Hosting Dinner with Friends Again

Outdoor Dinner Party

Hosting a dinner with friends is bound to feel a little awkward after the roller coaster of the past year.  Resuming social pleasantries we felt so comfortable with before the pandemic will come easy for some people, but may challenge others.  

It is exciting, though, to break out of isolation mode with those who are post-vaccination.  When the comfort level of your guests allows, it’s time to let the good times roll . . . again!

Determine Your Guests’ Readiness

People you are close to don’t want to let you down, but they might find themselves not yet ready to have dinner with friends.  Conducting an invitation pre-test could be helpful.  

  • Phone or text friends for the purpose of checking on their “dinner out” readiness.
    “Charles, I’m thinking about having six people over for dinner this weekend.  Would you like to be invited, based on your readiness to be out and about?”  
  • If the person responds in the affirmative, you have an excellent opportunity to check or re-check for food preferences or allergies.  
    “Celeste, I apologize, I don’t recall if you have a food allergy or sensitivity.” 
  • When you have your guest list pre-checked, send them an invitation by email. 

If a potential guest indicates that he is not ready to be in close proximity to others, this isn’t the time to review why he should be.  Accept his opinion and express support for his decision to do what he feels is best for his own health.  We should all be allowed to move at our own pace.

Hosting Your Dinner with Friends

Welcome your company as you always do with a warm greeting, letting them know where to place coats and handbags.  For a light touch, you might say, “Make yourself at home!  If you’d like, you can wash your hands just down the hall, and I have hand sanitizers placed around the house.”

Though it may be a casual dinner with friends, take care to set the table in a way that makes your guests smile.  Use your favorite china.  Make the settings colorful with a decorative tablecloth or placemats and colorful napkins.  Remembering that guests are out of practice dining together, a well-set orderly table sets the tone for civility.

Dinner Conversation Starters

Besides complimenting the chef, dinner conversation should be pleasant, just as conversation while dining always has been.  You may find that things are just as they were before, and it feels as if you are continuing right where you left off.  As the host, introject into the conversation your joy that everyone came.  

As is always the habit for social gatherings, have topics in mind to use in case the flow of conversation lags at any point.  Topics to get things started:

  • “Well, jumping in where we left off the last time we saw each other, what’s going on?”
  • Have ideas for perfect vacations changed?  Any plans?
  • Funny things about creeping out of survival mode.
  • Goals for projects that you’re thinking about starting.
  • Funny animal or pet stories. 
  • Humorous anecdotes about your own socially acquired introversions.

Being your sensitive and kind self will make everyone feel at home.  There’s no better time to set the example.  Jump in and be the first to host others in your home.

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