This guest post has been in the works for a long time. I would consider myself an extrovert, someone who gains energy from being around other people. This quality easily goes hand-in-hand with hosting parties because even if I spend time worrying about details, I still get to hang out with people at the end of the day. As an introvert, somebody who gains energy from being alone, this might not be the case, but that doesn’t mean introverts can’t host parties. As a matter of fact, some of the greatest party planners I know are introverts, you just need to know where to start. Lucky for you, my friend Miranda from The Good Groupie is both an introvert and a party planning connoisseur and she’s here today to share her tips with you.
Search the Internet for “introvert” and “parties”, and you’ll find list after list of tips on how wallflowers, like you and me, can survive large social gatherings and escape relatively unscathed. If you’re an introvert like me, you aren’t much for inviting over a ton of people for a party. On any given Saturday night, curling up on the couch and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix sounds way more appealing than having to make small talk with drunk people at a party.
But I’m going to let you in on a secret: introverts can throw really great parties too. I’m living proof of that. I love coming up with themes and menus and playlists, as evidenced by my 1920s-themed 30th birthday party I shared on Chrystina’s blog last year. (Read part 1 and part 2 to see all the fun!) And 2015 will mark the seventh year of my Halloween party, Halloweenie Roast.
Over the past six years of planning parties, I’ve learned a few things about how to throw a good one while still keeping my introverted side in check.
Here’s my guide for fellow introverts on how to throw a great party:
Pick an event/holiday/theme that’s exciting to YOU
If you’re like me, you’re great at coming up with ideas and even better at talking yourself out of them completely because it means you might have to get outside your comfort zone to pull it off. But if you’re throwing a party for an event or holiday or with a theme that gets you really excited, I can guarantee you’re going to stay invested in it.
Over the years I’ve hosted birthday parties, Fourth of July parties, Halloween parties, New Year’s Eve parties…but the one I keep coming back to is Halloween. Why? Because I love the holiday. I love the chance to dress up as someone else for a night. I love carving jack-o-lanterns. I love being a little bit scared. (But please leave the blood and guts at home!) My Halloween party not only gives me the chance to do all these things, but it also lets me share my love of all those things with my friends. Plus, sitting around a bon fire roasting hot dogs (the weenie part of Halloweenie Roast) with my friends and drinking my various Witches Brews is a fun, and different, way for us to hang out for one night a year.
Keep your guest list short and curated
As an introvert, the guest list is always the hardest part of party planning for me. Some years I’ve invited everyone I know to my Halloween party and end up letting myself feel hurt or upset when select people don’t come or end up at another party. Other years I’ve stuck with just my close friends and wondered if it was silly to have such a small party.
By keeping your guest list short, it’s going to minimize your internal anxiety over who is coming and who isn’t. You’ll be able to focus on the friends who are able to make it and not feel upset that your party wasn’t good enough for someone who didn’t come. It may sound a little silly, but curating your guest list will do wonders to reduce your anxiety as well. Think about who you’re inviting and how everyone will get along. Will your work friends be able to find something in common with your long-time friends? Will certain personalities clash? While I’m lucky with a group of laid back friends who get along with pretty much anyone, spending a little time thinking through how everyone will interact will keep you from stressing about bridging the gap between groups all evening long.
Don’t go overboard with your party plans
If my mother and my good friend Katie are reading this (both are my seasoned assistants), they are either rolling their eyes or laughing hysterically and ME of all people offering this advice. I am notorious for going overboard with my parties – but for me, all those details are part of the fun.
Don’t make a party more stress than it has to be. Keep décor and your menu simple – especially for a first-time or one-time party. Think about asking friends to bring a potluck item. (I do that most years for Halloweenie Roast, and it’s led to some really fun and creative snacks!) For an introvert, a “party” could be as simple as a game night. Remember – at the end of the night it’s the quality time you’re spending with a group of friends that matters, not all the party “stuff”.
Don’t over-plan your party
For a while, I got really stressed out over feeling like my Halloween parties needed to include an activity to keep everyone entertained. One year I did a Harry Potter theme and sorted everyone into houses as they arrived, then each house competed in a trivia contest for prizes. The next year, I did a Rocky Horror theme which included watching the movie in my backyard, complete with props. This past year I modified a printable version of Loteria (a Mexican bingo game) I found online for my Day of the Dead theme. I felt anxious about when to start activities, if I should wait for latecomers so they didn’t feel left out and whether my guests were even enjoying the activities.
But you know what? The best part of my Halloween party is when I’m hanging out with my friends around the fire, eating and drinking and chatting. This year, I’m going to keep things simple and plan no activities…just hang out time.
Those are my four very best tips for how introverts can host great parties. What tips would you add? Leave them in Chrystina’s comments below or send them my way on Twitter.
Miranda Enzor is a writer, blogger and music lover from Houston, TX. She write The Good Groupie, a music blog by a music fan, for fellow fans. She takes you backstage with up-and-coming bands, finds new music you’ll fall in love with, hosts a Rock Novel Reading Club and teaches you how to be a good groupie for your favorite bands too.