I host Friendsgiving every year. Here are 3 tips for a successful dinner party.

  • This weekend, my roommates and I hosted our third annual Friendsgiving dinner.

  • We've been doing it every year since we met and have gotten pretty good at hosting.

  • When throwing a successful dinner party, I think it comes down to size and attitude.

In 2021, my roommates and I began something we didn't know would become a tradition: Friendsgiving.

We'd just moved to New York City from different corners of the country and didn't know as many people as we do now. At the time, it was with a little group of people we'd soon call some of our best friends.

This weekend, we hosted the third rendition of our dinner party, which we've gotten pretty good at hosting. Over the years, I've found a few things that help make a successful night: keeping it relatively small, serving food potluck style, and releasing expectations.

We typically try to host around 10 to 15 people

Initially, our event was smaller, making for a more intimate dinner. This year, however, we had close to 25 people, which was verging on being too big.

We've found that a smaller group lends itself to a more intimate dinner, with easy conversation between people. This year's group of nearly two dozen people — albeit a blast — bordered on being more of a party than a dinner.

A group of friends at Friendsgiving.
Guests at Friendsgiving.Jordan Parker Erb/Insider

We ask people to bring their favorite food but don't require it

In our invitation, we ask that our friends bring their favorite dish. We don't assign food to people, which can feel overwhelming (Friendsgiving shouldn't feel like homework), but we also don't concede to making everything ourselves (which is just too much work with such a big group).

We can get a little glimpse into our friends' lives by asking them to make food they like to make — or love to buy. We get the benefit of tasting something they enjoy. Plus, doing the dinner potluck-style helps us feed a crowd easily.

If not a dish, people typically bring a bottle of wine or their favorite drink, which is also helpful while hosting a big group because it means my roommates and I don't have to buy beverages for two dozen people.

We let go of expectations

A messy kitchen counter with plates, dishes, and leftover food.
The aftermath of a successful Friendsgiving.Jordan Parker Erb/Insider

During the first year, we had different expectations for Friendsgiving. We imagined it would always run smoothly, with a movie-like effortlessness.

But we've since learned that it'll never be perfect. Sometimes, people will no-show, a certain dish won't turn out quite right, or the apartment will be a total mess afterward. Actually, that last bit is just about the only thing we can virtually guarantee will happen.

No matter the outcome, we've learned to go with the flow and accept it for what it is: A time to get together with our friends and toast how far we've come together.

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