It’s very tempting to take the host’s statement of “make yourself at home” literally, especially if you’re close friends. It’s good to remember that no matter how close you may be, there’s still etiquette that you have to adhere to as a guest.
Being a good guest starts even before you get to the host’s home:
Reply to the invitation.
Remember to reply to the invitation as PROMPTLY as you can. A simple ‘yes, I’d love to be there’ or ‘no, I’m sorry I can’t make it’ will suffice. If you cannot go, try to avoid giving a detailed explanation.
Never turn up empty-handed.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but try to get a thoughtful item you know the person will use, or consume. Remember to keep your host in mind. You don’t want to bring wine, if your host doesn’t drink alcohol.
Arrive on time.
Try to arrive within ten or fifteen minutes of the designated time on the invitation. Getting there too early may mean you’ll get in the way of party preparations, while getting there too late is just rude.
Once you arrive:
Don’t be picky.
Once the food is served, try to eat everything the host has prepared. If there are things you particularly do not like, don’t comment on it, and just try to avoid that particular food. The only reasonable time to say you will not eat what the host has prepared, is if you are allergic to this particular food.
Converse with everyone.
Don’t stay on your phone the whole time, and wait for the host to approach you, and talk. They’re probably busy making sure everyone feels comfortable, to always come and chat with you. Be confident, and mingle with the other guests, and who knows, you might leave the party with a bunch of new friends.
Lastly, enjoy yourself! It’s what your host wants — for her guests to mingle, and be comfortable enough to really have fun. Remember to make sure your host knows this as you leave his/her house.
Learn more at John Robert Powers.