Signs of a bad host/hostess

ilovepinkJune 29, 2007

We always have such good feedback over time here. From inviting kids to parties to dealing with unwanted gifts.

So after attending a party this past weekend where the hostess was nasty to her husband (among other things) I thought a post on bad hosts would be in order. Especially since so many people will ask for advice on how to host a good party and what to do and not to do!

So add your advice! Or experiences. I know there have to have some great ones out there.

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1. This past weekend we went to a party for a couple that had a joint birthday party. The husband had told a few friends to arrive at 3. The invite was actually meant to be at 4.

The wife was ticked that she had to get things ready without his help. I understood that. She proceeded for most of the party to gripe about this to anyone that she could find.

The people that showed up an hour early at one point realized that they had been given the wrong time and the wife actually said to one of them "That's right you got here too early. I could have killed my husband. He spent all that time talking to you all and I needed help getting ready." It wouldn't have been so bad if it had not been infront of an entire kitchen of people that didn't know this early arriving crowd.

2. I hate when a hostess cleans up her own kitchen. Just leave it. It ends the party and everyone starts cleaning up with her. Stacking dishes til later is not the end of the world. Unless you are trying to kick people out. But, if you want people to stay and continue to enjoy themselves stop cleaning.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 11:06AM
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Signs of a bad host....

1) Inviting you to a party and then having you bring a food dish. I just don't get 'hosts' that do this.

2) Ditto ilovepink about cleaning during parties...all household chores, including doing the dishes should be done after a party, not during it.

3) Making people feel uncomfortable...if they spill or break should just be able to shrug most things off or at least act like they are not a big deal.

4) Not having enough food, or having people over at meal times and only providing snack type foods.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 2:56PM
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Ok....this ought to bring out discussion...
Caring more about your carpet than your either having a basket of paper booties by the door to slip over your cute little pink sandals that just match your pants....or asking you to remove your shoes.

And giving a "mass party" to pay back all your obligations at once.
I'll think of some more later...
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 12:38AM
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Oh I have another.

Having 25+ people over and only having one tiny little hand towel in the bathroom for everyone to use. In this day and age when people are concerned with germs I don't understand why more people don't buy paper ones or offer more than one or two towels in the bathroom for a five hour party.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 1:20AM
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This is my most recent bad hostess situation. I was invited to a "passion" party hosted by a girlfriend of mine. You know these parties....bring a will be fun. Anyways i had one girlfriend who really wanted to go. She was really looking forward to buying some products. Well a week before the party i realized that i couldnt afford to buy anything. Usually i will decline the invite however i knew my friend was excited about going and she was definatly buying stuff. So i went. At the end of the party the hostess kept saying loudly, infront of everyone "why are you NOT buying anything." I was very embarrassed and i wish i never went. Funny thing is the hostess has never phoned me since. Even though my friend who came with spent over $100. I guess that wasnt good enough!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 7:59PM
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I hosted a dinner. I invited the guests to come around 3:00. Turns out that my DH talked separately to a few relatives and told them to come over at 10:00 a.m. They did, and one brought his new girlfriend. The two guys hung around outside with DH, and the new girlfriend went back and forth between outside where the guys hung out, to sitting in the kitchen in which I felt I needed to entertain her and chat. I had so much to do and did not know that my DH invited them to come on over whenever they got up. She really was very sweet, but I had so much to do, and I too was a bit ticked that my DH actually invited them to come hang out for the day...when we had so much to do to get everything ready. The day was a blur and I hope that I did not say anything to anyone about it.

Between really "cleaning the entire house", and all of the food prep (menu planning, shopping, cooking all the side dishes, buying table linens, re-cleaning the kitchen after all of the cooking) the meal and cleaning the kitchen yet again...whew!!! I am amazed that some of you love entertaining so much. And I can understand a hostess being ticked when a spouse wants the dinner party but disappears (figuratively) on the day of the party to play with his buds, and has a good excuse not to "help" out.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 3:35PM
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Maybe I'm weird or maybe its just the non-formal kind of entertaining I do but it's fine with me when people show up early, late or whenever. Actually, I'd prefer some precision but it never seems to happen so I 've laid back a bit over the years. I like kitchens open to dining and living-room areas so there can be free-flow in-and-out. Some people love to help. Some people don't want anything to do with it. At my place, everybody's welcome and they can help if they want. Sometimes I have to ask for a little assistance. However, nobody gets "trapped". And nobody ever feels abandoned or put-upon.

Not talking neighborhood BBQ here. Doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs...often mixed with neighbors. I mean invitations and the whole schmear. However, if these folks weren't my friends or people whom I thought might become my friends, I wouldn't have invited them. Yes, they're my guests. But they'll soon learn, if they didn't already know, that they can relax here. They can be part of my family for a night.

Years ago, did have one alcohol-related faux pax. Those folks have not returned. Otherwise, things just flow. Try not to get excited about small stuff or make others feel that they need to get excited. Spills? Breakage? Part of the plan.

From reading some of this I get the feeling some people are putting on a show and get emotionally sideways if anything goes off-track. Maybe I'm missing the points others are trying to make.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 8:04PM
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I agree with asolo, but I think the problem with ilovepink's hostess example was how it was handled. A gracious hostess shouldn't make guests uncomfortable (b/c of her husband's mistake, a spill, etc.) We used to be very close friends with a couple, but I got tired of her comments about her husband's incompetency, not taking the dog out, not fixing the broken lamp, etc. etc. etc. Comments like that are not appropriate for hosting (or anytime, IMO).

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 8:51PM
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Thanks for the reminder about guest towels. I am setting up for a party tomorrow, and I have 2 hand towels in rings, plus 2 linen towels on a one ever uses those, which is such a shame b/c I love washing and ironing them. I put out a basket of 6 small hand towels and will remind myself to check the powder room during the party to see if I need to refresh them. I tried paper once in a pretty dispenser, but someone or more than one flushed them down the toilet rather than using a plainly visible wastebasket. That was a $150 plumbing bill, but fortunately for my reputation as a good hostess, the blockage wasn't apparent until after the guests had left. Still, I've wondered who of my guests was so thoughtless....

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 3:17PM
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I think that the advice once given by lindac, I think, is the best: keep thinking about your GUESTS' feelings and comfort, not your own, and you won't go wrong.

We are expecting 70+ people in 2 1/2 hours, and it is POURING. Even if it stops, the ground will be too soaked to have the party outside. We will manage indoors, but it won't be the party I dreamed of for our 25th anniversary/50th birthday (mine) party. The rented tables and chairs and pretty tablecloths won't even be used. I am worried that some people won't come, because the invitation said "cookout and cocktails," and surely they won't stay as long.

So my challenge is to conceal my disappointment, keep smiling while listening to the same remarks about the weather a hundred times (not exactly the conversational theme one hopes for), and focus on making a wonderful evening for my GUESTS.

In the end, that will make me happiest, too, I know.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 3:29PM
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gellchom, I'm so sorry the weather is not cooperating with your lovely planned celebration. You have a good attitude, though, and congratulations on your anniversary and a very happy Fiftieth Birthday--it's great!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 7:33PM
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Speaking of bathrooms, dont forget a nice scented candle. It keeps the room smelling fresh and it doesnt smell like flowers pumped out of a can. I always keep a candle burning during a party. A nice glass candle.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 7:53PM
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Okay, I realize this is off topic, but what is it with people's fear of hand towels?

I only have one bathroom. If I'm having a bigger get together, I'll remove all bath towels and have 3-4 hand towels out.

On a weeknight, or if I am just having a couple of close friends over, I'll leave my bath towel to dry on the rack. I'll still have 1-2 hand towels out - always.

But for some reason, people never use the hand towels. They always dry their hands on the bath towel. Which when you think about it, is frankly, kinda gross.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 1:59PM
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Craftfetish I personally like hand towels but not when I have to share with every guest of the party. I have posted before that I have a stack of hand towels (anywhere from 25 to 50) on the sink for parties. Each guest has their own.

Really they are only washcloths. But, they get used! I think people feel cleaner and I know I feel like I have been a good hostess for having them.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 9:06PM
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For those of you that have the hand towel problem, you can always buy paper hand towels too. They even sell monogrammed ones or seasonal ones that are pretty nice.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 9:47AM
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pink -- regarding that stack of 25-50 hand towels on the sink for each guest.... what do they do with them as they use them? I can't imagine how that would work. Should we put up a notice in the bathroom as to what towel to use and what to do with them (paper ones in waste basket not stool, etc.)?!!! ;-)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 1:17PM
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I have a basket next to the cabinet. I always use one or throw one in before the party to clue people in.

It also helps that this is a guest bath and I took all the towel racks out years ago. The space was small and it didn't fit. So we did hooks on the back of the door. Otherwise you wash your hands and to dry them you have to use the little towels stacked.

I think when I first started this I would tell guests as they arrive where the bathroom was along with the bar. LOL Then I would add in that I had towels on the counter. It caught on. But, again I think I said this. I can't remember. To me adults pick up on these things.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 6:45PM
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