The Chicago Tribune (yes! the Chicago Tribune…picture a happy dance here) posed this question to us and wanted to know how a guest should handle eating foods served to them that they don’t like. (You can read our answer in the link below.) And that lead us to travel down memory lane. Do you remember being a kid and we weren’t given options? You ate what was being served to you or you went without dinner. If you protested too loudly, you received prompt instructions to get your little rear end to bed. NOW.
We live in a era of dining out often and when we are paying the bill we can control what we eat. When served something that doesn’t meet our expectations we can say so without repercussions. Well, that we know of.
Being a guest in someone’s home is not the same as being in a restaurant, which sadly some guests have forgotten. For example, when the host offers you an assortment of beverages to get you started it is not good form to list off options you would prefer. Beginning with “do you have X – Y or Z?” if it isn’t set out before you, is a question you should just keep to yourself. If the host does have what you’re requesting, then they have to leave the process of greeting other guests to go find what you have asked for. When the host doesn’t have the requested item it can be embarrassing or uncomfortable for them. After all, they want their guests to enjoy themselves and they also want to be a good host.
Especially during the hectic holiday season with the occasional family birthday thrown in to the mix of dinners prepared for friends or the employee party that you throw, hosts are challenged to put together an event without a hitch. We know. We rarely give a dinner party that is flawless. Forget about the time the dog ate the prime rib. That’s a disaster in anyone’s dinner party playbook. Forget about the last menu item that was left in the microwave. Out of sight, out of mind.
The moral of this little chat is “so you don’t like what is being served to you, what’s the worst thing that could happen if you eat some of it?”
One last thought, remember to send your host a hand-written thank you note after the dinner party. They will be thrilled you took the time to write it and they will never remember you didn’t eat everything they served you. Promise.
Click here to read the Social Graces article written in the Chicago Tribune where you can read our answer.
Social Graces is a weekly series that asks two experts for advice on awkward situations. Thank you to the Chicago Tribune for reaching out to us.