When you live with your boo, there is a bevy of new things to consider — like how you’ll share the chores and pay your bills. Things like figuring out who’s going to mail in the rent check and how you’ll divvy up the grocery shopping may seem obvious. But what about having people over? This often overlooked issue is something that’s super important to talk about. When you live with your partner, you’ll also need to negotiate about how to host guests in order to make sure you can coexist peacefully.
According to relationship and etiquette expert April Masini, hosting anything — whether it’s a classy cocktail bash or a book club meeting — requires some special consideration when you and your SO are cohabitating. This is especially true if you and your partner have different personalities. For example, if you’re extremely extroverted and love being in groups, but bae is less socially inclined, then you’ll need to take that into account before inviting people over.
“Partners who have limited compatibility when it comes to socializing are going to find challenges in hosting parties and get-togethers,” says Masini. “These challenges don’t show up so much when attending parties or buying gifts for social occasions together. But when you’re hosting in the home you share, these incompatibilities are going to be front and center. Your home is ground zero for hosting incompatibilities to show up.”
But don’t fret — just because your partner is slightly more introverted doesn’t mean you can't host a shindig once in a while. The key, Masini says, is to strike a middle ground that works for both of you. Hosting a weekly get-together may not be realistic if they value a lot of alone time. On the other hand, they might be totally cool with you having a dinner party with mutual friends every couple months. The only way to find out what they feel comfortable with is to ask, so be sure to launch an open, honest discussion about what each of you wants and needs.
Aside from their personality, another thing to factor in is bae’s schedule. For instance, if they go to bed at 10 p.m. and get up at 6 a.m. for work, it’s probably not a good idea to host a party on a weeknight. Be aware of their habits and preferences, and be considerate of those. If you know they typically need downtime before the work week starts, then you’ll likely want to ask them how they’d feel about you hosting a study group on a Sunday night. In that scenario, compromise may mean finding a separate room where you can prep for an exam with your classmates while still giving your boo space to do their thing.
There may also be situations in which you and your SO both enthusiastically agree to host a gathering, but disagree on the deets. Unsurprisingly, Masini says compromise is crucial in that case as well.
“If you want a sit-down dinner with catering and hired help to tend the bar and do dishes, and your partner wants a BYOB backyard barbecue with paper plates, find the in between.”
That might mean a sit-down dinner in which you cook the food at home, or it might mean a catered BBQ. Or, you might decide to switch off, honoring one person’s plans for this party and then the other partner’s plans for the next one.
It can also be tricky to host a get-together when you don’t share mutual friends with your partner. Masini stresses that it’s imperative to talk to your boo about it beforehand. If they come home to relax after a stressful day at work to find a gaggle of your girlfriends hanging in the living room, they might feel a tad resentful that they didn’t get a warning.
“If you want to host something that includes your friends, but not your partner’s, clear it with them first,” says Masini. “Pick a weekend, and find a way for your partner to be there or not be there, depending. If your partner doesn’t want to be around, this might be a good weekend for them to go out of town or make plans to hang with their friends. Or, you can send your partner to a spa or buy them tickets to something, so they don’t feel rejected while you host at home without them.”
According to Masini, discussing some ground rules for how you’ll handle hosting things before or right after moving in together can be a good idea, but isn’t necessarily essential. In fact, you may need to simply handle these situations on a case by case basis. Ultimately, she says that negotiating with your partner on hosting get-togethers at your abode doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, it can be a phenomenal way to learn about your boo.
“You should see it as an opportunity to get to know each other better, or to accept what you were trying to bury and ignore about these incompatibilities,” she explains.
The best way to negotiate with your partner about hosting is to give them plenty of notice before you have people over, compromise on the details of the planning, and most importantly, be considerate. Just because you have different personalities, schedules, or friends doesn’t mean you can’t throw a get-together now and then. As long as you maintain an open line of communication about your needs and concerns, you can find a way to play hostess while still having a happy, healthy relationship.