Life Advice



Ask Amy: Good guests have responsibilities, too

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: During the current climate of hibernation and cautious socialization, it’s appropriate to prioritize your family’s well-being.

But may I say something in defense of hard-working hosts as well?

After a two-year hiatus, we restarted our annual Christmas party.

Asking guests to “vaccinate or hibernate” and other clear measures were taken. And of course, anyone uncomfortable should have politely declined.

I still ran into the same rudeness that has befuddled me since I began hosting social gatherings years ago, so I thought I’d share a few ground rules that should be revisited.

Maybe during this downtime, we’ve forgotten the “Duties of a Good Guest”:


You’re a guest, so act like one. Be a sparkling conversationalist. Or wear a festive sweater we can discuss. Bring a fun gift or story to tell. Guests DO have an obligation to not sit silent and sullen. It’s a party, folks.

If you cannot make it, immediately and politely decline the invitation. A lot of time and resources go toward planning a party and your hosts will appreciate this.

SHOW UP! Nothing stuns me more than the guests who enthusiastically respond, ask to contribute to the menu (sometimes insist), and then fail to arrive. A message may follow later that adds further insult: “I fell asleep” or “Our kids came back from college and we were catching up.”

Parties are not akin to restaurant reservations that you can cancel at the last minute when something more attractive comes along.


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