Hint: Here's what not to do.
Advertisement

Guest etiquette may look different than it did back in the day (we'll leave all that turn-of-the-century party protocol to the Downton Abbey dining room), but that doesn't mean guests shouldn't be on their best behavior. But what really makes a polite guest? It can mean different things to different people—some guests never show up empty handed, while others will always take their shoes off at the door without being asked. It all depends on what they were raised doing, or how they want things done at their place.

Then, add to the ambiguity of modern etiquette a global pandemic, and already confusing guest etiquette now includes new criteria like mask-wearing and hand-washing. How to navigate it all? According to a OnePoll survey for BJ's Wholesale conducted in 2019, there are a few clear "don'ts" all guests should avoid—and they're even more relevant during the coronavirus.

The number-one rudest thing you can do: showing up to the get-together when you're sick. In the past, attending a gathering with a cough and sniffle was considered disrespectful, but during coronavirus, it's downright dangerous. If you have any symptoms at all, it's best to let the host know you won't be able to make it. You may think it ill-mannered to rescind your acceptance at the last minute, but rest assured, it's even poorer form to show up under the weather, sneeze through three courses, and risk getting the rest of the group sick. Even if you feel fine, play it safe and take your temperature before seeing friends or family.

bad-guest-etiquette: phone and cocktail
Credit: Getty Images

Besides showing up sick, there are several other bad guest behaviors that made the list. The second-worst offense according to hosts: asking for a dish or drink that isn't out. There are probably exceptions to this pet peeve, like if you're allergic to everything else on the menu—in which case you should call or email to tell your host beforehand; but, for the most part, guests should do their best to be a sport and enjoy what's offered.

The third worst type of guest is the one who overstays their welcome. Unless the hosts are your besties and offer you a post-party nightcap, read the room. If they're yawning and starting to load the dishwasher—and the rest of the attendees have left—that's your signal to grab your coat. A few other things that'll get under a host's skin? Not RSVPing, drinking too much, and spending the whole time on your phone.

Here's the full list of the 10 worst breaches of guest etiquette you can make. Good to know, just in case you've been inadvertently committing any of these offenses.

1. Showing up ill (36 percent)

2. Asking for a food or drink that isn't out (33 percent)

3. Being the last one to leave (33 percent)

4. Getting too drunk (33 percent)

5. Showing up early (32 percent)

6. Being on your phone all night (30 percent)

7. Launching into politics (29 percent)

8. Not RSVPing to invite (28 percent)

9. Spilling a drink or food (27 percent)

10. Not bringing food (to a potluck) (26 percent)

During the pandemic, there are a few additional guest etiquette guidelines to follow. In general, it's a good idea to follow the host's lead and do what feels safest to you (even if that means leaving the gathering if it starts to feel unsafe). Maintain social distancing (at least six feet), arrive with your mask on, and only remove your mask if the host recommends it and you feel safe doing so. And if the host makes specific requests about hand-washing, hand sanitizer, or socially distanced seating, be sure to follow them. At times it may feel awkward, but the politest thing a guest can do is care for the health and safety of others.