Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Horrified Hostess - PART 2: What are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of?

House . . . not clean enough?
Not nice enough?
Not big enough?

Food . . . not edible?
Not suitable for guests?
Not ready on time?

Guests . . . not comfortable?
Bored? (Boring?)
Arriving too early? (Staying too late?)

Tip # 2 of this series:  Figure out what you're afraid of when it comes to entertaining.

Until you figure this out, you can't you tackle it.


If you're afraid of entertaining, but you're determined to conquer that fear and get into the game, you'll be happy to hear that the best way to do that is to ease yourself into it. No one who's afraid of the water gets into the pool by doing a reverse 2 1/2 somersault in the pike position off the 3-meter springboard.  It is perfectly acceptable -- and, in fact, highly recommended -- instead, to simply take one step at a time down into the shallow end of the pool with the idea of just getting your suit wet! (Whew!  Isn't that a relief!  Don't you feel better already?)

photo from lovemaegan.com

I really do think that any fears we have about entertaining fall into one of those categories listed above -- our houses, our food, or our guests.  (I know that some of you would put a big, fat check by each of those categories, but if you really focus on those scary thoughts, one category probably dominates the others. If not, well, pick one and just go with it for now. We'll get to all of them over the next couple of weeks.)

I know that at the top of this post, I listed our houses first, but I'm actually going to start with our guests.  And there's a reason for that. After all, WHO you invite into your home -- your "guest" list -- is the component you have the most control over in this whole entertaining equation!

In the pool of entertaining, who better to make a little splash with than friends?  (My motto is What good are your friends if you can't use 'em?)  That's right.  FRIENDS.  CLOSE friends.

There are huge advantages to choosing close friends as your first guinea pigs guests when you're just getting back into your entertaining groove. 

Advantage #1) You know them well, so you know their likes and dislikes. (These are the folks it should be easy to make feel comfortable).  

#2) You should have plenty to talk about (so neither they nor you should be bored or boring). 

#3) And perhaps the biggest advantage of all, you can be honest with them. (If this isn't the case, you need some new close friends.) You should be able to tell them that you haven't had anyone over in quiet a while and you're a little nervous.  (You probably don't want to tell them that you thought they'd be easy, but you get the idea, right?)  You can even tell really close friends not to dare show up early!  (If I knew them well enough, I've actually been known to tell prospective guests my Golden Guest Rule:  Come on time if you must.  Come late if you can.  Don't EVER come early!)  

#4) Close friends aren't going to be concerned with your house.  (Do the best you can with your house, and then forget about it and have fun!  More about  our houses, remember, in a later post.)  

#5) Close friends can usually tell when everyone's had enough fun and it's time for them to head home.

#6) Close friends want to spend time with you, so just about anything you do together -- regardless of your house, the food, or the ocassion -- will be a success.  And that's important when you're doing something that scares you. (NOTE:  Learn to set yourself up for SUCCESS!)

Photo from Laine and Abby's Ccookie Exchange on facebook

One success under your belt will give you the confidence to try for another!  (And before you know it, you won't be just sticking your toe in the water; you'll be doing laps at champ time!) 

Next time we'll talk about house horrors -- imagined or real -- and how to overcome them . . . 

Meanwhile, call a friend to stop over for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate in between last-minute Christmas shopping, or call a couple of friends to come over for an impromptu wrapping party. (Hey, wrapping Christmas presents is supposed to be messy, so as long as at least one bathroom's clean, you don't even worry about the rest of the house! And just pop some pre-made chocolate-chip cookie dough into the oven or pick up some cookies from the grocery store or local bakery, and you're set!)

Ahhh, the sweet smell of coffee and cookies success! 


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