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5 Ways to Overcome Party-Hosting Anxiety

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5 Ways to Overcome Party-Hosting Anxiety

Enjoying a meal with friends and family is supposed to help dust away life’s daily anxieties. But in a recent British survey, half of those questioned said throwing a dinner party is more stressful than going to work. A quarter of respondents found it more traumatic than sitting down for a job interview.

A significant share of that anxiety, according to author Sandy Coughlin, is rooted in self-consciousness. When we host, we worry about being judged. Is our furniture OK? Is the bathroom spotless? Will the food turn out?

Coughlin’s mission is to help people see event hosting as an opportunity to reconnect. “The real point of entertaining isn’t to display the perfection of your domestic arrangements or your party-hosting skill,” she says. “The main thing is making people feel warm and welcome in your home.”

Barriers to Overcome

  • Perfectionism. “People often feel that their house isn’t nice enough, they don’t have the right space for entertaining, their kids aren’t well behaved, whatever,” says Coughlin. “I think of perfectionism as the No. 1 source of entertaining stress.” Authenticity is way more fun.
  • Overpreparation. Readying your home for entertaining can plant unrealistic expectations that you need to clean absolutely every surface, polish the floors and maybe even paint the walls before you can have anybody over.
  • Fear of the unknown. Anxiety over whom to invite, the amount of food to prepare and how to keep the conversation flowing once the festivities begin can make the prospect of entertaining overwhelming.
  • Absent or bad role models. Many people are fearful of hosting, says Coughlin, “because they were simply never shown how. Maybe they didn’t have hospitable parents or their parents got so stressed out in party-throwing situations that they made entertaining seem forbidding.”
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    Next:  5 Strategies for Success

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    14 comments

    + add your own
    10:49AM PST on Dec 26, 2012

    Excellent work, thank you for sharing!!

    1:08PM PST on Dec 24, 2012

    Thank you

    3:01AM PST on Dec 24, 2012

    Thanks

    10:15PM PST on Dec 23, 2012

    Remember you do not have to be perfect, thanks!

    2:09PM PST on Dec 23, 2012

    I'm with Robert O.

    1:13PM PST on Dec 23, 2012

    Dear Ben O.----yes, I definitely have it!

    11:59AM PST on Dec 23, 2012

    True ... Most of us do worry about invitations ... planning ahead and preparations gives lots of worries but still it gives happiness after all we do this for family and friends ... but sure, it is a valuable advice from you ... Thank you for sharing ... Merry Christmas ...

    5:33AM PST on Dec 23, 2012

    noted, thanks

    11:49AM PST on Dec 22, 2012

    I love to host parties

    10:26AM PST on Dec 22, 2012

    Entertaining can be fun but it can also be very stressful, which is why I choose not to do it and especially not during the holiday season when people's sensitvities and stress levels are already elevated.

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