A reader asked:
Ever since my depression got better, I been doing more leading in get-togethers. Like inviting people over to my house and suggesting what we’re going to do. But I feel like people don’t have as much fun at my activities as those led by my other friends. I take a lot of input on what we do, and I tell funny jokes.
Is there anything else I can do when leading a group, formally or informally, to help people relax and have fun?
I think you might be pushing yourself too hard.
If people are having fun and liking your get-togethers, that’s success. You don’t have to be the best or the most fun for what you’re doing to be good enough. It’s not a contest, and it’s ok if you’re not as skilled at throwing parties as some of your friends. It’s a skill set that you can develop over time.
That said, from the way you’ve described things, it sounds like your gatherings might be happening this way:
- You invite people over
- They come over
- You spend time deciding together what to do
- Then you do the thing together
If you’re doing it that way, it might be making your gatherings less fun than they could be. Negotiating with a group about what to do isn’t very much fun, and it can set the tone for the gathering being less fun.
Also, if you don’t pick the activity in advance, there will usually be someone who wanted to hang out who doesn’t want to do the activity that the group decides on. That person usually won’t be very happy, and that can make things less fun for everyone.
If that’s how you’re doing it, your gatherings are likely to become more fun if you decide on an activity in advance, like this:
- Pick something that you and some friends like
- Invite them to come do that thing with you
- People who want to hang out and want to do that thing will come
- People who don’t want to, won’t come
- There won’t be any tiresome negotiation phase of the gathering
- No one will be stuck in an unanticipated activity that they don’t enjoy
Some examples of activities you can decide on in advance:
- A game night (either a specific game, or whatever games people decide to bring)
- Going to the new Exciting Movie in a series you like
- Going out to dinner together
- A dinner party at your place
- Getting together for movies and popcorn at your place (better if you pick the type of movie in advance, or maybe even the actual movie)
- (Here’s a post about things some people like to do at Halloween parties)
In any case, organizing fun gatherings is a skill, and you’ll get better at it as you get more experience. You don’t have to be perfect or the best for your gatherings to count as successful. If you like them and most of the people who come like them, that’s success.
Short version: Picking an activity in advance and inviting people to do it is likely to be more fun than gathering a group of people and deciding together what to do.