Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Party etiquette


Eight friends that usually go out once a month for supper have decided to have a Christmas get together and I volunteered my home. Will it be ok for me to ask them to bring a specific dish?

Dear Linda:
Since you are going to be hosting the event at your home you can suggest the process by which the event is accomplished.  My guess is that when the eight of you thought of getting together for a Christmas meal, it was not agreed upon that you host the entire dinner (meaning you do all the cooking,serving, cleaning up as well as offering your home as the location).  I would assume that you can talk to each of your friends and ask if they will help with the meal and that in order to have the right courses covered you have put together a "suggested" list of items.  Be flexible.  If one does dessert better, then they can bring dessert. If one does the green bean casserole best, they can bring that.  The rule though is that the person whose home is being used is the one to provide the main dish - whatever you deem that to be (turkey, ham or whatever). May I suggest you put this together through  Set up the dinner as an event and ask the others to sign in and state what they are bringing so the others can see and make sure they don't bring the same.  This is way I do it for group dinners for the various organizations I belong to that hold potluck suppers.

Remember that this is a collaboration, not yours alone. You can't dictate to the others exactly what to bring. Allow them the freedom to bring their best but fulfilling the need of the group.

Be sure you put "cleaning up" as a need on  Get specific help for that before the event.  It will help keep things running smoothly.

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Cynthia W. Lett


Proper manners with friends,family,colleagues,neighbors and everyone else you know.


I have been an etiquette expert teaching and consulting on the subject worldwide since 1983. I started and serve as the Executive Director of the International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals and am considered a leader in the field of etiquette and protocol training and execution. I edited "Etiquette for Dummies" and have recently written "Lett's Talk - Everyday Etiquette Dilemmas and What to Do about Them". My book, "That's So Annoying:An Etiquette Expert on the World's Most Irritating Habits And What To Do About Them" was published in 2009 and is available wherever books are sold. I taught the Business Protocol class to Master's level students at the George Washington University, Washington, DC for seven years I served as Chief of Protocol for MCI Telecommunications for three years.

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I am a Certified Etiquette Professional (CEP) and Certified Protocol Professional (CPP) earned by examination through ISPEP. I have a Master's degree in hospitality law and undergrad degrees in Restaurant & Hotel Management and Public Relations/Interpersonal Communications from Purdue University.

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