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Manners Matter: Party Etiquette

Need to leave early? Wasn't invited? Tired of playing host? Etiquette blogger Janine Ottley breaks down the basics of party etiquette.


1. What do you do if the party's always at your house…and you don't always want it to be?

The bottom line is that if you have a welcoming home, that's a great compliment. If you've made it a natural gathering place by providing food for teens, a swimming pool, a movie theater, etc...than thank your lucky stars they are at your house and not off doing things they shouldn't be. In large gatherings, when it's expected that you will host because your house seems to best accommodate the circumstance, think about how that will impact you and your family, does it work for you? Can you afford it (if costs end up at your door), and lastly, learn how to graciously decline. (Brooke- I don't know how much time we have for this segment, so depending, I can give an example for each type of thing)

2. What to do if your child's not invited to the neighborhood birthday party?

I asked a lot of moms about this one. It seems to be something that happens fairly frequently, whether an oversight or on purpose. We should never be bullies...and inviting everyone BUT your child on the street to a party is a form of bullying- not only that but you are teaching your child they can have whatever they want in life and they never have to worry about how others will feel, only themselves. If there is a legitimate concern about the child being left out, it should be assertively but politely addressed with the parent (and I mean the parent who's child doesn't want to invite). If this is the first time it's happened to your child with this particular family, it's up to you whether or not to get involved. I like to teach my children that there are things that will happen that are simply not fair, but that we should always apply the golden rule. If you don't like how it felt to be left out, include everyone when it's your turn and be the bigger person.

3. How do you exit a party early without looking like a party pooper?

I think Honesty without TMI is always the best policy. The entire party doesn't need to know that your home is a huge mess and you need to go clean, you have errands that have to be done, you're not feeling well. This doesn't mean you cannot explain to the hostess. I think simply stating something like, "thank you so much for inviting us, it's been lovely," or "we've had the best time, but we need to go. I will call you later and thanks again." Then follow through. How much you explain is up to you, but the most important thing, I believe, is showing up. If you need to leave, make sure you thank your host and if you know before hand that you will have to exit early, let them know you will only be able to stay for a little while.

I did have friends say that they blame it on the baby (when it in fact may not be) or blame it on their spouse. I believe that if you tell the truth, you never have to remember what you said...which works for me as I have no memory of what happened last week. Be honest but be simple and realize that your host is still hosting a party...and it WILL go on without you.


Janine Ottley

Janine Ottley is a wife, mom, business owner, and blogger, who tries to wear many hats! She loves weekly dates with her husband, sushi, and jumps at any chance to travel.

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