7 Dinner Party Rules We Finally Agree with Now That We’re Adults

published May 3, 2017
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Remember the dinner parties your parents used to throw when you were a kid? You know, those weekend nights when you ate dinner early and then went upstairs to entertain yourself while mom and dad fed their friends? You’d sneak downstairs to check out the scene and it just looked so … boring! How were they all still sitting at that table?

But now that it’s your turn to try adulting, you totally get it. Dinner parties are fun! And now you also understand all the things your mom used to complain and freak out about! Here’s a look at the dinner party rules we all finally agree with now that we’re grown-ups.

1. Show up on time.

How many times would you have to be called to the dinner table as a kid? As an adult you now understand that when going to someone’s home for a dinner party, punctuality is key. If you’re too early, chances are you’re catching your host unprepared. If you’re too late, the whole timing gets thrown off. As it is, anyone who has made a multi-course dinner knows how hard it is to time everything so it all finishes at the exact right time. Plus, if you arrive after everyone has taken a seat for dinner, it takes the host’s attention away from other guests while they try to get you settled in and caught up. You know to arrive at — or a few minutes after — the time you were given.

2. Bring a thoughtful hostess gift.

Maybe you used to roll your eyes at those little baskets of soap your mom’s coworker would bring over, but now you appreciate the thought of a personalized gift. You would never dream of showing up empty-handed — even if that means stopping to pick up a random bottle of wine on the way over. You love bringing your host’s favorite scented candle, tea, or preserves. Someone wants to make you dinner (for free!) and you know that the least you can do is bring them a small present.

3. Don’t show up with an uninvited guest.

You’ve seen your frazzled mom try to squeeze another chair around the table. And you’d think, “what’s the big deal? the more the merrier, right?” Now, you totally get why she’d freak out. An extra person who wasn’t cleared by the host well in advance starts a scramble for an additional place setting and more food.

4. Don’t bring phones to the dinner table.

When we were kids, this (unfair!) rule was more about Game Boys or answering the land line, but you get the point. Nothing is a bigger buzzkill for a host than looking around and seeing all your guests with their faces light up because they’re scrolling away on their phones. Unless someone is checking in with a sitter, phones should be away and on silent. The exception, of course, is if someone wants to post an Instagram photo, tagging the host with the hashtag #hostessgoals. We kid! But seriously, it’s always okay to do that after dinner!

5. Don’t rush to get up from the table.

The best part of dinner used to be the part when we’d get excused from the table to go play. As an adult, you can sit and chat with your friends long after the last drops of coffee have been poured. You enjoy the downtime! You also never want to be the one to end the party early.

6. Offer to help.

When you were a kid, you probably never offered to help clear the table. (If you did, you deserve an award!) Now, you always try — even if you know your host will refuse.

7. Always say thank you!

Your mom used to beg you to say please and thank you. That habit is now engrained in you and you understand that a sincere thank you is a small gesture that really shows your host that you enjoyed your evening and appreciated all of the effort they put in. You say it that night, and you maybe even send a little handwritten card or fire off an email.

What other rules do you finally agree with now?