(Closed) why do my parties suck?

posted 9 years ago in Home
Post # 3
5789 posts
Bee Keeper

I personally hate parties, and never liked them even when I was younger. I don’t like to host them or go to them, unless I have to for a reason. Making myself a little crazy over the details and food is something many people are able to handle gracefully and without stress and worry, but I do not. Everyone always tells me how great of a hostess I am, and it always surprises me.  While I do manage to relax once people begin to arrive, or we’ve settled in where we’re going, it’s the anticipation that really gets to me.

I don’t think you’re alone in your feelings, but maybe since you admire your Mom’s way of doing things so much, maybe you should ask her for some pointers?

Using Facebook for invitations has become pretty popular, and I admit I was a little put off when I first got one. I think maybe people assume that everyone is on it every day so that’s the easiest way to invite a crowd? There’s times when I don’t look at mine for weeks,so I might have missed it too. Is it possible?

Our parties are usually just good food, drinks and conversation and generally catching up with each other, so I can’t help you out with that one. I wouldn’t be interested in board games either (or drinking games), so maybe you should just stop worrying about entertaining people and just relax and go with the flow? It might also be a better idea to invite people who know each other so the conversation is more easy going and they have things in common.

It will get better the more you do it.

Post # 4
1260 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Parties can be so tricky sometimes!

It sounds like your Mom’s parties were a big success in part because there were a lot of people who knew each other well – i.e your family! It’s trickier to have a sucessfull party when your guests may not know each other that well or when there is a smaller crowd. But it can be done!

It sounds like there are some people in which you are trying to get to know better, such as your co-workers or people from church. I find when I am first starting to get to know people, its easier to do specified activities first, like heading to to the movies or going out for dinner with a small group that have things in common (ex: coworkers at one dinner, church people at another). Large parties make it hard to get to know people as you are busy trying to make sure everyone is having a good time, and different groups of people tend to isolate themselves anyways. Perhaps try this route first? Contact these people in person or on the phone – smyley is right, Facebook invitations can sometimes seem impersonal and offputting, especially if they don’t know you that well.

You are not alone. I have had some great parties and some that bombed. Making good friends can be hard! Especially with such a diverse group, it may be difficult to get a party that pleases everyone. But like smyley said, if expectations are just to enjoy some food and good company, than you can’t go wrong with the majority of people 🙂

Post # 5
2467 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

personally i way prefer evite to facebook invitations; i used to be a musician and had lots of musician friends, so i get a ton of fb invites to music shows in different cities, so i tend to just ignore fb invites much of the time. whereas evite invites are more likely to be “real” invitations, and it sends reminders to guests which helps get people to rsvp more

Post # 6
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I’ve found it can be really tough trying to mix groups of friends – it might seem like a good idea, because you’ll have a higher overall turn out, but if those people don’t know each other, it can be awkward. Better a small party (IMO) where everyone is comfortable!

Also, at times it helps to let people know what to expect – try theme parties! Like board games and wine or something like that. Invite people over specifically “to revisit our childhood, break out the board games, and drink some koolaid (or wine for those who would rather not revisit quite so much of their childhood!)”

Post # 7
1701 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I agree not to use facebook. You could send a message over facebook ,but don’t create an ‘event’. 

Before setting the date, check with your favourite friends to see if they can make it.  Then invite away.  


I have  friend who feels that her parties never ‘go well’, and the thing is that we feel like we can’t relax because she is so stressed about everything being perfect.  She becomes a host instead of hanging out with us.  I think that setting the tone by being laid back and fun in your environment is welcoming.  

I have also gone the route of inviitng a lot of people and hardly anyone show up, so I understand.  Sometimes the more casual invites create a more fun atmosphere.  Keep trying different things.  Maybe Friday vs. Saturday.  Try having people over for brunch instead of for the evening.  

Good luck!

Post # 8
2154 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Personally, I’m so over facebook invitations. Most people don’t even look at them, and the “maybe” option drives me nuts. When I want people to come to something, I call them and get a verbal commitment! It’s so much easier to plan that way.

Post # 9
10849 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

Personally, if I got a Facebook invite for a party along with 90 other people, I wouldn’t go. It just doesn’t sound like my type of scene. I much prefer smaller parties, maybe a dozen people max. 90+ people sounds like a crazy party of the type you yourself don’t like! It’s also hard to convey the intended tone of a party through a facebook invite. We throw two big parties every year: DH’s birthday party in August, and then our annual Christmas party. For both of those I send out Evites rather than Facebook invites, just because we have some friends who don’t have Facebook. Plus I think Evite somehow seems to have more personality. For our party in August, we usually make it a theme party just to get people silly. This party is definitely not my ideal type of party as Darling Husband usually gets a keg (not my style, but it’s his birthday so I shut my trap), and we have a bonfire, a huge BBQ cookout, and we’ll drive our dock up and down the river. It’s pretty fun.

Our Christmas party is an afternoon/evening open house that we treat as potluck. I provide the main staples of the meal (this year we did a big ham), as well as a couple sides, desserts, and apps, and then as people ask what they can bring I’ll assign them one of the categories that needs filling out. With close friends I’ll be specific and ask them to bring salad or their specialty whatever. Otherwise I find everyone will bring dessert! LOL! We have Christmas music playing and don’t try to force activities.

I think what really determines a good party is the people who show up. If your group of friends have all met before, or you can introduce them with “you guys both like _____”, you’ll give them something to bond over and hopefully they’ll be comfortable together. If your guests are stuffy and can’t be bothered to talk to one another, there’s nothing you can do about that.  What you mentioned about your mom having great parties will all your family is exactly that, they all knew one another and were comfortable together!

As far as board games or movies, not everyone wants to do that, so I’d suggest making that a much smaller group of people and Eviting and then later calling them to invite them to a board game party. Try to match personalities and interests of people if they’ve never met. We did that with our table groupings/seating at the wedding and it worked out SO well. If you want to have a movie party, maybe invite some of your less outgoing friends (ie not chatter boxes!) or film buffs for a “screening party” and maybe do up food to match the time period, genre, or locale of the movie you’re going to watch.

Just do your best to match personalities between groups of friends, and do it in smaller groupings and I bet you’ll see much more positive outcomes!

Post # 10
567 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010 - MacLean Park

I like theme parties a lot, and just general house parties that happen after dinner, instead of going out to a bar or something. I ditto the no Facebook invite thing. It’s just not the vibe you want to send. I think you should concentrate on keeping things pretty casual when you’re at this age. People have a hard time getting excited about dinner parties, and it seems that your social scene is still a bit focused on liquor-intensive parties. Why don’t you get a few friends together for something fun and unusual? Like a Mad Men night, when you can make fun cocktails, and serve simple h’ors doeuvres like mini pigs in a blanket and other 60’s fare. Random holidays are good times to try parties. Like President’s Day, or Memorial Day. Just have fun with it! You’ll have time for big family parties later in life

Post # 11
1126 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

The thing that makes a good party for me is a big group of people that I know that are fun.  So if you’re only inviting a few people from each area of your life, then nobody knows that many people.  And the thing with Facebook is that you can see who’s invited (and whether you know/like them) and you can see who’s excited about coming (which is often a smaller proportion than reality but that makes it look bad before it even happens).  I agree with previous posters about starting in smaller groups and with defined activities.  Another situation I like for a get-together is a pregaming party (I know, I sound like I’m in college but I’m also 26).  Like, from 8-10 invite people over to drink and hang out at your house, and then everyone can go out downtown.  If you live slightly far from the bars and people want to go out, they might be less willing to come all the way to your house.

The only good standalone parties I’ve been to in recent years were ones held by my classmate.  In our class of 150, about 60 of us regularly go out, so any given party has a pretty good turnout and we know we’ll be seeing people we know.  If you’re a member of any large group like that, having a party for them might be a better way to get a good turnout.

In the end, I wouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself.  I’ve had some lame parties myself, but if I’m going to entertain in my home, I’d rather invite 2 or 3 couples over and have a nice dinner, so I don’t really care.  You’ll find a niche.

Post # 12
14492 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

We have three parties every year that just get bigger and bigger every year.  We started having a bbq at the beginning of the bbq season to celebrate the guys being able to cook outside for the first time of year.  It started with just a few couples getting together, last year we had 60 people.  Last year we started actually sending invitations out and most of them showed up.

Then there is the first Husker game bbq, also started with just a few couples and we have about 30 over.  We would have more, but our living room is small and so is our tv.

Then there is the annual FHs b-day poker tournament.  We started out with 6 guys, this year we had 6 tables of 8 guys each.

I think the secret is to start small and make it an annual thing.  Maybe you could start with a first annual board game tournament, something like UNO or yatzee.  Send out paper invitations and let them Rsvp by text or phone, that way they get a personal response.  You could get a small trophey from the dollar store and get some small trinket prizes.  Get some great appetizers and desserts to munch on.  Try some interesting drinks.  Every year we make watermelons filled with rum and people love those.

Be a good host and have fun, people always want to be around those that are fun.  I think in no time you will show your party skills that you have learned from your mom and people will appreciate what a great hostess you are.

Post # 13
3942 posts
Honey bee

I totally know what you mean. Over the years we have really grown apart from some friends and as a result, we don’t have a huge group of friends. Instead we have a few friends from different circles-school, work, high schoo, etc.

I was nervous for our housewarming party last year for this very reason. But what worked for us was making it super casual (a bbq and letting people know they could stop by any time) and having a couple activities for them-yard games, drinking games, things like that. We had plenty of drinks, casual food, and music. This worked well because I wasn’t inside cooking and stressing out. And I made it a point of introducing people and getting the conversation started. 

I’m actually not a fan of huge parties, unless its for a specific event. If it’s just a get together with friends I tend to just invite one group of friends so everyone is comfortable. And we loveee to play board games, drink wine and eat.

Post # 14
5283 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

Personally, if I just “sort of know” someone, I won’t go to their party. The only parties I go to are people that I am truley friends with, not just an acquaintance.

It sounds like you are inviting alot of acquaintances 🙁 which will result in your low numbers, but then again to me a 20 person party is plenty! 90 is too much, IMO.

When we have large parties (20-40 ppl) these are for our theme parties, bbq, 4th of july, football games.

But if I want a game night or a dinner party typically I will only host for 8-10 of our closest friends, that way its more intimate.

Post # 15
2025 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think the previous posters have some great suggestions. We throw quite a few parties throughout the year, and I’ve always found that great food and drink + a specific reason/activity for being there makes things go the smoothest. We typically don’t just have a “party” with a bunch of random people over, but always have it for a reason. Like a big game, a summer BBQ, or our annual Christmas viewing of Elf in the backyard/Chili party. 

I would rarely attend a party in which I only know the host and in which it seems like there won’t be something going on besides standing around and drinking.

I would suggest that if you have the ability to have an outdoor party, they always seem to be a hit. Something about getting together outdoors, playing yard games and BBQing just seems to help people relax. 


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