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The How-To Lounge: Handling Guests Who Arrive Early

We all like to arrive fashionably late from time to time, but having guests who arrive unfashionably early can be a real inconvenience. If you often host parties or have friends over for dinner, however, you're bound to encounter some early arrivals.

The worst is when you haven't finished getting your house in order or you're still trying on clothes or fixing your hair. It can make you feel very frantic, but it's important to be a polite hostess and not let your guests know they are inconveniencing you. So whether you're putting the finishing touches on a meal or your makeup, I have some tips to help you deal gracefully. For my advice,

  • If you're not quite ready, gracefully acknowledge it, but don't make your guests feel self-conscious about arriving early. Try saying something like: "Oh, I'm so glad you guys are here. I'm just running a bit behind."
  • Ask them to please excuse you so that you can do a few more things to get ready. If you have tasks to finish in the kitchen, invite them keep you company while you finish up.
  • Meanwhile, give them a task so they're not just sitting there awkwardly. If your guests have brought a bottle of wine, invite them to open it, or if they have flowers, suggest they put them in water.
  • Or, if you need to finish getting yourself ready, offer them a drink and invite them to sit down while you finish up.
  • Try to relax. Remember, these are your friends, so you shouldn't stress too much. Feeling harried could put a damper on your enjoyment.


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