Growing up, my dad used to say to me, “it’s much more fun to go to a party then it is to host one.”
Bear in mind, he said this to me while I spent an entire day cleaning our house after I threw a rager back in high school.
Now, I do agree with his sentiments that it is more fun to attend a good party.
However, it’s definitely more gratifying to host a successful one.
I have always loved orchestrating experiences where people bond. I love being forced to think on my toes and take action to ensure a good time.
Hosting is one of these opportunities.
Yes, it requires a lot of effort.
Yes, it can be stressful at times.
But ultimately, the reward is worth it.
Over the last six months, I have made a concerted effort to do this more often.
Make dinner for your friends. Make your friends a drink. Give every one of your guests a hug when they arrive. Plan activities that all can participate in.
On Super Bowl Sunday, I hosted ~13 people at my home in Oakland.
I extended invites out to friends, regardless whether they like football or not. Allowing each to bring a friend or spouse.
Sometimes I get this response,”well I don’t really like football” or “I don’t like watching sports”.
You’re missing the point. It’s not about football.
I compare this response to a similar disdain some people have for Coachella.
Some will denounce it as a trashy, overhyped event for young people to get lit and jump around to music.
Yeah, I said LIT.
I’ve gone to Coachella the last three years, and to these naysayers, I always respond:
For me, it’s not about partying, the drugs, the scene or even the music.
It’s about creating an opportunity to get together with some of my closest friends for three days where we can make memories.
The music is really just a bonus.
If not Coachella, it would be something else.
A Super Bowl gathering is no different.
Bringing together a group of people that I like to share an experience.
The isn’t a more surefire way to build and keep relationships, than through shared experiences.
As we get older, especially after age 25, the amount of intimate moments we share with our closest friends continues to shrink, year after year.
If we don’t continue to make the effort to host, our sense of community will evaporate over time.
This is especially true for those of us who have moved to a new city. Away from our closest friends, where we are forced to start over.
When I first moved to the Bay Area from Chicago three years ago, all I had was my work friends. Which was great because I loved my work and we all shared the common bond of building a successful company, together.
We were a tribe.
After I chose to leave my job, I didn’t get to see those people nearly as much. The spontaneous after work adventures were no longer accessible.
It was as if I had left my community. The people I spent 75% of my waking hours with were no longer accessible to me.
This reminds me of how we become more detached from college friends after we move out of shared living situations and into our grown-up apartments or homes.
We tell ourselves, that’s life but it does it have to be?
I forgot about the amount of happiness I derived from having a sense of community.
Now I’m determined to reclaim my own.
It’s not reasonable to think we can live with our best friends forever nor work at the same company forever.
So how do we keep our tribe intact?
Make the extra effort.
Make dinner for your friends.
Make your friends a drink.
Give every one of your guests a hug when they arrive.
Plan activities that all can participate in.
Be a catalyst.
Whether it’s planning trips with friends that are scattered across the country or hosting local gatherings with ex-work friends, who are also friends.
Spend your money and your effort on experiences. Ideally ones that you can share with others.
When given the opportunity to host, say yes. Open yourself up to creating memories with new and old friends.
It creates a cycle in which your friends, old and new, will want to reciprocate by hosting an event of their own.
From this, a community begins to form.
Hosting is a catalyst. So do it.