Cat Rocketship: To host, not host dinner parties
Here's something that you didn't know about me and didn't expect to learn: I actually (occasionally) enjoy hosting parties. I put on my Cat Rocketship suit (this is a real thing), psych myself up to deal with an overabundance of people and sometimes even provide snacks and drinks. After a party, I always think, "That was great! Why don't I do that again?"
It's the process of hosting a party that's the stressful part — there's really no way around it. Rather than avoiding social niceties (which we know is the easy way) one must develop a set of highly-focused coping mechanisms. I go through many emotions during the planning stage of a party. Here's how I take them on.
Denial and Isolation
No one's going to come anyway, I'm sure that they have better things to do. Why am I even bothering? You can't let yourself get dissuaded before you even send out the invites. So what if no one comes? You made the effort, and then you get to eat all of the snacks. Buck up, send out that Facebook event. This is the easy part, believe me.
I can't believe [my friend, co-worker, person I don't know] is having a party on the same date. Why would (another random person) want to go to their parents' wedding anniversary, anyway? There are a million pitfalls you can get trapped in when worrying about individual motivation, but keep your eyes on the prize. A night of social interaction, possible networking and probable overdrinking is at stake. You can't get mad about every loose end.
If I just attend everyone else's parties this year, I don't even need to have one. No one will notice that they haven't been to my house since the Bush Administration. But the thing is, they will. You can't be a part of the social scene without breaking some eggs. You can bargain your way out of about anything, but you're only cheating yourself. Now finish mopping your floor, it's time to head to Trader Joe's for some wine.
Jimmy's bringing his annoying cousin and you just know he'll drink all of your tequila. There's going to be such a mess to clean up the next day. What if the neighbors complain? Snap out of it. Half of the problems you think you'll face will never become an issue, and the ones you will end up dealing with are never as big as they seem. You've come this far, almost there! Check your Facebook again and go get changed — it's party time!
As much as I dread the work, parties encompass all of my favorite things: food, drinks and great friends. I've made amazing work contacts, planned my next art show and sold work at parties. I had to drag my adult pants out of the drawer, but in the end, it's always worth it. If I can do it, you can. Get to it!