Throw this party: The Pollinator

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By: chrisyarzab – CC BY 2.0
By: chrisyarzabCC BY 2.0
I’m throwing a party that I’ve named “The Pollinator.” The basic idea is that I want to widen my social circle, so the price of admission is that every single attendee bring a guest that I either do not know or do not know well.

I’m already planning on having a game of Minglo (which I did at a wedding shower I threw and it was awesome). And I will have everyone wear name tags with their names (duh) and an “I’d love to talk about [blank]” category.

However, I’m wondering if the brilliant minds associated with this website can come up with other activities, especially for shy and introverted types.

Thank you! -Heather

What about hosting a dinner party — as sitting down for a meal is super conducive to conversing — but the rule is that you can’t sit next to the person you brought?

Ooh, when they RSVP, have them tell you one interesting fact about themselves and their guest. Then, like the name tags, instead of place cards with names, write the interesting fact about the guests, making it so that when people go to find their seats they all get to read up on interesting factoids and wonder about who is who.

Homies, what would your Pollinator party suggestions be?

Comments on Throw this party: The Pollinator

  1. Something like Powerpoint Karaoke could be fun to get to know people’s creative sides. Although one word of warning, keep the slides G-rated and gender-neutral to keep the atmosphere fun and light. It’s really easy for some crowds to resort to using sexual innuendo in an attempt to be funny, but it usually just ends of offending someone. Some slides topics I’ve had good fun with: curious facts about Narwhals, top 10 life-hacks, and a faux-motivational speech.

  2. Well,I wish you all the luck with your party, but as an introvert myself, it doesn’t sound like any sort of thing I want to participate in, period. I would rather stay home than make awkward small talk with a bunch of strangers. (And trust me, with me it is ALWAYS awkward, no matter the topic)

    If you want to involve the introverted, I suggest you try something that doesn’t involve a lot of face to face spotlight chit chat. Something that gets the focus away from having to explain ourselves. Maybe have a couple board games on hand? (Just not monopoly)

    • As an awkward introvert who DREADS talking to people I don’t know, I like your “I’d love to talk about _______” nametag plan — because otherwise I just stand there sweating bullets trying to think of something to say. I like this photo from an OBB profile that gives three facts about a person. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dancingnadine/4678661487/ Conversation starters are ALWAYS helpful!

      And for the painfully shy like me, activities. Cookie decorating? Food assembly? Board games? Options that allow shy people to feel involved because they’re doing something with their hands, even if they’re just listening to conversation and not ready to jump in yet.

      • I saw a shirt that said “Ask me about my cats” once. Brilliant.

        And I second the activities! You can also put together kits for charities or make homemade bath products, etc.

      • Ooh I’m the opposite, thinking about having to fill that card out gives me hives! Having to pick one interest to represent myself would be super hard. I’d probably end up writing “I’d like to talk about… how uncomfortable I currently am” (Or “I’d like to talk about… your deep-seated neuroses.”)

        Personally I’d veer more towards any sort of relaxed group activity (cookie decorating is a good one) that isn’t necessarily focused on getting to know facts about each other, just because I *loathe* having to talk about myself like that. The facts are rarely important to friendship, etc anyway, it’s more about rapport, and doing things together builds that well.

    • As another introvert, I definitely agree with the activities idea. Board games or party games give people something else fun to talk about if the small talk ideas aren’t enough. (You might want to avoid charades as a party game, though. I always hide when someone suggests charades.)

      I would also suggest having some smaller conversation areas set up, like a couple chairs grouped together in corners or the edges of the room. When parties get to be too much for me, I always gravitate toward less populated areas. You could have places set up to let introverts gather and collect their thoughts before rejoining the mingling.

      I disagree with the dinner party suggestion. I don’t think a dinner party is a good way to get people mingling because you’re stuck talking to the people close to you at the table. Dinner parties with strangers make me very uncomfortable, so my only goal for the night becomes to get out as quickly as possible without being rude.

  3. I host a club and we play games to get to know each other.

    Team games work the best. We do one called Three Second Animals. Everyone puts the name of an animal (think “bear,” “cat,” “dog,” not “zebra,” “orca” or fancy animals. Then we use a dry erase board and you have to pull one out and draw it in three seconds. Lots of laughs there! Your team has a minute to guess.

  4. For me, most parties I throw involve new people in the form of dates, friends of friends, or even just inviting people I don’t know well. I don’t usually use games to get people talking, but I am really proactive with introductions–many people are happy to talk to a new person if you get the ball rolling for them, they just won’t take the lead themselves–plus I can kind of orchestrate who I think might enjoy chatting with each other. A classy introduction gives a little fact about each introductee, so the conversation has a place to start. “James, this is Jenny, my friend from work. She has the cutest little kitten and is a killer basketball player.” Usually for people who are in good enough moods to attend a party, that’s all it takes…

  5. This was for a Valentine’s Day party where I wanted to encourage mingling, but it could be changed to accommodate different events.

    We printed out copies of romance book covers and cut the couple in half. Everyone got one half and had to find their match in the crowd, then tape the reunited cover on the wall. I think the covers might have been silly parodies as well.

    Anyway, they could be given something at the door that pairs with something someone else was given.

  6. I must have a dirty nerdy mind because “mingling” was not what came to mind when I saw the title!

  7. I love this! I’m a reserved introvert married to an awkward extrovert. We’ve moved around a lot. Yet most of our friends are friends from college who we have to trek out to visit every once and again. My partner makes some work friends. I basically chill with our cats. We both wish our local communities were bigger. This seems like a fun way to grow a circle.

    To echo others, games are great for introverts. My college friends are mostly all gaming nerds. So when we get together that is typically what we do. Cards Against Humanity, Telestrations/Draw & Write, Succotash (charades variation), and Drawful have been great fun for groups of diverse individuals.

    I’ve also been to gatherings where knitting has been a casual activity, so maybe that and/or other crafts: beading, coloring, collage-making, origami, etc.

    Having zone out areas are also good, a way to get away from chit chat. A display to look over, book shelves to peruse, food spread to munch–basically ways to retreat from the people without retreating from the party. Maybe have a quiet room with some solo activities or such.

  8. I think this is an awesome idea. And also another reminder that I should actually throw some of these parties I’m always thinking I will. I have to agree with the casual activities (i.e. cookie decorating, maybe a sushi-making setup or something along those lines) but I was also thinking of something like an interactive board or display activity. That way, you can strike up conversation based on what the person just wrote/drew/etc. For example maybe a story where each person can add as much as they want (a word, a sentence, a paragraph, etc.) or a picture where everyone can add some detail or decoration (ex: “F pinning the tail on the donkey, it’s time to accessorize this unicorn!”). This is something that you can also kind of hang around to see what people are writing/drawing if you’re shy and still feel like you’re part of the party.

    By the way, I also tend to disagree with dinner because in my experience it happens fairly often that the people around me get to talking and somehow I’m not close enough to either conversation to take part. Or maybe you truly don’t have much in common with the people around you but don’t really have the chance to talk to the person far away who seemed really interesting. Potentially the seat swapping between courses could alleviate these problems, though. That seems like a good idea.

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