Beware the dinner party guest! One in 10 admit to snooping around their host"s home

Beware the dinner party guest! One in 10 admit to snooping around host's home28 per cent
regularly turn up without a gift 17 per
cent swear at the table

'It is truly dreadful,' says etiquette expert Gill Harbord



11:23 GMT, 12 June 2012

While you're busy in the kitchen slaving away over a hot stove do you ever wonder what your dinner party guests are doing in the room next door

Well according to new research they could be busy sifting through your worldly possessions in a bid to find something they were never meant to see.

One in ten of those surveyed admitted to snooping through personal goods belonging to a friend while waiting for food to be served.

A scene from the British TV show Come Dine With Me - a contest to see who can throw the best dinner party

A scene from the British TV show Come Dine With Me – a contest to see who can throw the best dinner party

Experts now believe that British etiquette is in danger of a becoming lost art as poking around uninvited wasn't the only offense committed.

More than a quarter (28 per cent)
said they regularly turned up at friend's house without a gift, 17 per
cent took to swearing in front of their host and 13 per cent lit
cigarettes, despite not smoking in their own homes.

Just 15 per cent of men admit they offer
to wash the dishes when visiting a friend or family member, while over a
quarter of women (27 per cent) were more than happy to help out where they could.

As a result of poor behaviour, seven per cent of hosts revealed that they had fallen out with friends.


If you have been invited to a dinner party make sure you RSVP promptly (mentioning any dietary requirements you may have). If you can't make it you'll be giving the host plenty of time to find someone else. If you have to cancel, give as much notice as possible.

Never arrive early to a dinner party. A few minutes after the time stated on the invitation is polite; if you are going to be more than 15 minutes late phone ahead and warn your host.

It is polite to take a gift; chocolates, flowers, or a bottle of wine are all good choices. Take a couple of bottles if there are two of you. Always write a thank you note as soon as possible after the event; phone call is also fine for casual evenings. A reciprocal invitation should follow where appropriate.


Gill Harbord, etiquette expert and
Ladette to Ladies headmistress, said: 'The idea that guests set out to
go on a self-guided tour of their guest’s home is just awful behaviour.

'If guests want to see the house they should always ask their host first and never engage in an uninvited snoop.

'It is truly dreadful that a quarter
of British people have turned up to a dinner party without a gift and it
shows a clear lack of manners in today’s society.

'Guests should remember that they do
not need to spend a fortune but should always bring along a small token
to show appreciation to their host'.

But guests are still making demands
of their hosts – almost a third (31 per cent) said they expect hosts to
hang up their coat when they arrive and three quarters (76 per cent)
would find it rude if they were not asked if they wanted a drink or a
bite to eat.

Jacky Brown, at Sheilas’ Wheels insurance which commissioned the survey, added: 'It is clear from the
research that old fashioned British etiquette is in danger of becoming

'As a nation we are well known for
taking care of our castles so we would advise that hosts plan ahead and
make sure they put away expensive and fragile items to prevent any
accidental mishaps from happening.'