Being a good guest starts before you arrive. Reply to any invitation as promptly as you can. (If you can’t accept, say so early.) The answer to any invitation is yes or no; you don’t have to share issues with how you’ll get there, babysitters/parking/travel/what you’ll do with Granny and the dog. Talking of which, don’t ask if you can bring extra guests or pets who weren’t invited – that bit is your job to deal with.
1. The best guests are … hosts. No one has the potential to understand what is needed of a guest and how to behave more than those who regularly invite people into their own house. The worst guests are those who never reciprocate and never have guests round themselves. These are the people who think it is OK to ask an already busy host for a 33rd cup of tea and act as if they have checked into a hotel. Prefixing everything with “do you mind if we have?” does not make it better.
2. Never turn up empty-handed unless you are visiting the house of someone whom you also regularly host. Saying “I didn’t know where the local supermarket was” or “we came on the train” are poor excuses for laziness and lack of organisation. You do not need to spend loads (although a well-picked personal hamper always goes down well if you are staying overnight, but avoid chutneys because good hosts always have at least 15 different chutneys and they really don’t need more).
3. Do not bring food that has to be consumed during your stay but underestimates the number of people it has to feed. Unless it’s cheese. Do not have a complicated, indulgent list of what you or your children won’t eat. Unless you are allergic to something, the correct response to any food likes is “we eat everything and anything and are grateful for it”. Your host is unlikely to cook tripe and liver unless they hate you. And if there is something you don’t like, you don’t have to eat it.
4. When food is served, if there is something you don’t like, just shut up and avoid it. You don’t have to announce to the whole room that you will only eat line-caught fish, organic raspberries or that it’s “not your favourite” (I have done this, and cringe when I remember). Do not – ever – say the words “eating clean”. If you want a menu to choose from, go to a restaurant and pay for it.
5. Do not spend the whole time you are there on your phone. No one is that important. Do not bicker with your partner, children or anyone else in the party. Do not use this opportunity to espouse your political views or call Jesus into the fray. If you are a bad drunk, don’t drink. And if you plan to drink loads (but are a good drunk), bring some (good) booze. Do not use this opportunity to have a go at the host and ask why they are not married/don’t have children yet.
6. Make a positive comment on something to do with the house. Lie if you have to. Saying nothing, especially if it’s the first time you have been to someone’s house, is pretty shabby. Even if you ache with jealousy, find it deep in your core to say something nice. Passive-aggressive comments such as “this house must be a lot of work” just make you look very sad.
7. If you do drink lots of tea/coffee, ask if you can be shown how to make your own and offer others one, too – especially your host. Use the same cup each time, otherwise your host will have a nervous breakdown.
8. When the host sits down after a meal, this is probably their one pit stop before it all starts again for the next meal. Do not use this time to ask if your child can have a ham sandwich because “they didn’t eat much at lunch”. Tough.
9. Offer to do the washing up and bring your plate into the kitchen unless your host has asked you not to (some people don’t like anyone else in their kitchen). This isn’t so relevant if you regularly visit each other’s houses.
10. Leave when you said you would. If you are fussy about bedding, bring your own. Bring extra layers if you are visiting someone in the country. Don’t ask if they can turn the heating up (or on). Do star jumps.
11. Smile and enjoy yourself. The lowest impact guests are the ones who leave everyone feeling good, either by helping, or not hindering. If you get an invite back, you’ll know.
Hosts and Guests
By Max Beerbohm
Beerbohm is regarded as the best essayist parodist and cartoonist of his age. He was educated at Merton College, Oxford and was a popular figure in London s’ artistic and fashionable circles.
‘Host and Guests’ is a humorous essay in which Beerbohm describes the qualities of the hosts and the guests. He thinks that mankind can be divided generally into two categories: hosts and guests. The difference the between the two is not only circumstantial and particular but also temperamental and general. Every human being has either the positive and active instinct of being a host or the negative and passive instinct of being a guest. Hosts are those who have the natural instinct to serve others and guests are those who want to be served.
The quality of hospitality is exclusively a human quality and it has developed slowly with the development of the civilization. The cavemen did not entertain others because they were afraid of being killed by the hosts in their caves. The quality of hospitality developed slowly as human beings were organized into groups. However the history of hospitality is full of painful incidents, the writer tells us that though the Israelites were considered to be the salt of the world, yet the treachery of the Jael was condemnable.
In the same way the Greeks cultured but Odysseus killed his guests under his own room. The Romans were at the peak of civilization in the fifteenth century, but Borgias concealed poison in their cellars for their guests. Yet the Scotch s’ hospitality is proverbial. It was Scotland that first formed hospitality with the basic principal that the guest must be honored and protected at all cost.
Discussing hospitality in the present world, the writer says that it is conventional for the rich to give and for the poor to take as a result of which the rich usually become hosts and the poor usually become the guests. But this cannot be regarded as a rule because neither all the poor are guests nor all the rich are always the hosts. Most of the time it is simply the matter of one’s’ temperament. However, a host as a guest is far worse than the guest as a host. The writer says that like other boys he himself was a guest by nature but he often entertained his friends at the restaurant and was always afraid of the shortage of the money in his pocket. The writer feels that the guests must be obliged to their hosts but many times it is not so. Many guests like Dante are often ungrateful to their hosts.
Difficult words with Urdu Meaning
مزاحیہ انداز میں نقالی کرنے والا
حالات پر منحصر ہونا
فطری جبلت ,پیدائشی عادت
مہمان کی خاطر مدارت کرنا
ایک عورت جس نے سزرا کو دھوکے سے قتل کیا تھا
سپین کے اندر ایک خاندان جو سیاسی اور مذہبی قوت بن کر ابھرے تھے لیکن وہ اپنے مہمانوں کو زہر دے کر قتل کر دیتے تھے
ایسی چیز جو مثالی ہو
نا شکر گزار ہونا
اٹلی کا ایک مشہور شاعر تھا
اس مضمون کے اندر مصنف بڑے مزاحیہ انداز سے انسانوں کی فطری جبلت مہمان یا میزبان ہونے کی کو پیش کرتا ہے ۔ وہ انسانوں کو دو گرہوں میں تقسیم کرتا ہے ۔ ایک گروہ وہ ہے جو پیدائشی میزبان ہوتے ہیں اور دوسرا گروہ وہ ہے جو پیداِشی مہمان ہوتے ہیں۔ مہمان نوازی کی عادت انسان کی مثبت خصوصیت ہے جو آہستہ آہستہ تہذیب کی ترقی کے ساتھ ساتھ پیدا ہوئی۔ لیکن مہمان نوازی کی تاریخ کافی کرب ناک ہے۔ وقت کی ترقی کے ساتھ ساتھ مہمان نوازی کےطریقے بھی بدل گئے ہیں۔ آج کے دور میں امیروں کو مہمان نواز سمجھا جاتا ہے اور غریبوں کو اچھا مہمان سمجھا جاتا ہے حالنکہ ہر امیر مہمان دار نہیں ہوتا اور ہر غریب مہمان نہیں ہوتا ، حالات اس کے برعکس بھی ہو سکتے ہیں