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Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Not sure the proper way to handle this situation.


What would have been the proper response for this situation?  

The host asks me to bring a food item to a dinner party and when I show up the item, the host tells me that they went shopping and decided to make that same food item and that my item is no longer needed.  Keep in mind this was also a dish that required some pricer ingredients.

I trided to remain as calm as possible but I said that they could put it in the fridge  and take it home to eath later.  I was deeply hurt and baffled, so I'm not sure if I handled it correctly.  This person had more that enough time to call me and tell me to not bring it.  The part that really makes my mad is that they ASKED ME to bring the item.  

In the future how should I handle this type of situation?

Dear Jen:

I agree with you that what happened when you arrived at the party was an unpleasant surprise and should not have taken place. Because I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, let's consider what might have caused this situation to occur: a) the host is not very organized and forgot what he/she had asked guests to bring; b) intended to call you to tell you about the switch, but forgot to do so in the planning/preparation crunch; c) is extremely loosy-goosy in his/her outlook and lifestyle and minor details such as menu assignments are trivial.

There is a  fourth option, of course, and that is that your host is a thoughtless individual who puts his/her own agenda and desires before those of others. If you believe that to be the case, you may want to re-evaluate your relationship with this individual, linit your involvement and turn down his/her invitations in future.

You were gracious and courteous in your response to the host's behavior.  I recommend doing the same if this happens again. The badge of well-mannered people is their ability to maintain their manners and composure even when confronted by rudeness or discourtesy. Your badge is firmly in place. Bravo!

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Nancy Mitchell


Social etiquette; Business etiquette; Entertaining etiquette; Wedding etiquette; Protocol, domestic (US) and international; Flag etiquette; Dining etiquette; Restaurant etiquette; Spa etiquette; Travel etiquette


Nancy R. Mitchell is a nationally recognized etiquette and protocol consultant and trainer with more than 30 years of experience in the field. She owns the firm The Etiquette Advocate and is an owner and founding partner of the firm Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at The George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses in the School of Business and the Career Center, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was director of special events and protocol at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other distinguished visitors, galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, Mitchell served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, embassies, academia and corporations.

Protocol and Diplomacy - International Protocol Association

Mitchell is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by CNN, ABC Nightline, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Washington Business Journal, the Associated Press and Washingtonian magazine, has been featured on ABC Good Morning America, Fox News and National Public Radio, and is an etiquette columnist for, etiquette consultant to Alexandria Woman and to Engaged! magazine, and technical editor of Wedding Etiquette for Dummies (Wiley, 2010).

B.S., University of Utah, 1969

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