Man by nature is a social animal. The last few months of lockdown has put us all in a tight corner especially the partiers. With the lift of the lockdown and the holidays around the corner, the party season is already in full swing. It’s always a good idea to brush up on manners before attending the next party. Party etiquette is not just about which fork to use. It’s showing respect for yourself and everyone else. In a world where rudeness often reigns, why not stand out for being polite and thoughtful.
Send Out Invitation Ahead Of Time I love attending Yoruba parties popularly called owanmbe. In as much as I love to attend parties, I rarely attend parties. Does that make sense to you? I like been given a year notice pre informing me about a party. . Okay, not a year, but at least 6 months to prepare my mind psychologically and socially. Baby girl has to slay. You say, but it’s not your party. It is darling, it became my party once I get an invite, lol! The high point of the party is getting a compliment from an elderly Yoruba mother who herself is elegantly dressed. I have made it. It’s only proper for the host to always send out invitations ahead so people can add it to their calendar.
Bring A Gift I can’t overemphasize this. My mom taught me this early in life, who would have thought it is a party etiquette. As a Yoruba girl growing up in a Nigerian home, you can’t escape not attending a party with your mother. It’s just like grooming you for your coming-out party. Every Yoruba mother takes her daughter to these parties to learn (how to dress and throw such parties) and of course to show off their beautiful daughters. I was the gift carrier and the gift presenter. When the bride is receiving gifts, my mom will say, ‘oya stand up, go and present the bride with her gift’. I remembered one lovely bride who in turn gave out gifts specially to people who gave her gifts and this was different from souvenirs, that my dear is etiquette. She was not only receiving, but she also gave out.
Punctuality Have you heard the phrase no Nigerian time. With African Timing ingrained into the DNA’s of a typical Nigerian. You want everyone to be seated so you can be noticed when you walk in beautifully dressed. And sometimes some of us cannot just help it, dressing up is a full-time job especially when you do not have a personal stylist. Imagine having to tie gele, make yourself up, wear your dress and all that, it is time-consuming. Phew!
Mingle With Strangers Mingle and greet people around the table. Nigerians rarely mingle with strangers. I don’t know who said ‘Nigerians are friendly people’, I beg to differ. You see guests sizing up one another to know who is wealthy and classy. They do not want to mingle with people they believe are below their ‘class’.
Be Present Look at the person speaking to you, seriously lookup from your smartphone. If your phones are to be seen at all, it should be used for taking photos. Engage in table talk, socialize, have fun. learn people’s names. . If all you want to do is press phone, please stay in your house. We all are guilty of this and it is bad manners.
Enjoy Yourself Within Reason Do everything within moderation, yes you are there to eat, drink and be merry. Do it within moderation. don’t eat too much, you are not there to sample all the food options, you are there for the company and ambience.
Don’t mix drinks just because they are available. Don’t scramble for souvenirs, worst off is saying there are two other people here.
Please eat before you go for any party, you don’t want to be called the ‘hungry slayer’.
I could not help but add this. If you are amongst the take-away packers with the excuse that you have a dog to feed at home, please stop it.
Let Your Waiter Come To You
Never yell or wave your hand at a waiter. Make their job easier by being patient, or politely get their attention when they pass by. I heard some people go as far as tipping waiters. Issawawu.
Please don’t reserve an entire table for friends and family.
Do enjoy yourself which is the reason for attending a party.
What other party etiquette did I miss? Do well to share, I would love to hear from you.