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12 Dinner Party Habits Your Host Secretly Dislikes

You'd never know it, but there are a few things that secretly grind your host's gears.

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Excited couple at entrance door with bottle of wine.Shutterstock / Jacob Lund

Arriving fashionably late

It may be alright for informal gatherings, but when your host has carefully timed appetizers and dinner, making them wait for you just causes additional stress. If you’re running late, be sure to send the host a quick message assuring them that they can start without you.

Wondering how much food should you make for your party? Our guide will put you at ease.

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Woman Bringing Meal For Elderly NeighborShutterstock / SpeedKingz

Bringing a dish when you weren’t asked

Bringing food when your host has said not to—or doing so without even asking puts your host in the awkward position of having to appear grateful even though your food might throw off balance they’ve worked to create. It’s polite to make the offer, and even more polite to honor your host’s wishes. Instead, bring a pretty hostess gift that your friend will appreciate long after the party is done.

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Group Of Friends Having Dinner Party At HomeShutterstock / Monkey Business Images

Bringing a dish that needs prepping

If you are contributing a dish to the party, don’t arrive asking to use your host’s dishes, knives or oven to put the food together. There is likely little counter space left and limited to zero availability for the oven. If your recipe can’t be completely prepped and cooked ahead of time, it’s best to use a different one.

These party meatballs are ready ahead of time and are a perfect dish to bring!

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Summer barbecue party with friendsShutterstock / goodluz

Talking only to the host

Your host has brought you all together to mingle and enjoy each other’s company. He or she will want to move around to talk to everyone, and of course to bring out food and drinks. So don’t just glue yourself to your host’s side: introduce yourself to others at the party and get conversations flowing.

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Two male having serious conversation during lunch at backyard patioShutterstock / Zivica Kerkez

Starting conversations that are divisive or exclude others

In a goodhearted effort to get folks chatting some guests veer into topics that make others uncomfortable, such as politics or religion. Sometimes guests who share a connection (co-workers, kids go to the same school, etc.) will be tempted to vent and dish with each other, leaving the rest of the guests out of the loop. Keep others included and the atmosphere enjoyable.

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Man using a smartphonefile404/Shutterstock

Bringing a phone to the table

Smartphones have earned the nickname of “conversation killers”, and it’s so true! How tempting it is to pull out your phone in the middle of a perfectly pleasant chat to check a calendar or search for an answer to a random question. But when your phone comes out conversation stops as others watch your attention disappear into your device. No chatting makes for a dull party so resist the urge: focus on people rather than screens. If you have to answer your phone, politely excuse yourself and chat in a different room.

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Woman refusing frazzled sausage on barbecue partyShutterstock /

Keeping your dietary needs a secret… until you sit down

You may think you’re being polite by not bothering your host with your food needs, however, no one wants to see a guest at a dinner party declining all food offered to them! Your host will appreciate you reaching out to them in advance if you have any allergies. Only share food restrictions that would prevent you from eating, not just a long list of dislikes.

Here’s how a host can plan for their guests’ food preferences.

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Host and friends pass food round the table at a dinner partyShutterstock / Monkey Business Images

Not eating until all are served

This one surprised me, as we were taught growing up that it is rude to start eating before everyone has their food. However, at a dinner party with many guests to serve and several dishes to pass around, waiting only means that food gets cold—and the host’s hard work in the kitchen will be for nothing. Enjoy the food at its best.

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A Woman Taking A Photo Of Food On A PlateShutterstock / NatashaPhoto

Taking photos of the food

You may think it the ultimate compliment to pull out your phone and snap photos of the food your host serves you. In reality not only are you letting the food get cold (see the previous tip) but you should always get your host’s permission before posting photos of the party or food on social media. If you’re feeling photo-happy, offer to take a picture of the guests at the table before the food arrives and share them with the group later.

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Group of men and women enjoying outdoor dinner celebration.LStockStudio/Shutterstock

Not taking seconds

As long as all the guests have had a serving, there is no reason not to take seconds! Your host will be so pleased to see how much you like the food, and they don’t want to pack up a lot of leftovers at the end of the night anyway.

Check out these foods made for taking seconds!

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Table with plates and meals.Shutterstock / RedFox Studio

Insisting on helping

Much like the tip about bringing a dish, respect your host’s wishes on this one. It’s fine to offer to help clean up or clear dishes, but insistence on the matter will just make your host uncomfortable. They most likely just want you and the rest of the guests to relax and enjoy yourselves!

Make some of these festive, non-alcoholic drinks for your party.

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Portrait of parent saying goodbye to their daughter for workShutterstock / Odua Images

Not leaving when the party’s over

Nobody wants the fun to come to an end, and maybe you’ve been hoping for a more intimate conversation with your host. But they’ve likely been on their feet all day and are ready for some rest! Respect the end time listed for the dinner party. If no end time was given, pay attention to the social cues around you: if guests are starting to leave or your host is stifling a yawn, it’s time to wrap it up!

These party recipes are so delicious they will be devoured, and no leftovers means a quick clean-up for the host!

Nancy Mock
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.
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