These days it can be quite difficult when you have guests staying over. It is especially so, if both partners are working, if there are school going children and if there is no domestic help.
So in these difficult times, you can choose to be a good, bad host or indifferent host. Playing host comes naturally to some while others need to work at it.
If there is one thing that puts a visitor at ease it is the friendly welcome that he or she receives. Never put on an act of friendliness for it can be seen through and this would be enough to seriously damage a relationship. Be natural and not gushy.
So let us see how to play host in the right manner when you have a guest or guests arriving to stay with you.
There are some pre-arrival things that you would need to do.
1. Find out the date and time of arrival and also the mode of arrival so that you can plan the pick-up, if required.
2. Find out if there are more than one guest, their gender and age so that you can plan their stay accordingly.
3. Find out their meal preferences and allergies, if any.
4. Find out what activities they would prefer to do – sightseeing, shopping, etc.
5. Get their phone and email contacts and give them your own for better communication.
The next thing you need to do is to get your house ready. Do a spring cleaning of the house, change bed linen, towels in the bathroom and stock essentials like soaps, toothpaste, toilet rolls and hand towels or tissues.
Welcome them at the door and express genuine pleasure on seeing them. Compliment them on their looks and enquire about their journey. Offer refreshments – generally water or tea / coffee is offered. Show them to their room and the bathroom and explain the fixtures and light switches. If they need to use the air-conditioner, show them how to operate it.
If you are single, you could offer them the bedroom. The guest might not take you up on the offer but the thought behind the offer will warm their hearts.
House rules should be spoken about very early but don’t show displeasure in case these rules are broken. Remember they are your guest and you have to make their stay comfortable; as it is said, atithi devo bhava.
Try not to impose your rules or likes on them and never be overbearing. Give them space to feel at home, in other words don’t be in their face. It is rather uncomfortable when your host gushes over you even though the intentions are good and honourable. Never give the impression that hosting them is a chore for you even if it is.
At mealtimes, remember the age old motto, ‘family hold back’ the guest goes first. Keep the conversation light and steer clear of controversial topics. As a host if you keep silent it will mean that you are not happy with their presence. Since you already know what activities they want to undertake, make plans with them.
If after meals, the guests volunteer to help in the kitchen you should gracefully let them to do minor help as you keep the conversation going. Invite them to participate in the activities at home unless the person expresses a desire otherwise. If the guest is in the habit of drinking water at night, keep a bottle of water with a glass in their bedroom.
Finally when you see them off, wish them well. ‘Hope you’ve enjoyed your stay’ will be a gracious thing to say. It is a nice gesture on the part of the host to email or text to let them know how much you enjoyed their visit and their company.
Stanley Varghese for IndiaProperty.com