Some people adore hosting parties. Other people would rather step on a nail. Host anxiety, or party-hosting anxiety, is a real thing, but it’s something we can’t actually avoid. No matter how much we may try to avoid it, at some point or another we all find ourselves in charge of groups of people, either because we’re throwing a party, leading an organization, or chaperoning the prom. You never know when you will have to suddenly handle a large group. Happily, there are good strategies out there to help cut down the terror.

Keep them well-fed (and well-hydrated!)

A full guest is a happy guest! People love food (and drink), and if you can provide plenty of food-especially yummy food, most of the work is done for you! Just think of that most famous of never-ending party houses, the casino. One Oregon-based casino, for instance, provides its guests with five separate restaurants and bars! Casinos have a real challenge, since their guests often lose money while there–you can imagine how upset some people get. While your guests will hopefully not be losing money at your event, a solid spread of refreshments will make any person happy. A food table also helps cultivate conversation and mingling; it’s a great place to go when a guest suddenly has no one to talk to!

Temperature control

We never think about the temperature when it’s good, but it’s our number one complaint when it’s bad. Having a lot of people in one space can get really hot really quickly; on the other hand, an outdoor party can get chilly once the sun goes down. Before you throw your event double-check that all your household necessities (including plumbing!) are in tip-top shape, and in particular make sure that your heating and cooling are in order and are able to be easily adjusted, should the need arise. This is a great excuse to give your house that once-over it might need anyway.

Accept that it won’t be perfect

One of the biggest factors behind host anxiety is perfectionism! Does this sound at all like you? It’s totally understandable: you want your guests to have a good time! And, moreover, it feels like the success of the party will reflect on you! None of us want to be judged. But think about it: do you judge party hosts? The answer is probably that you don’t. Your guests won’t judge you, either (and if they do, why on earth are you inviting them?). They’re probably just happy to be invited–and remember that most of them have been in your shoes before.! Let yourself be authentic, and accept that your house might not be perfectly clean, or that the wine might spill, or that you forgot the long-promised karaoke machine. In fact, having something go a little bit amiss can even, possibly, make the party more fun!

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