In this world there are hosts and then everyone else. Hosts make a boring weekend exciting and put the “special” in “Special Occasion”. It’s not an easy job, and it doesn’t get any easier when guests aren’t courteous. In part 2 of our 6-part series entitled, “When Good Guests Go Bad”, we explore “The Surprise-Show”, also known as “The Unexpected Guest”, and how to deal with this person while keeping your cool.

The “Surprise-Show” or “Unexpected Guest” happens when a guest you invited did not RSVP but shows up anyhow. It can also occur when someone who wasn’t invited at all shows up on the evening of the party with an invited guest (usually without a host gift! The nerve!). Either way, this unexpected arrival must be met with grace and composure – you can beat up your pillow to let your frustration later. The Surprise-Show could sound like this:

Host On The Run: “Hi Shannon, I’m so glad you could make it! And – oh, I see you brought a… friend!”

Shannon: “Yes, this is my cousin, Petrie, in town from Yemen. I hope you don’t mind that I brought him!”

Host On The Run:    sotto voce “A little head’s up would have been nice”

Shannon: “Pardon?”

Host On The Run: “Nothing! Hello Petrie, so nice to meet you! Can I take your coat? I’ll just… er… go make some changes in the kitchen!”

Meet the “Surprise-Show” with a drink at the door, and welcome them, just as you would an invited guest, or one who RSVP’d. Introduce the guest to the others at the party and once everyone is chatting comfortably you can perform damage control.

As a born-klutz, there is always a chance that one portion of chicken will end up on my kitchen floor, which is why I always recommend having too much food at a party, especially when dinner is involved. But let’s say you only have enough prime rib for the guests who RSVP – then what? Portion the food differently to accommodate the new person. That could include cutting all steaks in half, or serving your risotto with a smaller spoon to make it appear as though your guests are receiving more than they are.

Another way to make sure your guests don’t go hungry because of a surprise show is to serve salad with the meal, and make sure their bowls are always full. Most people will alternate between the main course and the side-salad. The full-bowl will distract attention from the smaller portion on their plate while ensuring they are satisfied when their main course is devoured.

In the case of a murder mystery game, a surprise guest could be dealt with in a few ways. First, instead of using your mp3 files, have the extra guest narrate the game with the transcription in your Game Materials. If you received bonus characters in your Game Freebies, you can also pull the extra guest into the game that way, although of course they won’t have the same involvement as the rest of the characters. Still, you can encourage the extra guest to interrogate, take notes and get into the game like the rest of your guests.

When faced with a Surprise-Show, remember they may also be feeling uncomfortable so make sure you do everything you can to ensure they feel at home. A quick word with the Surprise-Show or the guest who brought the Surprise-Show can prevent surprises at your next get-together.

You can read part 1 in this series here: “The No-Show Guest“. In part 3 in our 6-part series entitled, “When Good Guests Go Bad”, we discuss how to deal with “The Lush”! Stay tuned – it should be fun!

Check out the rest of the articles and watch the videos in this series at the links below:

Part 1: The No-Show Guest Article

Part 1: The No-Show Guest Video

Part 2: The Surprise-Show Video

Part 3: The Lush Article

Part 3: The Lush Video

Part 4: The Never-Ending Guest Article

Part 4: The Never-Ending Guest Video

Part 5: The Can’t-Be-Wrong Article

Part 5: The Can’t-Be-Wrong Video

Part 6: The Destructo-Guest Article

Part 6: The Destructo-Guest Video

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