real life

“For the two major parties in my life - my 18th and 21st - I spent the entire night racked with anxiety.”

Party Affairs
Thanks to our brand partner, Party Affairs

When it comes to parties, I have a lot of feelings.

For the most part, they scare me. People are loud and they don’t know when to leave and if you have a party at home they’re definitely going to break something.

For the two major parties in my life – my 18th and my 21st – I spent the entire night racked with anxiety. Will enough people show up? Will too many people show up? Are people getting along? Do people think this is fun? SOME PEOPLE TRAVELLED A REALLY LONG WAY TO BE HERE SO EVERYONE BETTER BE HAVING FUN.

It doesn’t help that I’m an introvert. Conversations are… full on. Am I meant to ask you what you do for a living? Is that rude? How do I end a conversation when I start feeling awkward?

I don't know. I never learnt how to 'social.' (Image: FOX)
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But then, I know a highly enjoyable party is possible. Because I've seen it. It's elusive - but I've been there. People are engaged in conversation. The host is relaxed. The room feels... warm.

These are the parties I want to have. Without awkwardness and worry and stress. So I asked some friends, I went online, and I've come up with four (genius) hacks for planning a party, when you're someone who legitimately hates parties.

One word: costumes.

Incorporating a costume theme into a party is the perfect hack for an introvert, because it makes conversation really, really easy.

As soon as people arrive, there's a straightforward icebreaker that even five-year-olds are capable of. You simply say what someone is dressed as, and it sounds like a question/conversation starter. It's brilliant.

Having a costume party also takes the pressure off the planning. No-one is going to bail from a party they've planned a costume for. People have bigger egos than that. It also gives you something to focus on that doesn't directly involve thinking about your guests. Plan your costume, you introvert, you. And plan it alone.

It's the best idea anyone's ever had. (Image: iStock)

A party doesn't have to be at home.

I've always had a thing about hosting parties at my place. My home feels... private. I end up feeling exposed and vulnerable for no reason, but it ultimately takes away from the possibility of actually enjoying the event.

It's weird, and I'm weird, but that doesn't have to stop me from having a party. Because some of the best parties are held at other venues. Restaurants, bars, parks - whatever. Simply having a party that isn't at home takes a huge weight off the planning process. You're not responsible for cleaning, or hiding weird things you don't want people to see, or stopping your dog from barking the entire time. That's someone else's job.

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Even if you do choose to have a party at home, you can always outsource the parts you get NO pleasure in planning. Like the decorations or entertainment or catering.

If you need extra help, Party Affairs has a comprehensive directory of suppliers all over the country. It's legit an introvert's dream.

Keep the guest list short. Really short.

This is a natural lesson you learn as you become an adult but YOU DON'T HAVE TO INVITE EVERYONE. It's not Kindy, you don't need to include the entire class, and if someone is upset they weren't invited, then that's their problem.

Having people I don't know very well (but perhaps felt obliged to invite) at a party I'm hosting makes it infinitely harder. Often you know that your good friends will enjoy themselves no matter what, but it's that more distant group of acquaintances you're worried about. So don't invite them.

When you decide to have a party with only a small number of people, it means you can plan accordingly. You can be your weird self and have a friggin' bowling party if you want to (OMG I'm legit going to have a bowling party for my next birthday. That's the best idea I've ever heard).

No-one wants you to have a bowling party, Clare. (Image: NBC)
If you happen to be the least organised person you've ever met (*cough* me), Party Affairs allows you to create a free account and have a bunch of planning tools in the one place - like a to-do list, a guest list, and a budget calculator.
I NEED ALL THESE FOR MY BOWLING PARTY, PLS.

Have a party during the day. Yes, really.

Parties during the day are usually my worst nightmare. What if people... never leave? When I drink during the day I usually need to go to bed by about 6pm, can I still do that? More importantly, natural light isn't my friend.

But parties during the day can be far more relaxed than events at night. You can have a picnic, or a lunch, and once the food component is over, people start to go home.

Recently a friend had a party during the day at a park, and I brought my dog. It was the best party I've been to in a long time, and the best day my dog has had, ever.

If you're hosting an event during the day, people can do things. They can swim or walk or play with babies (oooh yes please) or kick a footy. It takes the social pressure off.

As I get a little older, I've realised that my introverted personality is no reason to miss out on all the joy that comes from connecting with other people. You just have to do it differently, and not be too hard on yourself.

Party Affairs allows you to source every aspect of party planning - food, decor, entertainment, alcohol - with an online directory. Meaning you can organise a goddamn party from your bed. With your dog next to you.

So dress up, or don't invite the people you don't feel comfortable around, or have a bloody bowling party. Either way - you can make party planning suit you, even if you end up spending the next 48 hours in hibernation mode watching Netflix.

How do you deal with the stress of planning a party? 

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Party Affairs

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