I love hosting parties, in part because I think hospitality is an art. When I host, I love seeing folks enjoy themselves and bring new friends to get togethers.
I know the great amount of care, effort and money that goes into hosting a great bash, so when attending events that others host, I make a point to be the best guest that I can be. To help get you ready to attend your next party and be the kind of guest your host will want to be at every get together, I've crafted this little list of suggestions.
1. Plan for the event.
- The first step is simple. Say yes to attending. No host likes to wait to the last minute waiting to see if their people are actually going to show up. RSVP early, and be firm in your commitment.
- If it is a costume party or a theme is in play, go with it. It will delight your host and help you enter more fully into the event.
- Ask the host what you can bring. (This should be set apart from a host or hostess gift, which comes next.) Here, we're talking about concrete offerings. I am always delighted when someone offers to bring ice a few minutes before the official start time or brings a homemade food offering that they nail every time.
- Ask yourself: What can bring to add a little magic to this party? (In this post are a couple photos of an America the Beautiful party I recently attended. To up the fun level, I brought along a few packs of "I Love USA" stickers and my instax camera. Both are great conversation starters and can liven up any interaction.)
2. Bring a hostess gift.
- Whether your budget is big or small, bringing something to say thank you to your host goes a long way to show your appreciation. (For this America the Beautiful party, I brought my hostess a homemade crown, to help jazz up her outfit and increase her patriotic spirit.)
3. Step outside of your inner circle.
- Introvert, extrovert or somewhere in between, look for new people to meet. As a host, I am thrilled when friends reach out to new folks who are not as well incorporated into the large group.
- While light conversations and chit chat are the norm at large parties, make it a point to enter into a couple real conversations in the course of a night. Heading home, I never regret those minutes spent in real, meaningful conversation.
4. Say Thank You
- If you are attending a party at the home of a close friend, look for some small way to help tidy up, whether it's collecting stray glasses or offering to take out the overflowing recycling bin.
- As you depart, if your host is not tied up in deep conversation, say thank you in person. Keep it quick. No one wants to spend the whole night saying good bye.
- On the day after the party, say thank you again. A text could do, but taking it to the next level with a sincere e-mail or card telling the hostess exactly what was awesome about the party would be even better.
- If you had a great time at the party and documented the experience, find a way to share them with your host. Play along with Instagram hashtags, send photos in an e-mail or share them on facebook.
Party on! And, while you are at it, be the best guest you can be.