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03 July 2013 @ 08:21 am
When you're throwing a party, what makes it feel successful to you? Unsuccessful? What are the things you feel like you have control over to improve your chances of success? What is out of your control?

When you are attending a party, what makes it feel successful/unsuccessful to you? Do you feel like there are things you have control over about that?
Tags: , ,
I'm feeling: curiouscurious
Elizabeth Hunterlillibet on July 3rd, 2013 01:33 pm (UTC)
My answers to both boil down to the same thing: when the hosts are sufficiently prepared that they are able to spend time with their guests, rather than dealing with party-logistics throughout the event.

Something I especially like, when there are enough people that some don't know each other, is for the host to facilitate conversation by making introductions, throwing in possible connections. But that's very rare these days.
unintentionally intimidatingcoraline on July 3rd, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
I love doing that! though it's mostly something I do for the one or two out-of-context people at a gathering, since it tends to be "mostly people who know each other"...
Chipceo on July 3rd, 2013 02:37 pm (UTC)
Invite several recent ex-couples and at least one set of sworn enemies. Guarantees the party will not be boring. :-)
(Deleted comment)
That Chick with the Evil Laughsparkymonster on July 3rd, 2013 06:08 pm (UTC)
I love it when there is a task I can do. Clear up some clutter, etc.
drwexdrwex on July 3rd, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC)
Success criteria
(answering first without reading others)

The parties I host are mostly low-key social affairs. If there's a large enough group of people to keep conversations going without people feeling overwhelmed or unable to find a place to sit, or unable to get out to the hot tub because it's always overfull that's a success to me.

It's particularly gratifying to me when people tell me that they had a good time at the party and felt welcomed and comfortable in my home.

When I attend a party, I tend to go with something of a purpose in mind: show off a costume, see people I don't see often, have a good conversation or two, engage the theme activity of that party, help the host feel they've accomplished their goal. If I think I've succeeded at that purpose I tend to regard the party as a success for me.

I do feel like most of these things are under my control, though sometimes things change. I've gone to gaming events where there just weren't enough seats for me to play games with other attendees. I've gone to parties where it's so crowded I can't comfortably take a step or two, never mind find people I'd like to talk with, etc. These are to some degree a function of the hosts' set-up and attendees and so out of my control.

Hope that makes at least some sense.
That Chick with the Evil Laughsparkymonster on July 3rd, 2013 06:06 pm (UTC)
When I'm attending a party successfulness includes being able to spend some time talking in a small group with people. A little introvert space/bubble. I also love it when there are guests/hosts who introduce people to other people. A brief "I believe you share a love of caber tossing" or "Can I introduce you to Reginald. He has divine feelings about intergalactic condominiums."

Oh. The other thing I find important is being able to travel easily on my own. I prefer parties that I can get to on public transit or a short cab ride. I get anxious when I can only leave if someone has to give me a ride to the nearest public transit point.
porpurina: tequilarinabloodstones on July 3rd, 2013 11:46 pm (UTC)
When hosting big events: it's not a party until someone I don't know shows up. (If there are co-hosts it has to be someone unknown to all the hosts.)
Brother Claymore of Desirable Mindfulness: senor frogg'slifecollage on July 4th, 2013 01:26 am (UTC)
On throwing a party: That everyone has had enough to eat. (yeah yeah) That folks are enjoying themselves *without* my intervention - that we've created a comfortable enough space that people feel included wherever they are. When I can walk through the party and see a dozen different conversations going on, and especially if people who I know didn't know each other are now chatting happily.

Someday, I will learn how to throw a party and actually attend it. I swear, this will happen at some point.

What I can control is the overall invite list, having enough food of sufficient variety, and trying to connect with everyone who comes through even for a moment or two. I don't always succeed on the last point, but the others are usually good.

On attending a party: When I can engage/disengage with the party to my own comfort levels. That I can get lost in a group or find someone to chat with one-on-one. Sufficient protein. That the general vibe is positive, upbeat, relaxed, accepting, unforced. If there are people who don't know each other (increasingly rare at the parties I go to), the host or someone else should make introductions.

My control in attending is the ability to leave and get space when needed, and also in controlling my Real Food intake. If I'm not sure there will be sufficient protein to keep me from sugar-crashing, I make sure to eat a big real meal beforehand.
Ellen: cheerfulkeyne on July 4th, 2013 05:44 am (UTC)
Mostly what she said. Especially: Someday, I will learn how to throw a party and actually attend it. I swear, this will happen at some point.
born from jets!!!catness on July 4th, 2013 04:24 pm (UTC)
Throwing: Quality beer and drinks for my attendees, many varieties of delicious foods, space enough for socialization in any size group plus areas for splintered groups who want a smaller or quieter experience, comfortable seating, ample space around food serving areas... the best parties are when I keep them social-group or subject-type related. (For instance, I would not invite my high tech friends to the same party as my music friends, or my biker geek buddies to anything that didn't have significant overlap.)

In general, I do not like attending parties unless there is something for me to do, like help the hosts, or unless the party has a band. I like bands.
Co-conspirator of Squee: fairymuffyjo on July 5th, 2013 05:27 am (UTC)
My ideal party to host is one where I can have conversations with my guests and do the "you both like rollercoasters and have had long conversations with me about them." kinds of introductions to my random friends who simply need a hook to start a conversation. If everyone is talking with everyone, I feel like my work is done. :)

Parties I enjoy attending and consider successful are ones where I've had a chance to talk to people who I didn't know before or otherwise connect/reconnect with people. The least fun for me are parties where everyone only talks to people they know and talk only in short-hand "familiar terms (and leave me out of the conversations). I find I enjoy it when people do simple things like stepping back to include a new person in a conversation, or if someone new turns to listen, giving a physical clue (maybe reaching out and touching their arm or making eye contact and nodding to acknowledge them) to bring them into the conversation. It's surprising how much body language like that can help someone feel like it's ok to be part of the conversation.
DancingWolfGrrldancingwolfgrrl on July 7th, 2013 01:32 am (UTC)
So the thing that makes me feel like I succeeded at attending a party (which is mostly about me) is when I don't end up spending time awkwardly standing around trying to figure out how to engage. I find that this goes predictably better if I go in with plenty of energy for social activity and if I have a party date who I know I can hang out with.

The thing that makes me feel successful as a host is when this doesn't seem to me to be happening to other people. I find that this makes throwing cross-group parties tricky (because everyone knows a smaller percentage of guests), but that having lots of people who cross multiple groups helps. I also find that people with genius small-talk skills are awesome people to have at your parties.

I also strongly prefer, as a host, to have food everyone can happily eat. I only really poll people about allergies/dislikes at food-oriented parties, but it's something I try to track in my head for people I know well.
Thud.  Mac-Thud.macthud on July 10th, 2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
In both cases, I think a roaring success is when everyone (including me) meets someone(s) new to them, has some good conversation, and maintains the new connection(s) into the future. Renewing existing connections can also feel successful, but it's a smaller work (and party).

This is made easier with an assortment of social spaces within the party, with and without seating, for larger and smaller clusters of conversation.

Success is also increased when we share in some variety of tasty treats -- food and/or drink and/or music and/or other entertainment -- but these are secondary to the purely social part. Some great parties have been had with little if anything more than water to pass around.
David Policardpolicar on July 11th, 2013 01:56 am (UTC)
There are different success criteria when I'm throwing a party, depending on what kind of party it is.

No, wait, that's not quite right. Or, rather, maybe that's right. OTOH, maybe the kind of success I have determines the kind of party I think it is.

Or, well, maybe neither of those.

Let's try that again: there are different success criteria when I'm throwing a party, which correlates with what kind of party it is.

The party with the conversation that ends with the sun rising and my guests going home to start their day is successful in a way non-accidentally associated with that result, for example.

The party where everyone around me is engaged with food or music or conversation or something and the energy is flowing freely among them and I can engage and disengage with that as I choose and it continues to flow just the same either way is, too.

Hm. I thought when I started that there would be a whole list of examples. But thinking about it now, they all seem subsumed by those two. I'm not sure I quite understand that, but there it is.

There's perhaps a third kind of party success, where I get to be shiny and be the center of attention. But on consideration that feels rather like a cheap imitation of the second kind of success.

Also... hm. I was about to say that that was an answer to your first question, and I should now address the second. But on consideration, I realize I endorse all of the above for the second as well, changing pronouns as needed.
David Policardpolicar on July 11th, 2013 02:08 am (UTC)
Oh, and you asked about control, too.

I can control whom I invite. That's not entirely just about whom I inform of the party, it's also about whom I structure the party to be inviting to. For example, there are people in my social circle for whom, if I want to actually invite them rather than merely send them an invitation, I would arrange for and inform them about alcohol, or board games, or facilities for dealing with small children, or various other accommodations. (Sometimes I do this, sometimes I don't, and both are perfectly OK.)

I can control food. This is mostly a psychological thing for me; hospitality is fundamentally about having enough, and varied enough, and tasty and hearty and wholesome enough, food that my guests can eat their fill of things they want to eat and do not regret eating.

Um... yeah, no, actually that's about it. I mean, of course I can control other things, but those are the things it's important to me to control.

One thing that is clear to me as I say this is that when I throw parties, they are primarily about me; when I attend parties, they are primarily about other people.