Social Etiquette Tips

It’s a common dilemma most of us face when invited to a casual gathering at a friends place – what to bring when you’re told not to bring anything.

Do you listen to the host and cop the awkward look when you arrive? Or take a punt with something random just for the sake of saying ‘thanks’?

According to a study conducted by Cadbury and Galaxy Research, Aussies are a generous bunch when thanking the host, with 84% of us taking something along regardless of what we’ve been told.

When it comes to daytime gatherings, the study found that a simple box of chocolates tops the list, with 32% of us preferring it as a gift, with wine being the second most popular (19%) and flowers third (12%).

But, not surprisingly, as soon as the sun sets, wine wins with more than half of us (52%) arriving with a bottle of booze, followed by choccies (19%) and dessert instead of flowers (10%).

Despite what we’re told by the host, leading etiquette expert Anna Musson says we’re doing the right thing by taking something along. “The first thing to make perfectly clear is that you should never arrive empty handed,” she insists.

And lucky for us, Anna adds we’re on the right track with opting for chocolates by day and wine by night. “Chocolate is always a good choice, particularly during the day, as it’s something that can be shared by everyone, including people of all ages and non-drinkers,” she says. “At night, wine and chocolates are acceptable – why not both?”

Here are Anna’s top tips for next time you're invited to a friends place:


1. When told not to bring a thing, you should ALWAYS take something. Although it won’t be mentioned, it will be noted for future invitations.

2. A mixed box of chocolates (like Cadbudry Favourites, yum!) is a fail safe item to take along to any casual get-together. Save the wine for formal dinner parties.

3. If you bring something along to a social get-together do not take home any leftovers!

4. When invited to someone’s home, taking flowers is a no-no as they actually create work for the host, who has to try and find a vase, fill it with water, arrange them while serving drinks and preparing the meal for guests.

5. If you take a bottle of wine as a gift for the host of a dinner party, do not expect it to be opened and do not be miffed if it is.

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