5 Signs Your Dinner Host Is Very Good at Their Job

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By Cambria Bold

Source: The Kitchn

There’s a special feeling that comes over you when you’re halfway through the perfect dinner at a friend’s house. She always manages to do this, your friend — make you feel like the evening could go on forever and you wouldn’t mind. Her last dinner was like this, too. You just really enjoyed yourself, and you’re not sure how she did it. Was it the food, the lighting, the people? You didn’t feel the need to pull out your phone even once, and that never happens.

True hospitality is subtle, as I’ve written before. You don’t realize you’re getting it until after you’re already feeling totally comfortable. One way to figure out the secrets of a superb host? Start with the end result, the good feelings that you, the guest, experience. Here are five things a good host makes you feel, and how they (slyly) do it.

1. You feel totally relaxed and comfortable.

The evening is well underway, and if your shoulders could talk, they would say “Thank you for finally removing me from your ears!” You’re mingling without obligation, you’re talking without feeling self-conscious, you’re laughing because, well, laughing is the best and something as funny. You may even be dancing. And you’re doing it all spontaneously! (And no, it’s not because of the alcohol.) What is happening?!

How your host does it: It starts with the basics, like making sure the house is clean and playing good tunes. After that, it’s all about fine-tuning. Everyone has a different definition of what’s comfortable, but a good host creates a vibe that works for anyone. It may be lounge-y and informal or glammed up; it may be communal or funky. But she lets her guests know what to expect, if necessary, and then helps them tune their inner stations to the vibe she’s working.

2. You feel pampered.

Someone just helped you put your stuff down and is now offering you a cocktail, while your host just came around the corner with a plate of appetizers. Your friend ushers you out to the patio, where she tells you to chill out for awhile while she finishes up in the kitchen. You offer to help, but she refuses. Not a chance, she says. Go enjoy your drink!

Out on the patio you settle into an Adirondack chair, which she’s plumped with a squishy pillow. The setting sun sends pink streaks across the sky. You put on your sunglasses, lean back, and take a sip of your Old Fashioned. You think you hear music, but it may just be in your head, since you are clearly in a movie scene right now. A bird chirps. And another guest strikes up a conversation.

How your host does it: As outlined above, from the moment you walk through the door, your host has set up the Path to Pampering. There’s a place to put your things (or someone to take them), something to eat and drink, somewhere comfy to do it, and someone to talk to while doing it.

That in and of itself is good enough for most people, but a good host keeps it coming. The cooler gets refilled before you even notice it’s empty, appetizers are replenished, a new wine bottle corked and set on the table. All the while the music keeps playing, and you never, ever have to ask for a roll of toilet paper. (There’s a full basket of readily available TP in the candle-lit bathroom.)

And yes, the pampering extends to accommodating special diets, but even there your host has a few solid options. How can things get any better? Well, at this point…

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