Gentle Reader,

Sometimes you may attend an event. You may, in fact, spend a good deal of money and effort to attend an event. The event may be a purely social event, such as a wedding; or it may be a philanthropic event, such as a charity ball or picnic. The goal of the event may, in fact, not be at all social: it may be an event to facilitate business transactions among persons who do business. The more elevated our station in life, the more events it may fall upon us to attend. 

A well run event can make the expenditure of time and effort well worth your while. Sadly, not all events are well run. Some, while being quite well run may not be perfect for you: the dinner may not be to your taste; the music may be too loud, or perhaps not loud enough; you may be seated beside persons of poor manners and worse taste. 

It is at these times that your patience may be sorely tried. It is also at these times that you have an opportunity to show yourself a person of true gentility and generosity of spirit. Anyone may be gracious when everything arranges itself according to her preferences. Tribulation tests us, and only the best people shine under difficult circumstances. 

When faced with something that is not to your liking, and may, in fact, make your afternoon unbearable, it is acceptable to ask your host(s) if arrangements can be made to better accommodate your needs. Do consider, however, whether your request truly represents a thing necessary to your own well being or comfort, or merely a preference, and phrase your request accordingly. If your stated dietary needs are not being met, it is acceptable to request an alternative meal. If you do not like the person beside whom you are seated, it is acceptable to ask someone to change seats with you. If you purchased a raffle ticket, but did not win a prize, suck it up, Buttercup. We can't all win prizes. Consider also whether you can, in fact, live with affairs as they stand, or quietly re-arrange things to better suit your needs.

If a host is not to be found, you may address a member of the host's staff; however, be advised that this person may not be empowered to re-arrange an event for your convenience, and be prepared to wait while advice is sought. Where possible, suggest solutions, rather than simply pointing out problems, but be aware that your proposed solution may not be possible, and accept suggestions graciously. Consider that your host may be juggling considerations for myriad people's convenience and comfort. While no host wishes a guest to be unhappy, the host may have to balance your unhappiness against the prospective unhappiness of another guest, and make a difficult decision.

A caring host will of course place their guests' safety and well being above all else, and their comfort and convenience next.

Do not, under any circumstances, vent your displeasure on servants, staff, or others who merely carry out the host's plans. Responsibility for a event planning rests solely with the host. 

If the displeasing circumstances are truly intolerable, and your host is unwilling or unable to address your concerns, it is acceptable to leave the event. Agreeing to attend an event does not constitute agreement to subject oneself to extreme unpleasantness. You may either quietly leave, or take a brief leave of your host, pleading headache or some other reason for your abrupt departure. If your host has asked you to perform a function, such as giving a speech, at the event, you should absolutely inform them that you will be unable to stay. Your departure is not the time to subject your host to a lengthy or even brief discussion of their shortcomings or the event's failings. Just extricate yourself with as little fuss as you can manage.

Sometime in the weeks following the unpleasant event, you may wish to unburden yourself, and, if appropriate, inform your host of the reason for your abrupt departure. The best way to do this is in the form of a brief, polite, yet sincere note, explaining in what way the event failed to delight you, following the form set out below:
Dear Madame Host,

I appreciated the opportunity to attend your event last Thursday. I was sorry not to have the opportunity to talk more with you, but I fully understand the challenges that running an event like yours entails. 

I was disappointed that dinner was served so late/that there were so few raffle prizes/to find myself seated beside Mr. Boring/the room was so very cold/dinner did not offer a vegetarian option when I had clearly stated on my RSVP that I do not eat meat. I would very much like to support your event in the future, but I would appreciate some assurance that this problem will be addressed. 

Once again, thank you for inviting me to your event. I do hope that apart from the late meal/paucity of raffle prizes/presence of Mr. Boring/icicles hanging from the ceiling/lack of vegetarian options your event was a success. If you have any questions about my experience at your event, I would be delighted to discuss them with you. 

Sincerely,
Etc.
Gentle Reader, be assured that most hosts do, in fact, care about your opinions. They want you to attend their events. They want you to come away from the event entirely pleased with your experience. If they have failed to please you, they will want to know, and to address your concerns; however, they may unfortunately not be in a position to do so at the event. In adverse circumstances, you may show yourself to be a person of great gentility by enduring, addressing, leaving, and ultimately discussing.

Sincerely,

Z.

Inspired by having been on the receiving end of some truly ungracious behaviour on the part of participants at a fund-raising golf tournament, yesterday. Said participants chewed me out because they didn't like the schedule for the event, which put supper at 7:00 p.m., allowing for the slowest golfers to get in, get changed, and have a drink. The ladies in question told me that our event was smaller than it had been in previous years so we should be accommodating those who paid good money to be there (but apparently not the slow people who also paid good money to be there(?)), that they'd told my boss about wanting an earlier dinner, that they were going to withdraw all their support for the organization if I did not call them into dinner RIGHT THEN. I had gone over to them to let them know that we'd been able to bump the dinner time up by fifteen minutes. Basically, these ladies, one of whom used to be a politician, treated me like dirt. Then we were seated at the same table for an extremely uncomfortable dinner. One also chewed me out because she didn't win a raffle prize.

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