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The day after a party a gracious guest will follow up with a thank you note or phone call. Do this within 1-2 days so your appreciation does not seem stale. The formula for a thank you looks like this:

Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Patti Hatton

Capture Your Feelings



Scripture tells us to “bring every thought captive” and to dispute thoughts that do not agree with God’s truth. Thoughts that do not agree with God would be our rebellious thoughts. “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NLT).


How do I know when I am thinking rebellious thoughts? My emotions provide the “tell.” When I feel conflicted, convicted, less than, sad, depressed, or other painful emotions, I use a skill called “go to the balcony” for help to determine if my thoughts are rebellious or some other form of feeling.


When I “go to the balcony” I can look down, capture, and observe my thoughts. As I begin to analyze my thinking, I realize my feelings follow after my thoughts like little baby ducks follow their mother. Self-awareness is the first step to making change. Dr. Phil says we cannot change what we will not acknowledge. And Jesus tells us to “confess (acknowledge) our sins so we may be healed” (parenthesis mine).


"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective" (James 5:16 NIV).


Some negative thoughts are blatant and easy to label as rebellious or going against God’s truth. Others require skill to recognize. There are patterns of thinking that can be learned to help us identify these thoughts, and we can change patterns of negative thinking when we become aware of them.


The checklist below is commonly used to identify dysfunctional thought patterns that cause internal friction. If you learn these patterns you will be able to identify and dispute certain destructive thoughts when compared to God’s truth.


CHECKLIST OF COGNITIVE DISTORTIONS

1. All-or-nothing thinking: You restrict possibilities and options to only two choices: yes or no. It is an all or nothing mentality.


2. Over generalization: You view a single, negative event as a continuing and never- ending pattern of defeat.


3. Negative mental filter: You dwell mostly on the negatives and generally ignore the positives.


4. Discounting the positives: You insist your achievements or positive efforts do not count.


5. Jumping to conclusions: You assume that people are reacting negatively to you without any objective evidence. Or you predict things will turn out badly without any objective evidence.


6. Magnification or minimization: You blow things out of proportion or minimize their importance.


7. Emotional reasoning: You reasoning is based on your feelings. "I feel like a loser, so I must be a loser."


8. "Should-ing” all over yourself: You criticize yourself or other people with “musts,” "shoulds," “oughts,” and “have tos.”


9. Labeling: Instead of saying "I made a mistake," you tell yourself "I'm an idiot" or "I'm a loser."


10. Personalization: You blame yourself almost completely for something you were not entirely responsible.


(Above points adapted from Feeling Good by David D. Burns, MD.)


Patti Hatton, MA, LPC

www.pattihattoncounselor.com