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I’ve been at three parties in the last few months.  Two were fun, but one wasn’t.  I was trying to understand why the two were fun and the other wasn’t.

One fun party was with people from church at someone’s home.  Pot luck.  I didn’t know the people that well.  Mrs. Gamer knows one woman from work.  No alcohol was involved and we never went in the house.  It was a cookout.  Roasting hot dogs and smores around a fire.  Seated on lawn chairs.  Cool temps.  Evening in the country.  Torches around the outside of the party space.  A game of horseshoes.

Conversation was light and pleasant at first.  One of the women flirted with me with kino briefly, putting her hand on mine, pretending like she was going to fall backwards in her chair, and her husband gave me a warning look.  (She was instigated by another woman.)  I gave him my most innocent expression, then moved.  A little awkward.  After we had eaten, I started relating how Mrs. Gamer and I had met and how we had ended up married.  Other couples followed suit.  There was some playfulness.  Rapport was generated.  Emotional connections.  Sorry to see it all end.  Fun party even though it was low energy.

Another fun party was thrown by an association.  No alcohol was served.  Pot luck.  Several of the guests are old friends of Mrs. Gamer’s and mine.  Mrs. Gamer knows a couple of association members from her dance classes.  Daughter Gamer knows one from work.  The social committee chairwoman is a lot of fun.  She flirted with me a lot and there were some competitive games.  Bantering back and forth and playful accusations of cheating and claims to have won early.  Lots of feminine energy.  I felt comfortable investing energy.  The food servers (association members) were encouraging people to get food, using both words and kino.  You felt wanted and welcome.

There was some line dancing and people felt comfortable getting up and dancing with the people who knew how to do it.  Dancing music was played and I danced with both Mrs. Gamer and Daughter Gamer.  Although we left early because I was very tired, it was a very fun party.

A dud party was also thrown by an association.  Pot luck.  A bottle of wine per table.  Too many people for the space.  Lines to get food.  The games didn’t encourage much mingling.  We knew a few people and chatted with them.  Not much engagement with very many people.  There was some singing and choreographed line dancing, but it was like dinner and a show.  Not a party.  We left early to go dancing.

To throw a successful party, you need to get people to invest.  One way is to get people in a playful mood.  A high energy party.  You need people who function as sparks to provide energy and people who function as fuel who will invest energy in the party.

Another way to throw a successful party is to generate group rapport.  Get people sharing stories about their life and interacting with one another.  A low energy party.  This takes one person who can lead the group and spark discussions to get group investment.

A successful party isn’t about alcohol, food, decorations, or other externals.  A successful party is about playfulness, energy, games, and making people feel welcome and engaged with other people so that they want to invest in the party.