Executing a successful dinner party is no easy feat (if it were, Come Dine with Me wouldn’t be half as entertaining). But it’s not just your lack of skills on the hob or your inability to match food to wine that has the potential to make a civilised night turn sour – chances are, your guests have a lot to say for themselves too.
Dinner parties are known for bringing out the worst in people (and when you’re cramming six guests around a table that really only sits four and plying them with drinks (of the alcoholic kind) can you really be surprised?) but some guests (you know who you are…) were just born to cause trouble – period.
Thankfully dealing with them doesn’t have to mean deleting them from the guest list – plan ahead and you can be prepared to placate even the most demanding of diners.
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This one’s very particular about the placement of their cutlery (and plates, and glasses, and, well, everything you put in front of them). They’ll space all these items equally apart, and you’ll know their wrath if you if you dare to knock one out of place…
Just leave them be – you’re not going to win this one.
Anything you place on the table will slowly, surely, and mysteriously make it their way. Can’t find the wine or the Worcester Sauce? Ask the hoarder, and prepare to fight for what’s rightly yours.
Present them with their own bottles of wine and sauce as you greet them.
The Fussy Eater
They’re not intolerant to anything in particular, but will magically have problems digesting/chewing/looking at whatever you happen to serve.
Keep ham sandwiches on standby but hold the salad – the plainer, the better.
The Nosey Norbert
Innocent trip to the toilet? Don’t be so sure… This one has an “endearing” habit of getting “lost” on the way. Don’t be surprised if you find them rifling through your drawers.
Lock your upstairs doors. Failing that, set booby traps.
There’s always one.
Invest in a dark tablecloth and ply them with napkins (lots of napkins).
The Anti-Social Media
Prefers to photograph their food than eat it and finds digital conversations more entertaining than the ones in real life.
Turn off the Wifi.
Never quite makes it to the end of the evening – or back home to bed.
Turn the music up.
The Early Leaver
This one never makes it to the end of the evening either, but for different reasons.
Best just to let them go (and try not to take it personally – it’s not you, it’s them. Probably…)
Thoroughly checks their cutlery, glasses, and plates are spotless before use.
Accept defeat: you can polish your silver all you like – it still won’t be up to their standards.
The Wine Expert
Enjoys “educating” (boring) you on your choice of wine – whatever it is, it will be wrong, and they will take great pleasure in telling you what you should have chosen instead and why.
Ask them to bring the wine.
The Passive Aggressive Couple
Always seem to be having a “disagreement” of sorts, though they’ll never admit it.
Sit them on opposite ends of the table.
Builds a menagerie from napkins, mashed potato or stray peas.
Just let them get on with it – it’s fun! Isn’t it..?
The Creature of Habit
Can’t eat a meal unless they drown it in their condiment of choice (that they will have, without fail, brought with them).
Search their bag!