Throwing parties is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. For a start, there’s the pressure of ensuring all your guests have a good time, and that’s before you even start to think about the cleanup after. When you’re on the other side of the hosting line, take a moment to consider that it’s likely that your hosts have gone to some trouble to make sure you leave theirs well fed and happy, so you should definitely think about ways to show your appreciation.
Arrive on time
We can’t overstate this, but the most wonderful gift of them all is arriving at the time you’ve been asked to. No earlier of course (the horror), but anything beyond 30 minutes is just impolite.
We love flowers (who doesn’t) but in general we advise avoiding the sort of thing that will require your host to scramble to find a vase. If it’s a dinner party, offer to bring salad or a dessert. Even if your host insists that there is nothing you can bring, something small will still be appreciated. We like to take a little something for the home, like a set of coasters that can be broken out and put in use then and there.
If you want to bring someone, ask
This one’s pretty self explanatory, but it’s best to enquire before bringing a friend (please).
Help a little
We’re not suggesting your take on the host’s role, but little things, like refilling water glasses or helping clear the table after dinner, will ease your host’s burden.
Put your phone away
Look up. Put your phone on silent, and take a moment to enjoy the party. Instagram will wait.
Struggling with ideas? Might we suggest having a skim of this lot, just below? Any one of these will atone for that inevitable spillage on your host's sofa.