Again, guests can color the overall experience of a gathering, but hosts can help.
How can hosts help? Well, according to my Southern upbringing, “my people” learn about navigating social customs and traditions in a way that’s more… intricate, perhaps, than in other places in the U.S. (LOL - at least that's what we're taught to believe)? Our basic upbringing teaches us that one of the best things one can do to make someone feel welcome is, in conversation, make them feel like they’re the most interesting person in the room. In that way, we hosts (and even skillful guests) help to create a situation where everyone is setting one another up for success.
That approach, however, doesn’t always work. Continual complainers, unceasing self-aggrandizers, and charming egomaniacs can turn an otherwise sweet gathering into a whole lot of sour.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about people who are having a moment of difficulty, or who need a little extra attention in their otherwise happy lives. I’m talking about the SAME people having the SAME moment, over and over, y’all dig?
In the “life” of the above-mentioned, fictitious gathering, it would be the responsibility of the aware host to not only see the issue before it could negatively affect the whole of the celebration, but to skillfully handle things without triggering more ego-based responses.
Unwelcome guests will definitely show up unannounced, but we don’t have to ask them to stay for dinner.
When we internalize the above gathering, we’re still the host, but our guests are our very thoughts… and in “conversation” with them, we learn if they’ll be welcome at dinner later.
Definitely be wary of who (what) we let in.
(See y’all tomorrow)