I think we can all agree that hosting a party is a stressful time. There’s so much to get right – the ambience, the food, drink, combination – and numbers – of guests, music and entertainment. It’s like spinning plates.
Only if those plates are in different countries…
…and covered in explosives…
…whilst on fire…
What I’m trying to say is that planning a dinner party is hard work. Sure, there are some rare, brave (probably alien) beings who battle through this and continue to host parties where guests don’t die or, even worse, have just an “OK” night, but most of us – the ones without access to medication or large amounts of Gin – are scared off, fearful of breaking one of our metaphorical explosive, fiery plates.
If the idea of holding a party causes your face to do this:
The obvious solution would seem to be one of the following:
- Get better at the main party skills of hosting/cooking/entertaining guests.
- Win the Lotto, so that you can afford professional help (catering or psychological).
- Alienate all of your friends so that you don’t have anyone to invite to your party.
I think that there is a forth way.
Sorry, I mean a FOURTH way (stupid spell check).
forth fourth way:
Lower your standards and have a crap party
This sounds ridiculous (and it probably is), but at least hear me out, OK?
If you’re afraid of having people over for a party, event, soiree or whatever, it means that you’re going to be seeing your friends less.
Seeing your friends less often makes you unhappy. We like our friends. That’s why we refer to them as “friends” and not “that psycho bitch from Hell!”
Being afraid of hosting a bad party is not helping you, but deliberately holding a terrible party might.
When you deliberately hold a crap party, you’re not worried about being suave and elegant, because it’s not going to happen.
You’re not worried about whether the napkins are the right shade of gunmetal grey because…who cares? You’re hosting a crap party!
Hosting a crap party sounds like a terrible idea, but let’s think about it for a moment…
If you were feeling stressed and angry at the world and you went round to a friends house for a natter and a chinwag, would you really care if there weren’t any “Chicken Ginger cake” aperitifs (they were delightful at a wedding I performed at yesterday)? Would you really care if you had to sit on a beanbag or if the house was full of kids toys that you had to sweep out of the way?
Would bashing together some sandwiches with whatever was in their fridge really ruin the moment? Would sitting on a child’s chair while you laughed and joked with your friends put a downer on things?
We’ve all had those testing moments when the power has gone out or we’ve been stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway. Our initial reaction of “OH MY GOD! This is the worst thing ever!!!” soon passes when we realise that sharing candles and chatting over fences with our neighbours or having a football game on the motorway can actually provide us with some fabulous memories.
What really matters is that we’re present and in a mental space to have a good time.
It’s the connection we want. It’s the connection that matters.
Anything else is just dressing.
This “dressing” though, is what causes 95% of all party planning stress, so why not take it out of the equation, or off the table (whichever is your favourite metaphor) and decide to throw a bare bone, honest-to-goodness crap party?
BTW, if you’re having a lot of “dressing” at your next party, and it’s sent you into a tailspin of anxiety, have a quick look at my 11 Ways to Reduce Stress and Stay Calm when Planning an Event, Wedding or Party post).
So, how do you go about throwing a crap party? Obviously, we’re going to have a lay a few ground rules.
Crap Party Rules
You could set any kind of rules that you want for a crap party. Here are some suggestions:
- No getting dressed up – you have to wear whatever you were wearing at 11am that day.
- No special food – you have to use the food you usually have in your fridge.
- No gifts – unless they are for the magician, in which case, the more the merrier!
- No MAJOR housework (you can have a quick tidy or pick up that underwear that’s been on your lounge floor for three weeks, but that’s it.
The best way to think up rules for the crap party is to look at your own barriers, worries, stresses and issues and use them as your rules.
We need to work on breaking down those barriers, so that we’re more comfortable having people over when things are less than perfect.
We’re constantly working on getting things right, perfect even, when we should really be working on being OK with what we have, so that we’re not living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome).
(HT to FlyLady for the acronym)
This doesn’t have to become a stoic exercise or Zen practice, nothing like that. Just become more comfortable and open to having people over when things are less than perfect.
Sure, it’s easy to say, difficult to do, but it is doable.
The good news is that you don’t have to go all in on this right now. You can do it a step at a time. Look at one aspect of party planning, and start there. Maybe, for your next party, everything stays the same, but you’re only going to use food you can get from Aldi on the day. Or you’ll be less formal this time.
We’re constantly throwing up many more barriers to connection:
- When we get the house tidy, THEN we’ll have friends over.
- When we learn to cook that dish, THEN we’ll have a party.
- I’ll have a party ONLY WHEN I’ve found a half decent party magician to keep my guests happy and laughing! (Sorry, but it’s my blog, so plugs – even blatant ones – are allowed!)
That kind of thing.
Stop worrying about your party being crap and start planning crap parties!
The crap party is the answer to the question – what’s the worst that can happen? It’s also the perfect answer to perfectionism, because you’re not trying to be perfect. You are so far from perfect that you can’t even see perfect. Perfect never enters the picture. It’s not relevant and therefore, not scary.
Crap parties – they’re cheaper to plan, easier to plan and whether things go right or things go wrong, it’s ALWAYS GOING TO BE CRAP…
Oh, and if you don’t like the usage of the word “crap”, feel free to swap it for any similar synonyms.
Here’s a few to get you started:
substandard, poor, inferior, second-rate, second-class, unsatisfactory, inadequate, unacceptable, not up to scratch, not up to par, deficient, imperfect, defective, faulty, shoddy, amateurish, careless, negligent; dreadful, awful, terrible, abominable, frightful, atrocious, disgraceful, deplorable, hopeless, worthless, laughable, lamentable, miserable, sorry, third-rate, diabolical, execrable; incompetent, inept, inexpert, ineffectual, crummy, rotten, pathetic, useless, woeful, bum, lousy, ropy, appalling, abysmal, pitiful, God-awful, dire, poxy, not up to snuff, the pits; informal, duff, chronic, rubbish, pants, a load of pants.
f you’re having a crap party, you’re probably looking for a not-so-crap magician who can entertain your guests and get them laughing (unless one of your crap party rules is “No formal entertainment allowed”).
*** WARNING!! THERE’S A SALES MESSAGE COMING!!! THERE’S A SALES MESSAGE COMING!!! ***
I’m a magician and entertainer who specialises in putting smiles on party guests faces.
I can get your guests laughing and having a fabulous time at YOUR party, allowing you to relax and enjoy yourself!
“Thank you for helping make our wedding day stress free and being exceptionally entertaining“
“He was hugely entertaining, with a real sense of mischievous fun! Our guests loved him!“
Fill in the form if you’re interested in seeing if I can do the same for you!