6 "Polite" Dinner Party Habits You Don't Realize Are Actually Rude
Raise your hand if you're glad dinner parties are back! There are few things that bring us closer together than sharing a meal and opening our homes to others. That said, we all know how much work it can be to host, even if the party makes it well worth the effort. For this reason, it can be tempting to show our appreciation and try to be helpful when someone is hosting us. But not everything comes off in the way we intend. Even if you have good intentions, these six "polite" things you're doing at a dinner party are actually rude.
1. Allowing the host to provide all of the food and drinks
First things first, you should always ask what you can contribute to the dinner party you are attending. Even if the party isn't described as a potluck, bringing an appetizer or side can help take some prep off the host's plate. But we all have those friends who insist that they have everything covered. You might think it's polite to accept their demands, but don't. It's always a good idea to bring something to a dinner party rather than showing up empty-handed. This doesn't have to be extravagant, and can even be a gift for the host to enjoy outside of the party. Next time, rather than showing up empty-handed, bring something small like a bottle of wine or an appetizer. It's a nice way to go above and beyond. For more inspiration, check out our favorite host gifts to give.
2. Keeping quiet about food allergies or intolerances
You keep quiet about your dietary restrictions … and then you get served food that you can't eat. Not only can this be humiliating to the host, but also it can put you in a dangerous situation if you have severe allergic reactions. It's always best to communicate any dietary restrictions with the host ahead of time. This also goes for any lifestyle diet, including if you're vegetarian, vegan or dairy-free. Better yet, offer to help them accommodate you if you need to eat something different from the rest of the group. You might think you're being polite by trying not to bother the host, and that you'll just figure it out when you get there, but it can save everyone a lot of trouble if you mention it in advance.
3. Asking for something that's not on the table
Sure, you might always have hot sauce on your tacos or ranch with your fries, but once you sit down, try not to make any additional requests. If the host didn't set out something you're looking for, they might not have it or might not want to pair it with the meal they made. If there is a condiment or seasoning you know you'll want, either ask about it before the meal when people are in the kitchen or do without it for the night. Don't make the person hosting get up from their meal just so you can have A.1. sauce with your steak.
4. Saying the food is "surprisingly" good
Similar to telling someone they look so great after they lose weight, gushing over how great the food "actually" tastes is a compliment that is actually rude. First off, it can imply that you didn't think the food would be that good or that you don't typically enjoy the food the host usually makes. Even if that's not what you mean, it can make the person cooking feel self-conscious about their culinary skills.
5. Leaving behind your leftovers
While this might feel generous in the moment, the host might not want or need (or even like) the food you brought. It's fine to offer to leave it, but don't assume the host wants all of everyone's leftovers—especially since that can add extra cleanup. To help out even more, you can bring your own food-storage containers to save the host from having to provide them all (and you can bring enough to dole out your leftovers among other guests if you don't want to take them yourself).
6. Getting "out of the way" and leaving before cleanup
Any kind of party usually leads to more cleanup than normal, especially a dinner party. The time commitment to prepare, host and clean up from a party can be a lot more than initially expected. Even if the host insists they can handle it, insist that you can help them. This can be as simple as rinsing plates and putting them in the dishwasher, or packaging up leftovers into food-storage containers. Who knows, you might even get lucky and get to take some leftovers home with you!
The bottom line
Many of us love a good dinner party, but hosting can be a lot of work. And certain comments or guest habits can make it even harder or more tedious. Even if you have good intentions, pass on these six "polite" things that are actually rude the next time you're someone's dinner guest.