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How to be a good host

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Being a good host is what makes people feel welcome and cared for when they are in your home. Good hospitality can be a bit of a lost art these days, but it's vital if you want your friends and family to be comfortable when they are your guests, and a little extra care will make them pleased to be invited back again, and make them feel that they are valued.
1: 
Get that house sparkling clean. Even casual visits from your oldest friends should be a reason to do a little tidying. There is nothing more awkward and uncomfortable than sitting around in someone else's mess, and no good host would want to subject their guest to such a thing. Making that bit of extra effort shows respect to your guests and, to state it simply, that you are not a slob.
2: 
Take care of your guests personal affects as soon as they enter your house; don't leave them to worry where they ought to put their coat or their bag. In a more formal setting you should personally take all of their belongings and store them, or in a more casual setting, simply let them know where they can put their things, so they aren't hunting around for a coat rack.
3: 
As a good host you have exactly 2 minutes to get a drink into the hand of anyone who walks through the door. Try and have at least a couple of options available, and always know if any of your guests abstain from alcohol so that you can provide suitable alternatives. Keep a keen eye open to spot any empty glasses.
4: 
Never let your guest feel that they have made a faux pas. Whenever possible, if your guest makes a mistake, you should follow suit to prevent them from embarrassment. Obviously there are limits to this rule, but if, for instance your guest picks up the shrimp fork to eat their salad or holds their white wine glass by the bowl, you should do the same.
5: 
Try to offer anything your guest might need before being asked. Frankly, many people are too shy to ask for what they might want when they are in someone else's home, so it is often up to the host to anticipate their needs. If a dinner guest is looking a bit tipsy, offer water and nibbles; if a house-guest has arrived from a long trip, provide a stack of fresh towels straight away and ask if they would like to clean up and nap, eat right away or go out on the town.
6: 
Don't let you hosting skills wear thin by the end of the night. Let them know how glad you are to have had them over, welcome them back. Help guests with their coats, call cabs, and walk them at least to the door, or better still, to their vehicle. You should never close the door until your guests are out of sight, as this seems as though you are in a hurry to get rid of them.
Conclusion: 
Having friends and family 'round your house and showing them a great time can be very rewarding, but can also be a bit tiring if done properly! Always make sure your guests know their limits and that they don't take advantage of your hospitality. While being a great host is a wonderful skill to have and a great way to make people feel loved, just remember that no one can be "on" all the time; always make time for yourself as well.

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