The art of hosting a good house party is a delicate and nuanced craft — almost as much as the planning itself. You may be adept at hosting dinner parties thanks to our pro-tips, but now it’s time to look into a more social experience. Yes, you may spend a lot of time and some money in order to create an exciting evening that will be on the tip of everyone’s tongues for weeks after, but most importantly, it’s up to you — as a part of the experience — to make it fun. Don’t rest on your laurels, expecting rooms to be filled with tantalizing conversations and laughs only to find that your evening was a flop. Instead, check out these nifty tips to make the night worth while.
1. Don’t Watch The Clock
Evelyn Waugh once said, “Punctuality is the virtue of the bored,” and to no surprise, only the boring get bored. Go in knowing that guests will inevitably arrive later than expected and some will arrive earlier than others. Show up for the ones who show up for you. From the moment someone crosses your threshold, it’s showtime! Show those early arrivers that they’re appreciated and make the later guests wish they’d been there from the beginning.
Don’t chastise those who arrive fashionably late because it can quickly put negativity in the air. It’s best to assume that they had a valid reason for being behind and thank them for still coming despite whatever must have come up last minute. It never hurts to take the high road.
2. Stack The Deck
If your normal circle consists of like-minded people, invite the black sheep. If you surround yourself with fashionistas, invite some musician friends and artists — maybe even a few politically inclined friends as well. The reasoning: You want people who will shake things up. If you always run in the same circles you’ll run out of new and engaging topics to talk — and think — about. Bringing those wild cards to the deck can really shuffle the deck in your favor. But as the host, do you part to play your hand well and keep egos from creating unwanted tension. Granted, you may not know the next Salvado Dali, but your friend who’s in an indie band and your serial-traveler bestie could have a great time getting to know the artist you met at the art gallery a few months back.
3. Direct The Dialog
If you’ve ever gone to a not-so-great get together, then you know that polite conversation can be absolutely boring! Obviously, you can shift gears from time to time depending on your company, but sticking to the safe circle won’t encourage anything engaging to talk about. It’s alright to be the person that “goes there.” This year, politics may be a tricky line to toe, but it’s likely to bring about the fire in some of your guests once the spirits have been poured. If you’d rather play it a little safer, that’s fine too, but the key is to have topics in mind to talk about and to ask open-ended questions. Pro tip: When someone responds, ask them, “why do you think that?” It’s a great way to dig deeper and go beyond the surface.
4. Be The Wave
Nobody likes that pompous friend that feels high and mighty because of who they know or where they’ve been, but people do like getting info before it’s stale. Be on the cutting edge of what’s trendy in your social circles. Show off your newest app addiction or introduce their ears to a new musician you recently stumbled upon. Be the innovative, forward thinker who has the inside scoop on everything they didn’t know they needed in their lives. They’ll probably thank you later. One of the best ways to do this is by subscribing to Texas Lifestyle Magazine, to be in the know of the best Texas has to offer (hint hint).
5. Throw On (Or Off) Your Dancing Shoes
Music is, and always has been the key to setting the right tone for any party. Look at any movie with a party if you’re in disbelief. 1984’s “Sixteen Candles,” 1985’s “Teen Wolf,” 2012’s Project X and even last year’s “Bad Moms” all show how much of an impact the tunes have on guests. Now, we’re not suggesting anybody get trapped under a coffee table or taking Jell-O shots with Martha Stewart, but you don’t want your soiree to be a chapter from “Pride and Prejudice.” Prepare a playlist that’s sure to get toes tapping and hips swaying. Don’t be afraid to be the first to get in the groove. If you want a hilarious scientific explanation of how this works, check it out here.
6. Show Off Your Skills
To put it simply, being the least boring person in the room means being the most fun person in the room. This is the opportunity to break out some of those quirky skills you’ve been keeping from everyone. Know a magic trick? Pull out that deck of cards. Know how to balance household objects? Build up the suspense and watch a crowd gather. If you’re not too sure what talents would be good for entertaining guests, consider learning how to read tarot cards — you know, the ones Miss Cleo made famous in the 90s. It may catch a couple of guests off guard, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.
Stick with these tips for your next get together and you’re sure to find yourself with a fan club begging to be blessed to be your houseguest once more. Don’t keep your admirers waiting too long.