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This is intended as a lighthearted thread. Some of you may know that cooking is not my strong point but I do enjoy hosting. Batman enjoys cooking and typically takes care of the food, while I take care of the 'accessories'. Basically, having a range of drinks ready (even if friends bring their own, there's options), consideration to the setting and possibly decorations, and area for kids to play. With the kids, it's typically having games available in a comfortable space; it's just an option for them, however, they seem to like this. As someone without kids, what's funny to me is they typically don't play the board-games and instead use the whiteboard and markers to make up their own game. They'll run out to get a juice-box (drink options), some food, and back to playing.

Having been on the receiving end of hosted experiences, namely my dad's wife and another couple who are Italian, has influenced me. The Italian husband, in particular, inadvertently taught me a thing or two about hosting (through observation) even when he's been the guest. An example, a few years ago they arrived and he'd made a cake to share. Our other friend had to leave early as her daughter wasn't feeling well. Recognizing they wouldn't be there for cake-time, he jumped up and sliced them off a piece to take with them. He had even brought a small stack of new take-out style containers with him in case this was needed. To me, that was another level. And friend and daughter really appreciated it. After that, I kept containers at the ready for people to easily take home any extras of Batman's delicious cooking.

Granted, social connection can typically center around food and sharing a meal (culturally), and when we have visited friends, Batman likes to contribute too, with a dish in hand. No doubt cooking can be an expression of love, care, and consideration. I'd likely take flowers or wine or something. Whether cooking is your thing or not, what kind of host are you (either with friends or dating)? Do you enjoy hosting? And any particular experiences that stand out in mind where you have been either on the hosting or the hosted side of things?

 

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My ex husband was Italian and I learned a lot from them as well. They are very pushy in a nice way. Like when you say no to food, that doesn’t cut it they will make you food.
One thing I noticed from them because it’s a pretty sexist culture... my ex mother in law and all the women helped each other clean up.

They just got up and started doing dishes and drying them and putting them away. and when I hosted some holidays I wanted to be perfect and I would tell her no to helping me clean up and she just stopped asking and would stand up and help me. I thought it was really nice, and a time to bond. And clean up was so fast and easy and it made it less stressful.

They were super traditional. a table without a table cloth was ghastly. The man of the house sat at the head. the host serves the oldest male first, then her husband. after dinner the women cleaned up, and coffee was then served with some fruit or something.
 

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The country I'm from is very hospitable, always offering food and drink (planned or not) to whoever comes to your home, including people who come to work. I cook a wide variety of cuisines, b/c I get bored of food quickly, I rarely even cook the food of my homeland.

I used to cook and host most of the holiday celebrations when I was married or take everything to the in-laws if we didn't have space to host everyone coming that year. I have yet to host much of anything lately, but I always have something to fix impromptu meals.

My bf loves to come over, there's always something homemade, and I make brunch on Sundays he's here. What I tried to do was ask about food allergies, likes/dislikes and make sure there was something for everyone, so no-one felt left out or went hungry at my table. I had easy appetizers out in case people came with an appetite and I wasn't quite ready.

My ex-inlaws weren't cooks, but they always pitched in, helping with clean up, or I'd dole out simple tasks and we'd talk as we worked. I tried to have most things done ahead though, so we had time to just enjoy each other's company. The holidays were really hard b/c that suddenly went away.

I attempted to do a little bit of tablescaping, nothing too overboard, b/c I spent the budget mostly on food/treats I knew everyone liked. Everyone got goodie bags to take home if they liked whatever traveled well enough. I really miss that, maybe one day.
 

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I am what I like to call an "extreme introvert". I absolutely do not like hosting parties or anything in my house. I end up feeling very trapped as the hostess and like I need to have people leave my space so I can breathe again. Terrible, isn't it? My H isn't very social either so when we do have people over I feel like a lot of the heavy lifting of hosting... making sure everyone is comfortable, keeping conversation going, etc.. is left to me, and I just don't deal with it well.

I enjoy being invited to events outside of my own house, where I can show up for a couple of hours and then make a polite exit when I am overwhelmed.

I dearly love to cook, and so I usually put those skills to use by offering to bring dishes to other people's houses. I like to bring people baked goods or bread or a favorite appetizer.

As someone who is introverted, I always appreciate when there are spaces at a party or at someone's house for some quiet time. I much prefer having a quiet conversation with one or two people over being in the center of the commotion. I also appreciate if the host allows me to help if I make the offer. Focusing on a task like helping to clean up or wash dishes or whatever helps me feel more at ease in a crowd.

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@TXTrini and @kag123 ...I very much liked what you both shared!

What caught my attention across both of your posts was the divvying out simple tasks / wanting to have a task. This is something that Batman and I have conversed about. He had suggested that people like to contribute, whereas I had suggested our guests could just attend and enjoy. Anyway, he suggested that part of the enjoyment can be through contributing, and it has turned out to be correct. So, we may well request simple tasks, and what I noticed (which ought to have been obvious to me now that I think about it) was that connection did emerge. If a couple of people were helping with something (and they were indeed happy to help) who didn't know one another, natural interaction and conversation unfolded through 1:1 conversation while contributing, and away from the main group.
 

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I had easy appetizers out in case people came with an appetite and I wasn't quite ready.
This is something I appreciate. You sound like a brilliant host! And with cooking skills, to boot.

My friend (wife of the Italian couple) once shared when they went to another friend's home (who I didn't know), it was hours before dinner was ready and there was nothing prepared to snack on. Being hungry, he prompted them for something to eat and they put out a bowl of potato chips. Apparently, he was not impressed!
 

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This is something I appreciate. You sound like a brilliant host! And with cooking skills, to boot.

My friend (wife of the Italian couple) once shared that her husband was horrified when they went to another friend's home (who I didn't know) and it was hours before dinner was ready and there was nothing prepared to snack on. Being hungry, he prompted them for something to eat and they put out a bowl of potato chips. Apparently, he was not impressed!
Awww thanks. I only hosted family really, so I already knew what everyone liked and their eating habits. I get angry, so I try not to have anyone get to that state.
 

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I am what I like to call an "extreme introvert". I absolutely do not like hosting parties or anything in my house. I end up feeling very trapped as the hostess and like I need to have people leave my space so I can breathe again. Terrible, isn't it? My H isn't very social either so when we do have people over I feel like a lot of the heavy lifting of hosting... making sure everyone is comfortable, keeping conversation going, etc.. is left to me, and I just don't deal with it well.

I enjoy being invited to events outside of my own house, where I can show up for a couple of hours and then make a polite exit when I am overwhelmed.

I dearly love to cook, and so I usually put those skills to use by offering to bring dishes to other people's houses. I like to bring people baked goods or bread or a favorite appetizer.

As someone who is introverted, I always appreciate when there are spaces at a party or at someone's house for some quiet time. I much prefer having a quiet conversation with one or two people over being in the center of the commotion. I also appreciate if the host allows me to help if I make the offer. Focusing on a task like helping to clean up or wash dishes or whatever helps me feel more at ease in a crowd.

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I'm an introvert too lol, I HATE small talk. It's ok with family and small groups of people though. I love to take something over when I'm invited anywhere, usually either a dessert or appetizer. No-one ever minds.
@TXTrini and @kag123 ...I very much liked what you both shared!

What caught my attention across both of your posts was the divvying out simple tasks / wanting to have a task. This is something that Batman and I have conversed about. He had suggested that people like to contribute, whereas I had suggested our guests could just attend and enjoy. Anyway, he suggested that part of the enjoyment can be through contributing, and it has turned out to be correct. So, we may well request simple tasks, and what I noticed (which ought to have been obvious to me now that I think about it) was that connection did emerge. If a couple of people were helping with something (and they were indeed happy to help) who didn't know one another, natural interaction and conversation unfolded through 1:1 conversation while contributing, and away from the main group.
I had my sister-in-law make teeny tiny chicken salad sandwiches one time and she was so happy to help. She actually commented, usually people say no, but she really enjoyed being able to contribute as you mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm an introvert too lol, I HATE small talk. It's ok with family and small groups of people though. I love to take something over when I'm invited anywhere, usually either a dessert or appetizer. No-one ever minds.

I had my sister-in-law make teeny tiny chicken salad sandwiches one time and she was so happy to help. She actually commented, usually people say no, but she really enjoyed being able to contribute as you mentioned.
Yes! We've had a couple of friends help prep some food (simple things like tomatoes and mushrooms). It's something we could have done ourselves beforehand but we put Batman's theory into action. Both were pleased to contribute. They didn't know one another. Working side-by-side, they had a good conversation; and I know this because when hosting another time, they each asked me / hoped the other would be there.
 
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I am what I like to call an "extreme introvert". I absolutely do not like hosting parties or anything in my house. I end up feeling very trapped as the hostess and like I need to have people leave my space so I can breathe again. Terrible, isn't it? My H isn't very social either so when we do have people over I feel like a lot of the heavy lifting of hosting... making sure everyone is comfortable, keeping conversation going, etc.. is left to me, and I just don't deal with it well.
Despite being more of an extrovert myself, I don't think that's terrible. Personally, I enjoy ensuring everyone is comfortable ...but with whatever that means for them. One friend in particular is very introverted and social gatherings aren't really her bag. I'm impressed she even turns up to ours! Typically she's happily sitting slightly away from the rest of the group, talking with one or two others she already knows (and me as I flit about), and maybe playing with the dogs. And that's how she enjoys it.
 

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Oops I just wanted to add about the introversion aspect... friend has retreated from her own (small) gathering because of this. Her husband continued the hosting. She gets to a point where she's done with the social interaction and feels the need to retreat. Being extroverted, initially I was intrigued by this, yet also respect her honesty and find her authenticity endearing.
 

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When you’re an introvert (I’m one) it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed with people swarming around like locusts. Mostly I hosted family (either mine or his and only sometimes both). Occasionally we would have friends over for dinner but only one couple at a time because I couldn’t deal with more than that. A party was out of the question. When I did manage to make myself host, I went all out and then I would be exhausted for a week — not because of the planning or the actual work but because … people. And I never let guests help with anything so there was that. My anxiety was always through the roof beforehand and what I really wanted to do was forget the whole thing. I’ve given all of that up now and life is easier.
 

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Oops I just wanted to add about the introversion aspect... friend has retreated from her own (small) gathering because of this. Her husband continued the hosting. She gets to a point where she's done with the social interaction and feels the need to retreat. Being extroverted, initially I was intrigued by this, yet also respect her honesty and find her authenticity endearing.
Yes it can be very hard to be graceful about needing space. One of the most difficult aspects of being the host for me is knowing that I set the tone of the gathering. Peoples eyes are on me for subtle cues, direction, as to what to do next. I hate being the center of attention, even indirectly, and find that feeling of people watching me for my next move very very anxiety-inducing. If I disappear as the host, it is immediately evident. Whereas if I disappear for awhile at someone else's party, most won't realize I'm gone.

Unfortunately my H is also an introvert, and struggles with playing host too, so he doesn't really "take over" if I were to disappear. Its fine really, since we are both pretty uncomfortable with hosting, he doesn't pressure me to have people over which I greatly appreciate. I'm friends with a few couples where one spouse is the extrovert and one is the introvert and gets stressed by always having people over or places to go because her H is very social. So I see both sides of the coin. I am grateful that we are matched in this way.

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When you’re an introvert (I’m one) it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed with people swarming around like locusts.
To me, it's an honor to share our home and be surrounded with good people!

And for this reason, I like your analogy as it opposes my perception and succinctly provides me insight into your experience.
 

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Unfortunately my H is also an introvert, and struggles with playing host too, so he doesn't really "take over" if I were to disappear. Its fine really, since we are both pretty uncomfortable with hosting, he doesn't pressure me to have people over which I greatly appreciate. I'm friends with a few couples where one spouse is the extrovert and one is the introvert and gets stressed by always having people over or places to go because her H is very social. So I see both sides of the coin. I am grateful that we are matched in this way.

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I dated a guy who was an extreme extrovert and I found his social life exhausting. He was sure I would get used to it. I knew better.
 

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To me, it's an honor to share our home and be surrounded with good people!

And for this reason, I like your analogy as it opposes my perception and succinctly provides me insight into your experience.
I can remember being a toddler and feeling overwhelmed by people. My parents weren’t introverts and my mother especially took exception to my being different. She felt she could force me to be more like her. It didn’t work. My biggest nightmare is my home full of people — even family. I start feeling very anxious and uncomfortable, even at the thought, and need a nap.
 

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I grew up in a culture where people and family gatherings are very common.

My grandma had 7 kids and 20 grandchildren. She always had visitors at her house. She loved feeding people! Her main meals were lunch and afternoon coffee. She had a big dinning room table and she always set it up with a big table cloth, place mats, silverware and wine glasses. She sat at one end and we all enjoyed her yummy cooking and conversation.

I wish I could host meals like her! I'm an introvert and in my mind I think I'm not a good host. Even though my friends love it when we invite them over, I feel very anxious about my hosting abilities. I worry about my house not being clean enough, the food not being good enough, my conversation skills not good enough. I'm exhausted after hosting a get together!

I don't know how to relax when I have people over. My husband is very social and he is relaxed and happy. He enjoys the company and the conversation. I have to drink and then I can relax! Lol!

I don't why I feel so much pressure to have everything perfect when hosting a party. Like I said, our friends love it when we invite them over.

I need some tips on how to enjoy and relax at my own party!
 

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We enjoy hosting, and we keep it very casual. I come from a big family so people are not an issue. We have about 15 kids/grands over every Sunday. I'd say we host friends a couple times a year, plus various family parties. I have fun, keep it simple, make what I make well, and buffet everything.
 

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I am what I like to call an "extreme introvert". I absolutely do not like hosting parties or anything in my house. I end up feeling very trapped as the hostess and like I need to have people leave my space so I can breathe again. Terrible, isn't it? My H isn't very social either so when we do have people over I feel like a lot of the heavy lifting of hosting... making sure everyone is comfortable, keeping conversation going, etc.. is left to me, and I just don't deal with it well.

I enjoy being invited to events outside of my own house, where I can show up for a couple of hours and then make a polite exit when I am overwhelmed.

I dearly love to cook, and so I usually put those skills to use by offering to bring dishes to other people's houses. I like to bring people baked goods or bread or a favorite appetizer.

As someone who is introverted, I always appreciate when there are spaces at a party or at someone's house for some quiet time. I much prefer having a quiet conversation with one or two people over being in the center of the commotion. I also appreciate if the host allows me to help if I make the offer. Focusing on a task like helping to clean up or wash dishes or whatever helps me feel more at ease in a crowd.

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I am similar. I am also an introvert and have no interest at all in hosting and dont enjoy it. I do it quite a lot for family(who I love to see), but even though I am relaxed with them its still quite draining. The thought of having a dinner party would be a nightmare for me. Some are natural hostesses(and likely are extroverts as well) and really enjoy it and others like us arent. Dont ever feel guilty about it, its who we are. :) We all have different gifts and abilities.
 

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I dont host. I typically don't accept invitations offered and rarely receive them anymore. If you do happen to come over I probably wont even think to offer you something to drink until after you leave. I don't do people and I'm a TERRIBLE host.
 
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