it’s time to be civil (29)


# 19. Be a considerate guest. In the age of e-mail and the cellular phone, there is no excuse for arriving unannounced at a friend’s home. When invited to a dinner or a party, respect both times of arrival and of departure. Don;t overstay your welcome, but don’t leave too soon. Rely on common sense and on your host’s cues. …

It is your host’s prerogative to open the party to children. If their invitation does not mention children, it’s likely they are not included. Don’t lobby for special permission. If you do that, you put undue pressure on your hosts. At that point they can say a reluctant “yes,” thus being unfair to all other guests who followed the rules (by either declining the invitation or enlisting baby-sitters), or they can tell you no to your face. Either way, they are facing an unpleasant task. This is not what they should receive in return for the kind gesture of inviting you.

Never assume that Fido or Boots are welcome. One thought: allergies. Another: incompatibility with other animals. One more: the damage your animal can do to someone else’s home. …

Your guiding principle is that you want to leave somebody else’s space as undisturbed as possible.

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp. 126-127

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