It can be a little nerve wrecking to host a group that doesn't all know each other, but it can also be intimidating to be the guest who knows no one. For the past few years we have hosted Thanksgiving and Easter meals full of people from different parts of our lives. Family, friends, coworkers and neighbors all have gathered and shared a meal at our table and somehow it turns out amazing! If you give people opportunities to connect they might just leave with a handful of new friends.
Making everyone feel comfortable can be the most intimidating responsibility of the host. We've come up with a 5 tips that we try to be mindful of when hosting. Here's to being a friend matchmaker!
- People always ask to help, busy hands help people feel like they have a purpose. Put folks in charge of one thing when they ask to help, whether it's making sure everyone has a drink or passing out appetizers, this gives the helpers opportunities to interact & meet everyone.
- Don't introduce cold turkey - find commonalities ahead of time and introduce folks with the fact "Tyler is an animator; Ben works on a show with animation..."
- For Holiday meals consider asking folks to bring their favorite (childhood/holiday) dish and ask for a story about it around the table. This acts as a built in icebreaker!
- Keep your eye out for the wallflowers. When someone is having a hard time connecting that is your opportunity to visit and remind them how special they are.
- When in doubt be the interesting guest! Keep a few really interesting stories in your back pocket to get conversation flowing again.