The Obnoxious Guest

Sharing a meal with friends, family, or colleagues is a cherished social experience that should be marked by joy, connection, and appreciation.

However, there are times when the behavior of a guest can turn the atmosphere sour. One such obnoxious behavior is constantly comparing the dishes served to those of another restaurant, undermining the efforts of the host and dampening the enjoyment of everyone present.

Together with four others, I was invited by a gracious host to dinner in June, but one guest compared each dish served with that served at another restaurant, saying that all the dishes served in the restaurant we were in were inferior to the other restaurant’s. Yet he emptied his plate, ate everything in gusto and was obviously enjoying his food. What a fucking retard!

The jerk didn’t know how to be a grateful dinner guest and had zero idea on how to foster gratitude and respect.

This post is for him and others like him, of which, I regret to say, are many in Singapore.

1. Approach each dinner invitation with a positive mindset. Remember that your host has put in effort to create a memorable experience. Acknowledge the time, thought, and resources invested in planning and preparing the meal.

2. Embrace gratitude. By embracing gratitude, you can set a positive tone for the entire evening. Express your gratitude by offering genuine compliments to your host. Take a moment to appreciate the aesthetics of the table setting, the ambiance, or the efforts made in selecting the menu. Kind words and appreciation go a long way in creating a warm and welcoming environment.

3. Focus on the Present. Resist the urge to constantly compare the dishes served with those from other establishments. Remember that each dining experience is unique, and it is unfair to draw comparisons. Instead, savor the flavors, textures, and aromas of the meal that has been thoughtfully prepared for you.

4. Engage in Positive Conversation. This is not the time to be a namedropper and brag about who you know. Engage in uplifting and enjoyable conversations that enhance the dining experience for everyone. Share interesting anecdotes, discuss common interests, or explore new topics. This will contribute to a pleasant atmosphere and create lasting memories.

5. Offer Constructive Feedback. No matter how bad the food, I do what Queen Elizabeth used to do – she was an expert in projecting the impression that she enjoyed her food and was eating like everyone else. You could do the same, if you really can’t stomach the food served. But if you compare and complain yet ate your fill, then you should jolly well shut the fuck up.

If you really have to open your fucking mouth to criticize, deliver your feedback constructively and at an appropriate time, not when your mouth is full of the very food you were criticizing. Always avoid making comparisons during the dinner itself, as it may dampen the mood and cause discomfort to the host and other guests. Instead, wait for a suitable moment to provide feedback privately and respectfully.

6. Be Respectful of Cultural Differences. If you are invited to a dinner that features cuisine from a different culture, embrace the opportunity to expand your culinary horizons. Be open-minded and respectful of the traditions and flavors presented. Avoid making disparaging remarks or comparisons that may offend your host or fellow guests.

7. Participate and Offer Assistance. Be an active participant in the dinner experience. Offer to pour tea, etc. Contributing to the smooth flow of the evening demonstrates your gratitude and appreciation for the efforts made by the host.

8. Express Appreciation. Before leaving, take a moment to express your sincere appreciation to the host for the wonderful evening. A simple thank-you message can also go a long way in showing your gratitude for their hospitality.

Being a grateful dinner guest is an art that requires empathy, respect, and a genuine appreciation for the efforts of the host. By cultivating a mindset of gratitude, offering compliments, engaging in positive conversation, and avoiding unnecessary comparisons, you can contribute to a harmonious and enjoyable dining experience.

Remember, every meal shared is an opportunity to foster connection, create lasting memories, and strengthen relationships. Let us cherish these moments and be grateful for the generosity of our hosts.

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