Just like oil and water, sometimes you get two people that don’t mix. Opinions start flying, voices get heated, and the mood becomes tense. Here are some tips that have worked for me. I’ll show you how to stop a fight at your party.

I can’t tell you how many get togethers I have had where there’s been a squabble in action. It always seems to come out of nowhere. Someone feels insulted, someone lashes out. I guess it’s just human nature for people to express themselves, and sometimes a little too passionately. Whatever the cause, as the host you want to tamp it down before things get out of hand. Here are some ways you can be a great host and take the sting out of an argument. Separation is key!

[1] Be a peacemaker and a diplomat. Start by gently separating the two conflicted parties, then go to each one individually, and hear what they have to say in private, consoling each one. Typically, at this point, one person may decide to leave the party, which fixes the problem immediately. Let the person go, but make sure to follow up the next day to see if they’re ok. Show you care.

[2] If you see two people who you know have a tendency to be overly opinionated and you hear voices being raised, intervene before things get too out of hand. Grab one of them and pretend you need help, or say someone was asking for them. A little white lie can help to avoid a scene.

[3] If you are a natural comedian, make a joke to break the tension. For instance, if people are arguing about political issues, say you voted for Jack Daniels for president, and drag one of the sparring pair over to the bar to refresh their cocktail.

[4] If a couple starts to fight, well, you need to pull them aside and ask them to cool it—or leave. You don’t want to take sides in a jealousy-fueled argument between lovers. But, you also don’t want your other guests to feel uncomfortable.

[5] In the end, don’t let a fight dampen party spirits. Once things have gotten back to normal, carry on! Just think of the incident as a party-reminiscing anecdote for the future. And maybe next time you’ll want to re-think the guest list.

Though there have been many a quarrel at my parties, there’s never been any physical brawls. And mostly, after the episode, things go back to normal pretty quickly. That’s a sign of being open-minded and human.