Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Host or Attendee - Which Are You?

I've pretty much decided there's two types of people in this world; The Host or The Attendee. Now while people can be both at times, in truth they are almost always one more than the other. Think about it...when was the last time you invited people over or out to something? OR, when was the last time someone asked you out to an event or over for dinner?

Anyone that knows me knows that I'm most certainly in the Host category. Recently I've decided to try and test out the Attendee seat as the Host position is wearing me down.

For anyone that is a Host by nature I'm sure you know the work that is involved, what I'm not sure of is if the Attendees have any idea what it's like? Can an Attendee truly empathize with a Host in knowing what is all involved with planning an event or having people over?

Over the years I've found much enjoyment out of being the Host but usually there comes a point where I start to get fed up with the job. Usually this comes after many Attendees don't take even a few seconds to respond to an invite with a simple 'yes' or 'no', or even worse you plan a night out and after someone says no, they plan an event the same night as yours.

Now I know that technically there's no rules to the Host/Attendee relationship but I think there should be some simple ettiquete that everyone should adopt:


1. Reply. Really, is there much more that needs to be said to that?

2. Say 'Thank You' for the invite. Unless the person is inviting you to their 10th Tupperware party in the past 4 months there's really no reason to not show some appreciation for the fact that the Host wants to do something, and wants to do that something with you

3. After saying 'no' and listing the reason why as you can't find a babysitter, or you're sick, don't plan another event for the same night and invite the original host. Seriously, that's just bad taste.

4. Don't hijack the original invitation and make it your own. If no one wants to go to the original idea planned then talk to the Host and bring up some suggestions on alternative ideas, then together you can present it to the rest of the group.

5. Once and a while do a self check and realize that the Host has now asked you out for the past four outings you've done together...maybe it's your turn to play Host.


1. Don't plan something on someone else's big day. Be aware of people's birthdays/anniversaries etc. We can't avoid them all but at least try to avoid the big ones like weddings and 1st birthday parties.

2. Don't invite the same people to the same type of event all the time (i.e. Tupperware, Epicure, Pampered Chef, etc). It can get expensive for the guests as they pretty much always feel obligated to buy at least something least I know I do!

3. Be aware that not everyone can afford certain outings. Be polite and invite everyone but also understand that they might not be able to swing that group trip to Mexico or even that dinner at a 4 star restaurant. *side note - Attendee, please realize that it's likely the host knows of your financial situation but would rather send the invite to you than you feel even more left out for not being invited in the first place*

4. Take a hint, if someone is not responding to your invites...stop inviting.

If both Hosts and Attendees can adopt some simple rules like the ones above I think it can lead to a very healthy Host/Attendee relationship. Until then I'm going to try and break in my new Attendee seat...let the invites pour in for my perusal! Oh, who am I kidding - you all know I'll be back to Hosting or else I won't see half the people I consider my friends...that's what you get for selecting mainly Attendee types as friends.


  1. These are good guidelines and I wish everyone would follow basic etiquette but in some ways I think people and relationships can be often a lot more complicated. I would add that having realistic expectations of certain people helps maintain a healthy outlook and avoid host burnout. Some people I know never return calls or show up super late, or always try and plan things last minute and then say "long time no see" when you can finally make it to something. Some of my closest friends don't have the greatest ettiquette but after over a decade I've found it really healthy to just alter my expectations and remain happy than struggle to make them do what I would do for them. A go-with the-flow attitude in respects to not so good ettiquette has really helped me maintain a positive energy. I totally understand how host burnout can build up; I've been there!
    I agree about the "Tupperware" sales parties. I'm really not a fan of them at all. They've always made me uncomfortable. I never want to buy sales party stuff but I always get torn about missing an opportunity to visit with friends. For my own sanity I made myself a no sales party rule. It's worked out well.

    - Shilo

  2. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I tried to think of which category I fit in... host or attendee. I realized that I'm more of an attendee than a host. My home is "cozy" so groups larger than six make it challenging to manage. Also, I am a cleaning maniac, hence hosting any kind of event sends me into a hyper-cleaning mania... something which takes me two good weeks to come down from.

    I do believe I'm a polite attendee though. I always RSVP and I try to send along a personal message if I can't attend a function. I appreciate the time and effort it takes to plan any gathering... hence the host, such as yourself is truly admirable in my eyes.


  3. Okay, so I'm definately a host and I love having parties. I'm also a fan of theme paties but agree that it can get expensive ... although I like hosting them and being an attendee (I love saying to James .... just so you know, I'm going to "have" to buy something) ... I almost always find something I like and love to treat myself!
    As for the 'responding' to the invite ... PEOPLE, GET WITH IT! I can't stand it when it's a day before the event and someone replies that they can come. I want to write to them and say, "you can come but you can't drink any of the wine or eat any of the munchies because you weren't counted in the numbers" ... I get tired of 'over preparing' for those incidences.
    All in all, I love being both host and attendee, but I think I find myself hosting and inviting more often than not ... I think that's one of the things I like so much about you ... I actually get to be an attendee for a change!