’Tis the season for holiday parties, and this year, it’s your turn to host. There’s only one problem: You’re an introvert and hosting isn’t exactly your forte…or your cup of tea. Here’s how to survive and maybe even make it enjoyable. You’ve got this.
1. Don’t Overdo the Guest Count
Let’s do some soul searching for a sec: Sure, you’d love to be the type of person who can effortlessly host 30 of your closest friends on New Year’s Eve. But let’s face it, having that many people in your house at once is a recipe for hives and hyperventilation. A good rule? Invite as many guests as you have total chairs in the house for them to sit in. This way, everyone can be comfortable and make themselves at home, making you feel more comfortable by proxy.
2. Cook As Much As You Can in Advance
It happens to the best of us: You’re a little behind with the party prep, and the next thing you know, you’ve got a kitchen full of hungry guests staring at you while you frantically cut cheese and veggies. While an extrovert might thrive on the pressure, having to cook when all eyes are on you is an introvert’s nightmare. The solution? Prep everything as much as humanly possible (that includes mixing up a big-batch cocktail, cutting cheese into cute little cubes and getting the main dish oven-ready) and have it all ready to go at least an hour before your guests arrive. That way, you can spend a little time unwinding and sipping wine before Uncle Bob (who is always the first one there) shows up.
3. Embrace the Potluck
You’re a pretty decent cook. Great, even. But for an introvert, there’s nothing more stressful than watching ten people slowly chewing and swallowing a meal that you prepared. What if they secretly hate your green beans? What if they’re just eating a bowl of pumpkin soup to be polite? Did you botch Uncle Bob’s seven thousand dietary restrictions? Put the ball in their court by asking everyone to bring a dish and serving everything buffet-style. That way, you can be sure everyone has something they love, no one feels pressured to eat anything they don’t want, and they’ll be so busy talking to each other and dishing up food that you’ll be completely off the hook.
4. When in Doubt, Play a Game
Four hours is a Long. Damn. Time. And four hours of nothing but talking, eating and milling around the house? It’s endless. Break things up with a game that can get everyone involved (even way-too-competitive-to-the-point-of-awkwardness Uncle Bob). We’re currently obsessed with Anomia, a card game that’s just as fun to watch as it is to play, and Pandemic, where all the players work together to save the world. Best of all, while everyone’s busy playing, you can duck out to your bedroom to finally sip your wine.
5. Set a Time Limit
For an introvert, there’s nothing worse than a social engagement that just won’t end (we still have PTSD from Great-Aunt Ruth’s 80th birthday party). So think about how long you’d realistically be able to handle making small talk—let’s say four hours. Chances are, someone will overstay their welcome (*cough* Uncle Bob), so make sure to add a buffer of at least an hour. Clearly state the time the party ends on the invite, and don’t be afraid to kick people out. Emerging from your bedroom in your pj’s and asking if they want to take home any leftovers always does the trick.