Welcome to Tips & Tricks #9:
HOW TO MAKE EVERY SOCIAL GATHERING FUN
I like getting together with friends and I believe I’m pretty social! But I must say that sometimes I find it hard to enjoy hanging out in a party setting. I also really enjoy spending time with my husband, so to share him with a bunch of other people is undesirable to me. Here are a couple tips that help me maximize the amount of fun that can be had!
1. Come to a Gathering bearing Gifts. This could be food, drink, dessert, a gift or FLOWERS. I have a Ukrainian friend who never went to another person’s house without a vase of flowers. Unless someone at the home is allergic, every house is brightened and more pleasant with a fresh vase of flowers! I think of it as a standard now when we visit people to at least bring flowers.
2. Be a Good Conversationalist (Listen Well). This is a basic skill that you need to learn if you ever want to make any friends. A skilled conversationalist knows how to ask questions about the person they’re talking to and listen to the answer. It is also good to add in a comment or an anecdote that their response reminds you of; however, don’t do this every time there is a pause. I think a good rule of thumb is out of every response you have, up to half of the responses can be anecdotes. The other half should just be a comment that acknowledges that you’re listening.
3. Eat, Drink and Be Merry! I find myself uncomfortable, cranky, and easily distracted if I’m hungry so make sure you are satisfied with a drink or a snack while chatting with your friends. This also helps you mingle well if you are up and around the place getting food. Try to make it a habit NOT to return to your same seat or place in the house so you can chat up another friend or allow other people to talk to each other (no hogging the best conversationalists!).
4. Don’t be Afraid to Steer the Conversation. I’m specifically talking about when my husband and all the men go off to one part of the house and all the women gather together in another part. I struggle in these situations because I honesty love the conversations the men have (theology, doctrine, and commentary) and I find the conversations the women have to be less interesting (clothes, beauty tips, and etc.) I find that when I’m starting to roll my eyes (inside) with boredom, I try to introduce topics of conversation that I’m really interested in. Most of the time, the women hop right in on the topic and seem to enjoy themselves. Maybe we women have stereotyped our conversations far too long and have been missing out on meatier topics!
5. Help the Host. If you’re at someone else’s house, always make an effort to help clean up by picking up other people’s plates once in a while. Offer to help with the dishes or just plain ask the host if there’s anything they need help with! It will make the host want you around more and it will also make you feel like you have contributed (especially if you were lazy and didn’t bring anything to the house).
6. Bring a Game. Whatever game you like, bring it! It’s okay if it never gets played and it’s great if it does. Not only are you bringing an option for an activity, but you’re also sharing a part of you with the group. They get to learn more about you and remember you and your game. Games are great because they help you learn a little more about your friends–Are they competitive? Are they closet artists or actors?
7. Know When to Leave. Sometimes there’s a perfect high point of the night and leaving soon after that is an uplifting way to end the evening. Always take note if the hosts seem a little weary or tired. Offer to leave when the host’s wife starts giving him the stink eye! But when the husbands are still going strong and the wives are tired, it’s okay to let it be known and all agree to just chill and rest while the men finish up. I let mine keep going until it’s way late and I think he always appreciates that I don’t push him to leave as others do (unless I notice the hosts getting tired and there my husband is, still going strong!)
8. The Soul Above All. If conversations start going awry and people start getting offended, remember that the person’s soul is more important than earthly conflicts. Try to place the condition of their soul higher than the topic you may be arguing for and speak to the person in love. Ask yourself if they’re ready for more grace than truth. Consider if they need more truth than grace at the moment. It’s a tough thing to balance but moderation is key.