"Oh,no!Here I am at an American family's home at the dinner table.There are all kinds of plates,saucers,cups,and silverware at my place.Which should I use for which food?Should I have brought a gift?Someone please tell me what to do!"
Have you ever been in or had a nightmare about this situation?Don't worry!This article will help steer through the rocks and reefs of Anglo-American table manners so that if you are ever abroad in Canada or the United States,or someone's home from one of those countries,you will feel right at home.
It is important to distinguish what kind of occasion you will be attending before you plan for a pleasant evening.Most Anglo-Americans enjoys entertaining at home,but they don't enjoy stuffy,formal dinners.They invite their friends over for a fun evening,not as a test of one's knowledge of cultural fair,such as a so-called"sit-down"dinner,you may want to know in advance some basic rules of"black tie"etiquete.
The first thing to remember when attending a dinner at a Western home is that you are the guest and are a foreigner.No one will invite you if he does not really want you to enter his"castle",so you can be sure that you are wanted.Additionally, as you do not come from the same country or culture as your host, he or she or they will surely be aware of this,and will be very forgiving if you unintentionally do or say something which would otherwise offend them.Keeping these two simple tips in mind should greatly ease your concern about being present at a dinner in someone else's home.
Before arrving at your host's home,you may want to make sure of three things.First,be a few minutes late,say,about five to ten minutes if possible.Never be early,as the host may not have everything prepared yet.Nor should you be more than twenty minutes late.Your host may begin to worry about whether you are able to attend the dinner or not.Next,as to whether to bring a gift,in most informal gatherings,it is not necessary.If you like, you can bring some fruit or sweets,or expecially if there is a hostess,some flowers.These are thoughtful cheerful gifts sure to please.Do not bring alcoholic beverages unless you are sure of your host's or hostess's preferences in drinks.Above all, do not spend a lot of money, and never give money.As we say in English,"It's the thought that counts."Finally,wear comfortable clothing.One can overdress as well as apear slpoppy.For a special occasion or religious holiday,such as a retirement party or Chrismas,a tie and jacket would be suitable ofr the gentlemen and a dress or sweater and skirt for the ladies.