10 Tips To Be A Great Guest – And Get Invited Back!

There are many different kinds of dinner hosts. You might have that friend who has their Friday night table set on Wednesday and doesn’t let anyone help out in the kitchen. Or that friend who is always 30 seconds away from scrapping dinner and ordering in pizza. You might know that couple: she’s a tornado in the kitchen, and he follows behind putting everything back in its place.

As a dinner guest, where do you fit in? Our natural inclination is to flood the kitchen when we first arrive. When I host, many of my friends offer to lend me a helping hand. No matter the host, here are 10 helpful tips to be the best dinner guest you can be.

Before You Get There

1. Never show up empty handed. Always arrive with something lovely in your arms: a bottle of wine, olive oil, a candle. A small thoughtful gift that shows me you care. If you don’t know know your host that well, flowers are a good go-to. The best gift I received from a guest were flowers that were ready for the dinner table. I didn’t have to stop everything to cut stems or look for a vase.

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2. Ask before bringing a +1. Sometimes space is limited or the guest list has been carefully curated, and other times the more the merrier.

3. Resolve to stop checking your text messages, Snapchats, e-mails, WhatsApp messages, and JSwipe matches. Or better yet, turn your phone on silent. I love it when my guests are present at the table and fully involved in the conversations and interactions that are taking place, IRL.

Pre-Dinner

4. Don’t crowd the kitchen. Try to guide kitchen-dwellers into another room. This will free up precious work-space and give your host room to finish up dinner. I definitely appreciate those moments I have alone where I can take a few deep breaths.

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At the Table

5. If seating arrangements have not been made, resist the urge to sit next to your +1, or with friends you already know. Shake it up; meet new people. If I don’t raise a glass to make a toast, don’t be shy and clink away. (Hint: toast your host.)

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6. Help clear the table. This is one of the nicest things a guest can do. By this point, everyone is a little tired and I absolutely love it when my guests offer this small gesture.

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Post-Dinner

7. Say thank you.

8. Say thank you.

9. Say thank you.

This does not need to be a handwritten letter on your grandmother’s stationary. A creative text like: “🍝🍰🍷👍👍👍” , an e-mail or an old-fashioned phone call will do. Trust me, this goes a long way.

10. Reciprocate! Invite a few folks over for a dinner of your own, and be sure to include those who were so gracious to welcome you into their home.

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OneTable

OneTable empowers people who don’t yet have a consistent Shabbat dinner practice to build one that feels authentic, sustainable, and valuable. The OneTable community is funded to support people (21-39ish), not in undergraduate studies, and without an existing weekly Shabbat practice, looking to find and share this powerful experience.

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