Sunday, August 4, 2013

Say Goodnight, Gracie

R.a.n.t. of week 08/04/13
I have always prided myself on striving to be the most gracious guest or hospitable host. Have I always succeeded? That's another story. I'd like to think I do.

When I attend a party, I like to bring something along, even if I'm told it's not necessary. When I host my own parties I like to go out of my way to make sure every amenity has been taken care of.

When attending a dinner party, I make sure to compliment as much as possible, without seeming insincere. Essentially, I find things to compliment, there is always something (usually many). When I host a party, I make sure to thank everyone as they arrive, and for whatever they have brought.

But there is always one thing I've had a problem with as the host and the guest - when to say good night. I think we've all been in this situation. As the guest, how do you know when it's time to call it an evening? When hosting a party, how can you discretely inform the guests the party is over? As it turns out, there are several ways both can be accomplished.

As the guest: Ask in advance how long they plan to have people over for.
Keep in mind: 2:00am is not the best time to ask this.
As the host: Provide a time frame in advance.
Keep in mind: 'Whenever' is not an acceptable time frame.

As the guest: Remember most hosts plan two to three activities. (Dinner, a game, light conversation).
Keep in mind: A slumber party is NOT usually one of the activities.
As the host: Play soft music during the party. When you are ready to wrap things up, stop.
Keep in mind: Do not select Brahms Lullaby as one of the 'soft songs' unless you are planning a sleep over.

As the guest: Watch for visual clues. i.e., starting to clean up or standing by the exit door.
Keep in mind: Don't tell the hosts they can clean up AFTER the party is over.
As the host: Wrap up conversations with, 'Hope you had a good evening' or 'We have to do this again'.
Keep in mind: Don't say, 'This is the latest you've ever stayed'.

In essence, use common sense and remember the rules may change slightly between situations. A long time friend may overstay a welcome with neither the host nor the guest thinking too much about it. But a new found friend may only stick around till after dinner.

"Say goodnight, Gracie."

"Goodnight Gracie."