I’m definitely bookmarking this site. Really great articles. Do you recommend any other readings?


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