Playing host can be intimidating especially in modern-day living where everyone values their private space. Still, sometimes it is simply inevitable. When called upon by friends or family, it is important to extend your kindness and hospitality to them.
While it may seem daunting, being a good host is not too difficult if you are well prepared. Often, it is the last minute shopping and preparations that can make hosting feel like an unbearable chore. That said, the goal is to make your guest comfortable not reorganize your life at their behest.
Do you get a knot in your belly every time someone asks to stay over for a day or two? Worry no more. Here is how to become the ideal host.
The Heads Up
It is common etiquette to call before you show up at anyone’s door but not everyone abides by that. The downside of having impromptu guests is that they catch you unprepared. Your schedule may be insane at the time and you may come off as dismissive and uncaring.
Asking loved ones to inform you of their visits in advance will save you a lot of grief. Hosting is as much about demeanor as it is about all the other comforts you might offer. When you are not in the right headspace to do it, it may not augur well for everyone involved.
It can be a sensitive subject to discuss so you will need to be tactful about how you handle it. Remind them that your being aware of their arrival will help you plan how to accommodate their needs. It is not too much to ask and any reasonable person should appreciate the intention behind your request.
If you are fortunate enough to have a guest room, accommodation should not be a problem. All you need to do is prepare the room.
Most designated guest rooms tend not to get used on the regular. If they are, it is often for other purposes such as a home office or storage. Either way, a good cleaning will be necessary to get it ready for your guest.
Open the windows and get some fresh air in as you vacuum carpets or mop the floor. Check the drawers and closets to ensure that your guests will have storage space for their items. They may not be moving in but living out of a suitcase can be an inconvenience.
There is nothing like the feel of fresh sheets at the end of a long day. When the cleaning is all done, take out some fresh linens and spread the bed. Lay out clean towels too.
It would be a good idea to have linens that are specifically reserved for the guest room. Most people are territorial about their favorite sheets or comforters. Having spare sets for such occurrences will save you from feeling put out.
It might be hard to pick out the exact kind of products that your guest would prefer. The best you can do is choose good quality products.
Consider soaps and lotions that are not too heavy on fragrance to avoid flaring up allergies. You could also pick out shampoo from brands that use private label hair care manufacturers; they tend to have gentle varieties. Add to that a toothbrush and some toothpaste to complete the toiletry provisions.
When you have no extra bedrooms, you may need to make different arrangements. Pull-out couches or blow-up mattresses work well for such situations. They are both more comfortable than sleeping on an ordinary couch. A blow-up mattress is additionally convenient as you can place it anywhere you find appropriate around the house.
For health reasons, personal beliefs or preferences, most people stick to certain diets. If your guest if Muslim, for instance, their first night over may not be the best time to grill pork ribs. While it is your home at the end of the day, some concessions go a long way in making the visit enjoyable.
As you go out to shop in preparation, find out if your guest has any dietary restrictions. Do not presume to know because even those who are closest to us are constantly changing. You may be surprised to learn that they are now vegan or pescatarian or have allergies.
Depending on your relationship, it might be a fun idea to bring them along on a grocery run. It will give you time to catch up and they can help you pick out what works for them.
Plans and Activities
The kinds of activities you plan for will largely depend on the nature of the visit. For a leisurely visit, for instance, you could point out some sites for them to visit when you are at work. You can join them whenever your schedule allows.
On the other hand, sometimes loved ones come over because they need emotional solace or medical attention. In such a scenario, it would be prudent to make time to be present for them as much as you can. Consider taking time off to accompany them to doctor’s appointments and help them with any errands they may have.
When it is finally time for your guest to leave, send them off in good cheer. If there were any rough patches during their stay, try and smooth things over before they leave.
A special farewell dinner is always a good idea. It does not have to be a full-blown party. A delightful quiet evening over a hearty meal will do. It has gotten generals to call ceasefires during wars so it will likely work for you too.
Finally, see to it that they are all packed for their journey and that they depart on time. Make arrangements to get them to the airport or the train station where necessary.
Sharing your personal space with anyone is not always easy. Couples stay married for years and still bicker about dishes and socks. The trick is to compromise and not take things too personally. After all, visits do not last forever.
When you finally come around to it, you may realize that letting people into your home can be a blessing. It is a rare chance to catch up with a loved one and spend some quality time together. You will likely enjoy it more than you expect.
Now that you have the ultimate checklist to prepare, hosting should be a breeze.