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8 Things That Always Happen When You Host A Party

8 Things That Always Happen When You Host A Party

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Hosting parties at your home always seems like a great idea in theory — you have home field advantage, you don’t have to feel uncomfortable using an unfamiliar bathroom, and you know exactly where all the utensils are – but as you prepare for the party and guests start arriving (and never leaving), it becomes pretty clear that the benefits of control and comfort are complete deceptions, and you should have just gone out instead of opening your humble abode to the vagabonds you call friends.

1. It will be more three times more expensive than you imagined.

In the beginning you thought hosting a shindig at home instead of a restaurant or bar would be cheaper, but that was before you realized you didn’t have any large serving spoons! And what would your party be without a $30 veggie tray!? What happened to all the paper plates and disposable cups? You were sure you had a full bottle of vodka… A two-layer cake hosts HOW much?

2. Someone will fail to bring something he or she was specifically instructed to bring.

If you were specifically relying on one individual to bring Cool Ranch Doritos, that person will inevitably show up with Fritos, because in the grocery store aisle they unilaterally decided that “Fritos are just as good,” thereby thwarting the fragile snack potential of the whole party in the process and giving the Dorito-expecting guests no other choice but to rely on the quickly diminishing Chex Mix bowl, whose entire supply was based on Cool Ranch Doritos being in the snack line-up.

3. Someone will bring something you specifically instructed him or her not to bring.

Even if the invite explicitly states, “BYOB and an appetite! We have plenty of food!” someone will show up with hummus or some store-bought dessert that will be presented as his or her own secret family recipe. Paradoxically, that same person will be terribly inconvenienced when you don’t have his or her favorite obscure draft beer in the cooler.

And take it from me, don’t waste your time politely telling parents that this is an adult party; once you’ve procreated, all the world’s a Chuck-E-Cheese, and all the men and women merely babysitters.

4. The party will split into conversation factions, and you’ll need to make appearances at each (even though there will be one you like best).

Once the drinks start flowing and people are actually conversing (or “conversating” as it’s called in some circles) with one another instead of making general declarative statements about their lives, the party goers will start splintering off into two or more smaller, intimate groups. When you’re hosting the party, the polite thing to do is spend a little time with each of these crowds, but the truth is, you’d really just like to huddle in the corner with the people you like best and let someone else deal with the people you only invited out of obligation.

5. Someone will become the runt of the party.

You’ll be laughing and mingling, but in your peripheral vision you’ll take notice of the shy little party runt staring at their phone and clutching their drink for dear life. The runt of the party is usually the person who knows you much better than they know any of your other friends, so for the entire party they’re really relying on you to help them assimilate into the group of guests. In between taking people’s coats and offering drinks, you’ll have to go over and visit with the runt every once in a while, or have the spider in your kitchen spin a web that reads “SOME FRIEND” à la Charlotte’s Web to give he or she a little confidence boost. 

6. After each guest leaves, everyone else in attendance will convene to dissect the statements that person made/how he or she looked/what he or she brought to the party.

When the first person announces that they’re leaving, everyone at the get-together feigns surprise and disappointment, but really, everyone’s eager to overanalyze that person’s performance at the party. “Why did he bring crackers and cheese? He knows I can’t eat gluten or dairy.” “Was that a sarong she was wearing?” “Did you hear what he said about Joey?” “Do you think she regrets that tribal butterfly tattoo yet? I regret it for her.”

7. Someone will go all Karl Lagerfeld on the concept of “fashionably late.”

After hours of laughter and raucous conversations, the party will finally have started to wind down, and guests will have begun making their exit. Just as you’re saying goodbye to one of the last groups of remaining guests, you’ll hear a knock on the door and discover someone you invited has arrived with too much energy and a bottle of wine approximately four hours later than they were told. What follows is a hesitant invitation for them to come in followed by the same conversation about how he or she “didn’t realize” being on time was important, all while the late-comer fixes him or herself a drink and picks at whatever food scraps are left.

8. Someone will make a giant hole in his or her welcome.

It’ll be getting late (or early), and after camouflaging a few yawns, you’ll begin every sentence with “Well…” and finishing every statement you make with that wistful, trailing off tone that quietly suggests, “Get out of my house now.” Unfortunately, one or more of your oblivious guests will just keep on drinking and regaling you with stories, even when you start cleaning up and cease all attempts to react or to supply meaningful commentary to anything that they’re saying.

What makes you regret hosting parties? Am I the only who starts hating everyone she knows when they’re at her place for too long?

Katie Hoffman

Katie Hoffman is a writer living in the suburbs of Chicago. She enjoys leftovers, lunges, and laughs.

34 Comments

  1. bensbitterblog March 10, 2014

    I regret ever having parties. The only reason I would have one is if my bitter quotient was a little low and I needed more reasons for hating people.

    1. Katie March 10, 2014

      It always seems like such a good idea, but I’d rather leave the hassle to someone else most of the time. At least when you go to someone else’s party, you can leave whenever you want. It’s a lot harder kicking a group of people out of your house who you invited there.

      1. bensbitterblog March 11, 2014

        That is the worst having to passive aggresively get rid of people. “So, almost time for Jimmy Fallon huh? You should probably get home. I heard he’s having Timberlake on!”

  2. habitsofthought March 10, 2014

    I always have people “linger” on way past the end of the party…and it’s awkward because I usually want to go to sleep.

    1. Katie March 10, 2014

      ME TOO. I’m practically nodding off, and they’re still just drinking and eating like nothing’s wrong.

  3. gluestickmum March 10, 2014

    Hosting a kids’ party is even worse. Alcohol is frowned on, you have to play party games rather than talk to your friends and you can’t shout at anyone or chuck them out for being overly raucous or breaking things. No one even brings you a present – you just have to assimilate plastic tut into your house and write Thank You cards in scruffy writing to make out the party boy/girl is delighted with said tut.
    At least at a grown-up party no one is likely to poo behind your sofa.

    1. Katie March 10, 2014

      HAHA! “At least at a grown-up party no one is likely to poo behind your sofa.” You’ve never been to one of my parties. (Only kidding.)

      My boyfriend and I are in this weird situation where most of his friends have kids by now, and we don’t yet, so every party we attend is like this weird kids’ party/adult party hybrid, and it’s hard to tell what’s acceptable and what isn’t. I really don’t like drinking around young kids and stuff like that, but when I get hit in the head with a beach ball, all bets are off.

  4. HarrietInBloom March 10, 2014

    “Conversating!” Oh, the pain! I’m a language arts teacher, and I once dated a guy who said that he was “conversating with a friend about…” Or that perhaps “we should conversate about meeting each other’s parents later.” Good thing, because his constant need to “conversate” was a deal breaker for me.

    1. Katie March 10, 2014

      My boyfriend and I just had this conversation in the car the other day (which is why I included that little parenthetical note). We had a disagreement about whether or not it was a word, and conversate has become one of those terms like “irregardless” that gets recognized as a word and has a definition, but technically is wrong. Luckily my boyfriend admitted that I was right, and he’s sworn to convert to converse.

  5. Properly Ridiculous March 10, 2014

    So So So True – All of it!! We host a Halloween Party & an Ugly Sweater Party yearly – & let me tell you…the thing (other than all of the above) that make me regret it is, unwanted guests. Whether that unwanted guest is there because someone brought him/her (usually a her..in my case) or the wonderful “Oh, I heard you were having a Halloween party?!” Yeah, you weren’t invited – that is why we are having this conversation…………after the invites were already sent, but…Hey! Do you want to come? Its at 8pm. See ya there…

    1. Katie March 10, 2014

      YES. I completely agree. My boyfriend has a friend (who’s really nice!) but she brings random family members with her to every party, and it’s never the same people. His whole philosophy is “the more the merrier!” where my stance is a lot closer to “who the fuck are these people and why are they eating my cupcakes?”

  6. TK March 10, 2014

    You try too hard. We had a small party at a friend’s house this weekend. All we needed was a mediocre veggie tray, some pizza bites and Mario Kart. Best night ever!

    1. Katie March 10, 2014

      I do try too hard. I fully admit that. I want everyone at the party to think it’s the best food they’ve ever eaten and the most fun they’ve ever had. So when this kind of crap happens, I take it pretty seriously.

      1. TK March 10, 2014

        I can understand that too. When you work hard on something, you want everyone to appreciate it. Even if everything didn’t go the way you planned, I hope they all thanked you for providing a delightful time.

  7. saraspunza March 10, 2014

    So true! I love hosting parties, but I cannot stand the pre-party tidying up. All I can think to myself is that I will have to just do it all over again the next day, and I will probably be suffering from a hangover…

    1. Katie March 12, 2014

      I’m lucky in that my boyfriend takes care of most of the pre-party and post-party tidying (I’m not very tidy), but it’s just the people for me. After three hours, I don’t care who it is, I’m starting to get sick of ’em.

  8. John W. Howell March 10, 2014

    Loved number eight. My wife an I were famous for leaving our own party and going to bed. We were never missed at the time and only discovered absent when it came time for the final partygoers to say goodnight. (Maybe 3:00 AM) Yes there was always one or two on the couch or in the back yard.

    1. Katie March 12, 2014

      The first time my boyfriend and I hosted a party together, I got too drunk and fell asleep for four hours, so now whenever we have a party with his friends attending, I feel this weird need to be present and conscious for the entire party to make up for my initial bad first impression.

      1. John W. Howell March 12, 2014

        Don’t see why. I remember falling asleep on a pool table at a party and woke up after everyone left. The funny part it was a rented venue and I had to finish the night there since the place was locked up.

  9. The Hook March 10, 2014

    This is why I’m anti-social by nature.

    1. Katie March 12, 2014

      It certainly saves you from a too many leftovers.

  10. ddupre315 March 10, 2014

    Oddly enough I just gave this hint to a friend who had some people over a few days ago that overstayed their welcome. There is a party trick to give them the hint that the party is over, if cleaning up doesn’t do it. Close the “bar” down and serve coffee. If anyone actually stays for the small cup a joe, and didn’t get the hint, after the coffee head to the coat rack and thank them for coming by. Done.

    1. Katie March 12, 2014

      Oooh, the serving coffee thing is good stuff. I’m going to keep that one mind. With my close friends, I never think twice about kicking them out when I’m getting tired, but with people I don’t know that well or my boyfriend’s friends, I feel guilty going any further than dropping hints or yawning obnoxiously.

  11. Janelle Weibelzahl March 10, 2014

    Haha oh man… I actually like hosting parties, when I lived in Canada my husband (then boyfriend) and I would co-host parties regularly, actually we were the first of our friends to start wine & cheese parties as an alternative to the youth-group age BBQ parties with pop and chips… We’re pretty easygoing, though, and only invite the people we like, which – since we’re both kinda social drifters – often ends up being a really motley assortment of people who don’t know each other that well. But it leads to interesting situations, and has even led – directly – to at least one marriage!

    Personally I feel more stress about being invited to parties at other peoples’ houses where they are unclear about their expectations, i.e. “You don’t have to bring anything… . . .” but we know that means we do, or potluck-style parties where there is no declared theme and no way of knowing if what we bring will match what other people bring… yeah. Your parties sound very intense, though, I’m not sure if I could handle all that pressure to perform!

    1. Katie March 12, 2014

      I’d totally have cheese parties. I don’t like wine, but I love cheese. That’s so exciting that you guys are responsible for a whole marriage. I hope it all works our well, because if it didn’t, well… Anyway!

      I feel like I have this uncanny way of knowing what is appropriate to bring in different party situations. For example, if I get the sense that the host is one of those people that wants everyone to compliment their baking/cooking, I know not to bring any cookies, because they’ll take it as a threat or insult. I just hate that everyone doesn’t have the same sixth sense that I have for this stuff, because clearly outlining my party expectations is clearly insufficient.

      1. Janelle Weibelzahl March 14, 2014

        Seems to be working well, last I checked they’re pregnant (so I guess that depends on your definition of “well,” but despite the fact that procreating reduces overall happiness in married couples I think most people consider it a good thing).

        Maybe you should have people read and sign a form before they come to your parties, declaring that they understand and agree to the terms and conditions of participation? 😉

    2. Katie March 17, 2014

      I think the party consent form is seriously a great idea.

  12. essbee14 March 11, 2014

    This is all 100% truth – especially the conversation factions! And within #3, there is also the person that brings an unexpected & awkward plus one (usually someone who wasn’t invited for a reason or a child or a party-runt-to-be), and that becomes your main conversation faction by default. Woe.

    1. Katie March 12, 2014

      YES. Why am I always in the conversation faction that’s losing the game of life? What if something terrible happens and the conversation faction I’m in becomes my team? 90% of the time, that would be a disaster.

  13. Stephanie March 11, 2014

    Oh wow. I think you have bigger parties than I do. I always limit my guest list to 8, max. And they’re people I know well enough that I can say, “Time to go home!” if it gets too late.

    1. Katie March 12, 2014

      Oh yeah, the people I know well, I’ll kick them out with no hesitation. Everything gets complicated when more people show up or when people show up late. I feel guilty hustling people out when they just arrived 15 minutes ago, but it’s not my fault they showed up late!

      1. Stephanie March 12, 2014

        Just don’t answer the door when they come and when they ask about it, play dumb.

  14. singlegirlie March 22, 2014

    I never host parties. Ever ever ever ever ever. Ever ever. Because all of theabove plus a) I can’t take the pressure and b) cleaning up. Also, incidentally, I am usually the runt when I go to parties. I hate parties.

    1. Katie March 31, 2014

      I hate going to parties, but I’m oddly okay with inviting a bunch of rowdy people onto my turf. I think I just like the illusion of being in control.

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