I LOVE hosting dinner parties. But lately, I have been less than great about doing this. Things get in the way. Midterms. And I lacked the perfect table linens. Or more accurately, I lacked any table linens. Excuses, excuses.
And then, the other day, I realized that I had committed one of my biggest etiquette faux pas: I had enjoyed a lovely evening at a friend’s house for dinner, but had failed to reciprocate. When I realized I was guilty of this sin, I was mortified. I am serious. I. was. mortified. My parents had always told me that when someone invites you over for dinner, it’s bad manners not to invite them to your house at some point. They often talked about which couples “reciprocated” and which couples “never reciprocated.” Even at five years old, I wasn’t quite certain what it meant to “reciprocate” or more specifically, “not reciprocate,” but I knew it was something that I never wanted to do. (Note: This is not a blog post trying to pressure or guilt my friends into inviting me over to dinner. But, you know, a girl’s gotta eat… I kid! I kid! No pressure. Seriously!)
In addition to this tremendous guilt and fear that I would forever be labeled “selfish guest who doesn’t return the favor of inviting friends over for dinner,” I really like the people who had me over for dinner. I didn’t want to slight them. I hoped it wasn’t too late, and extended a dinner invitation ASAP. With a promise of chocolate pecan pie, it was not long before the invitation was accepted. (Although, when I talked about not making the pie but still having the dinner, the response I got from the invitee was: “No pie, no deal.” I am 100% serious. I have the text message as proof. So, I definitely made the pie).