The Art Of Gathering: Give Your Gathering A Purpose

Before hosting, figure out your reason for gathering. Ask yourself how you actually want to spend your time, with whom, in what way.

We often make the mistake of conflating the category (e.g. birthday party) with the purpose (e.g. to surround yourself with the people who bring out the best in you).

A purpose doesn't have to be serious, but simply adding an intention can begin to shape the group's experience of the night.

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The Secret To Hosting: Define Your Purpose. Everything Else Will Follow : Life Kit

npr.org

Group size matters. It can fundamentally affect people's behavior, and there's actual science to it, too. This is where determining a clear purpose behind your gathering can help as well. It allows you to explain your reasons behind a particular guest list, the way you can't if the party is vague.

6 is a good size for a really connected conversation. 8 to 12 is a great size for a buzzy, dinner party where you're much more likely to have small group conversations. 20 to 30 feels more like a party.

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Setting expectations can be a powerful tool. It primes your guests through a temporary social contract, so they know how to show up (and what to show up with) before even walking through the door.

Give your gathering a name and make the purpose clear — whether it's catching up with old friends or welcoming new ones to the neighborhood.

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Generous authority means imposing in a way that serves your guests. It's about striking a balance between warmth and order.

  • Part of taking care of the life of the group is protecting them — either from sheer boredom or from each other.
  • The role of a host is figuring out how to make everybody feel like they belong.
  • Another way of practicing generous authority is connecting your guests to both your purpose and to each other.

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