Calling it A Night: How do you Kindly Let Guests Know It’s Time to Say Goodbye?

Q: When hosting a casual late evening dessert, how do you gently, yet firmly, let your guests know it’s time to say good-bye?

A: It’s fine to let guests know it’s time to go.  Just be honest, saying how much you’ve enjoyed their company but that you have to get up early for work (or whatever the case may be). To stave off the problem in the future, send a signal as the party draws to a close.  One way is to ask, “Would anyone like a nightcap?  Some coffee?”  Then, once the drinks and any last refreshments have been served, start tidying up a little.  If most people soon begin to leave, you could ask someone who stays firmly planted in his chair, “Don, shall I bring your coat?”  Or you could be pleasantly blunt:  “Dan, I’m going to have to kick you out in fifteen minutes, since I have a six o’clock flight tomorrow morning” – an explanation that asks for Dan’s understanding, gives him a chance to finish a drink or a conversation, and then depart as though it were his idea in the first place.

Rest Assured: Is it Rude to Not to Offer My Bed to a Houseguest?

Q: I recently moved to a small condo with two bedrooms; my bedroom and a smaller bedroom which I am using for a TV room. This room has no bed or sofa. A friend from invited herself to come up and stay with me for over a week. Am I obligated to give up my bedroom for her to sleep in? I have a nice full-sized air mattress, but I feel guilty asking her to sleep on the air mattress on the floor. However, on the other hand, she invited herself! I am certain she doesn’t know the sleeping arrangements here and would not expect me to give up my bed, but I still feel guilty if I don’t give her my room to sleep in.

A: No, you are not obligated nor expected to give up your bedroom for your guest.  You shouldn’t feel guilty asking her to sleep on an air mattress.  Furthermore, it would be fine to let her know what the sleeping arrangements will be.

Sweet Sayings: Is it Appropriate for a Man to Use Pet Names when Addressing a Waitress?

Q: Is it appropriate for a man when accompanied by a wife or date to address waitresses as ‘darling’, ‘sugar’ or ‘honey’? If it is not appropriate how should the significant other address this situation?

A: No, it is not appropriate for a man or a woman to address a waitress as “darling,” “sugar,” or “honey.”   The person’s significant other may privately and tactful point out that those terms are considered reserved for close family members and friends and a waitress may consider it, no matter what the intention, as condescending.

Right Handed World: Which Way do you Pass Food Around the Table?

Q: At a family meal recently there was some friendly discussion regarding the passing of the food. So, which way is it? Do you pass to the Left or the Right?

A: You pass to the right, or counter clockwise. You pass it from your right hand to the person on your right’s left hand. He then can hold the bowl or platter in his left hand and serve himself with his right hand.