Put down the red plastic cups and the bowl of Doritos — it’s time to throw a real adult-ass dinner party. I know, I know, why would you want to do a thing like that? Well, it’s fun. And it’s what adults do. Not sure how to be an adult? I hear ya. Here are some tips for how to throw a grown up dinner party for you and your friends:
Clean the bathroom.
What? Why am I telling you to clean the bathroom when the topic is dinner parties? Because it’s inevitable that at some point during the evening, one or many or all of your guests will visit the bathroom, and part of being a grown adult is having a clean bathroom that doesn’t make people fear for their lives when they have to use it. At the very least, clean the cat’s litter box, wipe down the sink, and provide toilet paper. Always provide toilet paper.
Have a variety of non-alcoholic beverages.
Now that you’re an adult, you may have noticed that many of your friends are abstaining from alcohol. They’re trying to lose weight, or stop partying, or they’re pregnant, whatever. Point is, as a decent host, it’s your job to provide beverages that aren’t just booze and tap water. Consider a case of La Croix or other sparkling water and an iced tea.
Nothing says “grown-up” like having a bunch of small, self contained fires in your home.
Play some Astrud Gilberto and Al Green.
Gilberto is perfect cocktail music, Al Green is perfect dinner music. Really, any kind of smooth Brazilian bossa nova will do. Just have something playing that you’d hear in a Crate & Barrel.
Serve vegetables as a side.
Roast ’em in the oven in olive oil and spices. Toss them with dressing. Try soy sauce, garlic, and red pepper flakes on broccoli. Have an elegant take on veggies.
Splurge on the wine.
But by “splurge”, I mean, spend $12 when you were originally going to spend $6. Unless you’ve got the money, in which case, go nuts, Frasier.
Put your phone away during dinner.
Others will take your lead. You don’t really need to text during a dinner party. Focus on your guests.
Play some sort of parlour game.
Charades, Mad Libs, trivia, or even Cards Against Humanity. SO much more sophisticated than beer pong. Serve coffee and desert during this time. (P.S. “dessert” can mean artfully assembled shards of dark chocolate and orange segments on a cheese board. Looks great, easy to do, everyone’s happy.)
Make a simple recipe that doesn’t come from a box.
I know, I know, Kraft dinner is wonderful and all, but keep the blue box in the pantry. Dinner party doesn’t have to mean lobster, either. You can keep it simple, like a slow cooker meal. It’s a little bit more effort than boiling water for macaroni, but it’s what you gotta do to throw a grown dinner party. Crockpot that stuff.
Take everybody’s coats.
As opposed to letting them awkwardly place their coat somewhere like the couch or floor. If they arrive not wearing a coat, ask them to leave. (No, don’t, it’s fine.)
Serve every liquid in a nice glass.
Don’t give someone a can of beer or Diet Coke — pour it in a glass. (Glass, not red plastic cup.) It’s OK if the glasses don’t match — that’s chic now.
Keep the conversation stimulating and flowing.
Introduce everyone to each other with a fun fact. Ask your guests if they’ve seen any good movies or read any good books lately. Or ask them thought-provoking personal questions like, “At what age did you consider yourself an adult?” or some BS like that. If conversation starts to get heated, change the topic by saying, “Hey that reminds me of a quote I read by Mark Twain…” because that works for anything.
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