How do you deal with negative party guests?

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by Sandy Coughlin
The Reluctant Entertainer
Medford blogger, author, entertainer.

Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.

I like to remember this quote when we are entertaining.

It can be tricky, sitting around the table with dinner party guests, keeping meaningful conversation going rather than falling into gossip or negativism. It just feels better, keeping the conversation fruitful, rewarding, and good for our souls. And yes, this is the host’s job, to monitor the conversation, so the entire party doesn’t fall flat.

I’ve been asked often, what do you do with perpetually negative people around the table, Sandy? Seriously, we stopped inviting them over for dinner parties. And it’s okay!

Honestly though, we’ve been very blessed in our 22 years of entertaining, with wonderful guests, and have been invited to many dinner parties where this rarely has happened.

There’ve only been a few times in our home, where after the dinner party my husband and I regrouped, talked it through, and came up with a plan for the next time we’d host.

Just because one dinner party doesn’t flow exactly the way you think it should, we should still extend grace and give people another chance. It could just be an “off” night for them, or they’re going through a hard time, so it’s worth another try. But … if the pattern continues, then you may need to make some changes in your invitation list.

How to deal with negative people while entertaining:

1. Decide if they are a good fit for your party.
2. Seat them between 2 very positive people.
3. Speak to them ahead of time and discuss your concerns.
4. Invite them to more casual parties instead of formal sit-down parties.
5. Don’t invite them at all.

We’re working hard on making this world a better place, and hopefully we can inspire and encourage one another around our dinner tables! We shouldn’t let negative people stop us – we just need to move forward with our invitations and aspire to hosting healthy parties!

How do you deal with negative dinner party guests?