Plan my party ...

I’m hosting a successful-thesis-defense-and now-leaving-the-country party for a freind in a couple of weeks. Should be about 8-12 people over, but I won’t know but one or two, and many of them won’t know each other.

I’m going to be fine with food (though I’ll take any appetizer suggestions), but I feel like I should have some social activities as well. Not games per se, but something fun and casual for 20s-40s adults might want to do after the first half-hour to an hour or so of mingling and finger food.

What do you people with social lives do?

I usually try to leave a few books or magazines laying within reach.

‘Fact’ type books (like The Straight Dope) or things like The Book Of Questions, If? etc. I just leave them visible and if someone decides to flip through them and spark conversation, so be it. Maybe a book about or with photographs of wherever your friend is headed?

You could also leave a couple of games within sight (Jenga, Outburst, a deck of cards?) You don’t have to pull them out. If a guest spots them and is interested and the group is as well, why not?

Have some music playing in the background. Nothing to overpower conversations, just something mellow, but not so mellow you put everyone to sleep. :wink:
Mostly people will want to chat.

I went to party where the hostess had a table set up with a jigsaw puzzle. People would periodically walk over and work a bit. It seemed to ease beginnings of conversations between strangers …

Now THAT is a terrific idea. I’ll do it. May pick up a Jenga, too.