How To Host A Gathering
There's really only three things that are essential for hosting a gathering, and having a good time:
1. Have Snacks And Refreshments
People are more comfortable if they have good snacks and something to drink. Bowls of chips are good, but homemade cookies are better.
2. Have enough places for everyone to sit
Borrow some chairs from friends or family if you don't have enough. If you want to host often, Sam's Club sells folding chairs that are perfect for this kind of thing.
3. Clean your toilet beforehand
The last essential, is cleaning your toilet. Cleaning your whole bathroom is best, but the toilet is the only essential if you don't have a lot of time to prepare. Nobody, NOBODY likes using a dirty toilet.
It's easier to learn what works and what doesn't with a smaller group of people. You can also grow the group after it is started. You can't grow what doesn't exist.
Prior to the event, set your thermostat a little colder than you usually do, since having more people in your house will make the temperature rise, and it gets uncomfortable when it gets too hot.
Decide if you want to have alcohol, or provide the option of alcohol. It's not essential, but it is a social lubricant. Beer and sweet wine are usually pretty safe bets that most people will consume, but local options are better quality and can be a conversation starter.
Set Expectations For Guests
If you don't want to, or can't afford to provide all the snacks, ask your guests to bring somethnig small, like a bag of chips or a case of pop. You're hosting, the least they can do is to bring something to share.
Have a Goal
It becomes easier for people to want to show up if there is a clear goal for the gathering. This can be as simple as playing board games, watching a movie, eating a nice dinner, or having a bible study. It doesn't need to be elaborate, but it does help tremendously if everyone is already on the same page when they show up.
Date and Time
One big question that you may have is what date to host the event on. The easiest response would be to have it on a date that works for the most people, but this may not always be the best choice.
There is a difference between holding your gathering on a weeknight vs. a weekend. Holding the gathering on a weeknight will ensure that it doesn't extend far into the night, because most people will have to work the next day. It also keeps the alcohol consumption lower, since people will have to drive home. You will also potentially have different crowds if you hold the event on a weekday vs. a weekend. Weekday people are the more energetic, motivathed, go-getters and do-ers, whereas weekend people also include everyone else, since there's less friction. Holding it on a weekday also leaves your and their weekends open to do more things that are traditionally hosted on weekends. We have had a lot of success by setting the date on a weekday, and inviting everyone with a "this is happening, join if you want to" mentality.
Host at a Neutral Location
If you're worried about hosting at your house, find a neutral location for everyone to meet. Parks, coffee shops, or restaurants can be good candidates.
Don't Be Afraid to Mix Friend Groups
Do you know different people from different places, but they don't know eachother? Invite them both! Real life interactions are NOT like interactions online. People generally act more civil in real life and won't jump straight to political arguments. As a couple living in Dayton is writing this, we can confirm that this is really not an issue.
Invite Your Neighbors
If you don't know your neighbors, this can be a great way to get to know them. It's always good to know your neighbors and have a way to contact them, in case if there is an emergency.
Article written by Alexander Burdiss and Courtney Carmack