Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Manners and Etiquette: Are Your Guests Starving?




After the majority of you responded to my previous poll some months ago with a wish for more posts on Manners & Etiquette, I've decided to share some bite-sized, weekly posts on Manners & Etiquette. No topic is off limits here-everything from meeting new people at a social gathering to what is and is not acceptable at the office. If you have a specific question for me, I'd love to answer it in an upcoming post! Just e-mail me and you can choose to share your name and or/city, or simply remain anonymous.



I try to keep this blog well rounded so that there is something for everyone, all while fulfilling the purpose of this blog which is to introduce new ideas, inspiration and advice for those that wish to become (or continue to be) the Classy Woman they've always desired to be.



I don't know about you, but when I have guests visit my home I like to make sure that I make them feel as comfortable as possible. New friends get shown where the ladies' room is and they are always offered a beverage and when staying for more than just a quick 10 minute drop-in, they are always offered a little something to munch on too.



Today's post was inspired by my own personal experience, when I was on the 'receiving end' some months ago. Have you ever visited a home where you weren't offered even so much as a glass of water, nevermind a snack?



A couple months ago, I visited a new friend, we had planned to talk about some news she had and spent the day catching up. In my mind, I only planned to stay about 2 hours but she had a lot to share with me, so I stayed a little longer. I realized it had quickly turned into a 5-hour visit! I was starving and was not offered anything at all, aside from water about an hour after I arrived. I asked my friend if she was interested in heading out to grab some coffee or a quick bite as I didn't want to impose, hoping she was just as hungry. But she explained that she was on a tight budget and preferred not to. It got to the point where I had to kindly wrap up our visit and head out to get a snack fast! Don't let this happen to your guests. Here are some basic tips on taking care of planned guests and drop-in visitors in a more casual, conversational setting.



1. Stock Up-Always keep some snacks stocked that you like and others would also appreciate-corn chips & salsa/guacamole (a staple in our home is Wholly Guacamole and Archer Farms' Organic Blue Corn Chips with Flax), crackers and cheese with some grapes, fruit for slicing up or presenting on a small platter or some mixed nuts-these don't break the bank and will have you guest ready.



2. Be Prepared-When you know guests are popping over for over 30 minutes, be sure to prepare something small-some blueberries, strawberries and green grapes on a platter look pretty and are always tasty. You could always have an inexpensive store-bought or pre-made dessert at the ready. Be sure to have a few options for drinks also-water, lemonade, iced tea, fruit juice, coffee, tea, soda are all acceptible beverages and are usually on hand in most homes. Be sure to place the food out just before your guest(s) are due to arrive and in a central location.



3. Hostess with the Mostest-Get in the habit of asking guests after they first arrive if you can get them some water or another beverage. This way, you won't forget to ask later and they won't feel awkward for having to ask. If you are extremely busy with your children, and you feel comfortable, you can always let family or very good friends know that your house is their house. If a guest has never been to your home before, be sure to be a good hostess and grab it for them. Try though to make a point of serving your guests, it not only makes for a good hostess but a lot of people feel uncomfortable going into someone else's fridge and cupboards.



Here is another post you might enjoy about the Etiquette of Hosting House Guests.



How about YOU? Have you ever left someone's home starving or feeling a little dehydrated? Maybe you were the one hosting guests and wondered afterward if you had prepared enough food?

I'd love for you to share your thoughts and any tips or recipes you have when it comes to 'being ready' for drop-in or planned guests!



21 comments:

  1. You know, I feel like a horrible person. Unless we are having some type of cookout or party or something, I don't generally offer my guests food or drink! OMG! Thanks for opening my eyes for me! This is definitely something I will work on!

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  2. Good ideas! I have also heard of people using this tactic so that their guests would leave as well. I sure hope this wasn't the situation you experienced!

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  3. Angie: Don't beat yourself up, when I was much younger there were a few times I forgot to introduce people I assumed already knew one another. Asking guests if they would like something didn't always come to the forefront of my mind back then either. We learn as we go along. :)

    Kristen: Yes, that can be true sometimes, especially at parties where people linger to the point of overstaying their welcome.

    I was invited to her home to catch up on months of us not seeing one another, which we had planned for weeks and set aside the time for. I had only wanted to stay a couple hours but she had a lot to tell me and kept the conversation going. She lives alone and I think she just genuinely didn't have anything to offer at that time.

    ~K

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  4. Yes I have been in that situation before and it always feels so odd to me. I grew up in a house where my Mother was Princess Grace of hostessing and I hope it has carried on with me. I have noticed that when I visit my grown childrens homes they treat me the way they have seen me treat guest and it makes a Mama proud. Kathysue

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  5. Oh, KathySue you sound like you've set such a great example for them when it comes to being a hostess. :) My grandmother was always giving us food and drinks. I don't think she was content unless we were all eating. LOL

    ~Karla

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  6. Karla thanks for this reminder! I feel bad now because I had a few gals over the other night for a church knitting group we have (we meet once a month). In the past, when it's been my turn to host, I've offered water or tea and cookies of some sort, but this time I didn't. I didn't even offer a glass of water. Most of the time, the ladies haven't eaten the cookies, so I just decided not to put any out. But I should have at least offered something to drink! Thank you for this good reminder about hosting guests!
    I also wanted to ask you, when is your book coming out? I have read some of your articles and enjoyed them very much!
    thanks
    Kelly

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  7. Kelly you are most welcome! Don't feel bad-it sounds like you usually make the effort. :) There are those guests that despite your best efforts, don't touch the food or require a drink.

    Thanks for inquiring about my book. :) I hesitate to give an exact date as I've had a few delays. LOL. It's safe to say at this point that it will be available next month. I will be sending a personal e-mail to everyone who has directly inquired, I will add you to the list! There will be a formal announcement here too.

    I'm so glad to hear that you've been enjoying my articles. :)

    Warmly,
    Karla

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  8. Karla, Great Minds think alike!Your coment on my blog was just perfect. I do not have houseguests because I just won't invite anyone in this house... but my new home I will put out the welcome sign!!!
    Have a pretty day!
    Kristin

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  9. Great suggestions each one. While I always mean to ask them from the beginning what they want, sometimes I forget. Thanks for the tips. =)

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  10. That can be an uncomfortable position to be in. I suppose I'd never have a problem asking, "If it's no trouble, could I bother you for a glass of ice water?" but asking for something to eat, I might feel a little awkward. I think the way you handled it with your friend was perfect. (Even if she didn't quite understand.)

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  11. Karla, thank you for visiting my blog the other day. I am now following yours, which appears to be full of information every woman can use!

    I pride myself on being a good, sensitive hostess, maybe to crazy lengths. If I know that a random child will be joining us for our annual Hannukah party, I make sure and have extra kid gifts because I'd hate to be the one kid to didn't get a present! I always make sure I have extra gift cards because there's always someone who flakes out on the gift exchange. Even though these things are transparent to the people at the party and I get no credit for them, I would get a lot of criticism for them if I didn't manage to pop up with this stuff!

    Nowadays, I'd say one of the most difficult things about entertaining are peoples' various dietary restrictions and allergies. And here's what I do about that: fruit salad!

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  12. You are so good! This is a great reminder to take care of our guests. Most of us are better at minding our manner as guests than we are of hostesses....

    I am doing a giveaway for a really pretty, gold necklace on Aspiring Kennedy. It's gorgeous. It ends tomorrow! www. aspiringkennedy.com

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  13. This is great advice--wonderful!
    Not only do I show new guests where the powder room is, and make a small snack, I also show them where the bottled water in the fridge is if they want it (bring it to them if they want it right then).
    I also tell them, that since they have now been to my house once, the next time they are free to get whatever they like out of the fridge or pantry--mi casa es su casa!
    I learned to do all this, because I had a horrible (overnight) experience like you!
    I left in the middle of the night (3 AM-ish) there was a roach in my ear!! (I know! ICK!!)
    Let's just say, this was the last straw, after a myriad of social and home making faux pas, that lasted all day and into the night. Sigh.
    From that visit, I learned what NOT to do!
    Hugs,
    ~me
    P.S. We also love Wholly Guacamole and blue corn chips (Aldi's brand).

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  14. Love this... having a party tonight so this is very helpful!!
    Your blog is so lovely!!

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  15. Karla, YES! I am going to blame the purse! hahahah! MORTIFIED yes! My father in law was so impressed I am sure!
    Have a pretty day!
    Kristin

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  16. Karla, I just wanted to come by and thankyou for your very thoughtful and ariculate comment on my Commenting post today. I so agree with so many of your points. I guess we are just the polite girls our Moms raised. To not comment feels like someone talking to me and I ignore them and walk away without saying a word, rude at its worst. I truly appreciate your input and also for your faithful reading of my blog and the comments you do leave, Have a wondrful weekend,Kathysue

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  17. Wow, how bizarre; no, this has never happened to me and although I don't always stock a full bar, I can always find some kind of beverage and snack for those who drop in.

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  18. What you describe is my pet peeve. I always have a stash of goodies on hand for such an occasion. I also always have too much food at a party...Maybe it is my years as a wedding planner and listening to guest complaints...I know what people want.

    You reminded me of a good story...too long to post here...I should pots on my blog...If I do...I will link to you as inspiration!

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  19. I have experienced this so many times it's not funny! I often wonder if people forgot they invited me.

    Soooo...as the guest, what should we do when faced with this? Is it polite to ask for a glass of water? Pull a granola bar out of my purse? Leave when I get hungry and explain why?

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  20. Thank you for your question Suburban Princess! :) As the guest, what to do depends on how well you know the person in question. If it's a family member or really close friend, you could openly ask for a glass of water or drink (if that is what was not offered). For those you don't know quite so well, Karen actually listed a very polite way that I've used before too. "If it's no trouble, could I bother you for a glass of ice water?"

    When it comes to food, this can be awkward. There might be a myriad of reasons why food wasn't offered so asking could produce an embarassing response for the host. After visiting for an hour or so, you might want to suggest grabbing something outside of the host's home like a coffee, glass of wine, smoothie, etc., like I did with my new friend. Once there, you can order something more substantial or add some food to your coffee. Asking that very question should be a dead giveaway that you're hungry.

    If this happens with the same person over and over, you might want to bring your own snacks when visiting in their home or agree to meet at a cafe or somewhere neutral. With friends who eat less healthy than myself, or who generally don't offer up any type of snack, I carry either a granola bar, nuts or a protein bar in my purse. When push comes to shove, I'll ask if they mind if I eat my snack, if they didn't 'get it' after my first question about heading somewhere to grab a bite.

    At this point, it would not be considered rude to pull out your own treats. After all, they left you with no other option and your health is most important! If you really need to leave, you should. You can let your host know that you need to get on your way. If they ask why for any reason, be honest. You can tell them that you're feeling a bit faint or low blood sugar has kicked in and you need some lunch, a sugar boost, etc. Use your discretion though, it depends on the host, if you are the only one present or with a group of people. If you've stayed more than an hour, it would be completely appropriate to leave when you see fit.

    ~Karla

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  21. I just discovered your blog today and have to say I really am enjoying it. This post in particular got me thinking about a situation that is really bothering me with my husband in regards to entertaining. I was raised a bit differently than him, and I always make sure that when someone comes to the house for the first time that they are offered a drink, asked to take their coats (if they seem to have lots of "bulk" that day) and I always show them around a bit. These are casual events, so I do make a point to say afterwards that if they need anything just feel free to ask or if they want to grab a soda out of the fridge they are welcome to. The thing that I've noticed lately is that my husband tends to railroad me and before I can finish being polite, he goes full force with the "my house is your house man, whatever you want go ahead blah, blah, blah" I can't really remember exactly some of the "blah blah blahs" but they are usually something silly that actually gives me an "eek" moment. :) I know he is doing it because he wants them to feel really at home etc, but I think it comes off awkward and is a bit rude. What do you think? Should I allow him to just do this, or should I tell him it's super rude and embarrassing? I just don't know if I am overreacting and it is not as bad as I think or if he truly is doing something that is a big no-no. These are events like casual BBQs etc. Nothing formal. Thanks :) I just don't want the guests to end up feeling like they HAVE to help themselves to things if they are uncomfortable just opening my fridge etc.

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Thanks for stopping by, your comments make my day! I read every single one and will answer any questions you have. I hope you'll visit again soon! :) I look forward to reading your positive, inspiring and interesting thoughts! *Please note I remove all spam which includes shameless self-promoted posts with blog/website links. This comment space is for quality dialogue, not advertising.

Warmly,
Karla

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