I’ve thrown parties at my house recently… the kind where you buy all sorts of decorations, drinks, snacks, even flower crowns. #partystyle For a recent party, we invited all of the people we knew and weren’t sure who would come.
But one thing I wondered is how I could bring all of my different groups of friends together comfortably: work, school, church, childhood, networking events... Most of these people don’t know my friends in the other groups.
In a world where most of us would be too scared to interact in uncomfortable situations and stick to what’s going on in our iPhones (NOTHING, by the way! Hehe!), its important to be in tune to all of your guests and pull them away from their “go-to” comfort shells. For example, some of us are ready to mingle and want to waltz around the room, some want to stick close to the people they come with, and some were uncomfortable not knowing a lot of people after exhausting their “small talk.”
As the host, you’ll know just about everyone, but can't be everywhere at once. When I host, I want to make sure all my friends enjoy themselves and feel valued for coming.
So, what’s a grit girl to do to bring these wonderful people together?
Of course, the overall DO is to be yourself and focus on the bigger picture: connection between all areas of your life and the fun of doing so!! To get started, we have a few ideas.
- Text invitees the day of or day before. Tell them how excited you are to see them and confirm their RSVP to the party!
- Welcome your guests! Excuse yourself from a conversation if you have to and make sure everyone gets greeted.
- Offer to get your guest a drink or something to eat when they walk in so they aren’t awkward about getting it. You might even want to tour them around.
- Get in good quality conversation and use each interaction as your opportunity to talk with them; you might not have another chance during the night!
- Make sure to tell them how you know others or introduce them to someone else before you excuse yourself to mingle or greet other guests.
- Make sure to thank them for coming when they leave and text them later telling them how glad you were that they came.
Think twice before doing these:
- Do not stay with the same group all night.
- Do not be the drunkest one at the party!
- Don't let the refreshments run out.
- Stick to small talk - it’s fun to get past the “Hi how are you fine how are you” conversation.
While these are good tips to know, more often than hosting an event you will probably attend an event. One thing I observed from this event is that not everyone feels comfortable socializing with people they don’t know. Somewhere in adult life, people seem to have gotten more insecure or shy. I am in sales and very extroverted so I live for networking situations, but I know not everyone does.
If you find yourself in one of these uncomfortable situations and aren’t quite sure how to act or what to say, try these:
- Ask someone how they know the host or how they got involved with the organization/function you are at
- Make any connection you can: Are you from the same town? Visited the same city? Have a mutual friend or interest? People love to talk about themselves and don’t always like to be asked what they do for a living!
- Feel free to bring a wing-woman or friend with you, it's okay to move in a pack of two, but don’t let that person dominate the conversation.
And, avoid these:
- If you run out of things to say and the conversation is brutal (I mean, really brutal), the worst thing you can do is pull out your phone. Instead, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, tell them you are going to refill your drink or ask if they have tried the food and say you are going to search out something to eat. You can also introduce them to someone else in hopes that they will connect more strongly than you two!
- We’ve all been there, but if you have met someone before, and they don’t remember you, kindly remind them! Try, “You look so familiar, have we met?” or, “Did I see you at the last event?” It makes it much easier to keep a conversation going if you start on friendly terms.
I think social media has made us more concerned with our perceived image and taken away some of our social skills. We were so good at making friends in preschool, what happened? If you struggle with this, try these tips. In the end, let go of that internal dialogue and don’t sweat the small stuff!