From the category archives:


Q: My brother’s new girlfriend is loud, tells off-color jokes- and is coming to our Thanksgiving dinner this year.  What’s the best way to handle her? A: Chat with your brother ahead of time.  Say, “I’m happy you and Lisa are coming for Thanksgiving, but can you talk to her about toning down the jokes?  […]

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Q: We’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner for a slew of our out-of-town relatives.  Is it OK to ask some to stay at a hotel? A: Preparing a Thanksgiving feast is a major enough undertaking without adding a gaggle of overnight guests.  If you wish, and your situation permits, you can invite relatives from farther away to […]


Delayed Diners: Confused or rude?

by epi on November 11, 2011

Q: I hosted a small dinner for friends. One of the couples was 2 hours late and said nothing about it (no apology, etc). I said nothing and still have not mentioned it to them. Should I have said or done anything about their tardiness? A: It may be that they got the time wrong, […]

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Dinner Dough: When a friend can’t pay up

by epi on November 4, 2011

Q: My neighbor came over for takeout pizza, but she didn’t have cash to help pay for it.  Do I ask her to pay me back? A: Yes, if dutch treat was the plan.  First, give her a chance to make amends.  If she continues to “forget,” there’s not much you can do, so ask […]


Party Predicament: When guests bring guests

by epi on October 27, 2011

Q: For the last several years and again this year we have hosted an annual open house. We have mailed invitations with an RSVP and the first phone call came today. She asked, “I will have a guest, is it all right if I bring her?” Last year we ended up with 6 extra people […]


Q: When guests are asked to bring food to a party (hors d’oeuvre, cookies, salad, etc.) are they then required to reciprocate the invitation?  Generally if someone invites me to a party and they provide the food, I reciprocate by asking them to my house for dinner. If I’m asked to bring something, I don’t […]


Q: When is the proper time to remove your guests dinner plates?  Is it after everyone is finished? I have a dear friend that insists on helping out at dinner parties, but she starts removing plates before all are finished. She also insists on putting away food from buffets within 15-20 minutes of the meal. […]


Q: I think it’s inappropriate for a dinner-party host to start washing the dirty dishes while the guests are still around.  Isn’t this code for “party’s over- go home”? A: It depends.  At a formal party, the host shouldn’t clean up until her guests have left.  A casual gathering with close friends is different.  Without […]


Breaking the RSVP: Tell the hostess?

by EPI Staff on July 27, 2011

Q: I RSVP’d yes to a party, but the night of the soiree something came up at the last minute. I didn’t call the hostess because I didn’t want to interrupt her preparations. Right or Wrong move? A: Wrong. Let your hostess know you won’t be there with a quick phone call–not a text or […]


Messy guests: Ask them to lend a hand?

by EPI Staff on July 26, 2011

Q: My husband’s friends always leave empty beer cans and chip bags around after watching the game. Can I ask guests to help clean up? A: Talk to your husband. As the host, he’s responsible for cleaning up after his guests. At a casual gathering, you could encourage him to say, “Hey, guys, how about […]