Most of the online articles about becoming a better hostess or host have more to do with impressing people with how wonderful you are than they do with creating wonderful evenings with friends. What the following steps describe, however, is a warm, everyday brand of hospitality–one that welcomes people into your doors regularly and makes them feel special. Pursue the ideal of becoming a better hostess, not just so that you look good but so that you form and nurture solid friendships.
7 Simple Ways to Become a Better Hostess (or Host)
A genuine smile of welcome always puts guests at ease. Smile when they enter, smile as you find them a place to sit or offer them a drink, and smile when they spill their drink. If your guests know that you aren’t stressed and nervous about the evening, they will feel comfortable and “at home.”
2. Be genuinely interested in what interests your guests.
Don’t fake it. Ask your guests about their work, their hobbies, and their “loves” because you genuinely care.
3. Don’t focus too much on “event” details unless that’s just your personality.
I have a really lovely friend and neighbor who comes up with activities for any kids who are coming over (like a piñata!), plans out a several-course meal, and turns every occasion into a party. That’s her personality, and she makes it work so well. But many of us are unable to cook up a party every week. That’s ok. Your time with friends (or strangers) will still be a success if you simply enjoy each other without stressing about details that will leave you worn out. I know, this advice is exactly opposite most hospitality articles that tell you to worry about things like always greeting guests with a cocktail. However, I really believe that the important thing is to show hospitality on a consistent basis–not to impress everyone with your event planning skills.
4. Help guests figure out the layout of your home.
I talked about this layout-information-session in our article about making guests feel at home. It’s so important to know where the bathroom is, for instance, yet it can be really easy for us hosts and hostesses to forget to give that crucial information to our guests.
5. Shine the light on your guests, not yourself.
Now is not the time to pull out all the stops on décor you’ve bought especially for this one autumnal or summer meal–unless you’re trying to wheedle Mr. Buffett into donating to your charity. Neither is it the time to spend the entire evening discussing your latest fishing trip in Alaska. Make your guests feel special by focusing on them rather than trying to impress them.
6. Ask about food allergies ahead of time.
A few people I know are so good about asking their future guests about food preferences and allergies. They want to make sure that their guests can eat the food they serve without getting sick! If you’re nervous about inviting guests with severe food allergies, check out this helpful article.
7. Be yourself.
Since you’re not inviting others over to impress them with how amazing you are, the pressure is off. They’re already excited that someone actually wanted to spend time with them, most likely. Just be yourself, let your guests be themselves, and enjoy your day!
By the way, if your guests are surprise visitors, it’s a great idea to have something in the freezer or pantry ready to pull out to make them feel prepared for and loved. (See this article on staying ready for last-minute guests.)
You may also enjoy reading this article: Showing Hospitality When You Don’t Have the Perfect House.