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The Art of How to Be a Good Host

Updated on May 5, 2013

It's All About COMFORT

When figuring out how to be a good host, the best thing to keep in mind is to make sure your guests are comfortable.

If your guests are more laid back: Try not to make things too over the top where guests feel like they have to walk on eggshells to avoid messing anything up. It's great to have a clean house and a candle or two, but don't feel like you have to be overly impressive. You set the tone, so if you know that your guests would prefer a more laid back setting (beer and bbq, game night...) give it to them! They will appreciate it and the night will go a lot more smoothly.

If it's going to be more of a formal evening: More formal events, such as wedding showers, birthdays and holidays may require a little more work on your end, but there is no need to stress. If you know how to be a good host for informal events, you already have the basics down for how to be a good host for formal events. There are plenty of quick touches you can do to make the day extra special. A clean home, well-set table, vase full of flowers, lit candles, place settings, themed decor and special treats are just a few ways to spruce things up a bit for the big day. Again, don't panic! Your party is about the people and friendships you are celebrating, not an analysis of your "Suzie Homemaker" skills.


Anyone who knows how to be a good host knows that you need to have the house looking presentable, but there are a few more ways to prepare before your company arrives.

  1. Make sure to review names and key information about your guests. For example: occupation, hometown, and hobbies are great things to know.
  2. For groups of guests that do not know each other, plan ways for people to get talking. Games and ice breakers work for some groups, but not all. Try to come up with other creative ways to make guests feel comfortable and get them engaged in conversation.
  3. Make connections for your guests even before they arrive. Now this might sound difficult and even unnecessary, but it really can be a big help! Finding things that people have in common and bringing that to their attention during introductions is a great way to break the ice. People appreciate finding people with their same interests. And who knows, you could have just introduced them to their new bff (or even soul mate...!).

Food and Drink

If you have people coming over, they're probably going to need something to eat, and definitely something to drink. Make sure you have plenty of both. Even if you have absolutely no idea how to be a good host, if you provide your guests with adequate food and drink, they will probably be happy!

Food: Everyone loves food, but not everyone likes the same kinds of food. Be sure to either ask guests beforehand what kind of foods they enjoy, or have plenty of options for guests to choose from. For a more formal group of people, it is generally a good idea to stay away from foods that are overly greasy or messy (hash browns, french fries, gooey cupcakes, etc.). Junk food is definitely an okay thing to have in most settings, but be sure have an equally delicious healthy option. Fruit and veggie platters are a great addition to any meal.

Drink: Be sure to have plenty of drink options for your guests; both young and old. A large range of soft drinks always work, but be sure to also have options of bottled water, milk and juice for more health-conscious guests. Alcohol can be a great option for some groups of people, but be safe and limit your guests when needed; especially those who are driving. Knowing how to be a good host includes knowing when enough is enough.

Be Attentive

Just because you've prepared well and have everything set up doesn't mean your job as a host is over. Being attentive to your guest's needs throughout the evening is what will set you apart as a person who knows how to be a good host.

A few key things to remember:

  • Guests always come first, whether in the food line or for the best seat of the house.
  • Make sure the temperature is placed at a comfortable setting.
  • Don't let your guests go hungry or thirsty. Either ask them if they need anything, or make it blatantly obvious where all the food and drinks are and that everyone is welcome to help him/herself.
  • Make an effort to interact with every guest. If someone looks like they are feeling left out, include them and encourage others to do the same; without making a scene.
  • Enjoy yourself. Don't waste too much time running around fixing things. Have fun and enjoy your time with friends and family.
  • STAY CALM. Good hosts are not frantic. Just relax, take a deep breath, and answer the door. Be confident that you know how to be a good host!

Fun Decoration Ideas

cute and simple table setting
cute and simple table setting
make you're own birthday sign
make you're own birthday sign
labeling food is a quick and easy decoration idea
labeling food is a quick and easy decoration idea
I love this idea for a wedding shower
I love this idea for a wedding shower
great ideas for fourth of july parties
great ideas for fourth of july parties

What Do You Think?

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    • bemily521 profile image

      bemily521 6 years ago

      Thanks so much Christy! I'm glad you found it helpful. Happy hosting! :)

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      There are some important details here. Yes, making sure there is food and drink as well as interacting with every guest are important details for a good host. I like the photos too, they give some great ideas!

    • bemily521 profile image

      bemily521 6 years ago

      Great question! I think the importance of decorations depends on two things: 1) your guests, and 2) the occasion. If you are throwing a special celebration party for someone, decorations are almost always a good idea because it lets them know you care. Of course, if the person the party is for would prefer there NOT to be a huge fuss made about them, then it would be better to not do them. It is pretty rare for someone to actually get UPSET over cute decorations though! Whatever you decide decoration-wise, make sure that you at least prepare enough for the place to be clean and presentable. It's all about comfort!

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      So many interesting tips, and so simple! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Bmm209 profile image

      Bmm209 6 years ago from California,U.S.A

      Thanks for the Hub! This is great advice. How important do you think decorations are? Some people put a lot of emphasis on it, and others barely decorate. What's your opinion?