Being a good guest isn't a passive affair. It means actively participating in making the party or gathering a success. There are certain people I like to invite to anything I give because I know they'll show up and leave on time, they'll be able to talk to anyone, and they'll help me with little things that keep the party flowing and going. They just make a positive contribution!
Here are some tips on how to be a great guest:

1. When you get an invitation, R.S.V.P.

2. Arrive 10-15 minutes after the invitation time (but no later). This gives your host and/or hostess those last few minutes to prepare.

3. Check and see if children are invited. If they aren't, don't bring yours. Nor should you expect your host and hostess to solve the babysitter dilemma for you.

4. Don't arrive empty-handed ... A bottle of wine, a bouquet of flowers, a packet of printed cocktail napkins, a small inspirational booklet ...

5. Offer to help in the kitchen, offer to help with the dishes. You may be told "no," but at least you asked.

6. Participate! It's up to you to make it a party. Being a guest isn't a passive thing. Get active and do your part to make it a go. How? Talk to someone who's alone, mix and mingle, make good conversation, make it a point to talk with everyone there at some point, do your part.

7. Don't overstay your welcome - no matter how much you're enjoying yourself. Why? You had a nap, got your nails done, watched the football game. They've been cooking and cleaning for days. How do you know when it's time to leave? Well, aside from the invitation, use your intuition. You may've been told 2-5, or just "come around 8", but your host and/or hostess will give off nonverbal signals when it's time for you to go home - yawns, rolling eyes, they'll get up suddenly, start fidgeting, not take up the conversation ...

8. Pitch in in an unobtrusive way. Empty some ash trays, clear off the coffee table of used dishes, whisk your hosts' kid off to the bathroom, pass around a plate of hot hors d'oeuvres.

9. Say good-bye, formally. Even if it's a large gathering, seek out the host and/or hostess and tell them good bye, and thank them!

10. Send a written thank-you note afterwards. It's just a nice thing to do!

Author's Bio: 

Susan Dunn is a personal and professional development coach who helps clients achieve their goals. Visit her on the web at and for FREE ezine.