Its party time!
And no, were not talking time to tap crack open a beer and fire up the grill.
Were talking something a bit more formal here – such as might occur during the upcoming season of Mothers Day dinners, engagement soirées, graduation gatherings, wedding receptions and maybe a charity gala.
What better time for a quick brush-up on party etiquette?
Proper etiquette isnt about stuffy rules to follow mindlessly, says John Niser, head of the hospitality management program at IPFW. Instead, its an internalized standard of conduct that reveals you are sensitive to and value the comfort and feelings of others and ensures smooth social interactions.
Not developing social sensitivity can have a high price for students because it will limit their opportunities, Niser says. There will always be a glass ceiling in their life if they dont know how to behave, he says.
Here are some of his tips:
Dont immediately sit yourself at the table and chow down. So what if youre hungry? A dinner party is not about eating food – its an opportunity to socialize. Wait for an invitation to enter the dining area and to begin to eat.
Turn off the cellphone. Dont even look at it. Dont text. Ditto for doing anything requiring ear buds. All proclaim that you think what you are doing – or what someone whos not even in the room is doing – is much more important than the current occasion.
Dont complain about the food. And yes, smothering your chicken Kiev with ketchup comes across as a complaint. Its disrespectful to those who have prepared and served the food.
Dont slouch. The backrest of a chair is for decorative purposes only, Niser says. Sit halfway on your chair seat with your back straight – otherwise you look as if youre not interested in being part of the table.
Limit mid-meal bathroom trips. Go before you sit down. Do you really want others to wonder whether youve washed your hands when you finger the rolls in the bread basket?
Leave the street language somewhere else. No need to proclaim the chocolate mousse f–in awesome. Fo shizzle.