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February 2, 2009
The Law of the Host
Do you know that
feeling you have when you enter a room and you don’t know anyone? You
know you’re supposed to meet new people, but you don’t know where to
begin. You feel like a little kid on the playground hoping someone will
invite you to play. Fourteen years ago, I learned that it doesn’t have
to be this way.
I went to a party in
New York City. My friend told me to meet him there. He knew the host. He
said it would be fun. He gave me the address. It was in the East
Village. I took a cab.
My cab pulled up. I
paid the driver, got out and walked to the front door. The door was
partially open, and I could see people talking and laughing inside. I
opened the door wide and stepped in. No one was there to greet me so I
unbuttoned my coat. I scanned the room. I couldn’t see my friend. I
looked at my watch. I was on time. He must be late. I walked in.
I looked around the
room. I knew no one. The music was loud. People were gathered in small
groups. I felt out of place.
Just then a young
woman with a warm smile approached me. She was holding a big bag of
She said, “Do you
want some M&Ms?”
“Sure,” I said,
relieved someone was talking to me.
“OK, open your
hand,” she said. The young woman poured M&Ms in my hand.
“Thanks.” I put one
in my mouth, and cradled my hand around the rest.
She said, “Welcome
to the party. I’m Susana.”
“I’m David. Nice to
meet you. Great apartment.”
“It’s a great place,
isn’t it?” Susana said looking around.
Then I said, “Thanks
for having me. Everyone seems to be having fun.”
She laughed, “The
party is great. Lots of cool people. But it’s not my party.”
“That’s funny. I
thought this was your party.”
Susana smiled. “No,
I’m just like you. Before tonight, the only person I knew at the party
was my friend who brought me here. She’s over there by the kitchen.”
I paused. I was
She said, “I just
wanted to welcome you.”
“But what about the
big bag of M&Ms and the hello?”
Susana smiled and
looked at me with a question in her eyes.
I said, “What?”
“Do you really want
“I do.” This is when
she told me what I call, “The Law of the Host.”
You can be one of
two people in life. You can be a guest, or you can be a host. When you
see yourself as a guest, you’re always waiting. You wait to be greeted.
You wait to be welcomed. You wait to be introduced. Other people come to
you. You wait.
But when you see
yourself as a host, you view life as your event. You reach out to
others. You smile. You greet people. You make people feel welcome. And
when you do, your life opens up to new people, new experiences, and new
Susana smiled. “Do
you want some more M&Ms?”
“No. I’m good.
I looked up and I
saw my friend coming across the room. Susana excused herself and said
she would be back.
It was then I
realized Susana was right. I have a choice. It’s up to me how I show up
in life. My mindset is what matters. If I feel like a guest, I act like
a guest. If I feel like a host, I act like a host.
We have all played
the good host. We feel confident. We feel energized. We know it is our
responsibility, our pleasure, and our right to interact with everyone.
We reach out to people and make them feel comfortable. We make sure they
It’s easy for us to
live life as a guest. We can let people come to us. This approach is not
wrong. It’s unobtrusive and it can be respectful. But it is
conservative. It’s a blending strategy. We avoid the risk of standing
out. Stepping out to meet people can lead to disappointment: Not
everyone will respond the way we would like or expect.
But if we see
ourselves as the host, we turn our focus to other people. We welcome
them at church, synagogue or our place of worship. We make new
connections at our business meetings, conferences, club events and
parties we attend.
When we follow The
Law of the Host, we are at our best and we bring out the best in others.
Susana taught me you can play the host wherever you are.
Want some M&Ms?
Pollay is the creator of
The Law of the Garbage Truck™.
Mr. Pollay writes the
Monday Morning Momentum Blog
each week. He is a syndicated columnist with
North Star Writers Group,
creator and host of The
Happiness Answer™ television
program, and an internationally sought after speaker. Mr.
Pollay’s book, Beware of
Garbage Trucks!™, is due out in 2009. Mr. Pollay is the
founder and president of the consulting and seminar organization,
The Momentum Project.
David J. Pollay. Distributed by North Star Writers Group. May not be
republished without permission.
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