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Welcoming in "New Friends"

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Welcoming guests into your home is a truly beautiful and meaningful ritual. It has the magical power to convert an ordinary room into a sacred space for the cherished tradition of bringing people together to unwind, savor a meal, and revel in each other's company.

Yet, stepping into the role of a host can be both rewarding and demanding, occasionally even nerve-wracking. The challenge intensifies when you find yourself catering to a group of individuals you may not know well, or perhaps, not at all. But fear not, for by following the steps outlined below, you can effortlessly transform a dinner with new acquaintances into an unforgettable evening of warmth and connection.

1. Plan a menu your guests will love

Learn a bit about the tastes and diets of your guests before they come so that you can tailor your menu so that everyone will be able to enjoy a proper meal. This might mean a bit more work on your end, and the need to prepare more dishes to make sure that there is something for everyone, but your guests will feel appreciated knowing that you took the extra time and effort to consider them when crafting the menu.

2. Plan out the seating chart in advanced

When having new friends in your home, guests can feel intimated or lost when it comes to choosing their seat at the table. Therefore, place cards are always a good idea so that everyone both feels invited to the table, and knows they have a place, and also to remove the awkwardness that comes when people don't know where to sit.

As the host, it will be tempting to put the people you want to sit near next to you, but the seat next to you should always be reserved for the person who has shown up alone and doesn't know anyone. That way you can look out for them, and make sure they are a part of the conversation.

3. Plan out and lead the conversation

Beginning a conversation with new friends can be tricky, especially when you don't know them well. As the host, it is your job to lead the conversation, and to make sure that everyone is engaged, participating, and enjoying themselves. Starting the evening with the telling of a small story, followed by some sort of short and sweet icebreaker is always a good way to get the ball rolling.

When in doubt, propose a toast. If there is ever a lull in the conversation or you sense that the discussions are becoming stale, a simple toast can redirect the conversation, injecting new energy and topics.

4. Create a welcoming atmosphere

There should be the most minimal amount of artificial light possible. Twinkle/ string lights are acceptable, but any bright overhead lights should be avoided. Remember that the cozier you make people, the more open and comfortable they will feel. Light music in the background is nice, but it should never be too loud that people have to talk over it, and it should never distract from the conversation.

5. Show your appreciation

You cleaned, cooked, and initiated conversation so of course you should want for your guests to praise your glory, but it is still your job to show your appreciation for everyone at your dinner table. Make sure to float around the table and chat with everyone there to give all of your guests the most equal amount of attention that you can. Also, be sure to walk everyone out the door and give them a proper goodbye, and always follow up the next day with a thank you note.

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