New & Now

Arranged Seating: Yes or No?

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It doesn't matter if you're an introvert or a seasoned partygoer, seating arrangements can make any guest break out in hives. Judith Newman tells it like it is in this New York Times piece on the topic: "Whether the event is at the White House or your own house, arranged seating is an occasion for major tea-leaf reading. Who’s sitting where? Why? What’s the agenda?"


Maybe it makes sense for the Obamas -- as Newman points out, when everyone wants to sit next to you, pairing off with your wife puts strategic chair space to waste. But for more quotidien parties? I vote against the custom, unless you're planning a wedding with dozens of guests (and maybe even then!). At a casual dinner party, even a big one, it can feel old-fashioned. I like to assume that the couples I invite to dinner are polite enough not to talk only to each other, and it seems a little rude to sequester a quiet friend in a corner while bringing a loud one to the center.

Have you ever agonized over a seating arrangement? Or have you ever spent a boring (or amazing!) evening as a result of someone else's plan?

I’m Sitting Here, but Why? from the New York Times