Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Planning social events is awkward. It seems that no matter how much you try not to make a big deal of it, it always winds up being a big deal.

This past Sunday, Janine and I made plans to have a Thai dinner with some friends after church. We wanted to keep it laid back, so we figured we'd just invite people whenever we saw someone we wanted to invite the week leading up to Sunday. We've also learned that if you want say 20 people to come to a party, you invite about 30 to 40.

On Friday there was a dance, and we both figured it was a chance to invite people for Sunday. We went around in no real order, inviting each person we ran into. We got a few enthusiastic yes's, a couple sorry-can't-make-it's, and a swarm of might-come-maybe's that are just so typical of our age group. Years ago, Janine had had a party similar to this where she invited 30 people and 37 showed up, so we were feeling pretty good about our waffling friends.

On Sunday we went to church with the intent to invite more of our friends we hadn't seen Friday. Before that could happen, we got some cancellations. A few more people regretfully declined, and a bunch of might-come-maybe's were added to the pile. By sacrament meeting, I was doing a mental tally. The total number of people who were still definitely coming had reached a whopping two, and I suddenly doubted my more evasive friends would be showing. Not only that, but our two confirmed guests were a couple of guys, who, though good friends and great people, I did not want them to think we'd conned them into a double date at our house with our brother, parents and grandparents present.

So after the closing prayer, Neen and I invite more people. We get one more yes. Three people, yipee! Three guys for that matter, who I am pretty sure share two things in common; they are all Mormon, and they all know us. That, as far as I could see, is where the similarities stop.

We went home, revised our menu for a smaller crowd, and consoled ourselves that at least it's one up from the baby shower we threw (literally, as two people came to that), and laughed at the irony of how that morning we were concerned that we haven't invited enough boys, and now all we have is a trio of them. By the time our guests start arriving, I am seriously wondering why I ever bother planning anything anymore.

They've been there maybe half an hour when I remember why - because it's fun! Yeah, there's five of us, but after Neen and I apologetically explain we're the only people coming and swear we did in fact, invite girls, and this wasn't a conspiracy for us to get all the biys to ourselves, they shrug it off and say how hard it is to ever plan anything, and declare their excitement that they get to eat all the curry. Typical boys.

After we've all eaten a lot of Thai food and visited a while, we head to a Fireside, and I realize that again I have worried too much. Then I start to think. Even though there was only two people at the baby shower we threw, it was still a blast. And our dinner party with three assorted friends went better then I ever would have expected, because people are usually just glad to be invited, get to know more people and to do something with friends, even if it's never the grand gatherings I envision.

So our dinner parties, showers, and non-bonfires will continue, never according to plan and always throwing me for a loop, but regardless, it's always fun.


Katey said...

Small parties are usually the most fun anyway, but one way I've found to wake people up from a lazy social lethargy (when it comes to invites) is to make actual invitation. When people see the effort it doesn't matter how simple they, or the party is. It makes it seem more selective, planned, and more of a special event-which people like and will thus usually respond to.

Janine said...

But Kate, the very essence of YSA gatherings is their total lack of formality of any kind!