I’ve always liked being a host.
A really big part of that is because I’m a natural introvert and hosting allows me to control more of a situation than I otherwise would be able to. I can make sure there are drinks I like, that the temperature of the room is comfortable, that the music is right, and since I’m in charge of the guest list I can always be sure to have a good time with my friends.
So as you can imagine, I host people quite a lot. Whether it’s a casual night watching the Bachelorette on the couch, an afternoon of board games, or a full blown party I’m usually one of the first to offer up my space.
Here are some tips on how to be a good host:
Keep your common spaces clean. If you live with multiple people this can be hard, but keeping the shared areas relatively tidy allows you to have the flexibility to invite people over on short notice. Not to mention you won’t have to worry about people tripping over, moving, or accidentally ruining your stuff if it’s tucked out of sight where it belongs.
Always have food. If you’re having a party with alcohol, this is doubly important advice. It’s just not healthy for people to drink on an empty stomach and since you have no idea whether your guests have had a chance to eat before they came over, having snacks around is not only polite, but a necessity. So keep a couple bags of chips on hand or the number for a pizza delivery service in your phone. They may not expect it, but your friends will certainly thank you for it later.
Be prepared to introduce people. I’m a big proponent of the open house scenario and I always tell people they can bring friends with them. They don’t always take me up on it, but when they do it’s the host’s job to make those new people feel welcome and help introduce them to those they don’t know. And if you have different friend groups – coworkers, a sports team, etc. – getting them to mingle may take a little effort on your part. Dive in and don’t be afraid, though. This is your space and you like all these people; help them get to know each other!
Have one relatively innocuous playlist for all occasions. People like different kinds of music, so blasting an entire playlist of Ke$ha’s hits just because it’s your favorite probably won’t cut it for the main group. Try and find a good balance of songs, things that most of the group will know and want to jam to, and then toss in a few of your favorites here and there. This keeps most people happy without playing to any particular musical eccentricities and gets ahead of any potentially awkward silences while someone switches to their own playlist.
Ask people how they’re getting home. This is standard girl code, but I’m a total mother hen with making sure people get home safely. A lot of my friends live near each other and will share rides home or walk together, but if someone has had too much to drink or lives far away and it’s late at night, you need to have a backup plan. Personally, I have a couch that’s always up for grabs and a sleeping bag I keep for emergencies. I never want someone to feel uncomfortable going home at night and as the host I make it my job to make sure everyone is ok before they leave. Sometimes this means sitting up with them for an hour while they have some food and a glass of water before calling an uber. Sometimes this means putting them to bed on my couch and making them breakfast in the morning. A host has to be ready for whatever happens in their house.
Clean up. If you have roommates and the party wasn’t collective, be courteous and finish any necessary clean up by the next morning at the absolute latest. Any bottles or food you should try and gather up right away, but seriously don’t let the mess sit around any longer than you have to. It’s rude and bugs dig the mess.
Respect your neighbors. If your apartment has quiet hours, know what those hours are and be mindful of your neighbors’ sound sensitivity. Noise complaints are a thing and it really sucks to get busted on one. You also want to make sure that your guests aren’t leaving any trash or belongings in shared outdoor spaces that may interfere with the space’s communal use.