My friend was recently telling me about a birthday dinner she was invited to. The chosen restaurant was a popular eatery that accepts bookings. As such, the birthday girl made a reservation for their large group—but did so before all the RSVPs came in. She also showed up an hour late, which meant her friends—many of whom had not met each other before—had to wait outside until she arrived. They were finally seated at a table for 20, even though there were only 12 people. This was inconvenient to the restaurant, and also made other guests have to wait longer. For religious reasons, the restaurant was BYOB. This was fine, but then guests began complaining that there were no wine glasses. This was by no means a fancy restaurant, and my friend, who had eaten there several times, tried to point out that there were worse things than drinking wine from a water glass.
Though they had been sitting for quite a while, half the table didn’t bother to look at the menus until the waiter came to take their order. Then, when the dishes were served, nobody paid attention to what the waiter was saying as he tried in vain to get the plates on the table. One man kept saying, “I can’t remember what I ordered; I just pointed to something on the menu.” He then sulked for the rest of the meal because he was sure he had ordered another dish, though he couldn’t remember what it is.
Everyone agreed that the food was excellent, but my friend felt irritated by the whole event. Showing up late, being disorganized, complaining excessively, being disrespectful to staff, and needing a babysitter to help you get the right order… this all points to a lack of civility and maturity. It didn’t seem like an adult dinner party; it felt like a kid’s birthday party.
If you are hosting an evening out, don’t be late! As a Plan B you can appoint a close friend to step up should some unforeseen delay tie you up. Let this person know whose name the reservation is under, who is coming, and how to reach them. Be sure that your number is accurate; most restaurants won’t seat a table until most, if not all, of the party is there.
And if you’re the guest, cheer up! You have been invited because the host enjoys your company. Why ruin it by complaining about petty issues? Go with the flow, I say.