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5 Cringey Things You Should Never Do When Having Guests Over

Heed this advice from etiquette experts to avoid a lot of embarrassment.

Hosting guests is a skill. You need to ensure that your space is set up for success, that you invite the right people, and that your cooking, cleaning, and decorating techniques are all up to par. And when your guests arrive, you'll want to greet them, provide introductions, and keep the conversation flowing. If you manage to do all that, people will likely look back on your party fondly. Unless, of course, you do something cringey that makes them never want to step foot back in your house.

To avoid these missteps, read on for the hosting mistakes entertaining and etiquette experts say you should avoid at all costs. There are definitely a few you've never heard of before.

READ THIS NEXT: The 6 Best Things to Ask Guests to Bring—If They Offer.

Ask them to bring an inappropriate gift.

Bottle of wine in a paper bag

One of the first cringey behaviors you'll want to avoid could happen before your guests even arrive. If they ask what they can bring to help with the party, make sure it's something that makes sense.

"Hosts should avoid asking guests to bring anything inappropriate or illegal to a gathering," says Jodi RR Smith, an etiquette consultant and owner of Mannersmith. "Medicated cream for your rash? Street drugs? Alcohol for underage partiers? It is the host's role to make guests feel comfortable."

Be unprepared when they arrive.


When your guests begin to arrive, you should be prepared to greet them graciously. That means having all the details of your space in place and being fully clothed and ready for the event. In other words: you don't want to appear shocked that your guests have arrived on time, says Smith.

What's more, you'll want to embrace guests as they are. "Hosts should not make snide comments about what the guests are wearing or brought," says Smith. Welcome them in, take their coats and gifts, and introduce them to other guests.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Things You Should Put Away in Your Kitchen When Guests Come Over.

Allow pets on the counters.

Cat looking at salad on table

One surefire way to ensure no one comes back for another dinner party is to allow your pets to get too close for comfort.

"As an animal owner myself, the cringiest thing a host can do is allow their animals to walk on counters or food prep areas," says Karen Thomas, etiquette educator and owner of KT Etiquette. "Finding animal hair in one's food is disgusting and rather unsanitary."

If you have any rambunctious dogs or cats, you may want to put them in the yard or another room, especially if you have guests who are afraid or allergic.

Constantly interrupt guests.

Small Group of Friends Having a House Party
Studio Romantic/Shutterstock

When the conversation is flowing, do your best to let it flow!

"Constant interruptions by a host, whether due to excitement or just plain unawareness, is not only a huge faux pas but quite an annoyance," says Thomas. "Hosts should be able to listen to hear rather than listen to reply."

This way, your guests will leave your home feeling like they had a quality, give-and-take conversation—not one where their host monopolized the entire exchange.

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Bring up contentious conversation topics. 

Shot of a group of young men having drinks at a dinner party outdoors

Because you're the host, you're the de-facto leader of the conversation, including what flies and what doesn't.

"Hosts should monitor conversations to keep them light and celebratory," says Smith. "Avoid bringing up contentious topics or accidentally revealing another guest's secrets."

If you hear a polarizing subject brought up, gently guide the conversation back to more casual territory.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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