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10 Secrets for Hosting a Drama Free Dinner Party

Posted on by admin | in Housekeeping

For those that love to entertain, few joys hold a candle to the sense of satisfaction that comes with throwing the perfect dinner party. When things go off without a hitch, the guests spend the evening engaged in stimulating conversation and the food is subjected to rounds of praise, there’s always a feeling of accomplishment. There are parties, however, when things go horribly awry, and your carefully planned event becomes something akin to a scene from an afternoon soap opera. While you can never control the behavior of your guests and ensure a drama-free gathering altogether, these ten tips can help you keep the howling of the drama-dogs at bay.

  1. Mind the Guest List – A diverse group makes for interesting conversation and helps everyone broaden their horizons beyond their typical group of acquaintances, but a wildly disparate group can lead to tension or even loud disagreement. It’s also not a good idea to invite both halves of a recently separated couple, especially if one of them is planning to bring a new flame. Before you send out the invites, take a moment to think about how each of the people on your list is likely to interact with the rest of the group.
  2. Carefully Consider Seating Arrangements – Seating arrangements can be a fun way of introducing people who wouldn’t ordinarily get to know one another, but they can also lead to serious trouble if the matches aren’t carefully made. If you’re not completely confident in the arrangements you’ve made, consider skipping them altogether and letting your guests choose where they sit.
  3. Think Twice About Getting Heavy With the Booze – When the spirits are flowing, the atmosphere can be convivial and fun. It doesn’t take much to turn the tables when everyone’s had a tipple too many, though. Keep the cocktails light if you can, so that inebriated guests don’t get confrontational.
  4. Steer Conversation Away From Hot-Button Topics – There’s an old adage about discussing politics or religion, and it’s absolutely true in most cases. Unless everyone on your list is in firm agreement regarding their political and spiritual affiliation, it’s wise to move the conversation in a different direction if it’s heading into murky territory.
  5. Take a Relaxed Approach – Few things create a tense atmosphere as quickly as a frazzled, anxious hostess. If an elaborate menu is going to drive you to distraction, it’s probably best to pare down your planning to create a more manageable feast.
  6. Make Sure the Menu is Inclusive – Knowing the eating habits and dietary restrictions of your guests is important, so that no one is left hungry. Make sure that the vegetarians or vegans on your guest list are accommodated, even if the rest of the table will be eating meat.
  7. Be Flexible With the Schedule — But Not Too Flexible – A rigid schedule leaves no time for a fashionably late arrival or two, no time to talk before dinner hits the table and little wiggle room for you to prepare the food. An approach that’s too lax, however, can leave guests with hunger pangs as they wait for you to finish the meal after too much time spent socializing.
  8. Consider Your Kid-Friendly Policy – If you’ll be inviting children or welcoming guests to bring their broods, make arrangements accordingly. If not, make sure that everyone knows you’re throwing an adults-only soirée. Unruly kids that have no diversions in a kid-free house will make your other guests uncomfortable, and can leave the parents of those children feeling miffed that their progeny weren’t treated as honored guests.
  9. Avoid Common Allergens – Common allergens, especially those that can be fatal if an afflicted guest comes into contact with them, should be avoided unless you’re absolutely sure that none of your guests have food sensitivities. Nothing creates dramatic tension like a 911 call and anaphylactic shock.
  10. Allow For Graceful Exits – Making sure that your guests understand that there’s no pressure to accept an invitation and that they won’t be poorly thought of if they have to back out at the last minute ensures that no one comes because they feel obligated despite dealing with a dramatic life event of their own. When your friends and acquaintances know there’s no pressure to attend, they’re more likely to stay home than to come while they’re upset.

If drama erupts despite all of your efforts to the contrary, try to remember that the situation is probably one that you’ll look back on with humor as time goes by. An argument at the dinner table certainly isn’t the end of the world, so don’t let a tiff or two ruin an otherwise lovely event.

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