Hostess Tips: Don’t Trash Talk

November 16th, 2012

A while ago, I read a little blurb about being a good hostess and one thing it said was: never put yourself down.  Don’t apologize for how messy your house is.  Don’t say the dinner didn’t turn out like you wanted.

While hard to follow sometimes, that is some darned good advice.

When it comes to housekeeping, there’s two issues at play.  Number one: your house probably looks fine.  Unless you’re a truly amazing slob, you wouldn’t have people over if the place was legitimately dirty.  Note that dirty is different from untidy.  We have two kids and a dog.  People know this.  They don’t expect our home to look like a museum — and it doesn’t.  There will probably be toys on the floor when you come to our house.  Art supplies may be heaped on the side board.  A stray sock may be on the floor of the kitchen.  It happens.

Also, don’t forget that you don’t always know what your guest’s house looks like.  If you say yours looks awful…and it’s in better shape than your guest’s…that’s an indirect put-down.  You didn’t even mean to, but you’ve just made your guest uncomfortable about their own housekeeping.   Why’d you go and do that?

Then there’s food.  I often try out new recipes on unsuspecting dinner guests.  My mom taught me that.  For whatever reason, we’ve never believed in sticking to reliable recipes when having company.   It’s more fun to experiment.  And sometimes that means that things don’t turn out quite like you’d imagined.

Resist the urge to disparage your cooking.

Unless the food is actually inedible (unlikely), chances are your guests think it’s fine.  Heck, they might even think it’s great.  Why second-guess their judgment?

Case in point: a few weeks ago, we had some church friends over for dinner.  They’ve got teen boys so I opted for a hearty meal of philly cheese steaks and oven fries.  To jazz it up a bit, I found a recipe that had a garlic mayonnaise to go on the sandwiches.  I made the mayo up ahead of time…and forgot to put it on the sandwiches.

The result?  They were dry and boring.  In my opinion.  Which I kept to myself.

Tonight I got a message from my guest.  She wanted the recipe for those delicious sandwiches I served because the boys really liked them.

So be kind to yourself.


2 responses to “Hostess Tips: Don’t Trash Talk”

  1. G'Mom says:

    I took your advice tonight and refrained from whining about the really boring quiche I made for dinner – because our guest was Jenny who had just read your post. She would not have approved of a quiche whine.

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