When leaving a party...

housefulMay 27, 2011

do you go out of your way to seek out the host AND hostess? I would never consider leaving without doing so, but recently we had people over and two people left without saying goodbye to me. I made it very clear to my kids that such behavior is unacceptable.

As I am typing, I am reminded of a dinner we hosted when were first married. Everyone finished eating before I sat down. I at alone. I was so hurt and angry and my husband didn't know what to say to me. I also relayed that story to my kids, but because these were RELATIVES, I never told them who it was. Now that I am older and wiser, I wouldn't hesitate to say something outloud. Would you?

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lavender_lass

Yes, my mom taught us that you always thank people for inviting you into their home. We were also told you don't start eating, until everyone (especially the hostess) is seated.

I don't know why some people don't seem to realize that good manners define a civilization...along with art, music, mathematics and literature, IMHO :)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 10:58PM
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jakabedy

I always try to seek out both hosts of a party. But on occasion I have not been able to get to one of them and have asked the other to thank him/her for me. But to be honest with you, I don't recall ever having been taught that. But maybe I was and I just don't remember it. Dad was a military officer so he and mom attended a lot of functions and were aware of how to do things "correctly", I'm sure.

My stepsons? Raised by wolves, it appears. From what I can tell, DH's ex never wanted to socialize with anyone except her own extended family. So I don't think the boys were ever around anyone but their own cousins, etc., so everything was always very casual. They really don't have any manners at all. DH is as kind and polite as they come, but doesn't really know proper manners in social situations, either. And all of these folks are southern, so use "ma'am" and "sir" -- they just don't really know etiquette, I guess is the way to put it.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 7:34AM
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lavender_lass

One of my favorite examples of 'good manners' was when FDR was President. I heard this in a history class and it's supposed to have really happened. A young man was asked to attend a Presidential dinner, but was not used to such formal affairs. Being a bit nervous and distracted, he picked up some crackers and crumbled them into his soup. The entire dinner party stopped and stared at the now embarrassed man...until FDR smiled, picked up his crackers...and crumbled them into his soup. Now that's class :)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:02PM
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houseful

Great story, Lavender!

Jakabedy, my dad was a military officer as well, so, yes, they were strict on manners. Another thing is that my mom has a hard time with casual holidays. When I have 30-40 people for a holiday, it's pretty hard to have a sit down dinner, LOL!

This BBQ was for kids as well, so you'd think the parents would have made the kids come say goodbye and thank you. Oh well, I'm certainly not losing sleep over it; it does make a great teachable moment for my kids.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 8:36AM
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lavender_lass

That's so interesting, because my dad was in the military, too. Maybe that has something to do with it?

Kids really don't learn these things, so many times. I actually found a cute book for my niece...all about manners, thank you notes, hosting little tea parties, etc. She loves it and at least she'll get some good ideas, while she's reading it :)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 6:32PM
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jakabedy

Military brats unite! I think that anymore, outside of certain circles, etiquette just isn't really taught. "Please" and "thank you" are about it. In the South you do still get "sir" and "ma'am". Heck, I've been to two weddings in the last couple years for my own peers (women in their 40s) and never even got a thank you note for my gift. It's just odd.

One of the things that makes me nuts is that folks don't know how to introduce people anymore. Even my DH hasn't grasped that one yet. I mean, when I walk into my stepson's house and there are three people sitting around, it gets awkward around minute three when no introductions have been made.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 12:29AM
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blfenton

My parents were sticklers for manners which included how to introduce either yourself or someone else, please, thank-you's, notes (although I have boys and have to admit notes never happened but phone calls did). They were taught that when they went to a friends place to always seek out the parents (unless they're in hiding!) and say hello and goodbye.
Their friends do the same thing.
My kids were taught to always introduce their friends to us and have never found it to be uncomfortable. They know the alternative - I'll introduce myself.
It's such a small thing to do and yet becomes a big thing when not done. I think you do your kids a favour when teaching them manners because, as witnessed by this post, it will reflect on them when they are adults.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 7:05PM
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palimpsest

I think it depends on the situation, a bit. 95% of the time I would say it is appropriate to seek out at least one host. If it is a large party--50 or 100 people--and doing so would be awkward or somehow call attention to the fact that you are leaving (say early, or to go to another function)--I would not. Sometimes this could start a general exodus. There are a minority of instances where I think it is better to slip out unobtrusively. Usually if this is the case, I will tell the host ahead of time I can't stay long.

Eating before the host sits down is completely unacceptable. Even if the host urges you to start, it does Not mean finish.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 12:11PM
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palimpsest

Actually this type of departure, although more appropriate when you and your friends have gotten together in a public place is called "the Irish goodbye".

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 6:13PM
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johnliu_gw

Thank the hostess - before or after you rifle the jewelry box? I say, before - just common courtesy.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 10:22PM
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lee676

Is it clear to your guests that both of you are hosting the party?

I sometimes gather that some of our guests at a party don't realize how much work is involved in preparation, hosting the party itself, and cleaning up afterwards. Especially at larger parties (25+ people) unfortunately, I'm usually only thanked by a small percentage of those attending.

I try to thank anyone involved in hosting any party I attend, both for inviting me and for preparing/serving the food (or whatever their role), but I'm sure I've missed a few occasions over the years.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 4:12AM
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palimpsest

The proper way is to write a thank you note after you've gotten home, if its a large party, or to at least phone a thanks if it was a small party.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 7:24PM
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lowspark

I always thank at least one host before leaving. At a large or crowded party, it can be hard to locate the host(s) so as long as I've thanked one of them I figure I'm ok. Usually the wife if it's a husband/wife hosting. But if it's easy to find both, I thank both.

I do write thank you notes sometimes but not as often as I should. I'm always so pleasantly surprised when I receive one for a party I've given. I'm pretty sure that all of my guests thank me when they are leaving, and I always try to walk them to the door.

I agree that people who never give parties really have no idea of the amount of work that goes into giving one. I've definitely heard comments before that make that clear. Not rude comments, just things people say in normal conversation. And then there are people who do know how much work it takes - they do it once and never do it again!

I love to have parties, including all the work. All that prep is, for me, half the fun. The clean up - not so much! LOL

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 10:18AM
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houseful

LOL, Johnliu!

I have several friends from whom I can always expect a thank-you note. And this time, I received two emails after the party that were clearly sent from the car on their way home. Most of us are content with a simple thank-you as the people leave, but when people go out of their way later, it is very nice.

It is a lot of work, but the more parties I have the more the house gets clean! We have been remodeling so many areas of the house over the past five years that I took over most of the cleaning duties. It is my mess afterall. If someone was coming over, I would round the kids up and we would go into overdrive to clean up.

Now, however, we are almost finished and when I tell the kids it's housecleaning time just because I want it cleaned, they respond, "Who's coming over?"

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 9:49AM
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