- The Washington Times - Monday, December 13, 2021

Hosting a holiday party? Plan to spend time cleaning up alone because many guests don’t pitch in to help, a new survey suggests.

“You also may want to consider hiding away items that you’d rather no one see, like the contents in your medical cabinet or nightstand drawers,” said Ashley Geiner, who directed the survey for RTA Outdoor Living, a maker of ready-to-assemble furniture and kitchen features.

“Lastly, don’t be afraid to include a hard stop time in your party invite, and stick to it. Sixty percent of guests surveyed said they overstay their welcome at a party,” Ms. Geiner said.

The online survey of 1,023 Americans, conducted in October and released this month, noted the top party-going etiquette offenses — staying too long (60%), not helping clean up (36%) and arriving empty-handed (29%).

Also, 33% said they had snooped through the host’s medicine cabinet or other private things at a party, and 47% said they would break up with a partner over poor party behavior.

Karene A. Putney, founder of the Etiquette Etiquette business consulting firm in Forest Heights, Maryland, said the survey should remind hosts to be patient with holiday guests.

“So many people lack the basic understanding of manners and don’t realize that they are making a mistake unless they are corrected,” Mrs. Putney said.

She added that while COVID-19 has led to adjustments in social norms that people are still navigating, “the basic rules of etiquette still apply”: washing hands before and after eating, not handing out business cards, not asking nosy questions, not showing up too early or late and not posting photos on social media without permission.

“So much planning goes into an event, and when you say you will be there and then cancel at the last minute, it is not only rude but inconsiderate to the host,” Mrs. Putney said, adding that it’s a sure way “not to be invited back.”

Guests attending holiday parties for the first time in two years may find that certain social norms have changed. Corporate executive Brian Turner said there is no longer an expectation to shake hands when meeting someone at business functions.

“Right now I’d say the rule is to not even try unless it’s someone we know well and already know their preferences,” said Mr. Turner, CEO of the California-based Buildings IOT, which installs sensor-based management systems in smart buildings.

He said it’s more acceptable this year to “keep your hands in your pockets” or “respond with a fist bump” if someone extends a hand to shake.

And Angelica Gianchandani, a business ethics specialist in the Pompea School of Business at Connecticut’s University of New Haven, said it’s important for hosts “to share the plan so there are no surprises” about expectations.

“And finally, celebrate with grace and kindness,” Ms. Gianchandani said.

Correction: The story has been updated to correct the spelling of Brian Turner’s name.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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