Ideas for the Party Human

Tip 6: The Flexibility Principle

Posted on: October 10, 2009

           I discovered this principle at the first party I ever hosted.  My friend was co-hosting it with me, and she took the initiative and planned everything out.  She was well acquainted with the principle of planning, and the party’s agenda was very structured.  There is nothing wrong with this, but my friend was not aware of the Flexibility Principle, and so she intended to adhere rigidly to her schedule, which went something like this:  7:00-7:15, play Blindman’s Bluff; 7:15-7:30, play Charades; 7:30-7:45, play Musical Chairs; 7:45-8:15, exchange and open gifts; 8:15-8:30, eat; 8:30-9:00, dance.  It’s okay to have a general outline like this in mind, but there are too many variables–arrival time of guests, preferences and moods of guests, forgotten assignments, to name a few–for the host to expect to be able to enforce his schedule.  If he tries to do so, he will only alienate his guests and spoil the party anyway.

            My mother explained these things to us, and we relaxed our expectations a little bit.  The party then went smoothly, and everyone had fun.  

            Simply stated, the Flexibility Principle is thus:

THE MORE FLEXIBLE THE HOSTESS/HOST IS, THE SMOOTHER THINGS WILL GO AND THE HAPPIER SHE/HE WILL BE WITH THE END RESULT OF HER/HIS PARTY.

Or in other words, you have to follow the flow of the party rather than try to force it into your own channels, if you want to avoid disappointment and make the event a success.   Let me demonstrate.

            Suppose you had your heart set on playing a certain game, which you would have to teach to your guests.  Now, several things could happen:  a)  The guests pick it up quickly and enjoy it immensely; b)  The guests don’t understand it and lose interest; c)  You run out of time; or d)  Another guest suggests a familiar game instead, and majority support is behind him.  What would you do if options b, c or d occurred?  Would you push for your game anyway, making your guests unhappy, bored and slightly resentful?  Would you sulk and moan and consider the party a total loss?  Just who is this party for, anyway?

            If you started the party intending to be flexible in whatever areas that were necessary to insure the success of the event, then you would take the slight tempo lapse in stride, change plans accordingly and go with the desires of your guests.  You would still have fun, and so would your guests!  It’s natural to feel a little disappointment, but if you expect to have to make changes it won’t be so bad.  After all, you should remember that the party is really for your friends, not for you.  (Consider it a fun service project!)  If you keep this in mind, then the enjoyment they have will be your reward.

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