A Relaxed Host Is the Best Host
I may have mentioned this before, I love parties. Going to, planning, throwing, looking at pictures from them. They energize me.
But nothing bothers me more than to be at a party and watching the host cleaning up because the second the host starts to clean up, the guests feel one of two things:
Now---if you are the host and that is the vibe you want or it is a tactic you use to get rid of your guests, then do you. This blog is not for you.
But if you find yourself doing this at a party because you cannot bare to see your house a mess or because you have a small space and you have to clean up phase one in order to make room for phase two, maybe I can help.
I will start with a story. Two of my favorite parties to attend are yearly parties hosted by dear friends. They are my favorite because they are filled with people I love and who I rarely see.
But every year, I would find the wife of each of the couples in the kitchen cleaning, and inevitably there were a few other women in there cleaning with her. These parties mostly take place outside, so these women, while chatting and laughing with each other, are basically removed from the party.
For a while, each time I saw this, I felt terrible walking past them and not helping, like I was breaking some tacit rule: women clean up, men drink beer. But as I mentioned, I love parties.
To one of the women I began to say “STOP CLEANING,” and to the other I said nothing. I am not sure why. It was not an experiment, but the results are interesting.
After a few years of my strongly voiced expression, the first woman, hired a person to assist with the party. It changed the whole vibe; she, the host, was different. She was out in the yard, laughing. She was playing with other people’s kids and splashing in the pool. She was introducing guests to each other, strengthening our bounds.
A host who is laughing, drinking, eating, playing and mingling tells guests what they expectations are.
The host is the definite common ground everyone at the party has. People are there because the like the host and want to hang out with them: catch up on what has been going on, share fun stories or shared experience.
An absent host, is noticeable, and while it may not ruin the party totally, it does change the vibe.
One way to become a relaxed host is to hire someone. It is a great idea. Everyone knows that person is being paid so no one feels obligated to help them. It is not awkward at all, and when they are professionals, the guests barely notice them. They also barely notice when dishes are being done, trash is being taken our or ice is being refilled. Everyone can relax.
If you cannot hire someone, there are still things you can do to avoid cleaning while your guests are present.
Now, the answer cannot be leave the mess everywhere. A mess can sometimes feel gross and force some people to feel uncomfortable or to clean, but a host can reduce the mess
Pick the one that works for you.
Remember, parties are about celebrating, strengthening relationships and building new ones.
I write this blog to combine my 2 favorite things- writing and partying. I believe parties are meant to bring people together for fun, and really nothing else.