The Fine Art of Hosting
For some people, hosting a gathering comes naturally. However, for most people, the prospect of inviting all their friends over can be nerve-wracking. That’s because they’re not sure what’s expected. Will their guests need food? How much? Is conversation enough entertainment? Even though you probably didn’t learn hosting skills in school, they’re an important part of an adult’s repertoire. Read on to ensure that your next gathering won’t be your last!
Spic and Span?
Keeping a space as deliberately arranged as a hotel lobby is more work than it’s worth. Your home doesn’t need to be as sterile as a clinic, but it’s not a good idea to rely too much on the charm of your space feeling “lived-in.” Make sure blankets are folded, pet toys are collected in a basket, your documents are filed away, and there’s no laundry in sight. Ensure that your dishes are all clean, or at least loaded into the dishwasher. From there, it’s up to you how much more organization is needed, depending on the formality of your get-together.
Your bathroom is one place to really hone-in. Make sure your toilets all work, all surfaces are wiped down, and that there’s a trash bin with a lid. Your guests will feel more comfortable knowing that whatever they throw out won’t be the first thing on display in there.
You don’t need a hot tub or a thousand-dollar entertainment system to keep your friends engaged, but if you’re having more than one or two people over, it’s a good idea to have something more than gossip to rely on. If you know you have a hobby in common with your guests, that’s a good place to start. For example, if you all play instruments, let your guests know ahead of time and you can hold a jam session! Otherwise, you can never go wrong with some sophisticated board games or a deck of cards.
Food and Comfort
Guests are prone to hunger at a moment’s notice. Even if you’re basing the evening (or afternoon) around a meal, keeping some crackers, nuts and lunchmeat on hand for the just-in-case moment will go a long way. If you plan on cooking, make sure it’s not the first time you’ve prepared the recipe. Even if you’re happy to eat it however it comes out, your guests may not be. Politeness will dictate that they not tell you it’s a flavorless mush, but you can be sure that they won’t rely on you to cook ever again.
Unless you’re throwing a dance party, it should go without saying that you have more seats than guests. Folding chairs are fairly cheap and easy to keep in a closet. Additionally, whether or not your place is chilly, it’s a good idea to keep a blanket or two around. Some people get cold even when everyone else is sweating.
Guest etiquette generally dictates to accept whatever is presented graciously, so as not to be rude. However, as a host, it’s your responsibility to make sure your friends are not wanting for any needs you could have easily predicted. By keeping your space tidy and food supply adequate, your friends will look forward to every event at your home. Just remember, you don’t have to entertain every weekend!