What makes for a great, stress-free host? You might be surprised. I have found that attitude is just as important as your beautiful guest bedroom or those fancy dinners planned. There is a chapter in the book titled, The 12 Essential Qualities of a Great Host. Here is a brief summary of one of them:
A Great Host is The Picture of Restraint
FOR ME, THIS IS THE HARDEST QUALITY TO LIVE BY. I KNOW I must do it, and I know why I do it—but still! It is definitely a learned skill. If a guest offers to cook a meal, and you agree, great! But then don’t stand over them watching every move, although do slide the cutting board discreetly under the veggies if you know Aunt Martha sometimes forgets. . . .
If the resulting meal is less than perfect don’t criticize at the table or after. The guest may not cook often and not know that thirty minutes in the microwave is not the recommended method for skinless, boneless chicken breast! Although you could literally bounce it across the table, now is not the time to say so.
As my parents would tell us when we were children, dinnertime is not the time to discuss politics or religion. I will add: or anything of a sensitive nature, especially with family. As host you should take the responsibility
of ensuring pleasant conversation at the table. If you want to discuss sensitive subjects away from the table or over dessert, perhaps, fine. Truth be told, politics and religion are great conversations to have, but
this is best done in the right environment. The best advice is to know your guests. When I am with one particular friend, politics, religion, and any other ghastly, controversial topic we can think of is the most interesting, but best to err on the side of caution.
If a heated argument is taking place behind closed doors, don’t interfere in the private discussion. If you happen to walk in on two people who are in the midst of a quarrel, turn around and walk back out. No one
wants to air their dirty laundry “in public” and often it only makes matters worse when others are brought into the mix.
If you see someone do something that gets on your nerves, forget it. Don’t run out of the house screaming, “I can’t believe you just picked that flower from my garden!” or, “Why in the world did you just use that scrub brush on the Corian countertop!” (granted, I might freak on that one), but you get the picture. Unless it will do serious harm or injure someone, let it go. There is more in the book but that’s enough to get you thinking “picture of restraint” instead of “restraining order.”