Hospitality - Another Lost Art
What is Hospitality - A New Kind of Medical Facility?
Hospitality. Where has it all gone? It left here long ago, that’s for sure. Maybe we have forgotten what it all means. In that case….
To give hospitality is to welcome someone and make them feel comfortable. They are to feel at ease instead of wishing they were anywhere but here. I look at the many events that I have attended from family gatherings, community events, to church events and I rarely see hospitality actually put into action. This is so very sad and an honest reflection of where our society is heading.
I’ve been a first time visitor and felt like I was alone on a barren island while everyone else had their own party islands that they had private ferries going to. Did anyone ever see the person sitting alone? Why were they alone???? How about the host or hostess? Where are they? In today's world they tend to not understand their roles at all.
So how to do you display hospitality?
First, think of how you like to be treated when you enter someone’s home or party. Odds are you don’t want to be totally ignored or your needs pushed aside. Think of how you have not been very hospitably somewhere and learn what not to do. That is a good starting point.
Second, when you are the host/hostess do NOT spend too much time with just a few people. Your job is to make sure that everyone is comfortable and enjoying themselves. Did you know that? Most seem to have forgotten that fact. When a guest arrives, mentally begin thinking of their interests and personalities. Then make sure that they are introduced or guided toward someone that they could easily get into a conversation with. You see this happening in old movies. It works. Also, think of who they might need to avoid. It is part of your job that they are having fun. This is very important to new people who don’t know anyone but maybe you. You cannot cater to them all night, so find them someone to converse with. You might be the catalyst to some really good relationships down the road.
Third, think of needs before the event. Little things that you don’t initially think of can be very valuable in ensuring a successful event. Little things like boxes of tissue strategically placed around the room, women’s personal supplies available in the powder room (unexpected things happen), lotion next to the sink, spot removal towelettes in case of accidents, extra baby supplies if the event involves children, light throws and shawls in case a guest gets a little colder than everyone else (easier to wrap up instead of cranking up the heat and cooking everyone else for a few guests), extra over-the-counter meds for those unexpected headaches or coughs, first aid kit (that is almost always needed for some accident that is bound to happen), extra slippers if your guests arrive in winter or a bad rainfall and their shoes are soaked, folding fans in the summer for those who get a little warm, needle and thread and even extra buttons, manicure set because nails can get broken, safety pins in case a dress tears getting out of the car. These are just a few of the things you can do to make sure everyone is comfortable.
Fourth, do NOT exclude others from conversation. This is very important when your guests are limited in numbers. I cannot tell you how many times there were only three or four in a group and the others got on topics that only they knew about and did not even try to draw me in on it. Do not talk about your upcoming vacation that you are taking with someone else in the group with. I was sitting in a group with three other women once. I spent the entire time sitting bored while they planned the cruise that only they would be taking next month. It was rude and insulting.
Fifth, be very conscience of where the conversation leads and even your body language. If you turn even slightly from a guest, you have excluded them. Look from person to person as much as you can without looking like you are watching a tennis match.
Sixth, see each guest out individually. Excuse yourself from socializing just long enough to express thanks for the person coming and wishing them safe travel home.
Seventh, when it comes to food, serve whatever you want. Just keep in mind food allergies. If you are serving dishes that contain allergic items, have other options available so they are not left out. Let’s take this further and make sure you have options for vegetarians and others that have particular diets for medical reasons. You don’t have to cater your entire menu, but have options so that they don’t feel shunned on the basis of your menu.
Eighth, seating. Make sure that you have adequate seating. Take into account any disabilities that your guests might have. Some people need seats that they can easily get in and out of. Maybe then need ones with arms to assist.
But I'm Not the Host...
What if you are not the host/hostess? Does this give you an out? NO! NO! NO! You do not get off the hook here. Here are your responsibilities:
First, if you see a new guest arrive and you know the host/hostess is busy doing their job somewhere else and cannot politely escape, then greet them and keep them busy until your host arrives to take over. Your host will love you for this because they are currently stressed beyond belief.
Second, if you see someone sitting or standing all alone, do something to remedy that problem. Granted there are a few people who want it that way, so if you discover that politely excuse yourself. But most people are just being rudely ignored by everyone else. Hopefully, this will never happen if the host has directed them to someone else, but that someone else might have been rude and abandoned them. Introduce yourself. Strike up a genuine conversation. During this conversation discover more about the person. You’ll think of others at the event that they might have fun conversing with. Introduce them. It’s called networking. I know people on the internet know nothing about this (LOL), but it can be done.
Third, if you are introduced to someone do not just leave them standing alone!!!! That is beyond rude. If you must leave them, make sure you have found someone else for them to connect with. This is really important if they don’t know many people there.
Fourth, if you are introduced to someone do not bring in others and have personal conversations, thus, excluding the person you were originally talking to. Didn’t your mother teach you manners?
Some of this might sound like common sense, but step back at an event and watch how much of this really happens.
- My husband and I were invited to a couple’s house. They wanted us to meet another couple that they thought we would for sure hit it off with. We sat throughout the entire meal and through dessert left out of most conversations. The hostess never even tried to include me in any of them. Yeah, we hit it off alright.
- Attended a conference recently. My husband is Mr. Social Butterfly. He never meets a stranger. This can be very irritating to us introverts. So we came to a break in the conference and everyone began to mingle. My husband walks off to go the men’s room. I know him and he’ll be talking to everyone on the way in so I won’t see him for a while. I sat there all alone because I didn’t know many people there. I sat and I sat. Not once during that two day conference did a single soul approach me. I was miserable. Remember that I’m an introvert. Once the ice is broken I can handle myself, but I need that initial help.
These are just a few suggestions to bring back the old fashioned philosophy of hospitality and politeness.
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