A Modern Survival Guide Interlude

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  1. Clean your stuff. The bare minimum is to vacuum/sweep the floor, get your laundry out of entertainment spaces, and make sure your place doesn’t smell. Depending on the people coming over and your personal degree of OCD, cleaning will scale rapidly up from there, and usually in proportion to the importance of the guests. You’re going to want to polish the furniture the first time you meet your future in-laws; not so much if your neighbor is coming over to play Xbox.
  2. Hide anything you don’t want to be part of the event. Unless you are planning to serve that $300 bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue, get it out of sight. Unless you are hosting an orgy, or you are extremely familiar with your guests, do not display your prized 12" dildo. Unless you want people to comment on them, move your collection of animatronic dolls to the other room. Remember that whatever is in the entertainment space is fair game for the party.
  3. Have food and drinks prepared. These should be clearly displayed in the entertainment space. Cups and plates are also usually a good idea.
  4. Ask about allergies and food preferences. You don’t want to serve Pad Thai to someone with a peanut allergy, or serve soup in bread bowls to someone on a gluten-free diet.
  5. Set a time to start the event. And then finish all preceding steps by that time.
  6. Plan activities. People will eventually run out of small talk. Have a movie, Jenga, card games, board games, etc. lined up for when people want to do something other than talk to each other. This may or may not happen, but it’s good to have a backup plan.
  7. Cater to your guests’ needs. Ask if people need refills or more food at appropriate intervals (i.e. when their cups or plates are empty). Make sure the temperature is comfortable for everyone. Make sure people have places to sit, and napkins, silverware, etc. Within reason, guests should receive high-quality silverware and plate-ware. A casual dinner party is probably not the place for grandma’s heirloom silverware, but it’s probably not the place for Styrofoam and plastic either. However, when in doubt, use the best — even if you’re only able to break out the good plastic and Styrofoam, guests will appreciate this.
  8. Be courteous, patient, and pleasant. Never give a guest the impression that they are imposing on you. This, more than anything else other than making sure your home smells OK, is the most important part of keeping your guests comfortable.

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