By Karen Cleveland
When thinking about conventions of breaking bread, etiquette is often discussed in the context of being a good host. But being a good guest is equally important. Yes, of course, the obvious tenets of arriving on time and not showing up empty handed apply (because you called in advance and asked what you could bring, right? And even when the response was a resolute ‘nothing, really!’, you brought a bottle of wine anyways, right?), but consider your performance during the main event – dinner.
Your host is likely looking to you for cues on whether you’re having a good time, so be mindful of that. Certain questions carry some weight, too, so when asked “how’s your dinner?”, know that responding “not bad” sends a dreadful message. Not to suggest that you need to lavish superlatives about a meal that is just ok, but come on, give a little – if you sincerely mean “not bad”, how about softening that with saying“really nice, thank you!” or “this salad/liver/cheesecake/chicken is great”, instead?