Since I’m throwing myself a book launch party (see previous post) I thought I’d look up some advice on entertaining a group. The following, geared toward me, the hostess, is from a book authored by the “Faculty of the South Philadelphia High School for Girls” (according to my permission research for the book, no longer in existence). The title is Everyday Manners for Boys and Girls (New York: MacMillan Company, 1923).
If you are entertaining a group of people, be sure that the entertainment is of a kind in which all can take part. Do not have dancing if you know that one or two of your guests do not dance, unless you have provided other entertainment for them, or they themselves insist that they would enjoy watching.
Be equally agreeable to all guests. See that you get an opportunity to be friendly to each one. Look out especially for shy guests, or those who are strangers to most of the people present. Try to make them feel at ease by bringing them into the conversation, explaining to them the things about which you are talking. Give the rest of the group a little information about strangers, so that they can more easily converse with them; for example, “Mary has just come to Philadelphia to live. Tell us about your experience down town this morning, Mary. Did you get lost?” . . .
If a subject of conversation is touched upon which you know may be disagreeable to one of your guests, it is your place to turn the conversation into another channel.
Ah, good to know. I’ll try to remember this next week!
In a few days, I’ll post some tips for partygoers, from the same book.