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Secrets of the Spontaneous Host |  1 2
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4 Invest in board games
For most of us, board games stopped being cool sometime around say, oh, puberty. Well it’s time to re-discover them – you’ll be surprised to find that they’re not only a good way to prevent those awful uncomfortable silences that occasionally occur amongst a group of people who don’t know each other that well, but are also surprisingly fun. Choose games that are moderately challenging and will encourage a little friendly competition; good options include:

Taboo: Divide into 2 teams; teams take turns as individual players select cards containing a secret word that they must get their team members to say aloud, without using any of the "taboo" words that are listed along with the secret word
Balderdash: Players/teams make up fake definitions to obscure words; the made-up definitions are read-aloud along with one real meaning of the word, and everyone has to guess which is the actual definition. Points are accumulated whenever a player guesses the right definition and whenever someone else chooses that player’s fake definition … the best faker wins.
Trivial Pursuit: The classic board game for those fanatic collectors of frivolous facts … show off your useless knowledge.
Pictionary: Players draw pictures to try to get their teams to guess a word/phrase.
Boggle: Simple but addictive (okay, maybe just amongst us nerdy bookish types) word game consisting of a 4x4 (or 5x5, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on Super Boggle – woo hoo!) grid of letters; players get 3 minutes to string together as many words as they can by connecting adjacent letters.

5 Provide plenty of laze-friendly furniture
Large L-sofas, plush armchairs, cozy loveseats … the more comfy seating you can offer, the better. When arranging furniture, keep the various seating elements in a configuration that will facilitate conversation. You’ll want sofas and chairs to be a comfortable (neither too close nor too far) talking distance and angle (if you’ve only got two sofas, don’t place them along opposite walls) apart.

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Of course frequent invitations, a naturally hospitable demeanor, and a refusal to hang out at anyone else’s home will also go a long way in ensuring that your digs become hang-out central … but a little advance planning never hurt. As the fortune cookie says: "Preparedness is the secret to effortless spontaneity." (Oh wait, I guess that was me.)


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