Madhu once accompanied her husband to a formal dinner party organized by his colleagues. And he’s never asked her again!
The simple reason is that Madhu’s complete lack of etiquette embarrassed her husband and he did not wish to repeat the performance (or non-performance) of that evening. Sure, it would have been better if he had openly discussed the matter and taught her what she needed to learn. But Ramesh did not wish to offend his dear wife or embarrass her. So he just kept mum and attended all formal parties on his own.
This is not a lone example of lack of etiquette affecting someone’s life negatively. For all you know, you might be embarrassing your husband with your lack of etiquette! And in many cases, it’s the men who have no etiquette at all. So whether it is you, or your better half (or both of you) who needs to learn how to behave at formal dos, read on for a few tips.
• Arrive On Time
And it’s not IST (Indian Stretchable Time) that we are talking about. Arriving late for a formal dinner is considered bad manners and also insensitive. Your host has given you a time for some reason. So be a little considerate and respect that.
• Do Not Bring Uninvited Guests
If the hosts have invited you and your spouse only, leave the kids behind at home. Similarly, if someone drops in at your house just before you are leaving for the dinner party, it is NOT OK to invite him/her/them to accompany you.
• Buy Something For Your Host
It is considered bad manners to arrive empty-handed at a formal dinner party. You can take some flowers for the hostess, but then she’d have to use them immediately. If she already has a flower decoration for the table, she’d either have to get rid of that (to accommodate your flowers) or she’d have to think of something else. It is better to take something that can be just kept away for the moment, and used later on. A bottle of wine is a great gift.
• Mingle And Socialize
After you have arrived, exchange pleasantries with everyone. Do not just sit in a corner waiting for the food to arrive. Mix in with the crowd and socialize. Try to talk to as many people as you can. Do not stick by your spouse’s side as if joined together with Fevicol!
• Learn Some Table Manners
If you are not too sure about what to do with your cutlery and when, just slowly copy someone who looks like she knows. It is best that you learn some table manners beforehand and practice at home. Bad table manners are considered very ‘down-market’.
• Thank Your Host
After the dinner is over, you may be asked to move to another room for coffee and/or games. Stay for a while before you take your leave. And do remember to thank your hosts for the dinner and an enjoyable evening.