Be the Perfect Party Guest

Ever encounter an awkward moment at a social event? Use our tips to gracefully survive three sticky situations.
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Don't Offend the Host

Ever walk into a party and feel like all eyes are on you? Could it be because you look like you just stepped out of an Old Navy commercial, while all the other guests appear to be sporting Donna Karan evening wear? Or is it because you have a dietary restriction that prevents you from eating the food everyone else is consuming? If this sounds familiar, take note of these solutions. They'll help you gracefully negotiate your way out of three of the most awkward party situations.

Q. I've arrived at a barbecue where the hostess is serving only hamburgers and hot dogs. I'm a very health-conscious person and eat neither. The only other foods offered are a green salad and an array of greasy hors d'oeuvres. Do I mention to the hostess that I don't eat the usual barbecue fare, or make an excuse by saying "I'm on a diet," and eat only salad?

A. If the mere sight of rare meat makes your stomach queasy, simply eat enough to tide you over until you get home. "To be polite and not add to the host's stress level, just fill up on snacks, salad fixings, breads, fruits, and dessert," recommends Patty Sachs, a celebration expert and author of several planning guides, including Pick A Party (Meadowbrook Press, 1997). "If anyone asks why you're not eating a hamburger, just say, 'This salad is just fine for me.' No need to be negative in any way."

If you're still unsure of what to do, take a cue from vegetarians. "I live in the Midwest, and when someone holds a barbecue even the salads have meat in them," says Karen Wright, 39, a Mankato, Minnesota, resident who has been a vegetarian for 28 years. "I usually bring food, or eat before I go.'" The next time you dine at a person's home where you suspect you'll have slim menu pickings, it's perfectly acceptable to mention your dietary restrictions and offer to bring items you can eat when you call to RSVP.

Continued on page 2:  Mingling With Ease


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