I…should talk about several things one simply must not do when inviting guests, being a guest, or when entertaining guests. Most offenders are innocently perpetrating these crimes because no one has stopped them–until now, anyway. If you are an offender, it is no doubt through failure to realize the effect of these crimes on your own popularity as well as on the sensibilities of others. ~ Carolyn Coggins
If you watch enough “how to throw an amazing party” shows on television, you start to believe that food and decorations are the focal point of a party. Not so, says Miss Coggins. Your guests are the most important element of any entertaining and she pleads with you to avoid doing any of the following:
- Trick your guests into coming. Instead of saying, “Are you doing anything Saturday night?” We should tell them up front that we are having a party and hope that they can come.
- Let a guest be stranded. No one should be left alone while everyone else is engaged in conversation. A good hostess keeps her eye out and draws the stranded person into a conversion, offers them a refreshment, or asks a friend to rescue the stranded person.
- Interrupt people who are talking so that a new arrival can be introduced. This is just basic good manners. Wait until there is a break in the conversation to introduce the guest.
- Frown. This is one I have to work on because my tendency is to frown when I am thinking or surveying the situation and so my guests think that something is wrong instead of it being something mundane such as needing more ice for the drinks.
- Embarrass a guest. Yes, the person is behaving badly by either showing up unexpectantly or by trying to bait the other guests into an argument. Despite what we see in sitcoms and movies, as the hostess our job is to help the person “save face.” We don’t have to put him in his place. He is doing it well enough on his own and doesn’t have to be invited to any more of your parties (unless he’s the boss or a relative…then, you just have to grin and bear it).
- Be a fussbutton. This bit of advice goes back to the advice in a previous post about having a showcase house. Don’t be obvious about cleaning up while the party is still going on. It’s a party. There will be times during the party that it will look like *gasp* a party is going on!
- Exploit guests. If you want them to be your entertainment, then book them and pay them their going rate. Otherwise, don’t invite someone hoping that they’ll put on a show for you. If they spontaneously begin to entertain, great! But don’t put them on the spot by asking them in front of everyone at the party to do their thing. Talented people need their down time, too!
What are some things that terrible hostesses do that hasn’t been included in the list?