When Good Guests Go Bad Part 6: The Destructo-Guest
This is the final article in our six-part series entitled, “When Good Guests Go Bad”. Today we look at the “Destructo-Guest”.
If you’ve never had to deal with a destructo-guest, you’re lucky! The destructo-guest is careless in their everyday life, and brings that carelessness into your home when you entertain. This guest moves around a bit like a hurricane, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. When one first looks at the destructo-guest, it’s hard to determine exactly what they do to cause wine spills and heirloom breakages – some people would define the destructo-guest as “clutzy” or “unlucky”, but it all comes down to slight to severe carelessness.
So, what can we, as polite hosts on the run, do about the destructo-guest while keeping our grace and poise (not to mention our tempers!)? Here are a few ideas to keep your valuables safe when the destructo-guest sweeps through your party.
1) Don’t Invite Them
As with most of our Good Guests Gone Bad, one way to avoid the issue is by simply not inviting the destructo-guest. In many cases, especially family settings, this is not possible. If you can’t get out of having them there, though, read on!
2) Don’t waste your breath
Unlike the rest of our Good Guests Gone Bad, a simple word usually won’t straighten out the destructo-guest. This is because their problem stems from carelessness to begin with, and although they may seem to heed your words, their habit is so engrained it can not be changed overnight. Talking to the destructo-guest will only hurt their feelings, and probably won’t solve the problem anyhow. Instead, you need to prepare!
3) Hide the valuables
Yes, it is one of the best ways that you can protect the things you really love from your hurricane guest. Put them in an off-limits room or high up on a shelf where they can not be touched.
4) Insist on taking the destructo-guest’s jacket or sweater
A jacket or large sweater is the destructo-guest’s worst accomplice! An off-balance turn with baggy clothes mean your baby orchids are flying off the edge of the table. Insist if they at first decline, and if that doesn’t work, turn the heat up until they get warm enough to have to take their sweater off! (Then turn it back down for the comfort of your other guests).
5) Employ your Crisis Companion
We talk a lot about using your crisis companion, and this is a perfect moment to put them to good use. Your crisis companion knows the score, and is with you on every page of your party. This could be a spouse or a good friend you trust not to divulge your secret hosting tips to anyone else. Inform your CC that the destructo-guest will be attending, and to keep an eye on them. If they are reaching out for something expensive or about to step on your dog, they can intervene.
6) Get them seated immediately
Once you greet the destructo-guest at the door, try to get them seated as soon as you can. The less the destructo-guest moves around, the better chance your china has of making it through the evening! Invite another guest who shares their interests to come and sit with the two of you. Once their conversation is running, politely excuse yourself. If the destructo-guest gets up, repeat the procedure until they are so engrossed in conversation that they have no desire to get up and move around. You can only do this for so long, but with the destructo-guest, the less they move around, the better.
7) Keep your cool
If the destructo-guest does happen to back into your centuries old china cabinet, bumping your great, great, great grandmother’s tea kettle, the tea set and your antique crystal onto the hardwood floor, try to keep your cool. The personality of the destructo-guest makes it easy to get angry with them, and they will probably be too mortified to defend themselves. If you are ready to blow, take a minute and let your CC handle damage control.
You can read or watch the rest of this series at these links: