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Socializing - Part 3 - Social Niceties

Socializing - Part 3 - Social Niceties

 

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Socializing -3 -What the host and guest say


Hello! In this lesson, we will learn various social niceties, what the host and guest say to each other during the course of a dinner or party at someone's home.

These niceties are not part of the conversation, although they might interrupt the conversation at times.

The following conversation occurs when Elizabeth and Joe visit Jennifer and David. Jennifer and David are the "hosts", and Elizabeth and Joe are the "guests".

Jennifer: Come in and have a seat.

Elizabeth: Thank you.

Jennifer: Can I get you something to drink? We have coffee, tea, beer, and lemonade.

Elizabeth: Oh yes, please. I'll have coffee please.

Joe: I'll have a beer.

David: How about some snacks? (passing around snack bowl)
(time elapses)

Elizabeth to Jennifer: Could I use your bathroom?

Jennifer: Sure, it's down the hall. It's the first door on the left.
(time elapses, sitting at dinner table)

David: I'll start the potatoes. (taking some potatoes and passing to his right to Elizabeth.)

Elizabeth: Please pass the salt and pepper. (Jennifer passes) Thank you.

Jennifer: Would you care for some peas?

David: Enjoy your meal!

After Joe and Elizabeth come into the house, Jennifer invites them to sit down by saying "Come in and have a seat.". When you visit someone's house, especially for dinner, you might sit down in the living room for a little while before eating dinner.

In the living room, the host might invite you to "Have a seat on the couch.", "Have a seat on a sofa.", "Have a seat on the loveseat.", "Relax in the recliner.", or "Please sit in the armchair.". You can reply "Thanks." or "Thank you!".

When you are seated, the host might offer you something to drink. Jennifer offers drinks by saying "Can I get you something to drink? We have coffee, tea, beer, and lemonade.".

Jennifer gives several choices of available beverages. She might have said "Would you care for something to drink?" or "Could I get you a beer or a cup of coffee?".

Elizabeth accepts the offer of a drink by saying "Oh, yes please. I'll have coffee please.". Since Jennifer offered coffee, tea, beer, or lemonade, Elizabeth knew what her choices were, and she asked for coffee.

If Elizabeth didn't like any of the choices, she could have said "Could I have a glass of water?". It is usually acceptable to ask for water. What

if Elizabeth really didn’t' want anything to drink at all? Then she could say "Nothing for me, thank you." or "I'm not thirsty right now, but maybe later."or "I might have something later if that's okay." Or "Can I have something later? I'm not thirsty right now. Thanks.".

Even if Elizabeth is fairly certain she will not want anything to drink, she can leave open the possibility in this way.

Joe accepts by saying "I'll have a beer.". He could have said "I'd like a beer." or "A beer sounds good." or "Could I have a beer, please?".
David passes around a bowl of snacks and asks "How about some snacks?".

Since there are no little plates on the coffee table, the assumption is that people will take out less than a handful of snacks at a time, eat what they have in their hand, and repeat the process if they want more.

At some homes, there might be little plates intended for pre-meal snacks. People might hold the little plates on their laps or leave them on the table and snack from their own little plate. David could have asked "Does anybody want any snacks?".

A little bit later, Elizabeth asks to use the bathroom. She says "Could I use your bathroom?". Sometimes people call this room the "restroom", which usually refers to the restroom in an institution like a school, office, or restaurant. In homes, they are usually called the "bathroom".

Sometimes women call the restroom the "powder room" or "the little girls' room". Sometimes restrooms are referred to by the slang terms "the john", or "the can". Military people sometimes refer to the restroom as "the head".

Since these terms are not accepted everywhere, it is best if you do not actively use these slang terms; however, to be a good host or an aware guest, you should know what they mean if you hear them.

Jennifer gives directions to the bathroom by saying "Sure, it's down the hall. It's the first door on the left.". Elizabeth and Jennifer are friends, so Jennifer sends Elizabeth down the hall on her own. A host often walks the guest to the restroom and turns on the light for the guest.

There is usually a lock on a bathroom door. If there is any trick to the lock, the host should show the guest how to lock and unlock the bathroom door.

A typical bathroom door lock in a house is a small button near the doorknob on the inside of the door. This small button should be pressed in to lock the door. The door will automatically unlock when the person inside the bathroom turns the knob of the bathroom door.

The toilet usually has a small handle either on the left front or left side of the toilet tank. Pushing that little handle down briefly or for a short moment will flush the toilet by letting water out of the tank.

The faucets in the sink are usually arranged so that the faucet on the right is cold water, and the faucet on the left is hot water. They usually turn on by rotating the faucet toward the middle. Wipe your hands on a "hand towel" which is hanging on a "towel rack" on the wall.

As the group starts to pass food, David says "I'll start the potatoes.". He means that he will be the first person to take potatoes and pass them on to the next person. Different households have different methods for passing food; however, once the food is going in one direction, it is best to pass all the food in the same direction.

If you want something on the table to be passed to you, you should say "Please pass the salt and pepper.", as Elizabeth did, or "Please pass the _____.". When you receive the dish that you requested, the polite reply is "Thank you" or "Thanks".

Meanwhile, it is nice for the host to offer additional servings of food to the guests as Jennifer does when she asks "Would you care for some peas?". The host can also ask "Would you like some ____?" or "Who would like some ____?".

David starts the meal and tells everyone "Enjoy your meal!".

Now that we have heard the conversation and we understand the expressions that are used by hosts and guests, let us listen to the conversation again.

Jennifer: Come in and have a seat.

Elizabeth: Thank you.

Jennifer: Can I get you something to drink? We have coffee, tea, beer, and lemonade.

Elizabeth: Oh yes, please. I'll have coffee please.

Joe: I'll have a beer.

David: How about some snacks? (passing around snack bowl)
(time elapses)

Elizabeth to Jennifer: Could I use your bathroom?

Jennifer: Sure, it's down the hall. It's the first door on the left.
(time elapses, sitting at dinner table)

David: I'll start the potatoes. (taking some potatoes and passing to his right to Elizabeth.)

Elizabeth: Please pass the salt and pepper. (Jennifer passes) Thank you.

Jennifer: Would you care for some peas?

David: Enjoy your meal!

Wonderful! You are prepared to visit a friend's house or have friends to your home. "Enjoy your meal!".