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Keeping happy hour at home

Q. I am hosting a happy hour at my new apartment for a handful of co-workers immediately following work on a Friday. No dinner, just drinks and appetizers, and just a little get together to show off my new place and chat outside of the work environment. My questions is: Do I need to make it a point to invite spouses to this event?

M. E., Minneapolis, MN

A. If you want spouses (and please, don’t forget significant others) to attend, then yes, you should make a point of letting the invitees know. You don’t have to invite spouses and significant others, but I think you’ll have a more vibrant, fun party if you do. Should you choose not to invite them, then, again, be sure you communicate this. There’s nothing worse for you, for the invitee, or for the invitee’s spouse than to be the only spouse or significant other to show up at the party.

Your question implies the possibility that only some of your co-workers are being invited. If that’s the case, be sure to keep your work life separate from your personal life. Issue invitations outside of work hours and by contacting invitees at home. Don’t do the inviting at the office where those not invited may notice and feel left out. For the same reason, don’t talk the party up at the office.

Here are six additional tips that can help make your evening a success:

1. Do your cleaning and party set up the night before so that your new place is party-ready when you leave home the morning of the event.

2. Plan well. Prepare as much of your food and beverages as early as you can. You don’t want to be in the kitchen fixing munchies when your guests arrive or during the party.

3. Remain calm and upbeat: your mood sets the tone.

4. Make your guests feel welcome. Greet them at the door and offer drinks, including non-alcoholic options. If possible, ask one of the guests to help you refresh people’s drinks as needed. Introduce spouses and significant others. And keep an eye out for anyone who doesn’t seem to be included and make an effort to have them join in conversation and be part of the party.

5. Be appreciative. Thank your guests for attending as they prepare to leave.

6. Be watchful for any guests who might have had too much to drink. Be prepared to make sure they don’t drive, and that they get home safely even if that means you have to take them home.

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